Last week was a significant one for fantasy basketball, as it marked the first major trade of the season. Jordan Clarkson was shipped to the Utah Jazz, while Dante Exum and two second-rounders were sent to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It also marked the emergence of a number of breakout players. While it’s laughable to expect them all to defy regression, some can be valuable waiver additions to your fantasy basketball squad, with the potential to turn around your season.
Going into the new week, here are some unlikely fantasy basketball waiver wire targets that could transform your fantasy team. Some of these names are more familiar than others, but that’s expected in the middle of the season, when injuries and trades are becoming more prevalent. The players below are listed in order of preference.
Five Fantasy Basketball Waiver Targets
With all the injuries hitting the Toronto Raptors, Chris Boucher has become a particularly important player off the bench. His minutes have especially increased since Pascal Siakam went down. In the five games since Siakam’s injury, Boucher is averaging 12.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 19 minutes. The former Oregon star is taking many more shots, and he’s exhibiting great shot-blocking prowess. With Siakam out indefinitely, Chris Boucher is a must-add in leagues of all sizes.
While he is currently on a two-way contract, Damion Lee has been playing at an All-Star level in the games that he has played this year. In his last eight games, Lee has been wreaking havoc, averaging 16 points, 11 field goal attempts, and 7.8 rebounds in 31 minutes. His minute totals should rise moving forward since the Warriors have virtually nothing to play for. As he approaches the end of his two-way contract, the Golden State Warriors would be smart to reward him a full contract. If they do so, and Lee keeps this production up, Lee could be extremely valuable down the stretch. Add him in all leagues.
In the month of December, Aaron Holiday has been playing lights-out for the Indiana Pacers. Since his dud against the Clippers, Holiday has scored in double figures for each of the last 9 games. Holiday has been promoted to the starting lineup, with his minutes exceeding 30 in his last 5 games. Holiday is highly efficient with a solid usage rate and should continue his strong play with Malcolm Brogdon’s current absence. Even after Malcolm Brogdon returns, since Victor Oladipo is out indefinitely, Holiday has ample opportunity to continue his stellar offensive output. Add Aaron Holiday in all 10 team leagues.
Gary Payton II
Gary Payton II has been dominating in his time with the Washington Wizards, albeit in a small sample size. The Oregon State product has only played 3 games, but he’s looking as fearsome as his All-Star father. He’s averaging 11.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 4.3 steals in nearly 32 minutes per game. While regression is inevitable, Payton should still receive sufficient volume, given the decrepit state of the Wizards. Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans, Bradley Beal, Moritz Wagner, and Thomas Bryant are all injured, and the 13th place Wizards have no need to rush them back. With the starting lineup hobbled, look to catch Payton during his hot streak. He’s in a position to receive many touches, and he could potentially carve out a long-term role on the team. Certainly, add Gary Payton II in all 12-team leagues.
Kevin Porter Jr.
The rookie out of USC is the biggest winner of the Clarkson-Exum trade. With the newfound absence of Clarkson and his 23 minutes per game, Kevin Porter Jr. will have more freedom in the Cavaliers’ offense. Since the trade, the athletic shooting guard is averaging 2.5 more rebounds, and 5 more points in 26 minutes per game, up from his season average of 21.6 minutes per game. With a larger role and more consistent playing time, the Cavaliers are doing well to support this raw talent’s growth. Porter is awakening, and it would be smart to get this dunking phenom before he blossoms into a true fantasy asset. He may seem like a questionable add, but keep an eye on Kevin Porter Jr, as you will be hearing his name a lot more in the coming months and years.
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