Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Week 15

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

Justin Holiday, SG/SF, Indiana Pacers
An eight-year veteran, Justin Holiday is a proven 3 and D wing player for any team he plays for. His best seasons have come with the Indiana Pacers the last handful of years. Even with constant injuries to the Pacers, Holiday has still proven to be consistent and a decent option off waivers. In his last 10 games, Holiday has averaged 13 points while shooting nearly 40 percent from deep. He could be trade bait in the future if the Pacers choose to tank at the trade deadline. But his role should stay consistent with whatever team he plays for next. 

Ayo Dosunmu, SG, Chicago Bulls
With Lonzo Ball expected to miss multiple weeks after undergoing knee surgery, Ayo Dosunmu is one of Chicago’s many options to fill his role. A first-round rookie, Dosunmu has become a critical player off the bench when the Bulls are fully healthy. In his last 10 games, Dosunmu has averaged 11 points, four assists, and a steal per game. But he’s averaged almost 14 points since moving into the starting lineup. He’s continued to be elite from beyond the arc, hitting 50 percent from three in the starting lineup. Dosunmu is turning into a quality steal in the draft after an excellent college career at Illinois. 

Chris Duarte, SG, Indiana Pacers
Late lottery pick of this year, Oregon’s Chris Duarte has been a pleasant surprise this season. After a hot start, he slowly cooled off his production but has picked it back up since coming back from injury. In the last five games, Duarte has averaged 17 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals a game. He’s also been lethal from deep, hitting nearly 40 percent of his three-point attempts. Duarte continues to look like a solid steal in the draft for the Pacers who continue to struggle to turn the corner to a championship squad. 

Forwards

Otto Porter Jr., SF, Golden State Warriors
Once the third overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Otto Porter Jr. has seen his role be reduced since he was traded from the Washington Wizards. He’s been a vital bench player for the Golden State Warriors as they return to championship form. In his last 10 games, Porter has averaged nine points, six rebounds, and nearly two steals per game. He’s also been shooting like the third splash brother, making around 41 percent of his threes. His role should be consistent for the rest of the season as long as he can stay healthy, a struggle he’s had throughout the year. 

Aaron Gordon, SF/PF, Denver Nuggets
After signing a controversial extension with the Denver Nuggets, injuries to Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murrayhave forced Aaron Gordon to become a much more important scoring option for the Nuggets to compete as contenders. In his last 10 games, Gordon has averaged 15 points, six rebounds, and four assists per game. He’s shown some improvement on his three-point shooting, hitting around 36 percent in the same games. But until Murray comes back, Gordon will be a quality player off waivers. And even then, he still may be worth holding onto. 

Chuma Okeke, PF, Orlando Magic
An underrated player for the Orlando Magic, Chuma Okeke has a lot of raw talent after being selected in the middle of the first round in 2019. In his last 10 games, Okeke has averaged eight points, six rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game. He’s also shown some good improvement with his three-point shooting, knocking down 39 percent of his attempts. He needs to improve on his consistency but Okeke is still a solid prospect with some great upside to be a key contributor for the Magic in the future. 

Centers

Kevon Looney, PF/C, Golden State Warriors
Once a top recruit out of high school, it’s safe to say Kevon Looney has failed to capitalize on his true potential. However, he’s still been a quality big man for the Golden State Warriors. He’s also seen a boost in minutes since James Wiseman has yet to come back from off-season surgery. In his last 10 games, Looney has averaged seven points, 11 rebounds, and nearly a steal and a block per game. He’s also averaged more than four offensive rebounds a game in that stretch. And he’s shot around 57 percent from the field as well. He could be vital for the rest of the season if Wiseman were to be ruled out for the season.

Goga Bitadze, C, Indiana Pacers
With Domantas Sabonis going with an injury that could force him to miss a few games, prospect Goga Bitadze could finally get his chance to show his potential. He’s been buried in the depth chart since first being drafted by the Pacers in 2019. But in his last four games, Bitadze has averaged 12 points, seven rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. He still has a lot of raw ability to polish. But Bitadze could have a successful season if either Sabonis or Myles Turner were to be traded at the trade deadline.

UFC 270 Predictions

The UFC returns with their first pay-per-view card of the new year in Anaheim, California. It features two massive title fights including the third installment of a flyweight trilogy that has arguably saved the division from extinction, and a title unification with a complex backstory that’ll finally settle on Saturday night. What’s most intriguing is the record-setting eight debuts from fighters on this card, including two on the main card. Highly touted prospects such as Jack Della Maddalena and Raoni Barcelos will look to continue their rise in the UFC. With that, let’s get right into the main card predictions for UFC 270.

Previous Prediction Record: 28-14

TREVIN GILES VS. MICHAEL MORALES

The main card kicks off with alumni from Dana White’s Contender Series, Michael Morales, facing off against another hopeful prospect, Trevin Giles. Morales, who is undefeated, earned himself a contract with the promotion after a decision win against Nikolay Veretennikov in September. He’s finished 10 of 12 wins, nine of them coming by knockout. He’s got a heavy set of hands that Giles will have to watch out for all fight long. 

But, after recklessly getting knocked out in his last fight by Dricus Du Plessis, I think this is a fight where Giles will reevaluate his decision-making to execute a well thought out game plan against Morales. This is also just a huge spotlight for a 22-year-old Morales to make his UFC debut and I think with Giles being an experienced veteran in the game makes it worse for Morales. 

