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 our rosters.
In this weekly series, we identify players available in at least half of ESPN leagues at each position. Some of them are purely specialists, capable of helping in one or two categories. Others deliver more diverse and important statistical offerings.
In the breakdowns below, I've ordered players at each position with priority of acquisition in mind.
Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets (Rostered in 16.3 percent of ESPN leagues): I've been all about adding shares of surging rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Clippers. However, this week, I decided to pivot to Dinwiddie as the "choice" backcourt free agent. With the unfortunate injury to Caris LeVert affording him more usage, Dinwiddie has averaged 16.4 PPG, 5.8 APG, 1.2 SPG and 1.4 3PG over his last five games.
Jeremy Lin, Atlanta Hawks (35.1 percent): The minutes aren't all that impressive just yet, but Lin should earn more work considering how efficient and effective he's proving to be as a needed steady hand behind Trae Young.
Shelvin Mack, Memphis Grizzlies (0.7 percent): He's getting 60.7 touches per game -- third on Memphis, behind only Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. Mack is seeing enough work to merit trust in standard fantasy formats. As a backup distributor, it's impressive to note Mack is averaging 47.7 passes per game (compared to Conley's 55.2), proving this strong start isn't an aberration.
Deep additions (players available in at least 80 percent of ESPN leagues): Golden State's Quinn Cook (2.3 percent) should continue to provide shooting and scoring pop until Stephen Curry is back, as the Warriors are being deliberately conservative with their superstar's recovery.
Kent Bazemore, Atlanta Hawks (12.9 percent): One of the big winners of the spending craze in the summer of 2016, Bazemore might not live up to his Atlanta contract, but he can surely provide some profit as a fantasy free agent. On a shallow Hawks roster, Bazemore is averaging steady minutes and shots, helping support a healthy 16.5 PPG, 2.0 SPG and 1.8 3PG during the past four games.
Justin Holiday, Chicago Bulls (2.6 percent): The Bulls backcourt has faced injury issues for much of the season, which has allowed Holiday great opportunity rates. With nearly 34 MPG and a whopping 7.8 3PA per game over the past six games -- all starts -- Holiday is a viable utility addition for fantasy managers to consider.
Tyler Johnson, Miami Heat (3.7 percent): Experienced fantasy managers know exactly what Johnson can offer -- namely, an uninspiring but bankable stream of 3-pointers, dimes and points.
Deep additions: Orlando's Terrence Ross (2.2 percent) is a heat-check All-Star, meaning he has unbridled confidence to launch the ball from anywhere on the court. Consider it the "Eddie House" effect, which can create fantasy value when the 3-pointer is falling, as it has been for Ross over the past seven games (2.9 3-pointers per game on 51.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc).
Robert Covington, Minnesota Timberwolves (23.9 percent): The epitome of the "3-and-D" mold, "Glovington" has averaged 3.0 combined steals and blocks and 3.5 3-pointers in a successful two-game start to his Minnesota tenure.
Taurean Prince, Atlanta Hawks (14.4 percent): At times this season, he's struggled from the field -- even when healthy -- so I can understand your hesitation. Consider, though, that Prince has averaged 6.9 3PA and 15.8 PPG thanks to awesome usage and opportunity rates.
Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns (0.6 percent): He's warming up of late, thanks to more minutes during his past three outings. Bridges has produced a rewarding blend of defensive numbers (1.7 BPG, 1.7 SPG) during this stretch. If Phoenix deals off any veteran wings or enters into buyout talks with Trevor Ariza, Bridges could become a statistical gem.
Deep additions: You just won't find many wings producing the blend of block and steal rates that Danny Green (2.5 percent) does as a stopper for Toronto. ... Houston's James Ennis III (0.3 percent) is another "3-and-D" weapon for the Rockets, capably helping to replace Ariza's former role.
Kyle Anderson, Memphis Grizzlies (35.4 percent): You'll need to look past his sluggish scoring results and instead value "Slo Mo's" nice blend of defensive stats (1.6 combined blocks and steals) and rebounds (9.2 RPG) during the past five games.
Al-Farouq Aminu, Portland Trail Blazers (3.5 percent): Ranking just behind Nikola Jokic and ahead of Domantas Sabonis in rebounding chances per game (defined as being within 3.5 feet of an available rebound), Aminu can help you on the glass in the weeks ahead.
Juan Hernangomez, Denver Nuggets (0.5 percent): Fantasy basketball nerds (myself surely included) have been championing Willy Hernangomez as a breakout candidate for some time now. However, it just may be his brother who finally earns the requisite workload to facilitate some fantasy fun. Juan has even more "stretch" to his game than his brother, having hit on a stellar 55.6 percent of his 3-point attempts during a recent four-game run that has him averaging 14.8 PPG and 8.0 RPG for the Nuggets.
Deep additions: Jae Crowder (10.1 percent) has been in a funk from the field, as has much of Utah's roster over the past several games. That said, he's still in unique company among power forwards in regards to his blend of scoring, rebounding and 3-point volume. ... Dallas' Dorian Finney-Smith (0.1 percent) has averaged nearly 28 MPG en route to 1.7 combined blocks and steals and 1.9 made 3-pointers over his last seven games.
Jaren Jackson, Memphis Grizzlies (24.8 percent): He's ranked 12th in the NBA in blocks per game and finally earning lots of exposure for Memphis. He also has averaged 28.4 MPG and 12 shots per game over his last six outings, all starts. With a ridiculous 4.4 combined blocks and steals during this stretch, Jackson is an ascending fantasy force.
Montrezl Harrell, LA Clippers (41.4 percent): True-shooting percentage measures efficiency on field goals, 3-pointers, and free throws. Harrell, thanks to making an awesome 78 percent of his attempts within three feet of the rim (also known as lots of dunks), is currently tied for fourth in the NBA (alongside Rudy Gobert) in true-shooting rate. Simply put, rostering Harrell nets you 2.7 combined blocks and steals per game, with difference-making shooting efficiency.
Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks (49.5 percent): Doubling his 3-point production from last season, while still maintaining a strong block rate, has helped Lopez become an atypically valuable "3-and-D" asset.
Deep additions: Already up to No. 10 in the NBA in blocks per game -- a rise fueled by his nine-block opus this past week -- Knicks rookie Mitchell Robinson (0.5 percent) is a worth adding in roto-based leagues, considering the scarcity of the stat.