Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Week 22

The key to winning your fantasy basketball league is not how well you draft, but the players you add off waivers. This is extremely important because securing hidden talent could replace those late-round selections that aren’t having the best season. As always, both opportunity and performance are taken into consideration for these players. Learn to think like a NERD!

Guards

Cameron Payne, PG, Phoenix Suns
When Chris Paul was ruled to be out 6-8 weeks with a fractured thumb, Cameron Payne was expected to be the new starting point guard for the time being. He’s done a great job keeping the Suns afloat as a top contender in the Western Conference. In his last seven games, Payne has averaged 15 points, four rebounds, 10 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He’s also only averaged 2.4 turnovers, giving him over a 4:1 assist to turnover ratio. He’s expected to hold the job until the end of the regular season, giving him great value for fantasy playoffs. 

Malik Monk, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers
Once a lottery pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Malik Monk has found some new light with the Los Angeles Lakers despite massive struggles as a team. He continues to be a productive scorer and could see himself a solid paycheck over the summer. In his last 10 games, Monk has averaged 13 points, four rebounds, three assists, and 1.4 steals per game. He’s also shot nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc in those same games. He’s the hot hand to ride with and a great option for the fantasy playoffs. 

Josh Hart, SG/SF, Portland Trail Blazers
Josh Hart has had his wonders since being traded to the Blazers for CJ McCullom. Not only has he totaled 75 points over his last two games. But Hart has averaged 18 points, six rebounds, four assists, and 1.4 steals per game in his nine games with the team. His shooting percentages are decent for his volume, maintaining around 47 percent from the field on 13 attempts. He’s already shaping up to be a quality cornerpiece for the rebuilding Blazers. He also has a high upside for the fantasy playoffs as the number one scoring option. 

Forwards

Darius Bazley, SF/PF, Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder have a plethora of young talent to mix through and watch who may become the next star to partner with Shai Gilgous-Alexander. While far from a star, Darius Bazley has been able to put on productive stretches on games for the team. In his last 10 games, he’s averaged 10 points, six rebounds, and a steal and a block per game. He could still use some improvement in his three-point shooting, as he’s already hitting around 25 percent from beyond the arc. But he’s still a solid option with a ton of opportunity on a rebuilding team. 

Trendon Watford, PF, Portland Trail Blazers
With a lot of players on the Blazers dealing with injuries, Trendon Watford has been bumped up in the rotation and has responded well with his production. In his last 10 games, Watford has averaged 12 points and six rebounds a game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 41 percent from beyond the arc. His role going forward is unclear once players start coming back. But it is a sign that the Blazers have another player with upside in the future. 

Dorian Finney-Smith, SF/PF, Dallas Mavericks
Once going undrafted, Dorian Finney-Smith has worked his way towards earning a four-year extension worth $52 million. His elite perimeter defense and catch-and-shoot threes have been key for the Mavericks this year. He’s currently on one of the better production runs this season. In his last 10 games, Finney-Smith has averaged 15 points, five rebounds, and a steal per game. He’s also done a phenomenal job shooting around 51 percent from beyond the arc. He’s a reliable option for the remainder of the season. 

Jonathan Kuminga, SF/PF, Golden State Warriors
The seventh overall pick in the 2021 Draft has done a good job creating playing opportunities for himself despite playing on a team with a ton of depth. Johnathan Kuminga has continued to raise his upside and has already solidified himself as a rotation player for the remainder of the season. In his last 10 games, Kuminga has averaged 15 points and five rebounds per game. He’s also done well shooting above 50 percent from the field. Kuminga has also shown solid improvement in three-point shooting, averaging 39 percent in the same 10 games. 

Centers

Isaiah Hartenstein, PF/C, Los Angeles Clippers
After showing strong flashes with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Denver Nuggets, Isaiah Hartenstein is now with the Clippers as a consistent and reliable big man off the bench for the crew. Over his last 10 games, Hartenstein has averaged nine points, five rebounds, three assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. He’s also been efficient, shooting over 70 percent from the field in those same games. He’s not the most appealing player off waivers, but he is one of the more dependable players.

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Week 21

The key to winning your fantasy basketball league is not how well you draft, but the players you add off waivers. This is extremely important because securing hidden talent could replace those late-round selections that aren’t having the best season. As always, both opportunity and performance are taken into consideration for these players. Learn to think like a NERD!

Guards

Monte Morris, PG, Denver Nuggets
A consistent point guard throughout his entire career, Monte Morris has been tasked with handling a lot more duties this season with Jamal Murray still recovering from a torn ACL. He’s been able to put on some stretches of games where he is hot from the field. In his last 10 games, Morris has averaged 13 points, five assists, and less than turnover a game. He’s also done well shooting above 50 percent from the field and above 45 percent from beyond the arc. his role should stay consistent with the fantasy playoffs around the corner and no signal that Murray is coming back before then. 

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG/SF, Washington Wizards
A member of the trade that sent Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been a productive 3 and D player for the Wizards, who are still trying to turn the corner. He’s been on a bit of a hot streak as of late. In his last 10 games, KCP has averaged 17 points, three rebounds, three assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He’s also shot a stellar 51 percent from beyond the arc. His role should also stay consistent going forward since Bradley Beal is expected to miss the remainder of the season. 

