Fantasy Basketball Week 17 Waiver Wire: Shabazz Napier, Marquese Chriss top targets ahead of All-Star break

Week 17 of the Fantasy basketball season is an abbreviated one, as the league begins its nearly week-long All-Star break on Friday. But that doesn't mean fantasy owners can take their eye off of the waiver wire. In the wake of Thursday's trade deadline, several players have stepped into new roles, with additions -- or in some cases, subtractions -- to the roster creating opportunities for fantasy production.

Schedule-wise, this is a fairly balanced week, as all 30 teams play either one or two games. Twenty-four teams play twice, leaving the Bulls, Cavs, Rockets, Grizzlies, Knicks and Sixers on a one-game week. As is typical, Monday and Wednesday pack the heavier slates, while there are only two games on Thursday night (Clippers-Celtics and Thunder-Pelicans).

As always, this article will focus on players rostered in fewer than two-thirds of CBS leagues.

Shabazz Napier, Wizards (51% owned)

At first, it looked as though Napier's fantasy value might evaporate with a move to Denver, but he was quickly shipped to Washington as part of a separate deal. Overall, he's in a worse situation than he was a few days ago as the starting point guard in Minnesota, but with Isaiah Thomas out of the picture, Napier will likely step in as the third guard for the Wizards. He made his debut Friday against Dallas and played 18 minutes off the bench, finishing with 14 points, three assists, three rebounds and two steals. Prior to the deadline, Napier had averaged 10.3 points, 7.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals over his final 11 games for the Timberwolves.

Marquese Chriss, Warriors (41% owned)

The move that truly helped Chriss came before the deadline, when the Warriors sent Willie Cauley-Stein to Dallas. But Golden State did not bring in another viable big man this week, so Chriss could be staring at a starting spot for the remainder of the season. Kevon Looney looms as a threat, but he's been back in the mix for four games and is only averaging 13.5 minutes per contest. Meanwhile, Chriss has started the last seven contests and is putting up 13.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 2.0 blocks in that span. He had one of the best games of his career Saturday night against the Lakers, going for 26 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and a steal in 27 minutes.

De'Anthony Melton, Grizzlies (23% owned)

Consistency remains an issue for the 21-year-old, but Melton could be the Grizzlies' biggest winner in the wake of the deadline. Melton won't directly replace Jae Crowder, but some of Crowder's minutes should trickle down to Melton, who can occupy both guard spots. Memphis' primary return in the trade, Justise Winslow, remains out indefinitely, and there's now reason to believe Grayson Allen may not return this season. Fantasy owners will have to suffer through some rough shooting nights -- Melton is a combined 4-of-20 FG over his last two -- but the USC product offers across-the-board contributions when the workload is there. In Friday's game against Philadelphia, Melton went 1-of-9 from the field but managed three assists, two rebounds and a season-high five steals. 

Malik Beasley, Timberwolves (38% owned)

One of the biggest individual winners at the deadline, Beasley immediately got to work in Minnesota in Saturday's shocking blowout win over the Clippers. In the starting lineup at shooting guard, Beasley played 29 minutes in his debut, finishing with 23 points, including seven threes, to go with 10 rebounds, four assists and a steal. Beasley's season-long numbers are a far cry from his breakout 2018-19 campaign, but it's possible he just needed a change of scenery. Getting away from one of the deepest rosters in the league should make Beasley much more fantasy-viable down the stretch. 

Damion Lee (41% owned) and Jordan Poole (5% owned), Warriors

Lee is the player with the better track record this season, and that's reflected in his ownership, but he's struggled of late, including in Saturday's loss to the Lakers. Still, as a starter on a bad team that just traded its best healthy guard, Lee holds some appeal as a scorer who rebounds well for his size. 

Poole is only five-percent-owned for a reason, but he's a player to monitor over the next few games. The rookie is coming off the bench, but he played 27 minutes against Brooklyn on Wednesday and followed up with 23 minutes Saturday night. Poole totaled 35 points, seven assists and four steals over those two games. If he continues to outplay Lee, there's a chance Steve Kerr could give the Michigan product more of a look over the final two-and-a-half months.

Other Players to Consider

  • Thon Maker, Pistons (12% owned): This is where we're at with the Pistons right now. With Blake Griffin done for the year and Andre Drummond in Cleveland, the Pistons are rolling out a frontcourt pairing of Christian Wood and Maker. Wood is far and away the preferable of the two, but he's already owned in 83 percent of leagues. If your league is a part of the 17 percent, go pick up Wood now. Like, right now. Anyway, Maker has been borderline-serviceable as a starter over the last two games. He went for 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal against the Thunder on Friday and followed up with seven points, three rebounds, two assists and three blocks in Saturday's loss to the Knicks.
  • Naz Reid, Timberwolves (2% owned): With Gorgui Dieng in Memphis, it looks as though the Wolves will roll with Reid as their backup center. He's only played 27 minutes over the last two games, but he's turned that into totals of 24 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Nine of those boards came in Saturday's win over the Clippers. 
  • Juancho Hernangomez, Timberwolves (7% owned): Minnesota immediately inserted Hernangomez into the starting five Saturday night, and he responded with 14 points, three assists, and a steal in 27 minutes. Hernangomez has traditionally been a points-rebounds contributor, which isn't super appealing, but if he's going to average north of 25 minutes, he'll be worth a look -- at least until Jake Layman is back healthy.
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