Sometimes it's pretty hard to part with a player you've drafted or picked up from the waiver wire in high hopes of a good return on your investment. And the longer you've stuck with him, the harder it is to let go. But swapping him for a good opportunity left available in the free agent pool at just the right time might just prove to be crucial for your fantasy playoffs run.
The three guys we're talking about this week have all been affected directly or indirectly by trades, trade rumors or injuries. All of them have potential to see their value grow over the next period and we will be taking a look at their seasons so far and what can be expected from them moving forward.
Here are today's Week 17 deeper league waiver wire pickups for your fantasy basketball teams.Editor's Note: Our industry-leading NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer/Generator tool helps you build winning DFS lineups in seconds. Try it now for free, and get an edge on your competition. Sign Up Now!
Deep League Waiver Wire Add
Maurice Harkless, SF, POR (28% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
In the first half of the season Maurice Harkless was starting for the Blazzers and had over 30 minutes a night. His stats from those 40 games show just how good and, even more importantly, fantasy relevant he was: 11.8 PTS and 1.2 3PM on 50.0 FG% and 69.4 FT%, 5.1 REB, 0.9 AST, 1.2 STL, 0.9 BLK and 1.4 TO in 31 minutes per outing. That had him ranked comfortably in the top-100.
But then he suffered a left calf strain which made him miss one game. In his return on Jan. 16 he posted a dud against the Washington Wizzards and has been on a slump ever since. The injury seems to have had a long term impact, since Maurice also missed two games in late January because of it.
He seems to have lost a bit of confidence in himself as he is shooting just 38.4% from the field and 50.0% from the line which is good enough for 6.4 points and 0.5 threes along with 3.5 boards, 1.3 dimes, 1.1 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.8 turnovers after the injury. And as a result his coach seems to have lost confidence in him too as Maurice played only 23 minutes per game in those 12 games.
Here is the positive side of Maurice's outlook.
First, he is still getting those defensive stats that make him more desirable as a fantasy asset.
Second, a trade that sent Mason Plumlee and a second round pick to Denver in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic and a first rounder might help Harkless get some of his minutes back. Plumlee is clearly regarded the better player of the two (hence Denver's 1st rounder for Portland's 2nd rounder to compensate) and seems to have been a better fit in Portland than Jusuf will be. It's all up in the air in Portland's frontcourt and at the SF spot at the moment so if Maurice gets healthy and gets his shot back, he could be back to his role from around a month and a half ago.
Also, he played very well against the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 13, scoring 17 points with three threes on 7-of-15 from the field, grabbing nine boards, dishing out two assists, getting a steal, two blocks and turning the ball over twice. Sure, neither Plumlee nor Nurkic played in that game which opened up more minutes, but Maurice showed that he still has it in him.
The dark side of the moon is that Al-Farouq Aminu is playing very well again and might be coming for Harkless' minutes. Also, The Nurk has great upside, and it wouldn't be too surprising to see him take more offensive touches away from the "supporting cast" which includes almost everyone apart from C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard.
It is a bit of a gamble on Harkless, with him not playing up to the standards he set for himself in the first few months of the season, but it's one that might just pay off.
Super Deep League Waiver Wire Add
Ben McLemore, SG, SAC (13% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
Ben McLemore has been on the Kings' shelf for a part of the season. He's played in only 42 out of Sacramento's 57 games, and only 18 minutes per contest. It came up to a point where there were serious trade speculations involving him and Arron Afflalo, and it was uncertain if either one of them will finish the season on the team in which they started it.
When Rudy Gay suffered a season ending injury on Jan. 18 and Ben was still overlooked as Afflalo and Matt Barnes got most of Gay's minutes it wasn't looking good. But then, on Feb. 3, he got the chance to fill in for Afflalo who was out with an illness. He took the most of the opportunity given to him. He torched the Suns with 18 points going 6-of-12 from the field, 3-for-6 from beyond the arc and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe. And he's stuck around since.
In his last eight games McLemore has averaged 12.8 PTS with 2.8 3PM on 44.3 FG% and 83.3 FT%, 2.8 REB, 1.5 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.3 BLK and 1.4 TO in 31 minutes a game. It seems his poor start to the season and the trade rumors are well behind him.
In McLemore you get a three-point threat who can get you points and decent steals with good FT%, but not too much of other stats. His outlook in Sacramento looks good at the moment, as it is still possible that Afflalo will be moved before the deadline, which would probably mean that Ben's minutes will be safe.
Super Deep League Waiver Wire Add
Norman Powell, SG/SF, TOR (6% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
Norman Powell has been on a heck of a roller coaster this season. His lowest scoring has been zero and highest 21 points in a game. Those fluctuations are heavily linked to his playing time as he played a season low two minutes at the start of the season but his season high was 40 minutes on Jan. 31. That's some infuriating inconsistency in playing time for the second year youngster.
He finally got an opportunity when DeMar DeRozan suffered an ankle injury. DeRozan missed three games, returned for just one and then sat out another four in the period from Jan. 24 to Feb. 5. In those eight games Powell averaged 11.1 PTS with 2.4 3PM on 40.8 FG% (40.4% from deep) and 61.5 FT%, 3.3 REB, 1.3 AST, 0.6 STL, 0.5 BLK and 1.4 TO in 25 minutes a game. The poor percentages are uncharacteristic for Powell who is averaging 44.1 FG% and 78.7 FT% in his only two seasons in the NBA. Higher volume of contested shots without DeRozan there to draw defenders and fatigue from playing more minutes than he is used to took their toll. But if he keeps getting the time he will get used to it, tire less and start shooting better.
With DeMar back, there was no way Powell would be getting that many minutes. But, on Feb. 14 Toronto traded Powell's direct competition for minutes, Terrence Ross, to the Orlando Magic for Serge Ibaka (Toronto also added a first-round draft pick). In the two games since the trade, Powell averaged 15.0 PTS with 1.5 3PM on 45.0 FG% and 75.0 FT%, 2.0 REB, 2.0 AST, 2.5 STL, no blocks and 1.5 TO in 23 minutes per game.
Those minutes are around what we can expect Powell getting going forward, and if he can keep using them like this, he could be worth owning in a lot more then just 6% of leagues. If your deep league team could use some additional scoring, threes and some steals, I wouldn't wait around too long to pull the trigger on Powell.
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