WAIVER WIRE WISDOM: WEEK 1

8 min read

The NBA is back baby! Fantasy basketball season is back and in full swing! Now that we’ve seen all the teams play, we get an idea of how things will pan out for at least the foreseeable future. Some rotation changes we didn’t anticipate from happening opened up a ton of value. Being able to judge whether some of these changes will stick or not is key for a successful fantasy season. We want you to take advantage of this week’s confusion and panic in this wild first few days of the NBA. So in this week’s edition of WAIVER WIRE WISDOM, we will focus on the players available on your wire that could have long-term value, some dynasty pick-ups and more.

As a fantasy player, I always try to leave my last roster spot for streaming and that’s what I recommend that you do too. This gives you the flexibility to pick up specialists, add more games to your weekly match-ups and pick-up those hot free agents off the wire. I also advice you to be active on the wire for the first few weeks in the NBA. This is when we discover the waiver adds capable of leading your team to that coveted championship. For the latest news and for fantasy advice, hit any of us here in The Fantasy Unicorns on Twitter.

MONEY BALL

At some point in our fantasy basketball ‘careers’ (if there’s such a thing), we all at least wanted to be the Billy Beane of our leagues. The one who makes the gutsy calls, finds talent in the bargain bin pool of players and the one who goes against conventional wisdom. The beauty of fantasy basketball is we always have to swing for the fences to achieve success.

Here we discuss some players worthy of a gamble for short-term and long-term success.

P.J. WASHINGTON – CHARLOTTE HORNETS PF

Strengths: FG%, Threes, Points, Boards, Defensive stats

Availability: 58% of Yahoo Leagues

First of all, if you’re reading this I’m allowing you to stop and add him now. P.J. Washington blew up for 27 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block but more importantly made 7 3-pointers in his debut. The most ever made in an NBA debut. He undoubtedly locked up the starting gig and no one will take it away from him in this roster. He won’t be this good every game as NBA defenses will start looking for him now but this game really gave the impression that he’s gonna be good player for years to come. I can see him averaging at least 14 points and 7 rebounds per game. This year’s rookie class has already made quite the argument as one of the best in years.

KEVON LOONEY – GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS C

Strengths: FG%, Boards, Defensive stats

Availability: 57% of Yahoo Leagues

He is the undisputed starting center for the Dubs. Coach Steve Kerr has talked him up this offseason and was also rewarded with a nice contract. He turned heads at last season’s playoffs being able to hold his own against some of the West’s best centers. He has per 36 averages of 12.3PPG, 9.7RPG 2.8APG, 1.2SPG, 1.5BPG. The defensive stats are very tantalizing and he’s got more minutes this year. I don’t see Willie Cauley-Stein taking away his starting spot unless he gets himself injured. He can be a good third or fourth center in your rosters.

MOE HARKLESS – LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS SF

Strengths: FG%, Threes, Steals, Blocks

Availability: 84% of Yahoo Leagues

Paul George will be out until the end of November. After racking up 4 steals and 2 blocks against the Lakers, I’m convinced that he will have a nice run even after PG13 comes back. Harkless has always shown the ability to average a triple one (1 3 pointer made, steals, blocks) if given the opportunity. Playing for a team with a defensive mindset, his opportunity will just continue to grow as he endears himself to the Clippers with his hustle and toughness. It doesn’t hurt to pick him and to drop him either when his production dries up.

DWAYNE BACON – CHARLOTTE HORNETS SG

Strengths: Points, Threes

Availability: 76% of Yahoo Leagues

Ideally, I would only recommend players with multi-categorical upside. But, Dwayne will be an exception because he will get a ton of minutes and an opportunity to break out this season. Nic Batum went down with a hand injury and it doesn’t look like the Hornets will hurry him back. Like a real bacon, he’s so good in scoring but bad in other departments. His usage rate can push towards 30% at any given night and that’s hard to find on the wire. He will provide your team with lots of points and threes but will give you no defensive stats. If you have loaded up on defensive stats in your draft, Dwayne is the perfect compliment to your team.

