Note: To qualify for deep waivers, a player must have an ownership rate that does not exceed 25 percent.
Festus Ezeli, C Golden State Warriors (13%)
Despite Andrew Bogut’s (concussion) return to the active roster and a potential timeshare looming ahead, Ezeli deserves to be on more rosters than is currently the case. Ezeli actually played his normal allotment of minutes (20-25) despite Bogut’s availability, a promising sign that Ezeli is not about to lose his role regardless of whether he starts or comes off the bench. In the last seven days, Ezeli has more blocks than Serge Ibaka and the same amount as Andre Drummond.
Clint Capela, C Houston Rockets (12%)
Dwight Howard’s looked better than expected on the floor early in the season, but Clint Capela is one of my favorite lottery tickets to stash on your roster. A per-minute monster who could instantly become a top option at his position should Howard (knees, back) were forced out of action, Capela is locked into a steady role with the potential for it to balloon. Production + Opportunity = Success.
Jerami Grant, F Philadelphia 76ers (3%)
Grant may lose his starting spot once Robert Covington (knee) is ready to return, but he’s not going to lose his role in this rotation. A highly athletic player with a growing game on the offensive end, the Sixers need Grant’s spark at both ends of the floor. Over his last four, Grant is averaging 9.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. He’s unlikely to have a stat-stuffing explosion, but Grant’s steady production has a place at the end of your roster.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, G/F Brooklyn Nets (1%)
Hollis-Jefferson may be the only thing worth watching in Brooklyn these days given the current state of the Nets, but at least he’s capable of posting numbers worth tracking. After two starts, the rookie averaging 3.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals in 24.5 minutes per game. He’s not going to fill it up as a scorer, but RHJ’s ability to do it all across the stat sheet offers the type of intriguing versatility fantasy players should want on the team.
Dwight Powell, F/C Dallas Mavericks (19%)
There is not a player on this list who offers as much production now and upside later as Powell, and it’s inconceivable that he’s still not even on 20 percent of rosters. Playing plenty of minutes as he helps fill in behind both Dirk Nowitzki and Zaza Pachulia, Powell stands to slide into either role if (when?) one of the veterans goes down. Over his last four games, Powell is averaging 11.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and a block. I have Powell in nearly every league I play in (10-team to 30-team) and couldn’t feel better about it.
Justise Winslow, SF Miami Heat (16%)
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about whether to drop Luol Deng, and perhaps this will finally make my stance clear. Averaging 9.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and a 3-pointer on 41.3 percent shooting, Deng has fallen off of a cliff and offers absolutely nothing to your squad. He’s played more than 30 minutes in a game just once all season (the opener), and his role is being limited by design.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Winslow’s stock is currently skyrocketing. Having played 30-plus minutes in four of his last five, the rookie is beginning to find his groove on a team that needs what he can bring to the table. Heading into Tuesday’s contest against the Lakers, Winslow is averaging 11.0 points and 6.5 rebounds over his last two games, an emphatic illustration of the fact that Winslow’s floor is Deng’s ceiling. It shouldn’t be a hard decision for you to make.