Giles will be able to work the opportunities he wants to earn another finish to his name. 

Official Prediction: Giles by KO/TKO

CODY STAMANN VS. SAID NURMAGOMEDOV

Coming off a first-round knockout against Mark Striegl, Said Nurmagomedov is looking to get back on track in the Welterweight division. Of course, the standard for him becomes much higher as another hopeful prodigy to the legendary Khabib Nurmagomedov, and the long list of names that continue to tear up MMA.

Said faces Cody Stamann, a healthy veteran who has suffered back-to-back losses against Jimmie Rivera and Merab Dvalishvili. Not much of a fighter who puts on a lot of finishes, Stamann is going to have his hands full with Nurmagomedov who has shown improvement in almost every fight. The biggest question for Nurmagomedov is can he improve on getting more efficient when it come to wrestling? I think that’ll be something to look for in this fight.

Nonetheless, I can’t see Said suffering his second loss in three fights after taking almost a year and a half off to improve on his mechanics.

Official Prediction: Nurmagomedov by Decision

MICHEL PEREIRA VS. ANDRE FIALHO

One of the most underrated and exciting fighters, Michel Pereira, earns his biggest opportunity with the UFC thus far, facing Andre Fialho on UFC 270’s main card. Deservingly so, as Pereira has realigned his career after a tough battle to stay consistently winning. He’s currently on a three-fight win streak with big wins over Khaos Williams and Niko Price. He’s given himself a household name by doing unorthodox moves mid-fight such as a backflip takedown attempt. But, he does brings some high-level striking to the table, it’s not all show.

Pereira will be a handful for Andre Fialho, another fighter making his UFC debut on the main card. He’s coming off three first-round knockouts in 2021 during his time with the UAE Warriors promotion. He’s had experience fighting in Bellator and PFL from 2016 to 2019, carrying much more experience than most into their debuts. He has a high finishing rate and I think as a replacement he has what it takes with high-level cardio and volume striking.

I think the biggest upset on the card will be a career changing win for Fialho.

Official Prediction: Fialho by Decision

BRANDON MORENO VS. DEIVESON FIGUEIREDO

I doubted Brandon Moreno on my UFC 263 predictions, thinking that a healthy Deiveson Figueiredo would overwhelm him, leading to a finish of some form. But now after two fights between these guys, it’s basically set in stone that Figueiredo would have to land a miracle shot to knockout Moreno. If Figueiredo wants any chance to win this fight, it has to come from his ground game. That ground game has led to massive success, including two title bout wins against Joseph Benavidez and Alex Perez, both of which were first-round submissions.

However, even that is a hard advantage to give to Figueiredo after being outclassed and eventually choked out in the second fight between these two. While he may be more rejuvenated for this fight after working with Henry Cejudo and emerging camp photos of him looking shredded, it’s hard to say he has on paper advantages that could win him this fight.

I have to go with Moreno on this one, especially with his confidence and mindset being at an all-time high. However, I would not be surprised if Figueiredo comes out on top, as this will no doubt be a close fight and a spectacular co-main event.

Official Prediction: Moreno by Decision

FRANCIS NGANNOU VS. CIRYL GANE

It’s never beneficial for a fighter to go into their match with outside drama. That’s exactly what Francis Ngannou has dealt ever since winning the belt and his contract disputes with the UFC. That’s certainly a distraction that could affect one’s performance as we’ve seen in prior situations like this.

But, excluding that drama, it’s hard to see how Ciryl Gane can actually win this fight. He’s a phenomenal fighter with some of the best technical skills this division has ever seen. But, answer me this, is Ciryl Gane that talented where he can avoid Ngannou’s power for a full five rounds? Is there anyone currently that could actually do that? Sure, former UFC champion Stipe Miocic did that back in 2018. But, Ngannou has shown a ton of improvement in wrestling defense that ultimately led to him winning the belt in 2021. I don’t think Gane presents the kind of punching power that’s capable of stopping Ngannou, or he has yet to show it in any of his fights. Unless Gane can put on another absolutely perfect performance and avoid all of Ngannou’s threats, Ngannou is bound to land something devastating against Gane.

Also of note, there’s a rumor going around that was discussed in the press conference that could be intriguing if true. Francis apparently knocked out Gane in a sparring session when they used to train semi-frequently together. This is another additional layer to the plot.

Will we see a repeat (?) of this? I think so. Assuming Francis wins, a trilogy with Miocic should be an immediate lock, unless Jon Jones chooses to come out of hibernation.

Official Prediction: Ngannou by KO/TKO

Rogers Game-Winner Earns Oregon Critical Win Against No. 7 Arizona

The Oregon Ducks earned an electric 68-66 win against the No. 7 ranked and final four team in 2021, the Arizona Wildcats, thanks to a game-winner hit by Endyia Rogers with 0.04 seconds left. This comes as a complete offensive turnaround after a stagnant first half from the Ducks.

The first half showed no life from the Ducks. They finished shooting an ugly 7-24 from the field. Their one positive out of the half was the Ducks’ work from the free-throw line. Oregon finished 12-12 in the first that equaling 27 of their first-half points. Te-Hina Paopao did end the half with 13 points. But that was overshadowed by her three turnovers out of the team’s eight. But that still wasn’t enough to manage the Wildcats. They put on an offensive clinic of their own, outscoring Oregon 21-12 in the second quarter alone. It was highlighted by back-to-back threes from Cate Reese, which extended Arizona’s lead to as high as 10. She also led the Wildcats in scoring with 10. Oregon did attempt to switch to a zone defense for a few plays, but that failed to slow down the Wildcats’ momentum. 