Malachi Flynn, PG, Toronto Raptors
With Fred VanVleet being out for the last five games, Malachi Flynn has been able to show off his improvements in his second season. In the four games that Flynn has been able to start in, he’s averaged 16 points, four rebounds, six assists, and a steal per game. He’s also shot an effective 55 percent from three as well. It is unclear when FVV will return to the starting lineup, but Flynn is worth watching on radars for the time being since Nick Nurse relies on his starters heavily.

Forwards

Cam Johnson, SF/PF, Phoenix Suns
After being selected in the lottery a few seasons ago, Cam Johnson has filled out to be a solid player off the bench for the Suns. He’s been on one of the best stretches of his entire career since the All-Star Break. In his last 10 games, Johnson has averaged 17 points, three rebounds, and three assists per game. He’s also shot a very impressive 53 percent from the field, 50 percent from three, and 93 percent from the free-throw line. Johnson has seemed to find his role coming off the bench but it wouldn’t be surprising if he was moved to the starting lineup if his defense improved. 

Jalen Smith, PF, Indiana Pacers
Mentioned on last week’s waiver wire as a player who could break out with his new team, Jalen Smith has done just that with the Pacers. He recently finished a game with 15 points and 15 rebounds. he’s averaged a double-double over his last four games. He’s also shot 57 percent from the field and 37 percent from three on over four attempts per game. After looking like an early bust from his class, Smith has turned his trajectory around to looking like a quality cornerstone for the future of the Pacers. 

Chuma Okeke, PF, Orlando Magic
Chuma Okeke has been on the radar for the entire season as a young prospect who could show a ton of improvement in his second season. While he has yet to show that consistently, Okeke has been on a better stretch of games as of later. Over his last 10 games, Okeke has averaged 11 points, six rebounds, and 2.2 steals per game. He’s shown decent improvement in his three-point shooting, but that’s certainly an aspect he could still improve upon. He’s a great player to add for deeper formatted fantasy leagues. 

Centers

Isaiah Roby, PF/C, Oklahoma City Thunder
Even with all the young talent, the Thunder have throughout the roster, Isaiah Roby is one of the more underrated within that core. He’s been on a bit of a breakout of his own in recent games. Over his last nine games, Roby has averaged 12 points, six rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game. However, he’s averaged as high as 15 points and seven boards over his last six games. Roby could be a solid frontcourt contributor going forward if he were to stay consistent with his production. 

DeMarcus Cousins, C, Denver Nuggets
Despite not playing a full season with one team since 2019, DeMarcus Cousins has still been able to produce well with whatever team he’s playing for. Now with the Nuggets, Cousins has done well filling a backup center role they’ve been looking for since JaVale McGee left in free agency. Over his last five games with the team, Cousins has averaged 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and 1.4 steals per game. He’s also shot 56 percent from the field and 45 percent from three on just over two attempts. Even past his prime, Cousins can still play high-quality basketball at 31 years old.

UFC 272 Predictions

UFC returns to the familiar city of Las Vegas to settle some bad blood between two former American Top Team teammates in Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal. The two combatants will get to settle their hatred for each other in a five-round main event. While this is the first pay-per-view card that doesn’t feature a belt or Conor McGregor in a very long time, this is not a card to overlook.

A lot of quality prospects will have their chance to raise their stock to hopefully get a crack at the rankings. Mariya Agapova, Umar Nurmagovedov, Devonta Smith, Nicolae Negumereanu, Kennedy Nzechukwu, and Jalin Turner are some of the more recognizable names scattered across the prelims.

Let’s dive right into the predictions of what should be another exciting main card.

Previous Prediction Record: 32-20

SERGEY SPIVAK VS. GREG HARDY

Former NFL star, Greg Hardy, was once poised to be a top prospect in the heavyweight division. But after being knocked out in his last two fights against Marcin Tybura and Tai Tuivasa while becoming the first fighter to ever miss the heavyweight weight limit, Hardy has lost some of his spotlight. His opponent, Sergey Spivak, is coming off of a loss to Tom Aspinall, but has ripped off key wins against Alexey Oleynik, Jared Vanderaa, and Carlos Felipe. His mixture of strong wrestling and power striking has given him a myriad of finishes throughout his career. Unless Hardy shows great improvement in his overall wrestling defense, I expect that to be his Spivak’s primary formula to secure the win and have him back on track moving up the heavyweight rankings.

Official Prediction: Spivak by Submission

KEVIN HOLLAND VS. ALEX OLIVEIRA

After going 5-0 in 2020, Kevin Holland’s wrestling defensive flaws were exposed by dropping his last two main event bouts to Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori in 2021. Holland followed those fights with a no-contest against Kyle Daukaus after an accidental clash of heads.  A new year comes with a new change for Holland as he finally moves down weight classes to 170 pounds after teasing the idea for months. His 170 pound debut comes against veteran Alex Oliveira, an experienced wrestler who is currently on a three-fight losing streak. Holland’s frame and length proved to be a massive advantage at middleweight and that should only be a bigger advantage at a lighter weight class. Assuming he’s improved his take-down defense during training sessions leading up to the bout, Kevin Holland should have a pretty convincing win and put the rest of the class on notice.

