Working the waiver wire is pivotal to succeeding in fantasy basketball. With so many games, injuries and endless shifts in rotations throughout the marathon campaign, we’ll need to source stats from free agency to maximize imaginary rosters.
A willingness to entertain competition for the last few spots on your fantasy hoops roster can prove rewarding. When curating this fluid collective of statistical contributors, it helps to consider your end-of-bench players in direct competition with the talent floating in free agency.
The goal of this weekly series is to identify players at each position widely available in free agency in ESPN leagues. Some nominations are specialists capable of helping in one or two categories, while others deliver more diverse and important statistical offerings. In the breakdowns below, I’ve ordered players at each position with the priority of acquisition in mind, rather than roster percentage in ESPN leagues.
Derrick White, Boston Celtics (Rostered in 61.8% of ESPN leagues): The top endorsement at this position for the second straight week, White is ranked fourth at the position on the Player Rater over the past week thanks to a unique blend of scoring, playmaking and defense. With Jaylen Brown dealing with a facial injury and Marcus Smart still on the mend from an ankle ailment, White should continue to play heavy minutes in the days ahead.
Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic (46.4%): The shooting production might never resurface for this former top pick, but a stellar steal rate and respectable counting stats drive value for the Orlando guard.
Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons (18.3%): Another player without much scoring or shooting production, Hayes plays plenty of minutes atop a shallow backcourt depth chart for Detroit and is among the better widely available sources of assists.
Devonte’ Graham, San Antonio Spurs (6.8%): Acquired along with some draft picks from the Pelicans at the deadline, Graham lofted an incredible 16 3-pointers in his San Antonio debut and should see a good deal of scoring and playmaking freedom for a team light on bench production.
Josh Green, Dallas Mavericks (5.3%): Maybe the biggest statistical beneficiary of the Kyrie Irving blockbuster, Green has averaged nearly 40 minutes since the deal, and his scoring efficiency has sustained even with the leap in opportunities. Likely to maintain a major role in the rotation, Green is one of the savvier pickups you can make this week.
Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans (23.4%): A rising “3-and-D” wing who has established a steady diet of shots and minutes for New Orleans, Murphy is starting to take his scoring clip to a new level.
Donte DiVincenzo, Golden State Warriors (11.8%): With both Stephen Curry and Gary Payton II sidelined, DiVincenzo will play a consistent role in the Warriors’ rotation in the coming weeks. While his scoring production can fluctuate, helpful steal and rebounding rates help drive some fun fantasy results.
Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder (21.8%): The Thunder unearthed a gem in Williams in the 2022 draft, as this Santa Clara product brings a unique blend of playmaking and defensive acumen to the floor for a professional freshman.
Caleb Martin, Miami Heat (5.3%): As the Heat are prone to do, they’ve developed yet another productive two-way player in Martin; he’s averaged 1.7 combined blocks and steals to go with 1.7 3-pointers over his past six games, all starts.
Daniel Gafford, Washington Wizards (12.1%): With the team comfortable running out Gafford and Kristaps Porzingis in larger lineups, it helps this rim protector’s rare block rate surface for fantasy managers. After all, he’s averaged 2.8 swats over the past six games.
Dorian Finney-Smith, Brooklyn Nets (12.2%): While his offensive numbers thus far with Brooklyn have been modest, “DFS” has been a steady source of rebounding and should surface as a helpful depth option once the shot starts falling.
Mark Williams, Charlotte Hornets (8.9%): The Hornets shipped veteran center Mason Plumlee to the Clippers, opening real minutes for Williams, their top rookie pick. There will be some lean scoring games, but rebounding and rim protection should show up right away.
Mark Williams has a chance to rack up double-doubles
Mark Williams has a chance to rack up double-doubles.
Zach Collins, San Antonio Spurs (7.0%): It’s likely that Collins’ 29-point opus recently was an outlier performance, but it’s instructive that he’s playing more minutes and earning more touches in the wake of the deadline.