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.
Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic (Rostered in 41.1% of ESPN leagues): Unless the Magic make a trade for a proven point guard, it's likely Anthony will continue to consume a valuable playmaking role atop a thin depth chart.
T.J. McConnell, Indiana Pacers (29.7%): The team is aiming to have Tyrese Haliburton return at the end of the week, but that still gives McConnell a few more games as a key offensive engine for a fun Indiana roster.
Donte DiVincenzo, Golden State Warriors (6.4%): Rather than a true specialist in any one stat, DiVincenzo is a fantasy contributor best evaluated by the sum of his contributions. Don't sweat the lack of scoring and instead collect fun assist rates, strong rebounding numbers, and helpful steal production.
Seth Curry, Brooklyn Nets (20.4%): The Nets simply need Curry's scoring production while Kevin Durant is on the mend. Capable of taking over a game at times, as last's week's epic in Philly proved, Curry is a specialist with real interim value.
De'Anthony Melton, Philadelphia 76ers (37.6%): An offensive swoon saw Melton hit free agency in plenty of fantasy leagues, but his elite steal rate has sustained and now his shot seems to be falling again.
Bennedict Mathurin, Indiana Pacers (55.1%): The absence of Tyrese Haliburton combined with more confidence finding his own shot has spurred another scoring wave from Mathurin, as he's scored at least 19 points in five straight exiting the weekend. Those in deeper formats can turn to second-year wing Chris Duarte (6.9%); he's cruised past 30 minutes in recent games and is a high-volume shooter when given the green light.
Kenyon Martin Jr., Houston Rockets (7.6%): Houston has a promising future frontcourt, with "KMJ" as a rising member of this group. Nearly averaging a double-double over the past week as a resident energy guy off the pine, Martin is a fun add for deeper leagues. Also look to rookie Tari Eason (5.2%), as he's also thrived across multiple categories in recent outings.
Pat Connaughton, Milwaukee Bucks (6.9%): Even with Khris Middleton team in need of with 11 points and seven rebounds per game while playing tons of minutes over the past week.
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns (17.7%): The Suns badly missed Johnson's deft shooting and critical spacing gravity, as he's up to 20.3 points per game over the past week.
Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs (8.6%): A recent career outing against the Suns reveals the potential for this rookie in the weeks ahead.
Deni Avdija, Washington Wizards (6.8%): While some managers might pursue Rui Hachimura now that he's on the Lakers, it's Avdija who is the emergent player in an increased role with Washington.
Brandon Clarke, Memphis Grizzlies (51.7%): A multi-week injury to Steven Adams has vaulted Clarke into a more meaningful role for Memphis. The Grizzlies have trusted Clarke with 60 minutes across his last two outings and he's responded with a strong blend of scoring and defensive rates.
Jalen Duren, Detroit Pistons (21.5%): Already one of the league's better offensive rebounders, this rookie is found ahead of Clint Capela and Domantas Sabonis in this valuable metric at seventh overall in the NBA. Prior to a recent foul-plagued showing against the Rockets, Duren had averaged 16 points and nearly 11 boards over his previous five games.
Precious Achiuwa, Toronto Raptors (9.1%): A recent run of double-double outcomes has Achiuwa positioned as one of the better frontcourt values in fantasy at the moment. With O.G. Anunoby ailing lately, this versatile big has been even busier.