The Duck’s offensive turnaround started with Sedona Prince. She scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and was huge defensively when contesting shots from the Wildcats. Her placement for Sydney Parrish was a great decision made by Kelly Graves after choosing to go small with the starting lineup. Prince ended up finishing the game with 16 points. Oregon in the end was able to force more turnovers than Arizona, with a lot coming in critical moments where the Wildcats could have iced the game. Nyara Sabally also had a huge second half for the Ducks. She scored 11 points on 3-5 shooting during that period. She finished the game with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Paopao also massively improved as well. She finished the second half with nine points on 4-5 shooting and only registered one other turnover. Paopao finished with 24 points and three assists. 

Arizona had an offensive collapse of their own in the second half. They failed to hit their free throws, going 3-8 in the second half. The Wildcats also only shot 38 percent from the field as well. Their playmaking also diminished since they only registered four assists in the half. That gave Oregon the keys when they were able to keep the score close down until the final play. Despite Rogers being only 2-11 from the field, the final shot was all that mattered. A corner mid-range jumper off an offensive rebound was all she needed to give the Ducks the victory. 

Oregon now looks to an entertaining matchup they’ve had circled all season long when No. 10 UConn takes a visit to Eugene. While they might be without their star player in Paige Bueckners, UConn is still filled with talent that’ll make for a fun matchup. That game will be played this upcoming Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at 2 pm. 

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Week 14

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

Patrick Beverley, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves
An experienced veteran, Patrick Beverley brings important off-the-court intangibles for a young Timberwolves team looking to reach the next level. But on the court, Beverley is still a defensive pest for any opposing guard. In his last 10 games, Beverley has averaged 10 points, six rebounds, six assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game. He struggles shooting efficiently from the field, but his all-around production on both ends of the court and consistent role with the team make him a perfect immediate pick-up off waivers. 

Amir Coffey, SG, Los Angeles Clippers
Once a 15th man on the Los Angeles Clippers roster, Amir Coffey has been forced into the rotation due to injuries that plague the roster. He’s even started a few games for the team as well. In his last 10 games, Coffey has averaged 12 points, four rebounds, three assists, and nearly a steal per game. He’s proved himself as a lethal shooter, hitting nearly 46 percent of his threes in those same games. He could crack his way into the regular rotation with this impressive play; certainly something to watch as the season goes on. 

Bones Hyland, PG, Denver Nuggets
The Summer League proved large for a raise in Bones Hyland’s stock to begin the season. With still no Jamal Murray, there was an opportunity for Hyland to get some quality minutes to help his growth in his first season. Recently, he’s been getting a run in the rotation. In his last 10 games, Hyland has averaged 10 points, four rebounds, and two assists while shooting only 34 percent from the field. His efficiency certainly needs to improve. But it says a ton that Mike Malone is willing to put him in important game situations to earn trust. He’s worth watching on radars for now. 

Forwards

Jae’Sean Tate, SF/PF, Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets have had an up and down season but Jae’Sean Tate has still managed to show why he could be a decent franchise player for years to come. In his last 10 games, Tate has averaged 14 points, six rebounds, four assists, and nearly a block and a steal per game. He’s also shot 55 percent from the field in the same games. He still lacks a three-point shot. But he’s improved as a decent playmaker for the Rockets and is an underrated option on offense for Stephen Silas. He’s still available in under 40 percent of leagues currently. 

Lauri Markkanen, PF/SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers signing Lauri Markkanen was a move that a lot of analysts criticized for how exactly he would fit with the team. His transition has not been as smooth as hoped for, but he has made a decent contribution to the success of the team this season. In his last 10 games, Markkanen has averaged 12 points, five rebounds, and two assists. He’s also shot 47 percent from the field, which is solid for the new small forward. He still has upside at only 24 years old and a decent pick-up off waivers. 

Trey Lyles, PF, Detriot Pistons
Once a former top selection in the draft, Trey Lyles has struggled to find a consistent role with a team where he can produce at a high level. He signed with the Detriot Pistons in the offseason and has seen some solid minutes throughout the regular season. As of late, he’s averaged 16 points, seven rebounds, and nearly a block per game. He’s also shot nearly 50 percent from the field. He’s showing some decent promise at 26 years old still. He’s a good pickup off waivers with a positive outlook for the rest of the season. 

Centers

Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Toronto Raptors
After being part of the Kyle Lowry trade that sent him from South Beach, Precious Achiuwa now has a more low-key opportunity to improve his game. He’s shown some flashes with the Raptors, but has yet to prove himself as a consistent starting center. In his last 10 games, Achiuwa has averaged eight points, six rebounds, and nearly a steal and a block per game. He could use some improvement on shooting percentages, especially for a center. But at only 22 years old, Achiuwa still has room to grow. He should be worth watching for more starting opportunities with the Raptors. 

