Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire, Week 3: Targeting emerging talent and injury replacements

Week 2 of the fantasy hoops season is in the books, and hopefully, you were able to scoop up Trey Murphy III, who was only 31% rostered this time last week. He’s now 41st in per-game value thanks to some phenomenal play and injuries to Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones. Even Dennis Smith Jr. (who provided top-30 value in Week 2) looks to have staying power heading into Week 3 with LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier still out of the lineup.

But this is a new week, and I’ll break down several players who are rostered in less than 50 percent of Yahoo fantasy basketball leagues. With one tall exception — Bol Bol.

I’ll also include some category specialists for consideration.

Before we get to this week’s waiver pickups, here are the numbers of games played by each team in Week 3.

Four games: Bucks, Bulls, Clippers, Grizzlies, Hornets, Jazz, Nets, Raptors, Wizards,

Three games: Cavaliers, Celtics, Hawks, Heat, Kings, Knicks, Lakers, Magic, Pelicans, Pistons, Rockets, Sixers, Spurs, Suns, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Warriors

Two games: Mavericks, Nuggets, Pacers

Schedule things to know

There are four games on Tuesday, two on Thursday, and four on Sunday. Those are by far the lightest slates where you can maximize your streams. The only teams that play on Tuesday and Thursday this week are the Magic, Thunder, and Warriors.

Feel free to cut bait of any fringe fantasy players on the Nuggets since they won’t play their next game until Thursday. In deeper leagues, that means Bruce Brown and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Also, It’s not worth holding onto Mavericks players early in the week either because they don’t play until Wednesday.

Okay, now that you know when teams play and when it might be best to utilize them, let’s get to the pickups.

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Bol Bol – PF/C, Orlando Magic (68% rostered)

The Magic are deploying a very tall starting lineup these days, and at 7-foot-2, Bol Bol is putting on a show to start the year. He’s started the past two games for Orlando and delivered 13.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 0.5 steals with 2.0 blocks and 68 percent from the field in 28 minutes per contest. He’s provided sixth-round value in seven games played, and he’s a must-add in all points and category leagues because he can contribute to every category (even threes).

Only a few big men with this kind of handle can finish with contact, and they happen to be fourth in the NBA in blocks (2.3 per game) as well.

Advice: Must add in shallow (8-10 teams) points and H2H leagues

Isaiah Hartenstein is averaging nearly a double-double in 25 minutes per night, plus one block and one steal. He’s a viable option for anyone looking for a center that fills the box score across the board except for three-pointers. He’s currently providing eighth-round value so if he’s floating on your waiver wire, even in shallow leagues, make a move.

Advice: Add in 10-12 team points and H2H leagues

Royce O’Neale – SG/SF, Brooklyn Nets – 46% rostered

Surprisingly, Royce O’Neale’s roster total only went up 10% from last week — which tells me he’s being overlooked in shallow H2H leagues. Despite the return of Joe Harris and, recently, Seth Curry, it hasn’t impacted O’Neale’s floor time or production. He’s providing seventh-round value primarily due to his stocks (2.5/game) and threes (2.3/game).

Any man who plays 38 minutes per night should be rostered in more than 46% of leagues. As previously mentioned, the Nets have four games this week, and two of them fall on Tuesday and Thursday.

Advice: Add in 10+ team H2H leagues

Royce O'Neale's fantasy rostered percentage hasn't change much, but he is worth of more attention. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)Royce O'Neale's fantasy rostered percentage hasn't change much, but he is worth of more attention. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Royce O’Neale’s fantasy rostered percentage hasn’t change much, but he is worth of more attention. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Jalen McDaniels crept his way into top 70 per-game value over the weekend. While his stats don’t jump off the page, he’s doing a mix of everything — averaging 11.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.0 threes with 1.0 stocks and 48/59/100 shooting splits.

The stellar shooting splits and low turnovers are boosting his ranking but he did notch his first double-double of the season in a win over the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.

Advice: Add in 12+ team H2H leagues

Nick Richards – C, Charlotte Hornets (40% rostered)

Another familiar name from last week’s column, Nick Richard’s rostership increased by 9% since last week. His situation has stayed the same, but he’s still producing in limited minutes. He’s an excellent source of rebounds and has provided seventh-round value this season.

His per-36 numbers extrapolate out to 21.3 points with 12.8 rebounds on 65% shooting from the field, so anyone looking for double-double potential who shoots high-percentage shots, look no further than Richards.

Advice: Add in 12-team points and H2H leagues

Bismack Biyombo – C, Phoenix Suns (38% rostered)

Deandre Ayton is dealing with a left ankle sprain that could sideline him for up to a week. He’ll be splitting time with Jock Landale, but I’d prefer Bismack Biyombo if you need blocks and rebounds. Biyombo already has a double-double to his name since Ayton went down, along with seven blocks in two games.