Official Prediction: Holland by KO/TKO

EDSON BARBOZA VS. BRYCE MITCHELL

Season 27 winner of The Ultimate Fighter, Bryce Mitchell, returns after a 17-month layoff to square off against veteran Edson Barboza. A slick submission specialist, Mitchell AKA “Thug Nasty,” is riding a five-fight winning streak including four decision wins, proving his durability and cardio to endure multiple rounds. Approximately 45 percent of his time inside of the octagon has been spent on the ground, a level that only fighters such as Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev have met. His formula to win is ground and pound with an eventual submission. But his main concern should be Barboza’s hands as he is the clear favorite in the striking department. Barboza also hasn’t been submitted since 2015 by Tony Ferguson, so Mitchell has a tall mountain to climb. I think it will be a tough task considering the layoff too. I expect Barboza to bank another win against a young up-and-comer and hold his ranking.

Official Prediction: Barboza by Unanimous Decision

RAFAEL DOS ANJOS VS. RENATO MOICANO

After Rafael Fizev had to pull out due to a positive COVID-19 test, Renato Moicano joined the card on 10 days notice and the fight has been moved up to 160 lb catchweight. Moicano is coming off a submission win against Alexander Hernandez in February at UFC 271. He now faces former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos, who is fighting his second bout since moving back down from 170. He showcased a dominant win against Paul Felder, but that was 16 months ago and injuries have delayed his return to the octagon. Grappling will take center stage in this matchup as both fighters combine for 19 submission finishes. I do think Moicano’s best strategy is to avoid groundwork as he did not have a full camp coming into this fight. Moicano has a chance to win in the stand-up, but I think it’s a tough task to pull off an upset against a former champ who is back in his natural weight class and hungry to get back to fighting.

Official Prediction: dos Anjos by Unanimous Decision

COLBY COVINGTON VS. JORGE MASVIDAL

Entering his 51st professional bout, Jorge Masvidal, is known as the guy who can pull off sneaky victories where he isn’t favored. His flying knee knockout of Ben Askren will go down as one of the best finishes of all time. Wins over Darren Till and Nate Diaz show his grit and toughness in situations where he’s labeled as the underdog. Covington has to make this a wrestling match to have any chance of winning. Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal is a huge challenge stand-up-wise because of his dynamic style with a lot of kick and knee movement. Recent back-to-back losses against Kamaru Usman have to spark some fire for Masvidal to improve his wrestling defense. I think if the bad blood is real between the two, the big brother effect will play at large too. As Masvidal has stated that he provided a lot for Covington upon entering the MMA scene. I think Gamebred shows off for the fans and adds another exciting finish to his resume of knockouts.

Official Prediction: Masvidal by KO/TKO

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Week 20

The key to winning your fantasy basketball league is not how well you draft, but the players you add off waivers. This is extremely important because securing hidden talent could replace those late-round selections that aren’t having the best season. As always, both opportunity and performance are taken into consideration for these players. Learn to think like a NERD!

Guards

Bruce Brown, SG, Brooklyn Nets
After being considered a steal when traded from the Detroit Pistons to the Brooklyn Nets, Bruce Brown has been a critical role player for the Nets as they continue to work through injuries to their star players. In his last 10 games, Brown has averaged 10 points, five rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. He’s been excellent with his shot selection, hitting around 50 percent from the field. And while not taking many three-pointers, Brown has averaged 53 percent from three. His role will continue to be important if the Nets want to stay alive in the playoff hunt while Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons continue to work towards their return. 

Tre Mann, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Mentioned on last week’s waiver wire after having a 30 point game against the New York Knicks, Tre Mann has taken a solid jump as he’s been included in the starting lineup. In his last 10 games, Mann has averaged 13 points, three rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. He could use some major improvement on his shooting percentages, as he only averaged 36 percent from the field and 31 percent from beyond the arc. But at only 21 years old, he has plenty of room for improvement. It’s important that Mark Daigneault is including him in the rotation. 

Raul Neto, PG, Washington Wizards
Now in his second season with the Washington Wizards, Raul Neto has seen an increased role with Bradley Beal going down for the rest of the season. In his last 10 games where he has started in seven of them, Neto has averaged 11 points, five assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He’s also shot a solid 48 percent from the field in those same games. While the Wizards are still a bubble team in the Eastern Conference, Neto should see a consistent role for the rest of the season.

Forwards

Bogdon Bogdanovic, SG/SF, Atlanta Hawks
After having one of his best seasons last year, Bogdon Bogdanovic has struggled a bit to put on that same kind of production as he’s been in and out of the lineup with injuries. He has improved a little bit of late, averaging 17 points, four rebounds, four assists, and 1.8 steals over his last 10 games. He’s also shot a lethal 43 percent from beyond the arc in those same games. Now looking to be fully healthy, Bogdanovic could be lined up for a productive end-of-the-season run. 

Terance Mann, SF, Los Angeles Clippers
After a stellar playoff run with the Clippers last season, Terance Mann has failed to establish consistent production due to a lot of changes in the team’s lineup. In his last 10 games, Mann has averaged 13 points, six rebounds, three assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He’s also shot a stellar 53 percent from the field. It’s hard to determine what his role is going forward as he has been featured in and out of the starting lineup with fluctuating minutes but he has proven to be productive with whatever role he’s given. 

Oshae Brissett, PF, Indiana Pacers
After Domantas Sabonis was traded to the Sacramento Kings, a lot of rotation changes were made to the frontcourt of the Pacers. With that, Oshae Brissett has benefited a ton from the changes. In his last six games since the trade, Brissett has averaged 16 points, eight rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. He’s also shot around 14 field goals a game, hitting about 43 percent of them. He’s been involved a ton in the offense since the trade deadline and that should only continue for the rest of the fantasy season. 

