NBA

Roundtable: Who has been the top waiver wire pickup so far this season?

It’s Week 8 of fantasy basketball and the NBA season continues to be fun and interesting, as it always is.

So which player has been the best waiver wire pickup of the season so far?

Here are André Snellings, Eric Moody, Eric Karabell, Jim McCormick and John Cregan to provide their perspective.


Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Utah Jazz: Fantasy managers had probably seen enough of Olynyk over the years to keep expectations low, even as Utah touted him as their starting center. It’s going exceedingly well, as Olynyk is, in my eyes, the Western Conference version of Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez. Nobody wanted them, but just look at these numbers! Lopez piles on the blocks and 3-pointers. Olynyk delivers steals and 3-pointers. They shoot well and contribute enough points and rebounds. These are top-20 options on the Player Rater and reminders that it’s not all about scoring traditional points, but it’s about fantasy points for us. — Karabell

Bol Bol, PF/C, Orlando Magic: It has to be Bol Bol. While I’ve enjoyed rostering Trey Murphy III and De’Anthony Melton given interim bursts of value recently, it’s Bol who is an enduring impact contributor and league-altering force. After all, he’s fourth in the league in block percentage and 15th in defensive rebounding percentage all while still available in free agency in 37% of ESPN leagues. Landing a unique player like Bol back in late October is one of the joys of playing fantasy hoops. — McCormick

Cameron Payne, PG, Phoenix Suns and Malik Monk, SG/SF, Sacramento Kings: I’d been eyeing Payne since the preseason, even drafting him in one of my deeper leagues, because I had serious questions about Chris Paul‘s durability this season. Because I was keeping such a close eye on the situation, I was able to pick up Payne immediately after Paul’s injury was announced and thus reap the benefits of his currently month-long stint as a starter. His value drops when Paul returns, but Payne could be worth holding onto in case this situation arises again. Another pickup that I like, from that same league, was Monk. I liked what he showed with the Lakers last season, and he flashed in limited minutes in the Kings games I watched early in the season. I picked him up to start November, and he’s averaged 17 PPG, 4.4 APG, 2.1 3PG and 1.9 RPG in only 23.7 MPG. I could see his role increasing even more as the season goes along, making him a good bet to be an even better pickup before all is said and done. — Snellings

Lonnie Walker IV, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers: Walker is a great AAAA-type (in baseball terms) player. Someone who tends to be available. Who has a skill set that runs hot and cold (his 3-point shooting.) Who I can call up to the big club when needed… provided his 3-point shot is clicking. The minutes are there. There is a role sitting for the taking that Walker could leverage into a reliable top-100 Points league player. What I’m looking for is the arrival of a secondary stat. Something beyond points and 3s that can sustain Walker through his rough shooting patches. — Cregan

Jalen McDaniels, PF, Charlotte Hornets: The Hornets have had to deal with Miles Bridges’ off-the-court legal situation and LaMelo Ball‘s ankle injury which has given Jalen McDaniels an opportunity to morph into one of my favorite waiver wire pickups so far this season in deeper formats. Three of the last four games have seen him score 33 or more fantasy points. McDaniels is only rostered in 6.5% of ESPN leagues. — Moody


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