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 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 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.
D.J. Augustin, Orlando Magic (Rostered in 10.2% of ESPN leagues): The efficient and effective production from last season is starting to resurface for Augustin, who has produced 18.5 PPG and 5.3 APG during the past four games. With Markelle Fultz still struggling to find effective range from the field, Augustin's ability to space the floor with his deft shooting (hitting nearly 48% of his 3-point attempts the past week) could prove rewarding for both the Magic and fantasy investors in the weeks ahead.
Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks (10.4%): Awesome assist production and solid scoring and rebounding rates have defined Brunson's tenure as Dallas' leading distributor with Luka Doncic sidelined. With Doncic returning possibly as early as this coming Thursday, Brunson's run as a fantasy force could soon end. Even with this risk in place, Brunson is worth holding until we see what his role looks like next to Doncic the next few games, given just how capably he's handled this surge in usage.
Delon Wright, Dallas Mavericks (8.5%): For a player in the Dallas rotation who proves more immune to Doncic's presence, Wright is purely a defensive specialist who should appeal to those in deeper category and roto formats. With 2.8 SPG the past week and now ranked 28th in the league in total steals, Wright can help in this difficult statistic to source.
Tomas Satoransky, Chicago Bulls (16.4%): The Bulls entered the season with an open competition for meaningful minutes at point guard between Kris Dunn, Coby White and Satoransky. With solid stewardship of the offense and capable defense, Satoransky has moved past the pack to consistently start at point guard for the team while also retaining eligibility at shooting guard in ESPN leagues. Slashing for 14.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 5.7 APG, 1.7 3PG and 2.0 SPG this past week, Sato is 11th among point guards on the Player Rater during the past two weeks and should be scooped up in most competitive fantasy hoops formats.
Alec Burks, Golden State Warriors (21.4%): Stellar free throw volume as a result of effective slashing to the hoop has helped fuel a revival season for Burks in Golden State; he's averaging 17 PPG with strong rebounding, steal and shooting results during the past week.
Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets (11.8%): The bounce-back in the scoring department that I predicted for Harris this season has yet to materialize, but he remains a larcenous defender with seven steals during his past two appearances and merits more attention for his defensive prowess alone.
Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks (15.3%): Capable of producing huge scoring nights even with Doncic's high-usage game in the rotation, THJ is a somewhat volatile, but still valuable, fantasy option worth starting against teams that struggle to contain scoring guards.
Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies (11.0%): Found ninth among small forwards on the Player Rater during the past 15 days and with 17.2 PPG for the month of December thus far, Brooks has emerged as a valuable 3-and-D (1.6 stocks per game this month) option out of Memphis.
Kent Bazemore, Portland Trail Blazers (2.9%): You won't find many players near Bazemore's roster percentage in ESPN leagues fresh from a week-long stretch that includes two 3-pointers per game to go with an awesome 3.3 stocks per game. Given his unique two-way abilities for a team starved for defensive help at the wing, Bazemore should continue to play plenty of minutes for Portland.
Davis Bertans, Washington Wizards (44.5%): Now eligible at center in ESPN leagues, Bertans should soon return to the rotation for the Wizards from a quad injury and continue to singe the nets with some of the best shooting metrics we've ever seen on NBA floors.
Markieff Morris, Detroit Pistons (2.6%): Injuries to Blake Griffin remain a common part of his career arc at this stage, while Morris has been productive at times for Detroit even with Griffin on the floor. During this past week, for instance, Morris has averaged 14.3 PPG with 2.5 3PG as a helpful stretch-forward for fantasy managers.
Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks (45.5%): Found at third in the entire NBA in total blocks and with helpful shooting metrics to complement his defensive-minded game, Lopez remains more valuable than his modest scoring clip might indicate.
Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets (34.8%): Scoring in double figures in nine of his past 10 appearances and with just enough rebounding and defensive prowess to help fantasy managers, Zeller is a high-floor option to consider at this shallow center position.
Alex Len, Atlanta Hawks (7.3%): My hope for Len to become a breakout sleeper candidate hasn't materialized this season, but he's still intermittently interesting for statistical purposes with double-double performances in two of his past five outings and a monster line against Brooklyn this past weekend.