TYUS JONES – MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES PG

Strengths: Assists, Steals

Availability: 92%% of Yahoo Leagues

This usually is a deep league add but I think that Tyus can be a good add even in 12-team leagues as Tyus looked very good as Ja Morant’s backup. In 24 minutes, he put up 15 points 7 assists with 2 steals. More importantly he played a couple of minutes with Ja Morant which I think will happen more often as this pairing makes more sense for the Grizzlies. Tyus has always been a favorite pick up of mine because of his great steal rate and now that he’s on a bigger role than with the Timberwolves, he could be in for a great season.

KENDRICK NUNN – MIAMI HEAT PG

Strengths: Efficient %s, Points, Threes, Steals

Availability:  78% of Yahoo Leagues

This kid is legit. The Miami Heat signed the undrafted 2018 rookie before the 2019 season ended, possibly seeing something special about the kid. Nunn didn’t disappoint. He led the summer league in scoring, scored an impressive 40 points in preseason as he went toe-to-toe with James Harden and 27 points in his debut in the NBA. These are strong performances  at any level in the NBA. Coach Erik has tremendous confidence in Nunn and that’s about all we needed to hear. He will start alongside Jimmy Butler in the Heat’s backcourt for the foreseeable future. The best days of Dragic are well behind him now, this is Kendrick Nunn’s time and we are in for a ride.

MARKELLE FULTZ – ORLANDO MAGIC PG

Strengths: Points, Assists, Blocks

Availability: 79% of Yahoo Leagues

If I can recommend someone to take a big gamble on, that is Markelle Fultz. The former No.1 overall pick has given us a glimpse of what he’s capable of doing on the court when fully healthy. He is the main backup for D.J. Augustin for now but I see their roles reversed sooner rather than later. Many people forget how great of an all-around player Fultz was in college. His production profile reminds me of John Wall, a shot-blocking pointguard that can score and pass. I refuse to believe that he is a bust and I believe that this season we will be able to see that he was after all worthy of being the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. If you missed out on some of the better pointguards during the draft then you should definitely add Markelle. He’s just gonna get better so let’s hope his injury concerns are all behind him now.

DEVONTE’ GRAHAM – CHARLOTTE HORNETS PG

Strengths: FG%, Points, Threes, Assists

Availability: 80% of Yahoo Leagues

Devonte Graham was hot to start this NBA season scoring 23 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting with 6 threes out of 7 tries and dishing eight assists and grabbing four rebounds. He outplayed Terry Rozier and may have convinced his coach that he is the better player. We have to wait and see what happens but for now, Graham looks like a great add while his hands are smoking hot. Dynasty team owners should already be pouncing right now as his stock will continue to rise.

QUICK FIXES

Last season’s top picks, Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III, both went down with a suspension and an injury, respectively. So what now? We look at who could potentially benefit from their absence and provide you with some value. 

What will the Phoenix Suns do?

No one player can provide what Deandre Ayton gives the Phoenix Suns at the center position. Aron Baynes (7% owned) is considered a lock to start at this point. Baynes plays effectively on the court but sadly his play doesn’t translate to numbers.Frank Kaminsky (12% owned) was hot during the preseason with averages of 13.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 three-pointers. In 19 minutes during his Suns’ debut, he put up 9 points, 4 boards and 2 assists with good shooting percentages (57% FG and 100% FT). If he can get the bulk of the center minutes, he is the clear add until Ayton comes back.

What will the Sacramento Kings do?

Marvin Bagley III was in for a monster season but this injury will have to delay that for now. He will miss 4-6 weeks and he will be eased back for a few games for sure. Nemanja Bjelica will start at PF for the Kings as he did for the Kings last season. He had a hot run to start the season before fading away when the team acquired Harrison Barnes. He averaged 9.6 ppg 5.8 rpg 2 apg 0.7 spg 0.7 bpg with 1.5 3PTM and a respectable shooting splits of 47.9% and 76.1%. Barnes will surely play some 4 and that will open up minutes for Bogdan Bogdanovic at the 3. Deep leagues can take a flier on Richaun Holmes, whose per minute averages are eye-popping. Coach Luke Walton loves some fast moving bigs so he may have an opportunity.