By Alex Rikleen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
If you need points or three-pointers, then great news: There are some really good options available right now. For everyone else, however, the waiver wire is currently a bit dry.
As the NBA’s trading season heats up, lots of options are likely to emerge soon. Many of the options listed below may only work as short-term options, but that doesn’t make them less important – this week counts just as much in the standing as next week. All of the players below should help your teams stay above water as we wait for more exciting to come forward in the next few weeks.
In general, we’ll focus on players available in at least 50% of Yahoo, but sometimes we have to fudge those rules a bit.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kings
(Yahoo Ownership: 49%)
Now that the Kings have announced their innovative rest two veterans every night policy, all of their younger players have become much more appealing fantasy options. Among those young guys, Bogdanovic is arguably the most intriguing, based on how much he has already show in just four months as a pro. He’s shown up a few times in this column as an “other recommendation” for steals, but with the promise of more minutes throughout the remainder of the season, he’s a solid source of scoring and threes, too. His minutes already started creeping up before last week’s announcement, and since the start of January he is averaging 16.1 points, 2.0 threes, and 0.8 steals in 30.7 minutes per game.
Marvin Williams, Hornets
(Yahoo Ownership: 56%)
Williams’ ownership is down after a month of limited minutes and poor play, but he’s begun to rebound and should be added back quickly. His preseason Expert Consensus Ranking, according to FantasyPros was 95, which demonstrates that fantasy analysts considered to be him someone who should provide universally-owned value. After a month of averaging only 23.8 minutes, 8.0 points, and 1.1 three, he’s finally back. Over his last five games, Williams is averaging 27.0 minutes, 13.8 points, and 3.0 threes per game. He’s also a decent source of rebounds and steals.
Wayne Ellington is still the best answer here if he’s available in your league, but I’ve written enough about him over the past several weeks that I wanted to highlight someone else.
Trey Lyles, Nuggets
(Yahoo Ownership: 37%)
Nuggets coach Mike Malone is still messing around with the Nuggets’ frontcourt rotation, but the consensus among Nuggets’ beat reporters seems to be that that the team plays significantly better when Lyles is starting and playing alongside Nikola Jokic for as much time as possible (deep dives into NBA.com/stats tracking data usually support this opinion).
The Nuggets are firmly in the playoff hunt, but they’re currently on the outside looking in and can’t afford to continue experimenting for long. Since December 15, Lyles has scored in double-digits in every game in which he’s played at least 24 minutes, and he’s grabbed at least six rebounds in every game in which he’s played at least 27 minutes. His averages during that period are 15.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.8 threes, and 1.4 assists in 27.2 minutes, despite playing fewer than 26 minutes in a third of those games.
DeMarre Carroll doesn’t really qualify for this article, but only barely, so I’ll mention him here, too. I think the return of D’Angelo Russell from his three-month injury absence helps Carroll. I think he’s both good enough, and plays far enough from point guard, that Russell’s return won’t impact his minutes. If that’s indeed the case, then the presence of a better all-around offensive weapon – specifically a better passer – helps Carroll’s scoring numbers.
Carroll’s rebounding (6.8 per game) is already attractive, and improvement in the scoring-related categories makes him easier to own. Obviously, there are plenty of mitigating factors in this stat, but Carroll shot 43.0 percent from the field and 37.3 from behind the arc before Russell got hurt, compared to 40.7 percent and 32.4 percent with Russell in street clothes.
Other suggestions: Ersan Ilyasova, Hawks; Larry Nance, Lakers; Dewayne Dedmon, Hawks; Denzel Valentine, Bulls
T.J. McConnell, 76ers
(Yahoo Ownership: 28%)
McConnell has bounced back and forth between fantasy relevance all season, and he’s currently healthy and on one of his upward swings. Since Christmas, his minutes are up to 27.9 per game, and he’s dished at least four assists in seven of nine games. He doesn’t score a ton, but he is a very good source of assists and steals. He’s great for a punt-points build, and during his current run he’s scoring enough than any team that’s above-average in that category can afford to add him.
Other suggestions: Jarrett Jack, Knicks; De’Aaron Fox, Kings; Milos Teodosic, Clippers
George Hill, Kings
(Yahoo Ownership: 51%)
Hill is only averaging 0.9 steals per game this season, but it’s slim pickings for managers who need steals these days. Hill is getting mentioned in a lot of trade rumors, and anywhere he goes is likely to mean a steadier role than the one he’s filled in Sacramento. He’s a very talented player, and he has seven steals in his last four games.
It might be slightly premature to add Andre Roberson, who is returning from a knee injury and has played only limited minutes in his first two games back. But again, there are very few good options available for steals right now, and my guess is that he’ll be rosterable before the next edition of this article comes out.
Other suggestions: T.J. McConnell, 76ers; Danny Green, Spurs; Andre Roberson, Thunder
Danny Green, Spurs
(Yahoo Ownership: 24%)
The blocks market hasn’t changed much all season – there aren’t a lot of desirable options, and most of the names have been mentioned here before. Green benefits from Kawhi Leonard’s now-indefinite absence, and he should see more minutes for a longer period of time. In the last four games Green and Leonard were both active, Green averaged 18.5 minutes, compared to 25.0 per game in his last four games without Leonard. Green is averaging 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per-36 minutes this season.
If the Jazz trade Derrick Favors and don’t get a big man back, Ekpe Udoh could see a boost in minutes. As is, he’s too limited for most teams, but he does get an awful lot of blocks when the opportunity is there.
Other suggestions: John Henson, Bucks; Bismack Biyombo, Magic; Ekpe Udoh, Jazz