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 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.
Goran Dragic, Miami Heat (Rostered in 45.2% of ESPN leagues): Fresh from dropping 29 points and 13 dimes on the Trail Blazers over the weekend, Dragic is arguably the best statistical source among players available in at least half of ESPN leagues.
Aaron Holiday, Indiana Pacers (10.4%): A strong streaming option whenever Malcolm Brogdon is sidelined (which is fairly often), Holiday is a capable scoring guard with equally impressive assist production when he's the lead creator for Indiana.
Ish Smith, Washington Wizards (3.9%): A stellar run of recent production for a surprisingly competent Washington offense has Smith proving valuable for fantasy purposes. During his past seven appearances, the veteran journeyman has slashed for 16.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 4.4 APG.
Shabazz Napier, Minnesota Timberwolves (2.7%): The return of Jeff Teague will slow Napier's scoring production, but his recent impressive run sans the veteran from the lineup signals he's worth targeting in deeper leagues.
Alec Burks, Golden State Warriors (29.0%): Even though it seems likely that Burks will be dealt at some point for more long-term assets and, thus, lose some of the value his busy role with Golden State fosters, he's a great interim option, given his consistently strong opportunity rates with the Warriors.
Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Hawks (17.0%): Injury issues for much of the first few months of the season are no longer holding Huerter back, as the Maryland product is averaging 15.4 PPG with solid distribution and defensive rates.
Damion Lee, Golden State Warriors (21.9%): Earning a meaningful role for the Warriors in the wake of several major injuries to the team's core of stars, Lee is a helpful scoring guard at this traditionally shallow position.
Jordan McRae, Washington Wizards (6.2%): Since reentering the rotation a few weeks back, McRae has impressively averaged 20.8 PPG with 1.4 combined steals and blocks during the past six games for a Wizards roster desperate for his scoring pop from the pine.
Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets (41.6%): A multi-month absence concluded on Saturday, with LeVert tallying 13 points in 16 minutes of action. Once the minutes come back, LeVert will reemerge as a true fantasy force.
Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies (10.1%): A quietly emergent young scoring wing for a Memphis team that is breaking out as a legitimate offensive force, Brooks has averaged 16.4 PPG with solid defensive contributions since the start of December.
Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic (31.3%): A scoring microwave for the Magic, though prone to some lean lines when his shot isn't falling, Ross is afforded enough shooting freedom to merit more interest from those in 12-team head-to-head leagues.
Troy Brown Jr., Washington Wizards (7.0%): A sustained period of statistical success merits more recognition from fantasy investors, as Brown has averaged 14 PPG and 8.8 combined boards and assists during his past dozen games.
Nemanja Bjelica, Sacramento Kings (36.9%): Marvin Bagley III has been batting injury issues once again, affording Bjelica a starting role and plenty of offensive freedom in the Kings' rotation. With 13.2 PPG, 1.4 stocks per game and 2.4 3PG in 28 MPG during his past five outings (all starts), "Belly" is a solid interim addition for fantasy investors at a somewhat thin power forward spot.
PJ Washington, Charlotte Hornets (22.5%): Since returning from injury recently, this impressive professional freshman has averaged 15.6 PPG, thanks in part to playing 35 MPG while regaining his touch from beyond the arc (52.9% from 3-point range during this stretch). With at least 13 points scored in his past 10 appearances, Washington is becoming the rare consistent rookie option.
Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks (2.3%): Fellow Mavericks frontcourt contributor Dorian Finney-Smith has been productive of late, but Kleber is the stronger addition for as long as Kristaps Porzingis is sidelined with injury. With the team's star big man in a suit the past three games, Kleber has averaged 33.5 MPG and 18.7 PPG.
Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks (49.5%): Hassan Whiteside leads the NBA with 93 blocks this season. Lopez, meanwhile, has 92 swats and is again providing enduring value for fantasy purposes. While his 3-point proficiency isn't at the level of last season, Lopez continues to provide immense impact as a rim protector, evidenced by his five blocks per game during the past week.
Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks (42.6%): With 3.3 stocks per game during the past week and consistent minutes at center even when Porzingis is active, Powell is a quietly helpful fantasy contributor at this shallow position.
Alex Len, Atlanta Hawks (6.5%): If you can stomach some ugly outings, Len makes for a solid utility option in deeper leagues, given he's slashed for 13 PPG, 9.7 RPG, and 1.7 BPG during his past three games.
Nerlens Noel, Oklahoma City Thunder (7.8%): It's tough to stomach his lackluster scoring and rebounding rates in points formats, but for those in roto and category-driven leagues, Noel is a fun source of dynamic defensive stats.