Onyeka Okongwu, C, Atlanta Hawks
Many questioned the selection by the Hawks with Clint Capela already on the roster. But Capela has been dealing with some injuries recently and that has given Okongwu a chance to prove himself. In the 10 games Okongwu has played, he’s averaged nine points, six rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in about 22 minutes. His biggest issue is staying healthy. He had offseason shoulder surgery, but looks to be well passed that. Okongwu is worth keeping on waivers in case the Hawks choose to shake up the roster before the trade deadline, but keep an eye out on him.

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Week 13

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

Anfernee Simons, SG/PG, Portland Trail Blazers
Constant injuries to Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have given Anfernee Simons an opportunity to play more minutes throughout the entire season. He has stepped up in a major way for the Blazers, including scoring 43 points in a game. In his last 10, Simons has averaged 17 points and four assists a game while shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc. He’s been even better in the last four games, all of which he’s started in. He’s averaged nearly 24 points a game during that stretch. He’s a perfect waiver wire pick-up as long as CJ and Dame continue to miss games. 

Jaylen Nowell, SG, Minnesota Timberwolves
Slowly working his way through the team’s system, Jaylen Nowell has become an underrated prospect for the Timberwolves. he’s had to step up with the team also dealing with COVID-related issues. In his last 10 games, Nowell has averaged 13 points, three rebounds, and three assists per game. He’s also shot above 50 percent from the field during those games. He could improve with his three-point shooting, as he’s only hit around 31 percent on nearly four attempts. But he’s certainly one of the less popular names on waivers. 

Aaron Wiggins, SG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Major props need to be given to the front office of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the work they continue to put in to produce high-quality players with their draft selections. Aaron Wiggins is another example of a solid player from the 2021 draft. In his last 10 games, Wiggins has averaged 12 points, four rebounds, and around a steal per game. He’s also shot above 50 percent from the field during those games. He joined a talented Thunder draft class alongside Josh GiddeyTre Mann, and Jeriamah Earl-Robinson. 

Forwards

Marcus Morris, SF/PF, Los Angeles Clippers
Marcus Morris has been a reliable veteran for multiple franchises throughout his career. That only continues with the Los Angeles Clippers who he has now spent three seasons with. Injuries to Paul George and Kawhi Leonardhave given Morris a number one option in the offense along with Reggie Jackson. In his last seven games, Morris has averaged 21 points, six rebounds, and three assists per game. He’s also shot 40 percent from beyond the arc in the same games. Morris just needs to stay healthy if he wants to be a reliable fantasy option because he has already missed a handful of games this season. 

Brandon Clarke, PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies
Playing a reduced role, Brandon Clarke has still found a way to produce effectively for the Grizzlies who are looking to turn the corner. In his last eight games since returning from injury, Clarke has averaged 13 points, six rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. He’s also shot 70 percent from the field in those same games. the Grizzlies have been 8-0 during that stretch. He might not be a future starter for the team with Steven Adams and Jaren Jackson Jr., but he can be a huge contributor off the bench and a solid waiver wire candidate. 

Jarred Vanderbilt, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
Jarred Vanderbilt is another player in the Timberwolves organization who has worked his way up from being a second-round selection to a starter for the team. He’s been a solid defensive anchor along with Anthony Edwards. In his last 10 games, Vanderbilt has averaged eight points, 12 rebounds, and nearly two steals a game. He’s averaged nearly four offensive rebounds as well. He’s been extremely efficient, shooting 50 percent from the field. He has a very unique playstyle, but still stuffs the stat sheet night in and night out. He’s an effective pickup with a high upside. 

Centers

Daniel Gafford, C/PF, Washington Wizards
While Montrezl Harrell continues to miss games with COVID, Daniel Gafford has shown a lot of promise as the full-time starting center for the Wizards. In the last 10 games, Gafford has averaged 12 points, eight rebounds, and nearly two blocks per game. He’s also been extremely efficient, shooting around 75 percent from the field in those same games. He’s returning to a reduced role when Harrell returns. But even then, he’s proved to be a reliable player off waivers as he splits time. 

Nic Claxton, C/PF, Brooklyn Nets
Injuries to the frontcourt of the Nets have given Nic Claxton a great opportunity to play more minutes with the trio of superstars the Nets have. Claxton had fit extremely well as he doesn’t need to have the ball to be effective off pick and rolls and offensive rebounds. In his last 10 games, Claxton has averaged 14 points, seven rebounds, a steal, and 1.6 blocks per game. It’s unclear when players like LaMarcus Aldridge will eventually return. But Claxton still brings major upside with the interior defense that others on the roster don’t.

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Week 12

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

Hamidou Diallo, SG, Detroit Pistons
After being mentioned on the column two weeks ago, Hamidou Diallo’s stock has soared as he’s quickly become a new scoring option for the Detroit Pistons. He exploded for a 34 point game against the Spurs, but he’s been consistent over the last week. In his last 10 games, Diallo has averaged 17 points, seven rebounds, and 2.4 steals per game. He’s also averaged 53 percent from the field in those same games. He still struggles with outside shooting. But his athletic and strength ability make him a number one option off the waiver wire. 

Coby White, PG, Chicago Bulls
Once a top pick in the 2019 draft, Coby White has struggled to get his career underway with lingering injuries and inefficient scoring. But after his recent stint in the COVID-19 protocols, White has played some of his best basketball. In his last eight games, White has averaged 16 points, four assists, and around a steal per game while shooting 47 percent from the field and 43 percent from beyond the arc. He’s also done a great job limiting his turnovers, only averaging 1.4 over the same eight games. These are great signs from White, who could be a great sixth man for the Bulls if he continues to stay healthy. 

