Welcome back to the wide open ocean of deep sea fishing!
As Season Pass subscribers, you will get access to premium content on a regular basis. This column, Deep Waivers, is a weekly piece that typically highlights those players who are criminally under-owned in Yahoo leagues.
While the cutoff for a player to qualify for this article is under 50% ownership, I typically like to focus on those who are really flying under the radar in order for you, the savvy fantasy GM, to play chess while everyone else is figuring out their next move in checkers.
Note: Yahoo roster rates (%) are accurate as of the time of publish and are subject to change.
John Collins, Atlanta Hawks (41%)
That’s now two straight double-double performances from the impressive rookie, and Collins doing his damage in limited minutes leaves room to wonder about what he could—and soon will—do with more time on the court.
With averages of 11.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.0 block on 19-of-36 (52.8%) shooting, Collins has stood out in a frontcourt that offers next to nothing at the power forward position. The Rotoworld recommendation is that the big man should be rostered in all standard formats.
Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs (48%)
I guarantee the percentage will be higher over the next several hours, and it’s not crazy to consider the possibility of Murray playing his way into the permanent starting point guard position. Tony Parker is expected back sooner not later, but Murray’s upside is absolutely tantalizing and the athleticism the second-year man provides is unmatched by anyone else on the roster. Here’s a fun fact: Murray is the first Spurs PG to have at least two double-digit rebound games since Rod Strickland during the 1989-90 campaign (Per NBA TV Broadcast). The Spurs have played three times this season.
Jerryd Bayless, Philadelphia 76ers (19%)
Even with a dud of a game on Monday night—six points, three boards, two assists, a steal and two 3-pointers on 2-of-7 shooting—Bayless has been a bargain bin shopper’s delight in deep leagues through four games with averages of 13.3 points, 2.5 boards, 1.0 steal and 2.8 triples on 19-of-36 (52.8%) from the field. Most importantly, Bayless hasn’t played fewer than 26.5 minutes in any contest, has exceeded 30 minutes in two and is clocking in at approximately 29 minutes per outing. Bayless’ ability to space the floor really helps his case for minutes, as does the struggle of No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz.
Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets (31%)
Upon Jeremy Lin’s season ending on the basketball court, LeVert should have been billed as a must-add in all formats. And while I know some of you are worn out on Caris after waiting for him to do a whole lot of nothing last season, this time around presents a different set of circumstances.
LeVert has spoken to his chemistry and comfort with D’Angelo Russell and how important it is to the team, and the Michigan product took to his first game in a starting role with 16 points, six boards, four assists and three steals (four TO) on 5-of-9 shooting—including 6-of-9 from the foul line—in a win against Atlanta. For the season, LeVert is averaging 12.3 points, 3.0 boards, 3.3 dimes and 2.3 steals on 40% shooting. If nothing else, LeVert can be viewed as a potential specialist. However, LeVert could take his appeal to an entirely new level if he cut down on the turnovers (currently 2.7 per game), developed any kind of reliable 3-point shot and/or improved his stroke from the stripe.
Mike James, Phoenix Suns (16%)
Eric Bledsoe has taken the court for the final time in a Phoenix uniform, and that means James has a starting role on a temporary basis. I’m really not all that excited about the journeyman’s outlook going forward beyond a short-term basis, especially with the Suns very likely to target a point guard in a trade for Bledsoe—a package of Emmanuel Mudiay and Kenneth Faried comes to mind—but scooping James up makes sense for those teams in need of point guard help. I wouldn’t cut anything you’re going to miss in order to acquire his services, especially since you probably didn’t even know his backstory 48 hours ago.
Moe Harkless, Portland Trail Blazers (25%)
Harkless isn’t going to stuff the stat sheet nor is he going to provide a week-defining line, but what the veteran forward can do is provide consistency in key categories without hurting you elsewhere. Those types of players are great end-of-bench contributors, and it feels like Harkless is what everyone so desperately wants Courtney Lee to be.
Over his first three games of the year, Harkless has averaged a solid never sexy 8.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 0.8 3PM and 0.7 blocks. That won’t grab your attention, but it should keep you interested all season long. The Rotoworld recommendation is that Harkless should be on rosters in competitive 12-team leagues.
Jeremy Lamb, Charlotte Hornets (28%)
Lamb is a straight points specialist and is better suited to points leagues, but he’s certainly getting the opportunity to shoot the rock with 15.7 points on 14.7 shots per contest.