10 Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Targets for Week 17
We're here once again to look at 10 of the most interesting players to emerge off fantasy basketball waiver wires over the past week.
As always, make sure you're checking out last week's edition (and the week before for good measure). We try not to repeat ourselves, but there are always some high-priority options to be found in previous iterations of this column who should still be on your radar if they're out there.
All rankings come courtesy of Basketball Monster.
Now, let's hit the wire.
Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Phoenix Suns
Yahoo Ownership: 35%
It's clear enough that his fantasy relevance is for real based on his ranking of 41st in nine-category leagues over the last month and 54th over the last two, but he's reached another level over his last three contests. Over that span, he's been the 20th-ranked nine-cat player, averaging 17.7 points, 3.7 three-pointers, 5.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.7 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 1.7 turnovers in 36.1 minutes per contest while shooting a blistering 67.9% from the field and 50.0% from the free throw line.
He's a great source of threes and defense, rarely turns the ball over, and is a fairly efficient shooter. Throw in the fact that he's now getting all the minutes he can handle and has scored in double-digits in three consecutive contests (the first time he's done that all season), and we might be in the midst of a full-fledged coming out party for the rookie.
You don't find solid mid-round players with early-round upside on the waiver wire very often, but Bridges is somehow out there in 65% of Yahoo leagues right now. Add him immediately if he's somehow still sitting there in your league.
Bobby Portis, PF/C, Chicago Bulls
Yahoo Ownership: 50%
Over that span, he's been the 24th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 23.7 points, 2.0 threes, 6.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.0 steal, 0.3 blocks, and 1.3 turnovers in 27.3 minutes per contest while shooting 58.3% from the field and a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe.
Wendell Carter Jr. is out for the rest of the season following thumb surgery and Robin Lopez (the Bulls' current starting center) could very well be traded by the deadline as the oldest guy on a rebuilding team. Portis is worth adding right now for the hot hand, and he could very well end up being a solid asset down the stretch of the season if Lopez is dealt. Act accordingly.
Maxi Kleber, PF, Dallas Mavericks
Yahoo Ownership: 10%
The Kristaps Porzingis, seven-player blockbuster deal sent shockwaves through the entire Association on Thursday, but the fantasy impact was fairly minimal. Porzingis might continue to sit out for the remainder of the 2018-19 season while Dennis Smith, DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke maintain pretty well the same fantasy value in their new situations as what they had in their old ones (depending on if any of them get bought out down the road or not).
One beneficiary who was not part of the trade, however, is Maxi Kleber.
Kleber has flirted with fantasy relevance at other points this season but now has a firm claim on rest-of-season value. With DeAndre Jordan out of town and no return for Porzingis in sight, Kleber is now starting for the Dallas Mavericks in a suddenly thin frontcourt. He didn't do all that much in his first game in the new role but stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, two triples, nine boards, two assists, a steal, and two blocks in nearly 27 minutes on Saturday.
If Kleber can hold onto his new job, he has a shot at mid-round value the rest of the way. Keep an eye on Dwight Powell lurking in the shadows off the bench, but Kleber's the guy to own in this situation until further notice.
Malik Beasley, PG/SG, Denver Nuggets
Yahoo Ownership: 50%
More on Morris in a minute, but Beasley gets top billing as the priority add between the two as his breakout was happening prior to the injuries to Murray and Harris. Beasley has been the 31st-ranked player in nine-category leagues over his last six contests, averaging 21.7 points, 3.3 threes, 2.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 0.7 turnovers in 27.9 minutes per contest while shooting 59.8% from the field and 80.0% from the free throw line, but he's been the 58th-ranked nine-cat player over the last two months, as well.
His breakout is legit, and his current job as a fill-in starter makes grabbing him an even more obvious move. He's out there in 50% of Yahoo leagues and is a must-add if available in your league.
Monte Morris, PG, Denver Nuggets
Yahoo Ownership: 45%
If Malik Beasley is not available in your league, Monte Morris is an excellent consolation prize.
