By Nick Whalen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
As we look ahead to Week 17, the after-effects of the trade deadline loom large when it comes to assessing the waiver wire. No team plays more than two games in the abbreviated week ahead, but now is the time to stock up your roster for the final stretch run. By the time Monday rolls around, every team will have completed at least 65 percent of its schedule, so patience should be at a premium the rest of the way.
After Thursday afternoon’s deadline, only a handful of big names — D’Angelo Russell, Andrew Wiggins, Clint Capela, Andre Drummond — find themselves on new teams. But several role players changed addresses over the last three days, creating new windows of fantasy opportunity. Many of those players now make for appealing adds in standard Yahoo leagues.
As always, this article will focus on players available in at least 50 percent of leagues.
Christian Wood, Detroit Pistons (53 percent rostered)
Right away, I’m going off-script and mentioning a player who’s just barely above 50%. But I promise it’s necessary, as Wood is now the … the second option in Detroit? The Pistons banished Andre Drummond to Cleveland on Thursday, meaning Wood is now the main man at center. John Henson comes over from the Cavs as part of the deal, but he’s constantly banged up and doesn’t have nearly the fantasy upside of Wood, who’s consistently produced when given opportunities over the last two seasons.
Per 36 minutes, Wood is putting up 21.0 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks, and he shoots a decent percentage at the line (73.8%) for a big man. He may not get to 36 minutes every night, but those prorated numbers are a solid estimate for what to expect if the Pistons turn him loose over the final 29 games.
Shabazz Napier, Washington Wizards (18 percent)
Napier was in a pretty decent spot before the deadline as the unquestioned starting point guard for the free-falling Timberwolves. He was initially dealt to Denver, which would’ve been a death knell for his fantasy value, but a last-minute trade to Washington has Napier back on the radar. He may not start for the Wizards, but with Isaiah Thomas and Jordan McRae now out of the picture, Napier should slide in as the third guard, at worst, behind Ish Smith and Gary Payton. Over his last 10 games in Minnesota, Napier averaged 9.7 points, 8.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.3 steals.
Ky Bowman, Golden State Warriors (6%)
After parting ways with Glenn Robinson III, Alec Burks, Jacob Evans, Omari Spellman, and the aforementioned D’Angelo Russell this week, the Warriors’ depth chart is incredibly bare. They’ll need to make some additions, and they already signed Bowman — originally a two-way player — to a new contract. With Russell in Minnesota, Bowman is now the starting point guard by default, at least until Steph Curry returns from his injury. The Warriors play their first post-deadline game Saturday night, so Bowman is an immediate add in daily lineups leagues. Even after Curry returns, he should continue to play a major role, though that could partially depend on how Golden State goes about filling out its roster. In 10 games as a starter this season, Bowman averaged 11.9 points, 3.8 assists, and 2.8 rebounds in 29.6 minutes per contest.
De’Anthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies (12%)
Memphis really only moved one player of substance (Jae Crowder) in its three-for-three swap with Miami, and Melton comes away the biggest winner. While Justise Winslow could eventually step into Crowder’s vacated starting spot, he hasn’t played in two months and remains without a firm timetable. The other guard the Grizzlies received, Dion Waiters, is expected to be waived or bought out. On top of that, Coach K, of all people, heavily implied earlier this week that Grayson Allen’s injury will keep him out for the rest of the season.
That leaves Melton with an opportunity to pick up a decent chunk of the roughly 30 minutes Crowder leaves behind. Melton’s per-minute numbers are fantastic, and he could be an everything-but-blocks contributor if his workload increases to the degree it should. The one drawback is Melton is barely a 30% three-point shooter, but he’s solid at the free-throw line and is already averaging 1.3 steals in less than 20 minutes per game.
Malik Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves (25%)
Prior to Tuesday night’s trade, Beasley had been seeing more consistent playing time in Denver amid injuries to several key backcourt options. On the whole, though, it’s been a disappointing season for the Florida State product, who had a mini-breakout — both in fantasy and real life — a year ago. Coming to Minnesota offers Beasley a fresh start and, more importantly, an opportunity at big minutes the rest of the way. Minnesota sent out two starters at the deadline and overhauled much of its depth, so Beasley now has a chance to be the every-night starter alongside Russell. His massive drop-off in scoring efficiency — 47.4% FG last season to 38.9% this season — is a major concern, but Beasley is still hitting 36% of his threes, and he could approach 1.5 steals per game the rest of the way.
Juancho Hernangomez, Minnesota Timberwolves (6%)
So much is up in the air for Minnesota the rest of the way and while nothing is guaranteed, Hernangomez has a chance to go from deep bench option in Denver to starter for the Wolves. His per-minute scoring and rebounding numbers are solid, but Hernangomez has not shot the ball well this season, and he offers very little in terms of defensive stats.
Damion Lee, Golden State Warriors (22%)
Already a regular starter before the deadline, his role was only hammered home by the Warriors moving on from Burks, Robinson, and other depth pieces. Lee’s production has been volatile night-to-night, but he’s a streaky scorer who averaged 15.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.8 threes over a 15-game span in December and January.
Josh Hart, New Orleans Pelicans (39%)
As a role player on a deep team, Hart often flies under the radar, but he’s remained a viable fantasy option for most of the year. His minutes have taken only a slight dip since Zion Williamson returned, and he continues to be one of the best rebounding wings in the league. Hart has five double-digit-rebound games in the last month, and he holds averages of 10.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 steals 0.7 blocks and 1.9 threes in that 15-game span.