Jalen Smith, PF, Indiana Pacers
Jalen Smith is another player who has benefited well after he was traded from the Phoenix Suns to the Indiana Pacers. He’s finally been given the opportunity to show his game after being drafted to a very crowded frontcourt. In his six games with the Pacers, Smith has averaged 12 points and seven rebounds. He’s shot a very impressive 45 percent from beyond the arc, something he never got to showcase with the Suns. He still has a ton of upside as a top-10 draft pick from only a year ago and should have plenty of opportunities to improve with the Pacers going forward. 

Centers

Andre Drummond, C, Brooklyn Nets
After being part of the James Harden deal that shipped him to Philadelphia, Andre Drummond has been given an opportunity to join a new team’s starting lineup after primarily being the backup with the 76ers. In his first five games with the Brooklyn Nets, Drummond has averaged 11 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and 1.4 steals per game. He’s also done well shooting 56 percent from the field, his best since his second season in the NBA. He’s a solid pickup if still available as he fills a critical role for the Nets who are looking to stay in the playoff hunt.

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Mid-Season’s Best

The key to winning your fantasy basketball league is not how well you draft, but the players you add off waivers. This is extremely important because securing hidden talent could replace those late-round selections that aren’t having the best season. As always, both opportunity and performance are taken into consideration for these players. Learn to think like a NERD!

With the All-Star Break here, we look at some of the best pickups throughout the first half of this season. Some honorable mentions include Josh GiddeyWill Barton, and Josh Hart

Guards

Jalen Brunson, PG/SG, Dallas Mavericks
One of the more underrated players in the NBA, Villanova alumni, Jalen Brunson, continues to play some impressive basketball after being a second-round selection. In his fourth season, Brunson is averaging career bests in points (16.3), rebounds (3.8), assists (5.4), and steals (0.9). His shooting percentages are down but still better compared to his earlier seasons. He’s a well-polished prospect at 25 years old. He’s also been a very consistent and effective pickup off the waiver wire. 

Cole Anthony, PG, Orlando Magic
After a raw rookie season, Cole Anthony exploded into his second season with the Orlando Magic. He became the best guard on the team despite the team spending a top-five selection on Jalen Suggs. Anthony has made a jump this season in points (17.7), rebounds (5.8), assists (5.9), and steals (0.8). He could improve with his deep-ball shooting. But his athleticism and explosiveness make him one of the better prospects at only 21 years old. He’s served well to anyone who was able to scoop him in the first few days of the regular season. 

Tyrese Maxey, SG/PG, Philadelphia 76ers
With Ben Simmons expected to sit out games coming into the regular season, Tyrese Maxey was a prime target who could have a huge second jump in the NBA. He’s done just that as he’s made jumps in points (16.9, nearly double last season), rebounds (3.5), and assists (4.6). He’s also shown massive improvement in his three-point shooting, jumping from 30 to 39 percent. He’s also been one of the better prospects in the NBA and it’ll be interesting what his role becomes with James Harden going forward for the Philadelphia backcourt.

Forwards

Desmond Bane, SG/SF, Memphis Grizzlies
Few expected Desmond Bane to make the kind of jump he did this season. After being mainly three and d player off the bench, Bane has now held the role as a primary perimeter scorer with Ja Morant. Averaging 17 points, four rebounds, and 1.2 steals while shooting 41 percent from three, Bane has been huge for the Grizzlies jump as a team this season. He’s also been one of the best players off the waiver wire this season. Proving his consistency and ability to have huge games had been critical for the Most Improved Player of the Year Award contender to show his worth in fantasy. 

Franz Wagner, SF/PF, Orlando Magic
Franz Wagner quickly turned into being the more promising rookie for the Orlando Magic despite not being the higher one drafted. He has yet to miss a game this season and has been stellar and consistent in his play. He’s averaging 16 points, five rebounds, three assists, and nearly a steal per game. He’s shooting a solid 37 percent from beyond the arc. He’s a frontrunner for Rookie of the Year and has a ton of promise going forward for the Orlando Magic who is looking to turn it around as a franchise. 

Gary Trent Jr., SG/SF, Toronto Raptors
After being traded from the Portland Trail Blazers, Gary Trent Jr. made a massive jump and has only continued that in his first full season with the Toronto Raptors. He’s made a huge improvement defensively, now averaging nearly two steals per game after never averaging more than one in a season. He’s averaging a career-high 19 points per game while also shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc. He’s proven to be another cornerstone in the new-look Raptors who have since moved on from the Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan duo. 

Centers

Evan Mobley, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Many questioned what kind of impact Evan Mobley could have being partnered alongside another interior big man in Jarrett Allen, who signed an extension in the off-season. That was quickly doubted when Mobley found his craft on defense and in the mid-range game offensively. He’s been more than impressive in his rookie season, averaging 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and 1.6 blocks per game. He’s done well shooting around 50 percent from the field. While it isn’t necessary, a three-point shot could make Mobley become an elite all-around player. 