Over his last three games as a fill-in starter for the Nuggets, Morris has been the seventh-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 18.3 points, 2.3 triples, 6.7 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 0.7 turnovers in a whopping 39.2 minutes per contest while shooting a red-hot 61.1% from the field and 80.0% from the charity stripe.
That first-round value comes with a clear and obvious expiration date, with neither Jamal Murray nor Gary Harris expected to miss a large chunk of time, but Morris a great hot hand to consider if you're looking for a boost right now. It doesn't hurt that he's ranked 86th over the last two months, as well, if you're also looking for the potential of long-term returns.
If the Nuggets ever get healthy, Beasley and Morris would likely take a step back, but "Nuggets" and "healthy" are not two words that have been used in the same sentence much this year.
Reggie Jackson, PG/SG, Detroit Pistons
Yahoo Ownership: 65%
While Reggie Jackson is not a very consistent fantasy asset, he's becoming hard to ignore during his current hot stretch.
Over his last three games, he's been the 10th-ranked player in nine-category leagues, averaging 23.7 points, 3.0 triples, 4.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.0 blocks, and 0.7 turnovers in 36.2 minutes per contest while shooting 52.9% from the field and a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.
Don't lose sight of the fact that he's ranked only 138th on the season, though. Ish Smith returned from a groin injury on Saturday, as well, meaning Jackson's minutes and production could be in line to take a hit. Regardless, he's worth a flier for now to see how long he can keep the good times rolling.
Kevon Looney, PF/C, Golden State Warriors
Yahoo Ownership: 10%
When you think about the fantasy impact of various members of the Golden State Warriors, Kevon Looney probably doesn't even come to mind. He's quietly been the 57th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over the last month, however, and 41st over his last six contests.
Over the last six, he's averaged 9.2 points, 0.0 three-pointers, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.2 blocks, and 0.7 turnovers in 19.8 minutes per contest while shooting an ultra-efficient 63.9% from the field and 81.8% from the line.
He's not getting many minutes, and his fantasy value is inflated by high efficiency at a low volume. But it's hard to turn up your nose at those defensive numbers. If you're in need of a boost in steals and blocks, Looney is fairly consistent in those areas, so he makes for a solid specialist who's available on the vast majority of waiver wires.
Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Miami Heat
Yahoo Ownership: 25%
Kelly Olynyk's minutes have been up and down all season, but he's suddenly getting plenty of run and posting solid fantasy numbers with the opportunity.
It's a very small sample, but Olynyk has been putting up mid-round numbers over his last two games, averaging 17.5 points, 3.0 three-pointers, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.0 block, and 3.0 turnovers in a healthy 32.5 minutes per contest while shooting 56.5% from the field and 75.0% from the stripe.
When the minutes are there, Olynyk is a solid late-round asset with mid-round upside. The playing time could dry up as soon as the next game, but until that happens, he's at least worth streaming until the wheels inevitably fall off again.
Shabazz Napier, PG, Brooklyn Nets
Yahoo Ownership: 35%
Over the five games that the Brooklyn Nets have been without Dinwiddie, Napier has averaged 18.4 points, 3.0 threes, 2.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 2.2 turnovers in 27.0 minutes per contest while shooting 36.1% from the field and 78.1% from the line.
The low field goal percentage has kept his overall ranking over that span down to 106th, but the points, threes, assists, and steals are more than enough to make him someone to consider off your waiver wire. Dinwiddie's eventual return will kill his value, but for now, Napier is worth owning in standard leagues if you're in need of a point guard.
Jerryd Bayless, PG/SG, Minnesota Timberwolves
Yahoo Ownership: 20%
Another point guard who has a temporary boost in value is Jerryd Bayless.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been thin at the one recently, with Jeff Teague (foot), Tyus Jones (ankle), and Derrick Rose (ankle) all nursing injuries. Over his last six games (including four consecutive starts), Bayless has filled the gap admirably, averaging 15.7 points, 3.0 three-pointers, 4.5 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.2 blocks, and 1.7 turnovers in 35.6 minutes per contest while shooting 39.3% from the field and 66.7% from the charity stripe.
The shooting marks are tough to swallow, but the minutes and counting stats are there, making him worth a look for as long as the Timberwolves are banged up.