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NBA Bench Risers: Waiver Wire Sleepers for Fantasy Basketball (Week 17)

By Noahallo8 via Wikicommons (

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 17 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.

Norman Powell (SF, TOR) 4% owned - The acquisition of Serge Ibaka may work in Powell's favor. Ibaka will stay at the four, but Powell will fill in the majority of Terrence Ross's minutes at small forward. Powell has only been a factor when DeMar DeRozan has been absent, but could now be a regular contributor and a worthy pick-up in deep leagues.

You may be surprised to hear that Powell is averaging 14.9 points per 36 minutes. He's scored in double-digits each time he's gone over 30 minutes in a game this season. In the last three weeks, he scored over 15 points five times. He shoots a fairly efficient .347 three-point percentage, but is coming off a .404 clip in his rookie season. There isn't too much else to his game, however, other than 4.2 rebounds per 36. Fantasy players looking for a scoring boost to off-set the loss of Kevin Love at the forward spot could do worse, especially since Cleveland doesn't appear to have any desirable in-house replacements.


Bismack Biyombo (PF/C, ORL) 48% owned - Another beneficiary of Ibaka's departure may be Biyombo, who could also see a boost in playing time. He has been a decent source of blocks and rebounds all season, averaging nearly two rejections and a tick over 11 boards per 36 minutes. Biyombo's block average is actually a career-low, so there is promise for better production. The problem is that he hasn't even logged 20 minutes on the floor in seven of his last 10 contests. That should no longer be a problem with Ibaka out of the way.

Biyombo probably won't jump into the starting lineup, as Aaron Gordon is going to move back to his natural position at power forward. The Magic have been feeling out offers for Nikola Vucevic, but as of right now the big man is still in town. If you need a second-half boost in big man stats, without all that pesky scoring (his current 6.1 PPG is a career-high), then Biyombo could be worth stashing.


Willy Hernangomez (C, NYK) 42% owned - The word is out about the rookie center who has become the rare source of good news coming from the Knicks. He is approaching 50% ownership in Yahoo!, but is still available in many leagues. His season-long stats don't seem too impressive, but a closer look reveals great fantasy potential. On a per-36 minute basis, Hernangomez is averaging 15.4 points and 13.7 rebounds. In the last month, he's posted seven games of 10+ rebounds, including four double-doubles.

The downside to his game is that you won't get many blocks at the center position. Hernangomez is only swats just over one shot per 36 minutes. He won't sink you at the free throw line, however, with a .721 FT%. The immediate future of the Knicks franchise is as big a question as there is in the NBA, but coach Jeff Hornacek's appreciation for Hernangomez shouldn't be in question. In leagues that utilize two centers, owners need to find a spot for him.

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.