Bobby Portis, PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks
After putting on a very strong season with the Milwaukee Bucks in their championship run, it was surprising that Bobby Portis wasn’t being considered a decent draft selection in the leagues the following season. Nonetheless, he is proving again to be a quality producer for the Bucks. Portis is averaging 15 points, nine rebounds, and nearly a steal and a block per game. He continues to be elite from beyond the arc, hitting around 40 percent on almost five attempts per game. Maybe with a second strong season, he’ll be considered a quality fantasy draft selection for years to come.

Oregon Rebounds Offensively as the Ducks Cruise Past UCLA

After offensive struggles in their series against Oregon State that ended with each team earning a win, Oregon came out against UCLA with a much better offensive performance in their 67-53 win over the UCLA Bruins. 

The Ducks opened up the first quarter with three assists on their first three baskets, including an opening three from Maddie Scherr. For a team that only averages about 15 assists a game, they ended with 11 in the first half. The Ducks had a much better offensive output in the first half as well. Oregon finished the first half hitting 51 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Te-Hina Paopao, Endyia Rogers, and Maddie Scherr all finished the first half with two threes each. Oregon also did a great job defensively only holding the Bruins to 36 percent shooting in the first half. Oregon ended the first half doubling UCLA’s score, 40-20. 

While the second half was much more scrapper compared to the first, Oregon still prevailed in keeping a consistent lead over UCLA. The third quarter kicked with a four-point play from Charisma, who finished with a team-high 16 points and 5 rebounds but shot very inefficiently, 6-15 from the floor. Dominique Onu also scored 16 points of her own for the Bruins, off the bench. UCLA did outscore the Ducks by 10 and was out-rebounded by 9 in the third quarter. But Oregon’s offense prevailed in the fourth quarter, not allowing the Bruins to ever close the gap from the first half. Despite being outrebounded in the third quarter, the Ducks fixed that and outrebounded the Bruins by 5. UCLA struggled shooting 4-18 as the game came to an end. 

Sedona Prince refound her offensive groove, finishing with nine points, five rebounds, and two blocks off the bench for the Ducks. While the big three of Sabally, Paopao, and Rogers combined for 43 points. While the Ducks held UCLA’s top three scorers in Osbourne, Ilmar’l Thomas, and Jaelynn Penn to only 22 points. Sabally had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Oregon did finish with 16 assists to 13 turnovers. Paopao also had a strong game defensively with 3 steals. A lot of strong performances down to the 12 women off the bench for the Ducks. The Ducks look forward to facing the California Golden Bears on Friday before facing off against Stanford, the number two team in the country.

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Week 18

The key to winning your fantasy basketball league is not how well you draft, but the players you add off waivers. This is extremely important because securing hidden talent could replace those late-round selections that aren’t having the best season. Here at NFS, we provide the best picks for players you should grab off waivers now before it is too late. As always, both opportunity and performance are taken into consideration for these players. Learn to think like a NERD! 

Guards

Cam Thomas, SG, Brooklyn Nets
One of the most underrated freshmen in college basketball last year, Cam Thomas slid to the 27th overall pick for his lack of defensive ability and lack of efficiency offensively. Nonetheless, his scoring has carried over into the pros, giving Brooklyn a much-needed scoring option with Kevin Durant and James Harden out. In his last 10 games, Thomas has averaged 15 points and three rebounds per game. He’s also improved from three compared to his season average at 27 percent. He’s hit 35 percent of his attempts over the same games. He’s a great option while the team continues to recover. 

Coby White, PG, Chicago Bulls
Once a lottery pick for the Chicago Bulls, Coby White has found a specialized role with the team as a scoring sixth man. He’s been more important now with Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball dealing with long-term injuries. In his last 10 games, White has averaged 15 points, four rebounds, and three assists. He’s also improved a ton in his shooting percentages, hitting 44 percent from the field and 42 percent from beyond the arc. One of the biggest flaws in his first two seasons was his shooting percentages so even if White becomes a permanent sixth man, he’s still worth picking up in most formats. 

Tre Mann, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Selected with the 18th overall pick last summer, Tre Mann has shown some solid promise for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Mann carries a lot of length which converts to being a lethal attacker in the paint. He’s also proved to be a decent shooter as well. he recently finished with 30 points and two steals against the New York Knicks. He’s a solid complementary player alongside Josh Giddey and Luguentz Dort as another dynamic scorer.

Forwards

Darius Bazley, SF/PF, Oklahoma City Thunder
After choosing to skip college, Darius Bazley is still trying to prove why that’s a better path to the pros. He continues to show slow growth every season since being drafted. This season has been one of Bazley’s best defensively, becoming a reliable forward on both ends of the floor. In his last 10 games, Bazley has averaged 13 points, eight rebounds, 1.2 steals, and a block per game. He’s also shot 43 percent from beyond the arc during those same games. 

Justice Winslow, SF, Portland Trail Blazers
After being in a fairly lopsided trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, Justice Winslow has actually shown some promise in his first four games with the Blazers. In those four games, he’s averaging 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and nearly two steals per game. He’s also shooting a decent 47 percent from the field, an improvement nonetheless from his time with the Clippers. He still has to prove he can be a consistent producer for the tea, but he’s showing early promise for a rebuilding Blazers team. 

Johnathan Kuminga, SF/PF, Golden State Warriors
Being one of the first players to play for the G-League Ignite team, Johnathan Kuminga has shown some solid skill when playing significant minutes for an already loaded Golden State Warriors team. He’s already shown to be very promising for the future if they were to shuffle some players around in the offseason. In his last 10 games, Kuminga has averaged 13 points, four rebounds, and is shooting 57 percent from the field. And despite the loaded frontcourt, he’s already showing he can be reliable for deeper formatted fantasy leagues. 