Malik Monk, SG, Los Angeles Lakers
Inconsistent scoring and lack of strong shooting percentages prevented Malik Monk from signing a decent-sized contract over the off-season. He instead chose to bet on himself with the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s done a fine job at continuing to prove himself as a solid scorer. In the last 10 games, Monk has averaged 14 points, three rebounds, and nearly a steal per game. He’s also shot 40 percent from beyond the arc in those same games. He’s a solid player off waivers with the Lakers struggling with COVID issues.

Forwards

Kevin Love, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers
Who would have thought that we would see a career resurgence from Kevin Love, a veteran who has health with multiple injuries over the last few seasons? He’s been a front runner for the sixth man of the year award as he’s only started two games this year. In the last 10 games, Love has averaged 20 points and eight rebounds per game. He’s also shot 50 percent from beyond the arc on more than eight attempts per game. Love has been a massive contributor and leader that has led to a ton of success in Cleveland this season. He’s a perfect player to grab off waivers right now. 

Jaden McDaniels, SF, Minnesota Timberwolves
Still young and raw, Jaden McDaniels has shown improvement in some departments during his second season in the NBA. COVID issues have pushed him to earn more minutes in the rotation. In the last 10 games, McDaniels has averaged 13 points, six rebounds, and around a steal per game. He’s also done well shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc, much higher than his season average. He still has a lot of development to go. But McDaniels is a solid waiver wire prospect with a lot of upside. 

Terance Mann, SF, Los Angeles Clippers
After a strong playoff performance last season, Terance Mann has been much more involved in the offense for the Clippers. But with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George now out with injuries, Mann has been handed an even larger role. He’s responded well, as he’s averaged 12 points, five rebounds, and three assists. His best trait has been his shooting percentages. In the same 10 games, he’s maintained 53 percent from the field and 45 percent from three. He’s a solid option off waivers while the stars for the Clippers continue to recover from injury. 

Herbert Jones, SF, New Orleans Pelicans
Herbert Jones has been one of the bigger surprises from this past draft class. As an undrafted free agent, he’s still been able to produce meaningful games for the Pelicans. COVID has given him a much bigger role as of late, as he’s been starting in the last 17 games. In his last 10 games, Jones has averaged 11 points, five rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. He could improve offensively as he’s only hit around 30 percent of his threes’ But he’s been a solid defensive player for the Pelicans and an underrated candidate off the wire. 

Centers

Omer Yurtseven, C, Miami Heat
Injuries to Bam Adebayo and Dewayne Dedmon have given Omer Yurtseven an opportunity to shine with the Miami Heat. An undrafted free agent, Yurtseven has also been a huge surprise this season. In his last 10 games, five of which he started, Yurtseven has averaged 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. He could improve on his efficiency, only hitting around 45 percent of his shots. But it is still incredible to see the Miami Heat coaching staff being able to produce so much production out of any player who walks in the door. Yurtseven is a solid candidate until the other bigs for the Heat return.

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 18

The key to winning your fantasy football 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, even mid-rounders, 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. You can also make life easier by checking out our Consistency Rankings!

Braxton Berrios, WR, New York Jets
With Elijah Moore and Corey Davis out for the season, Braxton Berrios has emerged in a massive way to be the new number one wide receiver for the New York Jets. He had his best game of the year last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Berrios finished with eight receptions for 65 yards and a receiving touchdown. He even was involved in the rushing game and scored a touchdown in that department. The matchup against the Buffalo Bills isn’t favorable, but sheer volume should give Berrios a solid chance to perform well once again to end the season. 

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, New England Patriots
The Patriots’ offense has become more run-focused with a still inexperienced Mac Jones at the helm. That has led to a committee back look for the Patriots. Rhamondre Stevenson and Damian Harris have been the two to receive a lot of carries for the season but Stevenson is still a waiver wire eligible player. He had another strong game last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He finished with 19 carries for 107 yards and two touchdowns. He’s in for another favorable matchup against the Miami Dolphins where he could have another strong game for Week 18. 

Cyril Grayson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay is having one of the worse collapses to their wide receiver room. First, they lose Chris Godwin for the year due to a torn ACL. Then Antonio Brown seems to quit football in the middle of the Jets game. The only positive is that Cyril Grayson has seemed to learn a lot of the reps that those players once held. He finished with a strong game against the Jets last week, finishing with six receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown. He’ll be key in fantasy playoffs but even more important if the Bucs would like to finish as repeat champions this season. 

Laquon Treadwell, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars may have had another disastrous season despite picking a hopeful future franchise quarterback. But there have been some positives to this roster. One is that former first-round pick, Laquon Treadwell, has seemed to find a home for him. He’s continued to build steady progress to a future number one receiver. Last week he finished with six receptions for 87 yards. The offense is still a mess and Trevor Lawrence still has ways to go as a quarterback. But Treadwell could see a lot of volume in the final week of the season. 

Antoine Wesley, WR, Arizona Cardinals
DeAndre Hopkins went down with a regular season-ending injury during Week 15. But Cliff Kingsbury has done a solid job finding quick replacements to keep the Cardinal’s season alive. Antoine Wesley has been one of those clutch replacements. He’s had back-to-back huge games for the Cardinals. Last week he finished with four receptions for 17 yards and two touchdowns. Seattle has one of the worst pass-defending defenses in the league. And with an MVP caliber quarterback, Wesley could be in for a massive game to end the fantasy football season.

