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NBA Bench Risers: Waiver Wire Sleepers for Fantasy Basketball (Week 16)


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 16 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.

Lucas Nogueira (PF/C, TOR) 32% owned- Nogueira is one of those players who looks better on a fantasy stat line than in real life, but that's what we're here for after all. Patrick Patterson is injured and Jared Sullinger has been uninspiring since returning from his own injury. Nogueira's playing time, or lack thereof, has been the biggest knock on his value. Only recently has he seen around 25 minutes consistently and he has only stretched past the 30-minute mark once in the past month. When he's on the court, he's been mostly productive on a limited offensive basis.

Nogueira has been dominating the FG% category with a .676 mark this season, but it's only translating into 5.4 PPG. The problem is that he barely shoots the ball over five times per 36 minutes on the floor, relying mainly on putbacks. If you're looking for blocks and rebounds, he is your man. Nogueira averages 8.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per 36. If he can stay on the floor longer, he may be valuable in deep leagues for blocks and FG% alone.

 

Matt Barnes (SF/PF, SAC) 20% owned - He won't win the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award any time soon, but Barnes is still a valuable asset to NBA teams. In the absence of Rudy Gay, Barnes has been an unlikely beneficiary. In the last two games, Barnes has hoisted up 10 shot attempts in each, resulting in 11 and 19 points respectively. He's not a threat to score 20 on any given night (he's done so once all season), but his rebounding has been more than impressive. In the last four games, Barnes is pulling his best Dennis Rodman impersonation (tattoos and all) by grabbing 47 boards.

Known for his defense more than his shooting, Barnes can hit the three but not consistently enough to rely on. He's jacking up 5.5 threes per 36 minutes, but hitting at a modest .328 clip. His overall shooting percentage is even more of a drag, at .378. He is also contributing a career-high 3.9 assists per 36, which could also climb if he stays involved offensively. Believe it or not, Barnes's value could rise even higher if the Kings deal Aaron Afflalo. He provides good rebounding stats for a SF, decent scoring for a PF, but likely slots at your extra forward spot in deeper leagues for the remainder of this season.

 

Larry Nance Jr. (PF, LAL) 21% owned - Senior must be proud. Highlight-reel dunks aside, Nance Jr. has suddenly become a double-double machine. In the last two games, his minutes reached the 30-minute mark both times after having done so only three times all year. He responded with 18/11 against the Celtics and 10/10 against the Knicks. In his second NBA season, Nance is nearly averaging a double-double per 36 minutes on the floor, with 11.3 points and 9.0 rebounds. This also comes with a solid .563 FG%.

Unfortunately, there aren't many secondary stats giving Nance a boost, as he doesn't block many shots (1.1 per 36) or dish out assists (3.0 per 36). The key will be opportunity and usage. At 13% usage on the year, Nance hasn't figured too prominently in the offense yet. If the Lakers' youth movement fully takes over in the second half, you can at least expect more double-doubles in the near future for Nance Jr.


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.