Why fantasy managers should pick up Eric Gordon (0:45)Eric Karabell explains how Eric Gordon has been a good fantasy basketball play. (0:45)
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 widely available in free agency in 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.
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Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic (Rostered in 27.0% of ESPN leagues): With eight consecutive double-digit scoring outings to go with improved playmaking (at least six dimes in four of his past six entering the week), Anthony is finally surfacing as a fantasy-relevant option. The Orlando backcourt appeared barren for statistical fun just a few weeks back, but Anthony's ascendent play and Jalen Suggs' (24.7%) Marcus Smart impersonation lately have proven intriguing.
Dyson Daniels, New Orleans Pelicans (13.9%): This isn't easy to do; but you have to look past the scoring. Which is to say, Daniels is not a bucket, but he is a ball player. He's reliable as a rebounding force and his recent six-steal game reveals elite defensive potential. Even as CJ McCollum appears close to a return, it's likely that Daniels has earned a big role in this rotation.
Coby White, Chicago Bulls (18.9%): Now this guy, he's a bucket. The shooting and scoring outcomes remain key to his fantasy stock, but he's proving more consistent and even adding some playaking to add to the package.
De'Anthony Melton, Philadelphia 76ers (37.5%): Ranked among the elite guard options on the Player Rater over the past two weeks, Melton is sinking his shot from deep and providing atypically strong rebounding and steal clips.
Eric Gordon, Phoenix Suns (21.5%): You get much beyond scoring, shooting, and a quality steal rate, but those are all useful contributions. The Suns rely on Gordon as a key scoring source given Bradley Beal's ongoing back ailment, so this nomination could prove helpful for several weeks.
Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans (53.0%): The Player Rater adores Jones' awesome defensive rates. For confirmation, he's ranked eighth among small forwards on this index of statistical diversity, ahead of the likes of Jimmy Butler and Zach LaVine.
Jaime Jaquez Jr., Miami Heat (11.1%): A Miami player on a heater is just good wordplay, but it's simply accurate to describe the league's other "JJJ" as a dynamic young player. He's earned the trust of an excellent tactician and should see plenty of run as long as Tyler Herro is sidelined.
De'Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks (17.9%): Jalen Johnson going down with a fractured wrist is just awful news. The news also drives rotational changes, such as Hunter seeing more time and touches. On a team that needs athletic wing play, Hunter is going to be busy in the coming weeks.
Jabari Smith Jr., Houston Rockets (64.0%): Still available in some shallower formats, Smith is really playing well the past two weeks as both a reliable scorer and cleaning the glass. I've always liked his atypically strong block rate, so he's going to help in different ways.
Santi Aldama, Memphis Grizzlies (16.1%): This team has been hit hard by injuries, especially in the frontcourt. Such attrition has led to more minutes and opportunities for Aldama, a versatile scorer and improving rebounder.
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Saddiq Bey, Atlanta Hawks (21.0%): Another Atlanta forward in line for more minutes in the wake of Johnson's injury, Bey has become an improved rebounder and remains a quality stretch four for a team that needs such spacing to open up lanes for their dynamic guards.
This section focuses on specialists; players who flash in a singular category and can provide specific value to those in category and roto formats. Nominations are based on which category such players are helpful in and will rotate throughout the season.
Steals: In addition to New Orleans' Jones and his larcenous ways, Melton is also among the leaders in added value via steals on the Player Rater. Suggs sits 14th in added value via steals the past 15 days.
Blocks: Jones is also elite in swats, while Orlando's Bitadze and Washington's Daniel Gafford (54.3%) are more traditional big rim protectors.
Rebounds: New York's Mitchell Robinson (38.5%) is an elite option on the boards, while Gafford is a top-25 option in additive value via the glass the past two weeks.
Assists: George is one the only widely available options providing surplus value via dimes the past two weeks. Anthony is another example, as he's upped his playmaking lately.
3-pointers: Chicago's White has provided the most added value via 3-pointers on the Player Rater over the past two weeks. Malik Beasley (7.1%) is fifth in this regard during this sample.