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NBA Bench Risers: Waiver Wire Sleepers for Fantasy Basketball (Week 21)

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 21 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.

Marquese Chriss (PF, PHO) 24% owned - Much like Tyler Ulis, who I advocated last week, Chriss is another Phoenix rookie starting to make headway toward fantasy value. His playing time has been all over the place lately, from as high as 33 minutes to as low at 16 minutes, but overall he's getting much more usage in the second half of the season. He's currently posting 14.8 points and 6.7 rebounds on a per-36 minute basis.

Despite being a 6'10" power forward, Chriss has jacked up 168 threes this year, hitting at a .327 clip. He will need to improve his shooting in general, as a .442 FG% won't cut it at the four spot. He's barely averaging more than one per 36 when it comes to steals, assists, and blocks, so he needs to be on point shooting-wise to make a difference for fantasy owners. He isn't likely to help you win any fantasy leagues down the stretch this season, but he could be worth streaming if you are in need.


Tony Snell (SG/SF, MIL) 13% owned - Snell isn't doing more in Milwaukee than he had in his first three seasons with Chicago, but he has been much more efficient. Snell averages a modest 10.6 points per 36 minutes, along with 4.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. Where Snell can help you is behind the three-point line with his excellent shooting percentage of .413, good for 18th-best in the NBA.

Snell's usage is at a career-low 11.9% this season, even with the injuries to Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker seemingly opening the door for more involvement. That number has gone up a couple of points since the All-Star break, as have his shooting numbers. Since March began, Snell has scored double-digits in five of seven games. Don't expect huge offensive outbursts, but Snell is a good acquisition if you're looking to shore up three-point stats.


Jeremy Lamb (SG, CHA) 5% owned - Another shooter rounds out our list of three this week. Lamb is enjoying the highest usage rate (23.1%) since his rookie season in OKC. He has taken advantage of Nicolas Batum's temporary absence from the lineup to put together a couple of nice games, including 26 points against the Bulls. Realistically, the Hornets won't be in the playoff hunt much longer, so Lamb could get a chance to light up the scoreboard even more down the stretch.

Lamb is averaging 18.9 points per 36 on .454 shooting, both career highs. Unfortunately, his three-point shooting has gone downhill since he moved to Charlotte and currently sits at .296 on the season. His 8.3 rebounds per 36 are surprisingly good for a guard, however, and also are a career high. Lamb won't offer much else in terms of fantasy value, so the hope here is that he continues to be given more shots as the season wanes.

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.