Fantasy Basketball: Waiver Wire Week 2
It's not too early to start adding fresh upside to your roster. Alex Rikleen offers waiver options.
With the season almost one week old, managers should be hitting the waiver wire hard. We've seen enough to drop some popular sleeper candidates (Nerlens Noel), and some unexpected names (Malik Monk) are emerging fast. Some of the players added over the next week or two will play crucial roles in determining Fantasy championships.
Decisive action is important, but it's important not to overreact. Giannis Antetokounmpo is technically ranked outside of the top 130 in nine-category settings, but that obviously doesn't mean anyone should drop him. Antetokounmpo is an extreme example, but he demonstrates an important principle: There are some really good must-add players out there, just make sure you're dropping your worst overall player, not your worst-through-three-games player.
As with previous seasons, the players featured in this article must be owned in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues. Players are listed in the order in which I recommend adding them, assuming they are equally good fits for your team.
Adds For All Leagues
E'Twaun Moore, Pelicans (31 percent owned)
The Pelicans have a lot of very good players at every position except small forward. At small forward, they are shockingly shallow. Moore is good enough to be a rotation player, but given the depth chart behind him, that level of ability makes him a near-lock for at least 30 minutes per game. He only played 24 minutes in the Pelicans' second game, but that was in large part because the team destroyed the Kings, and only one player on the roster saw more than 27 minutes. Moore averaged 12.5 points and 1.6 threes while shooting an impressive 50.8 percent from the field in 31.5 minutes last season, and he looks to be in line for similar production in 2018-19.
Malik Monk, Hornets (54 percent owned)
The Hornets need secondary scorers and they need a starting shooting guard. Monk isn't starting, but the current starter, Jeremy Lamb, is vulnerable. Monk has actually seen more minutes (27.3 MPG) than Lamb (24.7) through three games. If Monk is able to wrestle away a few more minutes, he'll be a solid source of scoring and threes and would be add-able in all leagues.
Danny Green, Raptors (37 percent owned)
It's still early, but joining the Raptors appears to have sent Green back in time roughly four years. He's averaging 32 minutes per game and delivering on his 1-1-1 potential. "1-1-1" refers, of course, to the relatively unusual ability to add one three, one steal and one block per game. He's easily topped those totals in his per-36 averages for each of the last five seasons, but only once saw enough minutes to hit 1-1-1 in his per-game averages. With a bigger role on a new team, he's on track to do a lot more than just 1-1-1 -- he's currently averaging 2.7 made threes per game.
Wesley Matthews, Mavericks (50 percent owned)
This early in the season, Fantasy production is heavily influenced by small sample sizes. But, for most positions on most teams, the early minutes shares are a mostly-accurate indication of what's to come. Therefore, even without acknowledging what Matthews has done with his massive workload, his 34.5 minutes per game should be enough to make him a must-own in most leagues. The fact that he's averaging 17 points, 3.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds doesn't hurt the argument, either.
Damian Jones, Warriors (17 percent owned)
Jones has claimed the starting center role while DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) is sidelined. Averaging 21.3 minutes and 2.0 blocks a game through the first three games, Jones is addable in all leagues as a blocks specialist until Cousins returns to action. He isn't a good fit for every team, but every league has at least one team that should probably add him.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Clippers (55 percent owned)
The Clippers backcourt is crowded, with Avery Bradley, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, and lottery-pick rookies Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson all vying for time. However, through three games, Gilgeous-Alexander has been able to separate himself and is averaging 25.7 minutes per contest. His production in that time has been inconsistent and underwhelming, but it is a great sign that he is seeing so much work so quickly. Furthermore, Robinson has been completely out of the rotation, which also boosts Gilgeous-Alexander's prospects going forward.
Other recommendations: Trey Burke, Knicks (51 percent owned); Terry Rozier, Celtics (48 percent owned); Fred VanVleet, Raptors (31 percent owned); Justin Holiday, Bulls (32 percent owned); Derrick Rose, Timberwolves (48 percent owned)
Deep League Special
J.J. Barea, Mavericks (22 percent owned)
It's possible that Barea has already been gobbled up in a lot of deep leagues, but his inclusion here is, in part, to discourage managers in shallower leagues to fall for the Barea trap. Barea is only playing 21.0 minutes per game. At that workload, his current 10.5 assists per game figure is completely unsustainable. Barea is behind Dennis Smith Jr. on the depth chart, and rookie Luka Doncic is likely to increase his assist totals over time.
Those concerns are why standard-league managers should probably look elsewhere. But in deeper leagues, Barea is definitely worth considering. While his current assist rate is unsustainable, he averaged 6.3 per game in only 23.2 minutes in 2017-18, so he should continue to provide very good assist help. He's best used as a specialist, but he also contributes in threes and free-throw percentage.
Other recommendation: Dwight Powell, Mavericks (17 percent owned)
Allonzo Trier, Knicks (13 percent owned)
The Knicks backcourt is very crowded, with roughly six good-not-great options all worthy of rotation roles. Courtney Lee (neck) has yet to make his season debut, and Trier has been one of the primary beneficiaries, averaging 22.3 minutes and 12.7 points per game. Lee remains out for the time being, but he could be close to a return to action, which would probably lead to a rather dramatic decrease in Trier's role.
But Trier has already shown an ability to play rotation minutes and produce. If the Knicks fall out of the playoff race, as many expect will eventually happen, Trier could see a big influx of minutes. He's only really an option in dynasty or leagues with deep benches right now, but he's worth keeping an eye on. His teammate, Kevin Knox (81 percent owned) is too widely owned to qualify for this article, but he's getting dropped in a ton of leagues in the wake of an ankle injury. Knox is also an interesting stash candidate if he makes it to waivers in your league.
Other recommendation: Noah Vonleh, Knicks (9 percent owned)
Jonathan Isaac, Magic
Sometimes the best waiver wire action is to make no move at all -- and that is the case if you are considering dropping Jonathan Isaac. I promise you that he did not get worse at basketball over the offseason. His minutes were heavily limited in the first two games due to foul trouble, and trying to manage his fouls probably also played a part in him only recording one steal and zero blocks in those two games. In Game 3, he committed no fouls, played 28 minutes, and recorded two steals and one block. Isaac is an add and a buy-low. Do not drop him.
Don't Be Fooled
Garrett Temple, Grizzlies
Garrett Temple is a good and streaky shooter. This isn't new. But when he goes off for 30 points on 10-of-11 field goal attempts and five-of-six from behind the arc in the second game of the season, it is more noticeable than when he does it in the middle of March. Temple is 32 years old and this is his ninth season in the league. He didn't suddenly become a rich man's Klay Thompson. He scored 34 points in a game once last season. How many did he score the next game? Five. Leave him on the waiver wire.
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