Centers

Steven Adams, C, Memphis Grizzlies
After being traded from the New Orleans Pelicans, Steven Adams has been a staple veteran for the Memphis Grizzlies who have made a major jump this season. He’s been a reliable center who doesn’t need a ton of touches, giving more for Ja Morant and Desmon Bane. In his last 10 games, Adams has averaged eight points, 11 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, and nearly four assists per game. His passing out of the post has been an underrated aspect of his success this season. He’s a create consistent center off the waivers who generally stays healthy throughout the season. 

JaVale McGee, C, Phoenix Suns
After missing a few games earlier this season, JaVale McGee hasn’t missed a step in proving a critical backup center role for the Phoenix Suns. In only about 16 minutes per game over his 10 games, McGee has been able to average an impressive 10 points, seven rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game while shooting 65 percent from the field. He’s proved to be even more dangerous when DeAndre Ayton misses games. He’s a perfect unpopular pick off waivers because of his simplistic playstyle and little minutes compared to other players. Yet, he is still able to produce better than some starters per 36 minutes.

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Week 17

The key to winning your fantasy basketball league is not how well you draft, but the players you add off waivers. This is extremely important because securing hidden talent could replace those late-round selections that aren’t having the best season. Here at NFS, we provide the best picks for players you should grab off waivers now before it is too late. As always, both opportunity and performance are taken into consideration for these players. Learn to think like a NERD! Check out the NBA Player Consistency Rankings to see how consistent, good or bad, players are, determined by stats, not hunches or anecdotal evidence!

Guards

Ayo Dosunmu, SG/PG, Chicago Bulls
With the Chicago Bulls dealing with multiple injuries to their backcourt, rookie Ayo Dosunmu has been given an early opportunity to show off his game in the pros. Dosunmu has actually been quite impressive and has already shown he’s ahead of the curve. In his last 10 games, he’s averaged 11 points, four rebounds, seven assists, and a steal per game. He’s also averaged less than two turnovers during that stretch, adding another element to his elite passing skill. He still has a ton of upside as a rookie while the Bulls recover. 

Patty Mills, PG, Brooklyn Nets
After spending 10 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, Patty Mills now joins the hopeful contenders in the Brooklyn Nets as an important supporting player. He’s also been able to keep a solid role with Kyrie Irving only being able to play road games and James Harden constantly dealing with injuries. In his last 10 games, Mills has averaged 16 points, two assists, and a steal per game. He’s also been shooting a tremendous 44 percent from beyond the arc. His role should stay consistent based on the history with Brooklyn’s big three, giving Mills great value for the rest of the season.

Davion Mitchell, PG, Sacramento Kings
A questionable draft selection with an already loaded backcourt, Davion Mitchell has been able to carve out a role for himself while De’Aaron Fox deals with an injury. Mitchell has been able to show off his defensive ability that earned the ninth overall selection at Baylor. In his last 10 games, Mitchell has averaged 16 points, five assists, and a steal per game. He’s also shooting right around the league average of 37 percent from the beyond the arc. His fantasy value is limited once Fox returns, but there have been rumors of Fox wanting out. This could drastically improve Mitchell’s outlook for the rest of the season. 

De’Anthony Melton, PG/SG, Memphis Grizzlies
Improving every single season since coming into the league, De’Anthony Melton has worked his way into becoming an important bench piece for the rising Memphis Grizzlies. He’s played a solid role in their ascend to now being a contending team in the Western Conference. In his last 10 games, Melton has averaged 12 points, five rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game. He’s also shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc. He’s also only averaging around 22 minutes a game but still finding ways to be productive. He’s a consistent and reliable player off the waivers. 

Forwards

Jarred Vanderbilt, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
Being on this column multiple, Jarred Vanderbilt has yet to give any reason why he isn’t a weekly candidate for the waiver wire report. He continues to be a productive defensive anchor for the Timberwolves and has been a big reason for their improvement this season. In his last 10 games, Vanderbilt has averaged nine points, eight rebounds, and two steals a game. He’s also shooting 60 percent from the field as well. He’s been very effective with his simplified playstyle. Vanderbilt is still only 22 despite already in his third season and still has plenty of room to grow. 

Reggie Bullock, SF/SG, Dallas Mavericks
A free-agent signing to add more shooting around Luka Doncic, Reggie Bullock has actually had a down season with the Mavericks. But with Tim Hrdaway Jr. out for a few weeks, Bullock has stepped up in a massive way. In his last 10 games, Bullock has averaged 13 points, five rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game. He’s also been shooting 43 percent from three which is much higher than his 35 percent average on the season. He’s been averaging as high as 19 points in his last six games. He’s heating up quick, making Bullock a must-grab off waivers. 

Javonte Green, SG/SF, Chicago Bulls
In a similar situation with Ayo Dosunmu, Javonte Green has been asked to fill some big shoes while the Bulls recover from injuries to multiple players in their backcourt. In his last eight games, Green has averaged 12 points, four rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game. He’s also been shooting an effective 61 percent from the field. Green is better known for his defensive ability. But it is tough to gauge his fantasy value once the entire roster is healthy. For now, he’s a great pickup in defensive-heavy leagues. 

