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NBA Bench Risers: Waiver Wire Sleepers for Fantasy Basketball (Week 14)

NBA teams have a multitude of players coming off the bench, each with a unique role to fill. As a fantasy owner, you need to decide which of those players can contribute across multiple categories and have the potential to make the most of their time on the court.

To find bench players that can contribute more than just energy and defense during their time on the court, I will analyze usage rate and Per 36 statistics. Below are my Week 14 bench risers and waiver wire adds for fantasy basketball. These are some bench players whose stock should be rising based on their recent play and could be great fantasy pickups for deep leagues.

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Rising NBA Bench Performers

Note: I will only be selecting players who are not regular starters and who are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo! leagues.


Kris Dunn (PG, MIN) - 38% owned

Ricky Rubio has been out of the lineup for personal reasons, but he may be out of Minnesota permanently if trade rumors prove true. The ascension of Zach LaVine and selection of Dunn in this year's draft make Rubio expendable for a young team still finding its identity. It's not a forgone conclusion that Rubio will be out of the picture, but Dunn should see more playing time as the year increases regardless. Dunn has played 34 and 25 minutes the last two games, with promising results. While he's only scored 15 points over both games, he chipped in eight rebounds, nine assists, three steals and a block with only one turnover.

The rookie hasn't done much offensively, thanks to a poor .376 FG%, leading to an average of four points per game. Dunn shows the most promise in the steals category, at 2.1 per 36 minutes. As his usage rate increases, his 5.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds should also increase. Dunn's limited offensive game makes him more of a stash at this point, but the past week has shown his potential to help in multiple categories. Perhaps most importantly, his coach Tom Thibodeau has been impressed with his play and doesn't seem opposed to the idea of giving him a bigger role going forward.


David Lee (PF/C, SA) - 43% owned

Lee has been a solid bench contributor all year for the Spurs, but will have to pick up more slack as Pau Gasol sits on the shelf for the next month. A look at his season averages may be underwhelming, but his per-36 averages show a player that isn't too far removed from his glory days even at age 33. Lee's 13.8 scoring per 36 is comparable to his third NBA season, just before he became a full-time starter in New York. His .590 FG% is the third-highest of his career, also best since his third season when he began stretching his range beyond the key. His main asset is his rebounding, which is currently 10.7 TRB per 36, nearly identical to his career average of 10.8. This shows that he's been effective in limited minutes, which is encouraging now that he's bound for a jump in usage.

On January 19 and 20, he saw upwards of 30 minutes in each game, which resulted in consecutive double-doubles. Coach Pop will not overuse his veteran players, but Lee will be needed for the upcoming stretch that includes the famous Rodeo Road Trip. Gasol owners should already have grabbed Lee, but even if you are simply looking for depth at the 4/5 spot he is worth an add.


Garrett Temple (SG/SF, SAC) - 24% owned

Temple has made this list before, so rather than rehashing his career numbers again, let's look at his recent play. Temple has become fantasy-relevant again thanks to Rudy Gay's season-ending Achilles injury. If Arron Afflalo and/or Ben McLemore are dealt by the lottery-bound Kings, Temple could be a permanent fixture in the starting lineup throughout 2017.

He isn't going to lead the team in scoring any time soon, but for what it's worth, Temple is already averaging a career high 7.8 PPG. He brings a solid .375 three-point percentage on 1.7 three pointers made per 36. In the last eight games, Temple has reached double-digits half the time, with two games of 11 points and two games of 14 points. In the last five games, he's averaging just a tick over three rebounds and assists, not far off from his per 36 averages. Temple will continue to get plenty of minutes and is likely to see his 13.4% Usage% climb. His limited ceiling makes him an option for 12+ team leagues only, but one that won't leave many categories empty on a given night.


By popular demand, RotoBaller has aggregated all of our fantasy basketball NBA waiver wire pickups into a running list of NBA waiver options, so bookmark the page and check back often for updates.