Special for Yahoo Sports
With so many players getting injured or contracting COVID-19 this season, there are going to be opportunities to add players from the unimaginative basketball exemption thread who can make a difference, even if it’s just for a week or two.
Sometimes, though, it’s hard to decide who to drop from your roster to make that addition.
Let’s highlight a few players who are currently featured in more than 50 percent of Yahoo’s leagues and who might be time to move on.
Originally drafted by the Bulls, Gafford was split with Washington last season after Chicago took over Nikola Vucevic. He finished the season on a high note for his new team, averaging 12.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks over their last 10 games. What’s even more impressive is that he only averaged 21 minutes during that stretch.
What helped Gafford last season was that: Thomas Bryant was sidelined with a torn ACL. Bryant stayed out at the start of this season, but he made his debut on January 12, playing double-digit minutes in each of the last seven games.
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To complicate matters for Gafford, he also has to contend with Montrezl Harrell and Rui Hachimura for playtime. In those seven games since Bryant returned, Gafford had averaged just 12.0 minutes per game, despite being the every-night starter. That gave him a pedestrian average of 6.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.6 blocks. Unless the Wizards consolidate some of their frontcourt depth before the February 10 deadline, Gafford probably won’t have much fantasy impact the rest of the way.
There were high hopes for Green after he was selected second overall in the 2021 draft. While his future is still very bright, his current production is a disappointment. He averages 14.2 points and 1.8 three-pointers per game, which isn’t terrible, but it comes with modest averages of 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.5 steals per game.
If you’re playing in a category league, shooting 37.4 percent of Green from the field was a big hindrance. Most of his problems come from behind the arc, where he only shoots 29.1 percent. Even with the Rockets playing at such a fast pace, Green’s lack of production outside the scoring column and his efficiency issues make him someone to consider quitting in redesigned leagues.
For fantasy purposes, it looked like Walker joining the Knicks was going to be a boom for his production. Head coach Tom Thibodeau likes to drive big minutes on his starters so Walker should have lined up for a prominent role. However, he got off to a slow start, averaging 13.6 points over the Knicks’ first eight games. His playing time then began to diminish before finally being removed from rotation completely.
Walker again got off the couch when the Knicks had a COVID-19 outbreak in mid-December. He had a four game period in which he played an average of 40 minutes per game. He did not miss his chance, averaging 26.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists in that period. However, that may have taken its toll on Walker as he has missed 10 of the last 13 games with a knee injury.
In the three games he has did playing, he logged 21, 21 and 30 minutes. Walker can still be useful to managers in daily competitions, but his knee problems have become too much of an issue to trust him in weekly formats.
Anthony finally has the chance to play with his friend LeBron James. He is not just someone who is anchored at the end of the bench at this late stage of his career, averaging 27 minutes per game. He has had the occasional outburst and he averages 2.3 three-pointers per game, but his overall average of 13.4 points per game is nothing to get too excited about.
Outside of the scoring column, there isn’t much to like about Anthony from a fantasy perspective, given his average of 4.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 0.7 steals per game. That Anthony Davis is back from a knee injury, Anthony saw fewer shots coming forward. While he was once a dominant fantasy option, he shouldn’t be taken outside of the deep leagues.
Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets (51 percent rostered)
When Porter underwent back surgery, he was expected to be out this season. Even if there is a glimmer of hope that he will return, it will probably be towards the end of the season. That doesn’t make it someone worth holding, especially if you need an IR spot.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans Pelicans (49 percent rostered)
Alexander-Walker is a one-dimensional player who is never shy about boosting shots. The problem is that he only shoots 37.3 percent from the field. His inefficiencies have helped him move to a bench role, playing an average of just 27 minutes per game. Later in the season, it wouldn’t be surprising if Willie Green hands things over to his young players, but by then it might be too late for Alexander-Walker to save his fantasy value.
Kyle Anderson, Memphis Grizzlies (43 percent on the list)
Even after a semi-breakout in 2020-21, it’s mind-boggling that Anderson is in so many leagues. The Grizzlies are one of the deepest teams in the league, which has contributed to Anderson only playing 22 minutes per game. Unless you’re playing in some pretty deep league, there are probably better options for waivers. At the very least, the spot on the list he currently occupies can be used to stream players with favorable schedules.