Centers

Jaxson Hayes, C, New Orleans Pelicans
Even with Jonas Valanciunas being a highly productive and consistent center on the roster, Jaxson Hayes has been able to find an effective role off the bench for the New Orleans Pelicans. In his last 10 games, Hayes has averaged 12 points, five rebounds, and nearly a block per game in only about 22 minutes per game. He’s also shooting an extremely effective 74 percent from the field, giving him great fantasy value off the waiver. It is tough to gauge his value across the rest of the season as a backup center but it’s worth picking him up while he’s hot.

UFC 271 Predictions

The UFC returns in a quick fashion after an electric PPV to kick off 2022 in January. They to return to the popular destination of Houston, Texas where another exciting rematch will be put on display and a hopeful hometown legend looking to give his city the performance they truly deserve. Nonetheless, the prelims are filled with a ton of exciting matchups. Casey O’Neill is a soring prospect in the women’s Flyweight division and a win over Roxanne Modafferi, who has 45 professional bouts coming in, could make her one of the best prospects in the UFC right now. William Knight also looks to raise his stock against veteran Maxim Grishin. Finally, future hall of fame Andre Arlovski returns for his 53rd professional bout and his 36th in the UFC. Carl Ulberg and Fabio Cherant are two of the better prospects at Light Heavyweight and that should be an exciting fight to kick off the prelims. Nonetheless, let’s dive into a very exciting main card and my picks for the event.

Previous Prediction Record: 30-17

BOBBY GREEN VS. NASRAT HAQPARAST

To kick off the main card, Nasrat Haqparast returns, after a loss to Dan Hooker at UFC 266, to hopefully realign himself as a talented prospect in one of the more stacked divisions in the promotion. He faces against Bobby Green who is 2-2 in his last four but coming off of a first-round finish against Al Iaquinta in November of 2021. But when facing elite prospects such as Rafael Fiziev and Tiago Moises, Green has been shown to struggle with technical skill and more of a reckless style of fighting. While this may be much more entertaining for casual fans, it isn’t entirely a winning formula unless your name is Conor McGregor. With a lot more motivation from Haqparast, I expect him to put on one of his better performances with powerful striking and great mechanics.

Official Prediction: Haqparast by Unanimous Decision

ALEXANDER HERNANDEZ VS. RENATO MOICANO

With some movement on the card, Alexander Hernandez and Renato Moicano are now expected to square off on the main card in a closely contested matchup between two fighters who have had their fair share in the promotion. Hernandez has failed to have a winning streak of more than two since 2018 when he first joined the UFC. But he has earned his fair share of finishes including Chris Gruetzemacher and his most recent one against Mike Breeden. On the other hand, Moicano is a slick submission specialist who is currently coming off of a win in June against Jai Herbert. The American Top Team prospect has yet to show legitimacy in the striking department, as he’s been knocked out three times. That could prove trouble against Hernandez who specializes in putting faces to the canvas. Unless he can miraculously avoid big shots from Hernandez, I expect Alexander the Great to earn another finish to his resume.

Official Prediction: Hernandez by KO/TKO

JARED CANNONIER VS. DEREK BRUNSON

Likely a number one contender fight at middleweight, Derek Brunson vs. Jared Cannonier brings an interesting battle of wrestling vs. striking. Derek Brunson, a 20-fight UFC veteran, has shown massive improvement in his timing and technique that has helped him on a five-fight winning streak including wins over Kevin Holland and Darren Till. On the other hand, Jared Cannonier has shown only improvement since moving down from heavyweight. His volume and awareness have been hard to handle for anyone in the division. He showed phenomenal takedown defense against Kelvin Gastelum, defending all eight attempts. The biggest question is how’ll that carry over against Brunson who is has made the improvements? I think Cannonier has the ability to force this fight to stay standing with defense being a known focus in his training camp. I expect him to earn a title unless Whittaker is able to force a trilogy.

Official Prediction: Cannonier by KO/TKO

DERRICK LEWIS VS. TAI TUIVASA

Tai Tuivasa has been one of the fasting rising stars in the UFC with his booming finishes topped off by a shoey on the fence of the octagon after every victory. He’s on a four-fight knockout streak with all but one coming in the first round. He’s earned his spot at the co-main event and the No. 11 beside his name. At only 28 years old, he’ll be around as a ranked fighter for a long time in the heavyweight division. However, He is taking a massive leap challenging the Black Beast who stands as the second-ranked fighter in the division. Derrick Lewis is an absolute wrecking ball and has been doing the kind of damage Tuivasa has done for much longer. He’s ruined fighters with just one punch and his right hand is one of the strongest. Even after his loss to Ciryl Gane, Lewis proved he never lost a step when he finished Chris Daukaus in another first-round finish. Not to mention this fight is in Houston, and Lewis knows he owes the fans a much better performance after a lackluster one at UFC 265. Expect a barnburner for Lewis to remain a top contender at heavyweight.

