Working on the waiver is crucial to succeeding in fantasy basketball. With so many matches, injuries and endless rotations during the marathon campaign, we need to collect stats from free agencies to maximize imaginary rosters. The willingness to compete for the last few spots on your fantasy hoops can be rewarding. When assembling this fluid collective of stats collaborators, it helps to see your players at the end of the bank in direct competition with the talent floating in free agency.
The goal of this weekly series is to identify players in every available free agency position in at least one-third of ESPN leagues. Some nominations are specialists who can help in one or two categories, while others provide a more diverse and important statistical offering. In the breakdowns below, I’ve ranked players in each position with acquisition priority in mind, rather than roster percentage in ESPN leagues.
Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (included in 48.7% of ESPN leagues)
The cool kids could call Simons a “bucket” as he has tremendous confidence in his own chance and gained the strength to create a base role given Damian Lillard’s absence. Simons also proves to be able to act as a distributor in this capacity, averaging 21.6 points and 6.4 dimes this season with a great offensive rating of 125 from 12 starts this season.
Coby White, Chicago Bulls (included in 24.3% of ESPN leagues)
White’s emergence as a constant source of shooting and scoring looks to have been more enduring this past week with Alex Caruso’s significant wrist injury.
Patty Mills, Brooklyn Nets (21.8%)
As with White, since you usually schedule Mills for his 3-point and scoring volume as a floor stretcher for Brooklyn, this veteran combo has enjoyed a team-high increase in fantasy points per minute when Kevin Durant is off the floor this season.
Kevin Porter Jr., Houston Rockets (60.1%)
With at least seven assists in three consecutive games going into Monday’s slate, Porter can produce an atypically strong passing for a young wing. As Houston grows Porter into his role as a creator for others this season, he’s probably underrated by the fantasy market right now.
Chris Duarte, Indiana Pacers (22.9%)
Injuries have crisscrossed Indiana’s rotation, pushing this rookie back into the grid. Placing a positive net rating in five of his last six games while playing tough minutes for an exhausted roster shows how well Duarte has played.
Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors (58.3%)
Back in the lineup after missing about two weeks due to an ankle injury, it’s worth noting that the 3-point shooter is fourth in the league in steals per game.
De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks (17.0%)
With the Hawks reportedly eyeing some major roster shifts ahead of the approaching trade deadline, Hunter looks likely to stick with Atlanta given his combination of defensive acumen and scoring on a rookie pact. Averaging just over 18 points and nearly 35 minutes in his last four games for Atlanta, Hunter could play an important role as the team shares some veteran wings in the coming weeks.
Jae’Sean Tate, Houston Rockets (28.9%)
As with Porter, Tate enjoys a unique long runway on the Rockets’ roster as he can show off some nice passing skills in addition to performing important defensive duties.
Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers (63.5%)
Finally with special defensive speeds and tasty offensive results, Covington is once again a “stock” machine. Covington has averaged 2.1 steals and 1.5 blocks in his last 11 games, proving he should be on the list in almost any fantasy format.
Aaron Gordon, Denver Nuggets (48.7%)
In Sunday’s game against Detroit, averaging 21.3 points and strong defensive rates over his last three games, Gordon has re-emerged as a steady stat aid for Nikola Jokic in the Denver frontcourt.
Brooklyn Nets (29.8) LaMarcus Aldridge
Assuming Toronto’s Chris Boucher is already in your league, I’d consider Aldridge the best pick of the week. Like Mills, Aldridge has received a relatively massive stat boost when Durant is off the floor. Durant’s absence will likely last until after the All-Star break, with Aldridge providing a solid pick-up in a shallow middle position.
Kelly Olynyk, Detroit Pistons (22.4%)
If you can afford to put Olynyk away while he spends time on health and safety protocols, there can be a rewarding outcome as he’s been quite prolific when active for the Pistons.