Advice: Stream Biyombo in 12+ team H2H leagues or shallow leagues if you need blocks

Tyus Jones – PG/SG, Memphis Grizzlies (39% rostered)

Tyus Jones is an immediate add anytime Ja Morant misses time. The backup point guard filled in admirably for Morant on Saturday night, tallying 23 points (10-15 FG, 3-5 3PM) along with ten assists, one rebound and two steals. Morant is questionable again on Monday (Non-Covid illness), and Desmond Bane is as well (ankle).

There could be a couple of paths to additional playing time for Jones, and with the Grizzlies playing four games this week, he’s worth an add in daily points and H2H leagues.

Advice: If Ja Morant is out, add in 10+ team points and H2H leagues. If he’s in, roster in all 12+ team H2H leagues

Before an end-of-the-week dud on Sunday, Jaylen Nowell was averaging 14.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 threes and 0.8 steals through the first six games of the season. He’s been a microwave bucket off the bench, attempting almost 13 shots in a reserve role. And he rarely turnovers over the ball, leading the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio through the first two weeks of the NBA season.

The return of Kyle Anderson and (eventually) Jordan McLaughlin might eat into Nowell’s minutes. Still, he’s proven that he needs to be a fixture of the Timberwolves’ rotation. His per-36 numbers break out to 23.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.3 steals. If you can stomach his low field-goal shooting (41%), he’s resourceful for points, rebounds, and threes in H2H leagues.

Advice: Stream in 12+ team H2H leagues

I had to include at least one player from the Thunder this week since they play on a smaller slate of games in Week 3. The Thunder are known for toying around with their lineups, but Jalen Williams is relatively unknown and the perfect player you’ll want to grab before he continues to produce. The playmaking rookie has been out of the lineup recovering from an orbital bone fracture he suffered on October 19th, but he finally returned to the court after missing his previous four games.

He didn’t disappoint either, dropping 13 points with three rebounds, three assists, four steals and one block in 27 minutes of action. He was active on both ends of the floor and made it look easy getting to the rim against a good Dallas Mavericks team. He’ll benefit from Josh Giddey‘s absence (ankle) in the near term, but given the Thunder’s reputation for mailing it in early, Williams is a player I like now and for the rest of the season.

He has a better path to playing time than Rockets rookie forward Tari Eason at the moment, so grab him while you still can.

Advice: Add in all 12-team points and H2H leagues

Shaedon Sharpe – SF/PF, Portland Trail Blazers (11% rostered)

The 2022 NBA draft class looks deeper and deeper by the day. Shaedon Sharpe is the latest rookie to enter the scene after putting together two solid games for the Trail Blazers. He’s contributed similarly to Jaylen Nowell — swapping assists for a better field-goal percentage.

He’s made quite a few highlight reel plays.

And the reactions by his teammates? Priceless.

As long as Damian Lillard is out of commission, he should see anywhere from 20-30 minutes per game. He’s only 19 years old and it looks like head coach Chauncey Billups trusts him as a bucket off the bench — seeing a usage rate of 20.6%. He looks like the real deal and a player I’d consider holding beyond Damian Lillard’s injury.

Advice: Stream in 12+ team H2H leagues

Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones continue to miss time with their respective injuries, which afforded Naji Marshall plenty of minutes. And with minutes comes opportunity, and he’s seized the moment — averaging 17.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 threes and one steal across a whopping 35.7 minutes over his previous three games.

He’s contributing to every category except for blocks, and as long as Ingram and Jones are out, Marshall should not be available on waivers in 12-team H2H leagues.

Advice: Add in 12+ team H2H leagues

Justise Winslow – SF/PF Portland Trail Blazers (5% rostered)

The combo forward has been earning close to 25 minutes per night for the Trail Blazers, but in the wake of Damian Lillard’s calf injury that will sideline him for up to two weeks, Justise Winslow emerges as a viable contributor for rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in H2H leagues. In his first game without Lillard, he had an 18.3% usage rate (the highest of the season) and finished with seven points, six rebounds, seven assists with three steals and one block. A very Draymond Green/Ben Simmons-like stat line. He’s registered at least a steal in every game and at least one block in four of five games played.

He’s more of a deeper league addition but still worthy of consideration.

Advice: Stream in 12+ team points and H2H leagues

Category Specialists (percent rostered):

Do-it-all:

Points/Threes:

  • Kevin Huerter (61%)

  • Kevin Love (38%)

  • Marcus Morris Sr. (35%)

  • Max Strus (33%)

  • Malik Beasley (20%)

  • Luke Kennard (6%)

Rebounds:

  • Andre Drummond (45%)

  • Kevin Love (38%)

  • Jalen Duren (28%)

  • Mason Plumlee (16%)

Assists:

  • Monte Morris (73%)

  • Mason Plumlee (16%)

  • Immanuel Quickley (16%)

  • Goran Dragic (3%)

Blocks:

  • Bismack Biyombo (38%)

  • Jalen Duren (28%)

  • Darius Bazley (11%)

  • Zach Collins (11%)

Steals:

  • Lu Dort (55%)

  • Alex Caruso (52%)

  • Caleb Martin (21%)

  • Javonte Green (4%)

  • John Konchar (11%)