Fantasy Basketball 2019: Pickups and NBA Waive-Wire Adds After Jan. 16

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2019

Chicago Bulls forward Jabari Parker (2) dribbles past Utah Jazz forward Jae Crowder during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, in Salt Lake City. Utah won 110-102. (AP Photo/Chris Nicoll)
Chris Nicoll/Associated Press

Superstars dominate the basketball world.

That's true in both the real-life NBA and the fantasy realm.

But just as those elites require proper support on the hardwood, your roster must feature a strong contingent of reliable role players. The issue is consistency can be hard to find among supporting actors, who are often asked to do different things on different nights.

Luckily, the waiver wire allows you to ride the hot hand and find a new one whenever the old one goes cold. Considering there's a long season still ahead, mastering this balancing act can be the difference between qualifying for the playoffs and competing for a league title or searching for "springtime activities."

We're here to help by identifying three waiver-wire targets—available in 50-plus percent of Yahoo Sports leagues—you need to be tracking.

                 

Waiver-Wire Targets

Collin Sexton, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers (47 Percent Owned)

If you can handle a hit to your field-goal shooting, then Collin Sexton's recent volume production is worth your attention.

Last summer's No. 8 pick is producing one of his better counting-category stretches of his rookie season. He entered Wednesday amid an eight-game streak of double-digit scoring (14.5 points per game), and then he delivered another 11 points on a tidy 5-of-11 shooting.

He's also proving to be perhaps better than expected from the perimeter. He doesn't shoot many threes (2.1 per game), but he's at least converting most of what he launches (38.5 percent).

Ebbs and flows are unavoidable for most rookies, but not all of them have the opportunity to work through their mistakes. Things are different in LeBron-less Cleveland, though, as Sexton is almost always guaranteed an opportunity to produce.

"This is really a rebuild," Cavs coach Larry Drew told The Athletic's Joe Vardon. "This is what you go through in a rebuild. You play young players. You're teaching young players. They're going to have to learn to work through their mistakes."

Sexton, who has a back-to-back waiting for him on Friday and Saturday, must improve as a passer (2.8 assists per game), but that should come with time as long as Cleveland continues to stick with him.

                    

Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Chicago Bulls (40 Percent Owned)

Regardless of whether the Chicago Bulls are showcasing Jabari Parker for a possible deal or rewarding him for better practice habits, the point is the 2014 No. 2 pick may be back in the rotation after making consecutive appearances for the first time since mid-December.

And he's producing, as he usually does when given the opportunity. He's not an across-the-board contributor by any stretch, but he knows how to score (14.5 points over these past two games), does so efficiently (12-of-20 from the field) and usually chips in as a rebounder (10 boards in two games).

Owning Parker isn't going to feel comfortable as long as he's in Chicago. Prior to this two-game re-emergence, he had appeared in just one of the club's previous 13 contests.

He's a power forward in today's NBA, meaning minutes he's getting could come at the expense of Bobby Portis and Lauri Markkanen, players the Bulls would surely prefer to develop.

But there's still plenty of time before the Feb. 7 trade deadline. If the Bulls aren't playing Parker for the majority of the time until then, they can kiss goodbye to any dreams of dealing him.

He's at least worth considering as a speculative add, both for his apparent return to the regular lineup and the possibility he finds a larger role elsewhere by the deadline.

                    

Jeff Green, SF/PF, Washington Wizards (37 Percent Owned)

With no John Wall, Dwight Howard or Markieff Morris, Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks is running out of reliable options. But Jeff Green has spent most of the season in Brooks' circle of trust, and Morris' lengthy absence has helped cement that status.

In the nine games Morris has missed, Green has averaged 33.6 minutes, the third-highest mark on the team.

There's little reason to fear that number is coming down, as he's playing some of the best basketball of his career. His nightly contributions in this stretch include 14.1 points on 41.9 percent shooting, 5.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.9 three-pointers.

"He's in a good rhythm," Brooks said, per The Athletic's Fred Katz. "He very rarely forces up a tough shot. ... Guys have to respect his shot, but they also have to respect his ability to finish around the rim."

While Green's scoring may always be erratic—he opened his Wizards career with 17 points, and then he managed just two the next time out—the highs and lows typically lead back to his career average of 13.2 points per game. Add that to a handful of rebounds and the most consistency he's had as a shooter, and you should have a useful fantasy option, particularly for as long as Morris is sidelined.

If you're interested in Green, you might consider delaying the acquisition. After the Wizards play the New York Knicks in London on Thursday, they won't return to action until Monday night.

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