Fantasy Basketball: Here are the best long-range waiver wire mics in the shallow leagues
Often times, fantasy sports are just about winning the week. That was especially the case earlier this NBA season when the league was ravaged by COVID-19. Putting together a full starting lineup was often a challenge, and it required desperate and creative measures.
However, things calmed down. The league has stopped testing players with recalls unless they show symptoms. This has led to a massive decrease in COVID-related absences, and things are starting to get back to normal.
In turn, fantasy managers can now really start evaluating their rosters and reviewing the waiver thread with the long term in mind. With around two months, or less, remaining in most fantasy leagues, now is the time to lock in a strategy for the stretch run. This involves confirming your team’s weaknesses and making aggressive waiver wire moves to correct any shortcomings. Streaming players are always an option, but let’s target some players that you can confidently add for the rest of the campaign.
Registered in 69% of CBS leagues
Jones went undrafted in nearly every fantasy league, and he’s still only 69% listed despite being the 25th-ranked player in total production since Christmas. I don’t know what more Jones needs to do to convince fantasy managers that he doesn’t belong on the waiver wire. Over his last 14 games, he’s averaging 13.6 points on 53/41/86 shooting, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks. He’s a defensive specialist on a team that desperately needs something positive on that side of the ball, and he’s no attacking scrub either. His three-point volume (1.3 marks per game) isn’t exceptionally high, but he plays into himself on offense, keeping his overall efficiency high. Jones’ role is going nowhere. Go and get it.
Registered in 68% of CBS leagues
Although Zach LaVine is back, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso are both likely out until March at best, leaving Chicago shorthanded in the backcourt. Coby White is also there to help pick up the slack, but he’s been scooped up by more fantastic managers than Dosunmu – a relatively unproven rookie. While Dosunmu is a natural point guard, his 6-foot-5, 200-pound frame allows him to play on the wing, which should keep his workload high and allow him to easily adapt to White, LaVine and DeMar. DeRozan. As a starter the past six games, he’s averaging 15.0 points on 63/54/80 shooting, 6.3 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 38.5 minutes. Sure, the shooting will normalize, but the overtime stats and minutes are still very encouraging.
Registered in 71% of CBS leagues
Wolves signed Vanderbilt as a starter on Nov. 12, and he’s started every appearance since then. He’s under the radar as one of the best offensive rebounders for his size, and he’s also a great defender. In his 32 starts, he averaged 10.2 rebounds (3.6 offensive), 1.8 steals and 0.8 blocks in 28.2 minutes. While his other stats – 7.5 points and 1.6 assists – are mediocre, he plays within himself and shoots 61.7% from the field and commits just 1.1 turnovers. Since Christmas, Vanderbilt is the 79th ranked player based on total production despite playing just 13 games compared to some players’ 17.
Registered in 58% of CBS leagues
Mills’ fantasy value is tied heavily to his three-point shooting, so there’s good fluctuation over any time frame you choose to watch. Of his 11.0 shot attempts, 7.6 are three-pointers and he takes just 0.8 free throws per game. Combine that with just 2.5 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 31.0 minutes, and you have someone who truly lives and dies by all three. His role was about to get murky with the return of Kyrie Irving, but then Kevin Durant suffered a knee injury and is out until late February at the earliest. Even when Durant returns, he could be reintroduced into things, and Irving can still only play in road games. Keep Mills’ weaknesses in mind, but he’s still lethal over a four-game week in 10-team formats.
Registered in 40% of CBS leagues
It looked like Clarke’s sophomore slump would carry over into his third season, but the big man finally returned to performance after an 11-game layoff in December with a knee injury. In his last 12 appearances, he averaged 13.4 points on 68.3 percent shooting from the field, 6.8 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.4 assists in 23.2 minutes. Workload is, of course, a concern, but he proved as a rookie to post fantasy-relevant numbers in just 22.4 minutes per game (he averaged 12.1 points, 5 .9 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.8 blocks). Although Clarke is a borderline pick in 10-team formats, he still projects to be useful in the four-game weeks, and his role is going nowhere.