Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire-Jan. 7
It’s a new year, and another new week for fantasy basketball owners. So here are my five new waiver wire adds to consider.
Note: Stats and ownership rates are of Sunday Jan. 7 (before game started).
Gerald Green, SF, Houston Rockets
In six games for the Rockets, Green has fully embraced the team’s approach from beyond the arc with 49 attempts (37 over the last three games alone-19 makes). Over the last five games, he’s averaging 19.8 points per game.
James Harden’s absence with a hamstring tear has coincided with Green’s bombs-away approach from three-point land, and he’s averaging 15 field goal attempts and just over 30 minutes per game over those most recent three games.
The Rockets will reportedly keep Green for the rest of the season. His fantasy value will fall once Harden returns, and his shooting percentage is prime for a correction, but for now Green is worthy of a roster spot in most fantasy leagues.
Yahoo! Ownership: 48% ESPN Ownership: 33.7%
Tim Hardaway, Jr, SG/SF, New York Knicks
Hardaway has been out just over a month with a left leg injury, but he is slowly progressing and could be cleared for full practice soon. A return sometime this month seems certain.
Hardaway’s efficiency was not great over his first 21 games this season. But he seemed hell-bent on justifying his contract with a career-high 17.8 points per game and clear career-highs in shot attempts (7.2 per game from three-point range).
The Knicks need a secondary scoring option to go with Kristaps Porzingis, and Hardaway will step back into that role once he’s healthy. Caution with his minutes is likely right out of the gate, but Hardaway should be re-added now in leagues where he’s available.
Yahoo! Ownership: 74% ESPN Ownership: 50.3%
De’Aaron Fox, PG, Sacramento Kings
Over his first two games back from a quad injury, Fox is averaging 17.5 points, 5.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds and one steal per game. The absence of George Hill (personal) and Frank Mason (right heel) on Saturday opened the door for the fifth overall pick in last June’s draft, and he took advantage (18 points and seven assists over 35 minutes).
The player rotation of Kings’ head coach Dave Joerger’s seems to change with the wind. But there’s no reason to not give Fox plenty of run now that he’s healthy, with Hill as a clear backup and Mason in a periphery role until further notice (like Hill being traded).
Fox has actually produced a little better in 13 games as a reserve this season, with a higher usage rate compared to his 18 starts. But with more starts, and 30-plus minutes per game to drive some volume, Fox has fantasy upside to spare.
Yahoo! Ownership: 43% ESPN Ownership: 28.2%
Zach LaVine, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls
The Bulls have correctly taken a cautious approach with LaVine, as he works his way back from a torn left ACL. But he’s consistently been making progress, and a return to the floor in a week to 10 days is possible.
Prior to going down last February, LaVine was averaging a career-high 18.9 points per game for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was part of the trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota on draft night, possibly due in part to his injury and the uncertainty around it.
LaVine will surely be eased back into action once he returns. But, barring any setbacks, it’s only a matter of time before he’s starting and taking on a primary role for the Bulls.
With an eye on a peak later in the season, but a return looming, LaVine should be stashed in all fantasy leagues right now. You can thank me later.
Yahoo! Ownership: 72% ESPN Ownership: 55.1%
Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Miami Heat
Olynyk has found something over the last eight games, averaging 15.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists per game with three double-doubles over that span.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra called for Olynyk to shoot more threes late last month, and he has answered with four attempts per game from beyond the arc over the last eight games (3.7 three-point attempts per game over his last 18 games). But that increase in volume has not come with efficiency as the price, as Olynyk’s three-point percentage over those last 18 games (40.9 percent) is close to his career-high mark for the season thus far (43.5 percent).
Over 40 percent of Olynyk’s field goal attempts this year have been from three-point range, so any real downturn there would threaten his scoring. But he’s going well right now, and does enough in rebounds and assists to hold solid fantasy value no matter what. He’s still widely available, so make sure the Gonzaga product finds his way to your fantasy roster.
Yahoo! Ownership: 58% ESPN Ownership: 32.2%