Hartley’s 10 Favorite Albums of 2021

2021 has been a massive year for music. Not only for the industry itself but in my own personal life, music has always surrounded my everyday life. It played a massive role in earning my lifeguard certification since I was absolutely nervous as hell before the test. It was also massive during every final, interview, or extensive assignment I had to take this calendar year. With that, here’s a list of some of my favorite albums of the 2021 year.

Honorable mentions:
The Killers- Pressure Machine


The War on Drugs- I Don’t Live Here Anymore


black midi- Cavalcade


Nas- King’s Disease II


Injury Reserve- By The Time I Get To Phoenix

Baby Keem- The Melodic Blue

Baby Keem blew away my expectations he had for his studio debut with Columbia Records. It was awesome to see Keem already establish his own sound that includes a lot of different instrumentals and beat switches. That can be immediately seen on the track “trademark usa”. His voice compliments this sound well, as he also shows a ton of versatility with as well throughout the entire album. And of course, his work with his cousin, Kendrick Lamar, is great. but Keem deserves a lot of credit for being able to stand as his own as an artist. I’m extremely excited to see what Keem has stored for fans in the future as this was one of the better albums in 2021.

Westside Gunn- Hitler Wears Hermes 8

Griselda’s own Westside Gunn might be one of my new favorite artists with the kind of music he’s been putting out over the last two years. Pray for Paris was one of my favorite albums of 2020. The grimy and dark production is a real ego booster and gives a refreshing taste to rap music as a whole. Both side A and B of these albums are phenomenal.  “Mariota”, “Draymond”, “Bash Money”, and “Claires Back” are some of the best tracks on Sincerely Adolf. Side B follows up just as strongly with “Hell on Earth Pt. 2”, “Celine Dion”, “Eddie Kingston”, and “Forest Lawn.” These two albums are filled with some of the best production in 2021. And I’ll still be begging that Westside Gunn deserves as much credit as some other mainstream artists who continue to put out average-quality music.

JPEGMAFIA- LP!

JPEGMAFIA is easily one of the most underrated artists on the planet. Sure, he might be right there at the mainstream threshold but it still seems as if he’s earning less attention than he deserves. That continues to be proven again with LP!, one of the best experimental albums of the year. It doesn’t seem to matter what challenge is thrown at Peggy, he’s going to take it and knock it out of the park. The sampling and production are off the charts. Peggy has one of the best discographies of recent memory. He deserves more recognition without a doubt from the mainstream artists. This is one of the best albums in general and should be nominated for more national awards.

Jeff Rosenstock- SKA DREAM

I would like to thank Anthony Fantano for introducing me to Jeff Rosenstock and the work he does. He gave a strong review for this album and I gave it an open listen as I was trying to expand my taste. SKA DREAM is an amazing album that brings a ton of energy from front to back. It’s a great summertime album and one I would recommend to anyone. What I found most interesting is that SKA is actually an entire genre where rock albums are scaled up to bring much more volume and energy than the original copy. Sort of like rock on crack, as a simple way to describe the sub-genre.

Conway the Machine- La Maquina

Conway the Machine is another artist who continues to fly under the radar despite making some of the best music every year. From King to a God was also one of the better projects of 2020 and he did a great job continuing that same energy in 2021. This album is filled with strong and clean production. Conway never fails with his incredible and slick flows s that only continue on La Maquina. I enjoyed the number of features too. It isn’t too many that it overshadows Conway’s work on the album but it’s enough to have the album stand its ground. This is one of the more underrated albums of the year.

Boldy James & The Alchemist- Bo Jackson

It boggles my mind how much attention Boldy James deserves but doesn’t receive. His teamwork with The Alchemist form one of the most underrated duos for decades with the tapes they’ve released. Bo Jackson is no different as it features a lot of smooth and sleek verses throughout the entire album. The Alchemist also did an amazing job with the production. I also thought the features were perfect including the ones from Benny, the Butcher and Freddie Gibbs. Super Tecmo Bo is another great album that Boldy James also released during the calendar year. This is an album that I would recommend to anyone who sticks to mainly mainstream rap.

Slowthai- TYRON

UK Rap is a sub-genre that I’ve continued to investigate as it starts to become more popular. Slowthai was an artist I discovered from Anthony Fantano who also gave him a strong review for his recent album, TYRON. I agree with a lot of the points Fantano pointed out about this album. Despite Slowthai being known for stepping outside the box and integrating his music with abstract ideas such as a man giving birth in the music video for “feel away”, it’s what makes him different from the rest of the industry. His work is great for anyone who is interested in listening to something different, no matter what music-listening background they have. This is a fun album mixed with bangers and emotional tracks. I’m very excited to see what he releases in the future. Seeing him in concert would also be extremely fun as well.

Tyler, the Creator- CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST

Tyler, the Creator never fails to disappoint any time he releases new music. Since the release of Cherry Bomb, he’s made massive improvements to become one of the best artists on the planet. CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST is no different. He returns to his boasting style of lyricism that he did on earlier projects but in a much better fashion. he also mixes in other elements he included on IGOR and Flower Boy. He continues to make great improvements with each album he releases. Each one also has drastically different themes that show his strong versatility. It is truly incredible to see what Tyler has become over recent years from someone who was considered weird and outside the box without a lot of strong qualities to one of the best musical producing artists of the last five years. I’m also beyond excited to see him live in April.

