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 available in free agency in at least a third of 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.
Eric Bledsoe, LA Clippers (Rostered in 62.9% of ESPN leagues): Time travel has yet to be discovered, but Bledsoe's last week admirably mimics his prime production. In the wake of Paul George's significant elbow injury, Bledsoe has become a key playmaker for the Clippers. After essentially falling to the fringes of the rotation in early December, Bledsoe has since averaged 17 points to go with 6.2 assists and an elite 2.6 combined blocks and steals during his last six outings.
Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder (47.9%): All Giddey accomplished over the weekend was become the youngest player ever to record a triple-double and the only teenager to ever lead all players in scoring, rebounds, and assists in a single NBA game. The scoring and shooting results can prove lean at times, but gobs of assists and rebounds continue to drive a fun fantasy profile for the young Aussie.
Josh Hart, New Orleans Pelicans (39.7%): An exciting surge in scoring in recent games adds to an already rich statistical profile from this Villanova product. Even when he's not scoring, Hart's ability to build big lines on the glass and as a distributor indicates he's one of the rare shooting guards with a stable fantasy floor.
Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies (67.1%): It's borderline silly that Bane is still so widely available in fantasy leagues given how efficient and potent he's become as a perimeter scorer for Memphis.
Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic (57.6%): It's entirely rare for a rookie wing to emerge as a positive fantasy contributor, but Wagner is pulling it off; he's surfaced as a worthy source of steals and blocks in addition to becoming a more proficient scorer.
Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons (61.2%): An ascendent scoring forward who has produced at least 21 points in four straight games entering the week, Bey has clearly worked his way out of a long shooting slump. The Pistons' rotation is particularly depleted, vaulting Bey into a featured role on both sides of the floor.
Marcus Morris Sr., LA Clippers (20.8%): Like Bledsoe, Morris has become an important offensive cog in the wake of George's injury. With 22.3 points and 10.7 combined rebounds and assists per game during the last week, Morris is a must-add option flying under the radar in most formats.
Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors (59.5%): Another elite rim protector, within the last week Boucher has tallied a monster line against Joel Embiid in addition to producing multiple steals and blocks in two of the last three games.
Daniel Gafford, Washington Wizards (24.4%): Found at fifth in total blocks on the season and with increased playing time fueling some strong recent lines, Gafford should sustain value on an undersized Washington roster.