With almost one week of NBA action under our belts, waiver wires are heating up, and the best options are flying off the board fast.
In future weeks, this article will focus only on players owned in less than 50 percent owned of leagues. But since this is the first week, we'll be a little flexible with that rule until the waiver wire stabilizes.
Players are listed in approximately the order of how highly recommended they are.
Adds for all leagues
Rozier is too good, and too close to the 50 percent owned "Mendoza line," to leave off this list. With Gordon Hayward (ankle) out for the season and the Celtics depth chart loosened up, and Rozier is a major beneficiary. In the two games since the injury, he's averaging 28.5 minutes, 14.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.5 threes, and 1.0 steals -- a high-usage, multi-categorical machine. He's especially attractive as a point guard for punt-assist builds, but his across-the-board versatility and likely large role going forward makes him a must-add in almost all formats.
Through three games, Bayless has been on absolute fire. His 58.6 percent owned field goal shooting is completely unsustainable -- he's never averaged more than 42.4 percent owned during his nine-year career -- but it's also not a complete fluke. Though Bayless is a "point guard," the 76ers are not using him as a ball-handler. He's mostly playing alongside Ben Simmons, who is bringing up the ball while Bayless plays off ball as a shooter. The arrangement is leading to a lot of open shots for Bayless, who is averaging 15.7 points and 3.0 made 3s per game. He's another point guard who won't get many assists, but he's worth adding regardless. The 76ers are putting him in an excellent situation, and he is making the most of it.
Similar to how an injury to the Celtics' starting small forward opened up opportunities for their backup point guard, an injury to the Nets' starting point guard has led to expanded opportunities for small forward LeVert. Like Hayward, Jeremy Lin (knee) is out for the season, and so the beneficiaries could maintain their value for the entire season. Allen Crabbe (SG, 60 percent owned) is a better add, but he's a touch too heavily owned, especially when I can just work him into this LeVert blurb. LeVert is getting 28.3 minutes per game and contributing across the board. He's an especially good add for managers in need of steals, grabbing at least two in every game. His role is far more likely to expand then contract as the season moves forward.
The only reason Brooks is this far down is because his explosive production is so incredibly unexpected. Brooks was fantastic in college, leading his Oregon Ducks to an unexpected Final Four run last March. Yet, with all that publicity and attention, he was drafted late in the second round of the 2017 NBA draft. During the Summer League, he wasn't even the most-discussed second-round draft pick from that Ducks' squad. So while his two-game run of 14.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks in 31.0 minutes would be a must-add coming from most players, this feels destined to fall off soon. That said, he's still worth adding in all formats, and he's still one of the best adds available -- because, hey, what if this actually keeps up? He is currently benefiting from the absences of Ben McLemore (foot) and Wayne Selden (quad), but it's not like either of those two are good enough to steal Brooks' minutes if Brooks can keep anything like this current production going.
While Bender is the headliner here, this applies to all Suns. Marquese Chriss (PF, 69 percent owned) is the biggest prize if he was dropped in your league, but Bender, Tyler Ulis (PG, 20 percent owned), and Alex Len (C, 55 percent owned) also saw big bumps in intrigue-level this weekend. Sunday afternoon, the Suns fired coach Earl Watson three games into the season. One of the many frustrations with Watson – beyond the whole two losses by a combined 90 points thing – was how he was using his young players. Specifically, the act that he wasn't using them. With Watson gone, Chriss and Len are almost certain to see minutes boosts, while Bender and Ulis could also be beneficiaries. Chriss should be added immediately wherever available. Bender, Ulis, and Len are solid but uncertain investments with lots of upside.
I can only recommend Sabonis for deeper leagues, even though his ownership indicates that he might already have been swallowed up in many of them. Sabonis was great in his latest start for Myles Turner, double-doubling with 18 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, a steal, and a block. But the fact that he only played 19 minutes in the opener, when Turner was healthy, should be a flashing red light to anyone hoping for long-term standard league production. Sabonis is a solid per-minute contributor, as he showed in his first and third games so far, and the likelihood that he averages roughly 20 minutes per game makes him a great pick up in 16-team leagues, or maybe even some competitive 14-teamers. But in standard leagues, he can be dropped as soon as Turner is healthy.
Cody Zeller (knee, this time) has a tendency to get hurt and miss games. In 2016-17, he had five unique stretches of missed games. When he was healthy, Kaminsky saw limited work and had limited value, But whenever Zeller was hurt, Kaminsky was a solid streamer. This pattern has been repeated already in this young season, with Zeller starting Game 1, missing Game 2, and set to miss Game 3 on Monday. Kaminsky saw only 23 minutes in Game 1, but 33 in Game 2. Zeller does not have a timetable to return, so this could be an add for just one more game, or Kaminsky could stick for a little while. Either way, enjoy him while Zeller is out, and be prepared to cut bait the moment Zeller returns.
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