Porter Robinson- Nurture

First, I would like to shout out to my friend, Dino Rivano, for putting me on this album. As I was never crazy for electronic style music, this album opened me up to the entire genre and now I can say I am a major fan of Porter Robinson and electronic music. Nurture brings a feel-good outdoors kind of vibe with a ton of anime influence. It has beautiful and unique flows that create a beautiful sounding record. This is an album I would always resort to improve my day and boost my confidence. “Look at the Sky” is one of my favorite songs of the year. It was also awesome to be able to see Porter Robinson live with Dino in September, he’s an excellent performer.

Kanye West- Donda

Of course, how could this album not make the list? Not only is Kanye West one of my favorite artists on the planet but Donda is also a genuinely very good album. The production is top tier, shoutout to Mike Dean for the incredible work he put into the album. But what continues to blow my mind is Kanye’s ability to assemble an elite list of features for his more detailed albums, across different eras and subgenera of rap. Jay-Z, Playboi Carti, Travis Scott, Young Thug, Kid Cudi, Westside Gunn, Andre 3000, Tyler the Creator, Conway the Machine, Roddy Ricch, Jay Electronica, and The LOX are just some of the artists Kanye manages to bring on Donda. And to top it all off, I was extremely blessed to see both Kanye and Drake in concert at the Free Larry Hoover Benefit Concert in Los Angeles.

Best and Worst of 2021: Hip-Hop Edition

After a stale 2020, a slew of major recording artists came out of hiding to release a bevy of music they’ve been hoarding making 2021 one of the best years for music in a very long time, especially in the hip-hop/rap genre. Some albums hit the mark perfectly and others missed drastically. However, regardless of the criticism of work, it was awesome to see the music industry return with so many major releases that ultimately brought music back to life during the prolonged pandemic.

As we get closer to the Ball dropping in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, its time for Hardwood and Hollywood’s very own resident musical experts, Ethan Hartley and Patrick McMahon, to break down some of the best and worst albums that released during the calendar year.

BEST OVERALL

Ethan Hartley
CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST by Tyler, The Creator is easily one of the best records of the year for me. It’s awesome to see Tyler resort back to his older style of music but still using a lot of the newer sounds he’s mastered during his runs on Flower Boy and IGOR. Tyler also does a phenomenal job in unlocking different vocals from one-dimensional artists such as 42 Dugg, NBA Youngboy, and Lil Uzi Vert. Songs such as “LEMONHEAD”, “CORSO”, “JUGGERNAUT”, “RUNITUP”, and “SWEET/I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE” are some of my favorite of the year. And despite criticism from most, I actually really enjoyed the DJ Drama narration, it helped add its own signature. His rise and improvement, in general, have just been incredible to watch and he needs to be more recognized as one of the biggest and best artists on the planet. This is without a doubt my Grammy pick for Rap Album of the Year and I’m so excited to see what Tyler does in his future.

A runner-up for me would be either DONDA or Hitler Wears Hermes 8.

Patrick McMahon
JPEGMAFIA’s fourth studio album, LP! (Offline Version), might just be his best yet as we see Peggy on the top of his game in all facets. The production on this album is some of his best, with beautiful sampling sprinkled on almost every track, and his bars match the production perfectly. Peggy continues to put out some of the most polarizing and quality work in the rap game year after year, and this album is the best I’ve heard this year. If you haven’t heard this yet, be sure to check out the offline version on Bandcamp, which contains one of the best rap songs of the year in “HAZARD DUTY PAY!”

Honorable Mention: Kanye West’s Donda

WORST OVERALL

Ethan
Culture 3 by Migos takes the cake for me easily. Not only did the trio take forever to drop the album, but it has zero replay value whatsoever. Writing the review and having to force myself to listen to this junk was absolutely painful. The beats they used are as basic as they could have been and they had zero chemistry between their verses. But what was even more annoying was how bad some of these lyrics were. “These n***** sweeter than cinnamon” and “Making money eight ways, I’m a squid”, are lines that are just factually incorrect. And they aren’t even clever because they are incorrect. These are just two of the many examples of what is wrong with this album. It’s crazy that Migos used to be one of the better groups in rap and now they’ve basically fallen off the mountain with the kind of terrible music they’ve been putting out over the last few years.

My runner-up for the pick would have to be Fighting Demons by Juice WRLD.

Patrick
Boy, Soulja Boy’s Swag 4 was a tough listen. The production came off as lazy and uninspired, and Soulja Boy somehow managed to toe the line between being totally on-beat and off-beat. This created some headache-inducing verses, and the hooks lacked anything resembling energy. If you want to listen to some Soulja Boy, stick to the hits, as this was the worst project I’ve heard all year.

Honorable Mention: Youngboy Never Broke Again’s Sincerely, Kentrell

MOST SURPRISING

Ethan
I was never completely sold on the 2020 Grammy Rap Album of the Year nominations, which included the first King Disease record by Nas. I thought it was clear that Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist should have won. I was extremely disappointed but still happy for Nas that he finally won a Grammy that was long overdue. But I didn’t think the record was better than Alfredo. So when it was announced that Nas would drop a second edition of the album, I had very perplexed feelings. To my surprise, Kings Disease 2 was a very well-made album overall. I enjoyed that Nas was able to stick with his typical style flow while rapping over modern instrumental. A lot of the issues with recent Nas projects were his inability to keep a high-level flow as the beats would trend. King Disease 2 eliminated all of that for Nas and this is one of the better albums of 2021. 

