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 available in at least half of ESPN leagues at each position. Some nominations are specialists capable of helping in one or two categories, while others deliver more diverse and essential 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, San Antonio Spurs (Rostered in 39.1 percent of ESPN leagues): With 15.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.8 APG on stellar efficiency rates the past 17 games, all starts, White is essentially Western Conference Malcolm Brogdon save for the Bucks' savvy combo guard being rostered universally in ESPN leagues.
Shabazz Napier, Brooklyn Nets (9.3 percent): The Nets' new scoring microwave from the bench in the wake of Spencer Dinwiddie's injury, Napier has slashed for 18.3 PPG, 4.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, and three 3PG the past five games. On a fantasy-friendly Kenny Atkinson offense that prioritizes guard creation, Napier is in a sweet spot to return value until Dinwiddie returns. Monte Morris, Denver Nuggets (12.1 percent): Clean scoring numbers complement a stellar assist-to-turnover ratio with Morris as Denver's steady had off the pine.
Deep additions (players available in at least 90 percent of ESPN leagues): Patty Mills (4.4 percent) has provided helpful scoring (14.0 PPG) and shooting (2.8 3PG) this past week and could be of help with favorable upcoming spots against the Kings and Warriors in what should be up-tempo games. It's time to consider speculative shares of Shelvin Mack (2.2 percent), who could vault into a starting gig if Mike Conley are dealt before the looming deadline.
Tomas Satoransky, Washington Wizards (36.1 percent): Don't let the modest scoring numbers throw you off his trail, as Satoransky has averaged 10.3 combined assists and rebounds in addition to 10.9 PPG in a starting role since John Wall's season-ending injury arose. When we consider 1.7 combined blocks and steals and 1.1 3PG on 43.1 percent from beyond, it's clear Satoransky is a promising point guard asset.
Malik Beasley, Denver Nuggets (14.1 percent): The most-added shooting guard of the past week in ESPN leagues, the market is waking up to Beasley's ascent as yet another productive two-way wing for Denver. Competition for minutes and shots could prove tricky once Jamal Murray is at full strength, but with 24.3 PPG this past week, it's best to trust the hot hand and figure out if it's enduring in the coming weeks.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LA Clippers (14.4 percent): With 2.6 combined blocks and steals and 7.2 combined dimes and boards the past week, this gifted rookie guard could take off if the team deals off some of its veteran backcourt depth in the coming days.
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics (18.8 percent): Seventeenth among shooting guards on the Player Rater the past 30 days, Smart is an elite source of steals (3.3 combined blocks and steals the past seven days) and is enjoying a breakout season as a shooting threat.
Deep additions: Mikal Bridges (6.8 percent) is enduring a relatively regular rookie season rife with peaks and valleys, but most encouragingly sustains substantial deflection and steal numbers throughout the offensive variance. During the past week, the Villanova product is averaging 17.7 PPG, 3.7 3PG, and an impressive 2.7 SPG.
Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets (26.7 percent): It's time to stash this gifted two-way wing given the potential for a return to action in the wake of the All-Star break. For a reminder of his fantasy value, LeVert averaged 18.4 PPG with strong peripheral production in his first 14 games before getting injured.
Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers (26.7 percent): An ankle injury saw him hobble off the floor against the Mavericks on Saturday, casting some doubt over his availability this coming week. If you can afford to stash Osman for what might be until after the break if this ailment is of any significance, it's worth noting that during the four previous games entering Saturday, he was netting 24.3 PPG with 10.1 combined dimes and boards on 54.7 percent shooting including a stellar 48.4 percent clip from beyond. If the Cavs move Alec Burks or any other wings before the deadline, Osman could inherit even more usage in down the stretch.
Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic (23.7 percent): Another offensive microwave coming off the bench, Ross is averaging 17.0 PPG and 1.6 combined blocks and steals during the past week and is especially valuable as a shooting specialist in rotisserie formats. Ross could get dealt in the next week, but I'd assume he'd retain a good bit of value as a floor-spacer in a potential move.
Deep additions: The Knicks will likely afford Damyean Dotson (2.4 percent) a good deal of minutes and usage in the coming weeks now that they've shipped off some key veterans in the Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster.
Kyle Anderson, Memphis Grizzlies (35.3 percent): Memphis is a team likely to sell some veterans at the deadline, while Anderson's multi-year commitment to the Grizzlies this past offseason mans he could consume a valuable uptick in usage if the team proves aggressive in retooling the roster with any of JaMychal Green, Mike Conley, or Marc Gasol potentially moving.
Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic (9.8 percent): Quietly maturing into an impact defender, Isaac has averaged 3.8 combined blocks and steals the past seven days while also averaging a double-double during this recent ascent. There will be some ugly games and likely even weak weeks from this nascent talent, but the defensive rates should prove steady.
Deep additions: The Spurs are getting great shooting production from their bench, namely from sharpshooter Davis Bertans (2.9 percent), who trails only Stephen Curry in 3-point percentage this season.
Dewayne Dedmon, Atlanta Hawks (25.9 percent): Are you aware Dedmon is sinking 38 percent of his 3-pointers this season on 3.3 attempts from beyond per game? You are now, but this is a remarkable development for a player who didn't begin shooting 3-pointers until last season into his age 28 season. While a trade in the coming week could lower his value if sent into a backup role, it's worth riding this unique stretch center until then.
Kelly Olynyk, Miami Heat (10.4 percent): In and out of the rotation in Miami, this stretch center is currently enjoying an uptick in opportunities and has responded with 13.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 2.3 3PG this past week.
Deep additions: It's incredible that Joakim Noah (1.4 percent) has worked his way back into an NBA rotation and even more remarkable that if the Grizzlies were to deal Gasol, it could lead to Noah earning meaningful work going forward.