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NBA Bench Risers: Waiver Wire Sleepers for Fantasy Basketball (Week 19)


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 19 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.

Andre Iguodala (SF/PF, GS) 32% owned - When Kevin Durant hyper-extended his knee against the Wizards, many fantasy owners began cursing. There is now an opportunity for Iguodala to become a fantasy asset again, however. Understandably, he hasn't figured much into the Warriors offense since Durant arrived. His 11.9 percent usage rate in February was his highest of the season, but he is still posting by far the lowest mark of his career. It's not as if the offense will suddenly run through him, but he can still provide a boost in multiple categories.

Iguodala has never been a huge scorer, averaging 13 points per game in his career. At 8.9 points per 36 minutes, he is also at a career low in the scoring category. His per-36 averages in nearly every other category are actually right at or above his career numbers. He is currently logging 5.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.6 blocks per 36 with a career best .493 FG%. There is no way he can be considered a replacement for Durant, even if it's a short-term absence, but he could still flash the occasional scoring outburst in addition to his other contributions.

Guillermo Hernangomez (C, NYK) 46% owned - The elder Hernangomez has been mentioned in this space before, but with less than half of all fantasy teams owning him, it bears repeating. Joakim Noah will miss the rest of the season, so Hernangomez will continue to get a steady stream of minutes. With Kristaps Porzingis in and out of the lineup, his usage rate should keep climbing regardless.

In the month of February, Hernangomez nearly averaged a double-double (10.7 PTS, 9.4 REB). He isn't a huge shot-blocker (1.3 per 36), but his ability to put up huge rebounding games alone makes him worth playing in two-center formats. His main competition, Kyle O'Quinn, puts up the occasional big game before disappearing again. The fact that O'Quinn was on the trade block shows how prominently he figures into the team's plans.

Cory Joseph (PG, TOR) 14% owned - Kyle Lowry's injury news is a blow to the Raptors, but veteran Cory Joseph should fill the void nicely. The former Spur has been a steady backup in Toronto, but will now be asked to play 30+ minutes consistently. Never a huge scoring threat, Joseph is the Andre Iguodala of point guards. He will give you a little in each category without hurting you in percentages or turnovers.

Joseph's per-36 averages are solid, if not inspiring: 13.4 points, 4.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals. He makes less than one three-pointer per 36 and shoots .316 behind the arc for his career, so don't look for help in the shooting categories. He isn't the sexiest pick for sure, but a little consistency never hurts.

Thomas Robinson (SF/PF, LAL) 0% owned - Here's a bonus sleeper pick for extremely deep leagues. It's easy to show improvement when you're starting from zero. Robinson hadn't even seen the court since January 22 until he showed up against the Spurs this week. He showed up, posting nine points, eight rebounds and four steals in just 17 minutes. Forget the complete lack of involvement prior to now; in the post-deadline world, rookies and journeymen get their chance to rise from the ashes for non-contenders. If Magic Johnson likes what he sees, Robinson may get a chance to keep playing a role off the bench.


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.