Official Prediction: Lewis by KO/TKO

ISRAEL ADESANYA VS. ROBERT WHITTAKER

Israel Adesanya has been the king in the middleweight division since winning the belt against Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 and has raised to high to being one of the faces of the promotion along with Kamaru Usman and Conor McGregor. He has put on flawless performances in his title defenses including a phenomenal striking performance against Paulo Costa, walking away basically untouched after picking him apart the entire fight. He’s also shown a ton of improvement with his defensive wrestling, defending 10 takedowns against Marvin Vettori in his most recent fight. But Robert Whittaker has also put on flawless performances of his own since the loss to Adesanya. He’s done it against some of the divisions best, handling Darren Till, Kelvin Gastelum, and Jared Cannonier all with ease. Whittaker claims that a winning formula for Adesanya was shown when Izzy fought Jan Blachowicz. But I think Adesanya has far improved in the wrestling department. I wouldn’t be surprised this fight stays standing and The Last Stylebender earns another title defense with his beautiful precision striking.

Official Prediction: Adesanya by Unanimous Decision

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Week 16

The key to winning your fantasy basketball league is not how well you draft, but the players you add off waivers. This is extremely important because securing hidden talent could replace those late-round selections that aren’t having the best season. Here at NFS, we provide the best picks for players you should grab off waivers now before it is too late. As always, both opportunity and performance are taken into consideration for these players. Learn to think like a NERD! Check out the NBA Player Consistency Rankings to see how consistent, good or bad, players are, determined by stats, not hunches or anecdotal evidence!

Guards

Monte Morris, PG, Denver Nuggets
A reliable player for the Denver Nuggets for years now, Monte Marris has been key in filling the point guard duties while Jamal Murray recovers from a torn ACL. He’s been a consistent backup point guard for the team for years and a decent fantasy target even when Murray is playing. In his last 10 games, Morris has averaged 12 points, four rebounds, four assists, and less than a turnover per game. His decision-making and solid efficiency make him a quality target off waivers. His role should stay consistent until there is any sign that Murray could be returning soon.

Gabe Vincent, PG, Miami Heat
Having a strong run earlier in the season, Gabe Vincent is still holding a decent role in the rotation with Kyle Lowry still missing games. Vincent has been one of many undrafted players that the Heat has been able to develop into legitimate rotation players for their roster. In his last 10 games, Vincent has averaged 12 points, four assists, and 1.7 steals per game. He’s also shooting 44 percent from three in those same games. His role during this stretch will be critical for his own fantasy value. He’s a decent pickup-off waivers until Lowry returns from injury. 

Luke Kennard, SG, Los Angeles Clippers
With the Los Angeles Clippers lacking a legitimate number one scorer, Luke Kennard has had a great opportunity for a ton of offensive reps and he’s capitalized. He’s been a great volume scorer for the team after signing him to a decent extension. In his last 10 games, Kennard has averaged 15 points, four rebounds, and three assists. He’s also shooting over 43 percent from three in those same games. As long as Paul Georgecontinues to miss games while recovering from surgery, Kennard is expected to have a sizable role with the offense. He’s a decent contender for the sixth man of the year award.

Forwards

Royce O’Neale, SF/PF, Utah Jazz
With Joe Ingles now expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL, Royce O’Neale is now expected to have a much bigger role with the offense of the Utah Jazz. Mainly known for his defensive presence, O’Neale doesn’t bring nearly as much skill when it comes to his offensive abilities. Athleticism and catch-and-shoot threes make up most of his game. In his last 10 games, O’Neale has averaged seven points, six rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. He’s also shooting around 45 percent from beyond the arc. Those numbers could definitely see a small jump with the offensive game plan likely to change a bit. 

Devin Vassell, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs
A lottery pick last season, Devin Vassell has made a decent jump after being a project player for the San Antonio Spurs. Especially with DeMar DeRozan not with the team anymore, Vassell has seen an increase in minutes to show off his off-season improvement. Recently he’s been on one of the better stretches he’s had this season. In his last 10 games, Vassell has averaged 12 points, five rebounds, and nearly a steal per game. His percentages could use some improvement. But it is important to see that Popovich is trusting him in late-game situations to grow his confidence. He still has a ton of upside as a 21-year-old. 

Isaiah Jackson, PF, Indiana Pacers
Rumors have been circulating for weeks now that either Domantas Sabonis or Myles Turner could be traded at the deadline. This would leave a massive opportunity for rookie Isaiah Jackson to earn significant minutes for the Indiana Pacers. With Sabonis currently dealing with an injury, Jackson has already seen some decent playing time. In his last game, he finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks. He also finished with 12 points and three blocks in the game prior. He’s shown some promise and could be a valuable waiver wire pickup in a few weeks. 

Centers

Bismack Biyombo, C, Phoenix Suns
After a decent run with the Charlotte Hornets, Bismack Biyombo signed a midseason deal with the Suns after their centers were dealing with COVID-19 related issues. Biyombo was so impressive in his run that the Suns chose to sign him for the rest of the season. And with DeAndre Ayton still out with an ankle injury, Biyombo has continued to put up solid games. In his last 10 games, he’s averaged 10 points, eight rebounds, and a block per game. He’s also shooting 60 percent from the field. He’s a solid option until Ayton is set to return but that’s currently unknown. 

Mason Plumlee, C, Charlotte Hornets
After signing a massive deal with the Detroit Pistons, Mason Plumlee was moved to the Hornets for better use as they continue to push for playoff aspirations. Coming into the season, Plumlee was the only experienced center on the roster and was expected to receive a ton of minutes. That’s kept his fantasy stock consistent. In his last 10 games, Plumlee has averaged eight points, eight rebounds, and three assists per game while shooting above 70 percent from the field. He’s a reliable option off waivers.