Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire-Dec. 24
It’s Christmas Eve, but I’m not leaving you fantasy basketball owners without some guidance.
Here are my five fantasy waiver wire adds for the coming week.
Note: All stats, trends, ownership percentages, etc. are entering game action on Dec. 24.
Bismack Biyombo, C, Orlando Magic
Nikola Vucevic has been added to the injury list for Orlando. He suffered a fractured left hand Saturday night against the Washington Wizards, and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.
Biyombo nearly equaled his playing time from the previous two games Saturday night against the Wizards, with eight points and three rebounds over 24 minutes. He is expected to step into the starting lineup in Vucevic’s place.
Per-36 minutes this season, Biyombo is averaging 9.7 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots. So an uptick in playing time looks promising, particularly as a two-category producer (rebounds and blocks).
Biyombo will never light it up offensively, but more opportunities are never a bad thing. He’s worth adding for a boost in rebounds and blocks while Vucevic is out, and anything else will be a nice bonus.
ESPN Ownership: 4.2% Yahoo! Ownership:17%
Wilson Chandler, SF/SG, Denver Nuggets
Over his last nine games, Chandler has score in double-digits (at least nine points eight times) while averaging 7.2 rebounds (at least nine in four straight games) and 1.4 assists per game over that span.
Chandler has attempted at least four three-pointers eight times in his last 11 games, which exceeds his average for the season (3.4 three-point attempts per game) but is more in line with last season (4.6 attempts from beyond the arc per game).
Chandler is a hit-or-miss fantasy option, especially if/when the Nuggets have everyone healthy. But he’s going pretty well right now, and is worth a look in 12-team leagues.
ESPN Ownership: 34.8% Yahoo! Ownership: 44%
Caris LeVert, SG/SF, Brooklyn Nets
LeVert has only started nine of 32 games for the Nets so far, but he is posting career-highs across the board. Over his last 10 games, he’s averaging 14.1 points, 4.8 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game while playing at least 25 minutes nine times.
Brooklyn’s fast-paced offense creates extra possessions and opportunities, and LeVert has a significant role. He’s also eligible at a third position (power forward) in ESPN leagues.
ESPN Ownership: 27% Yahoo! Ownership: 38%
Dennis Smith Jr., PG, Dallas Mavericks
Smith recently returned after missing six games with a hip injury, with 15 points and five assists in his first game back followed by going 4-for-15 from the floor over the last two.
An initial minutes restriction since his return to action should come off of Smith soon. He seems to have free reign to shoot the ball plenty (13.8 attempts per game), with a usage rate (29.2 percent) that is 17th in the league right now.
Smith stretches eligibility for this list. But what should be a more significant upward trend in his ownership rates now that he’s back healthy has not started yet, so there’s a nice opportunity to add him right now.
ESPN Ownership: 60.8% Yahoo! Ownership: 81%
Austin Rivers, SG/PG, Los Angeles Clippers
Rivers set a career-high with 36 points against the Houston Rockets on Friday night, then topped it with 38 points against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night. Over those two games, the head coach’s son is 25-for-45 from the floor and 11-for-23 from beyond the arc.
Rivers has attempted at least 15 shots in four straight games, with at least eight attempts from beyond the arc in all four and over 20 points in each of the last three contests. In two of his last four games, Rivers has delivered at least six assists as well.
Rivers is averaging a career-high 16.2 points this season, driven at least partially by a career-best 13.9 field goal attempts per game, along with a career-high 3.6 assists per game. Some sort of downturn is sure to come, but a lack of other options lines up Rivers for some run as high-volume player for the Clippers.
ESPN Ownership: 35% Yahoo! Ownership: 65%