My honorable mention would be 4Nem by Chief Keef. 

Patrick
My most surprising album of 2021 was BROCKHAMPTON’s ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE. While the Saturation trilogy is fantastic, I felt like BROCKHAMPTON’s last two releases were disappointing and not on the same level as that trilogy, so I didn’t have the highest expectations for their 2021 release. However, ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE was a strong return to form, as the group created one of the most fun listens of the year. The production was strong, their chemistry was on full display throughout, and guests like Danny Brown and JPEGMAFIA fit right in on their respective tracks.

Honorable Mention: Lil Nas X’s MONTERO

Drake: Certified Lover Boy

MOST DISAPPOINTING

Ethan 
I honestly can’t believe I had to wait three years for this terrible Certified Lover Boy album by Drake. As a former Drake stan, I was really hoping that this could be a potential turnaround in his career after a few lackluster and uneventful albums include Scorpian and Dark Lane Demo Tapes. But that was not the case at all. There are some solid songs on this album such as “Knife Talk”, “Papi’s Home”, and “IMY2”. And it is great to see Drake can still make a quality level track when he chooses to. But that’s been the biggest issue. It’s clear that Drake’s effort just simply isn’t there as it used to be. I don’t know whether it is because he has a son now or because he is more focused on earning money by making music in an easier fashion. It was extremely disappointing to see that this is very likely the new era of Drake’s music career.

Another pick I would have had for his category is Slime Language 2 or Faith by Pop Smoke.

Patrick
I had high expectations for Roddy Ricch’s Live Life Fast, which followed his smash hit project Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial. However, his latest project felt like a major step in the wrong direction, as Roddy’s vocal performances just didn’t reach the same highs as his previous releases. The production was bland at times and didn’t add much throughout, and while there were some high points, there were too few of them to make this feel like a worthy follow-up to PEMFBA.

Honorable Mention: Drake’s Certified Lover Boy

BEST DEBUT

Ethan 
The Melodic Blue by Baby Keem was an album that really impressed me. I already had high standards going in considering it is his debut album while he is already such a popular name and his connections to Kendrick Lamar. Baby Keem still managed to surpass my expectations and deliver a very nice debut with The Melodic Blue. He also proved that he doesn’t need to stay attached to Kendrick’s name to stay relevant. It’s uplifting and in its own vibe while also being flexible and delivering an emotional aftertaste. I really enjoyed the work on this album and I’m extremely excited to see the music he puts out in the future.

An honorable mention pick would be Genesis Owusu’s Smiling With No Teeth.

Patrick
Baby Keem has been one of the hottest names in trap music with his 2019 mixtape DIE FOR MY BITCH and his singles throughout 2020, and The Melodic Blue showed what makes him so buzzworthy. We heard stellar collaborations with some of the hottest rap names over the past five years in Travis Scott and his cousin Kendrick Lamar, countless beat switches, and emotional tracks where Keem lays his soul bare. This was one of my favorite albums in 2021 and it cemented Baby Keem as a name to watch for a long time to come.

Honorable Mention: Genesis Owusu’s Smiling with No Teeth

BEST PRODUCTION

Ethan 
Hitler Wears Hermes 8 by Westside Gunn gives a great refreshing feel for the rap industry. What Westside Gunn and the rest of the Griselda provide for the industry is huge and something that people should recognize more. It’s much different from the typical trap and guitar instrumentals that continue to be recycled for new works. Griselda’s projects are often dark and grimy production that is also mixed with jazz elements. That’s exactly what’s seen on this two-part album. Both A and B have incredible production from top to bottom and it is one of the highlights on this album. Tracks like “Mariota”, “Draymond”, “Bash Money”, and “Claires Back’ are some of the best-produced tracks on Sincerely Adolf. And Side B is just as great with “Hell on Earth Pt. 2”, “Celine Dion”, “Eddie Kingston”, and “Forest Lawn” follow up just as strongly. More recognition needs to be given to the entire group of Griselda. 

A runner-up would be La Maquina by Conway the Machine or LP! by JPEGMAFIA. 

Patrick
Man, The Alchemist had an absolutely killer year behind the boards, and the beats on Haram (with Armand Hammer) were a prime example of that. The dark, jazzy, almost sinister instrumentals he provided complemented the rapping of Billy Woods and Elucid perfectly, and it helped create one of the most compelling albums of 2021. The Alchemist showed why he is one of rap’s best producers throughout this album, as he helped make Haram a must-listen for any underground rap fans.

Honorable Mention: JPEGMAFIA’s LP! (Offline Version)

MOST UNDERRATED

Ethan
Not only is Griselda underrated as a group, but Boldy James is THE underrated member of the group. His releases of Bo Jackson and Super Tecmo Bo are some of the best albums of this year. His work with The Alchemist on Super Tecmo Bo continues to prove that they are one of the most underrated duos with the work they’ve done over the last decade. His highly consistent and cold flows make him one of the better artists in the industry right now. Boldy James should be primed for a huge 2022 with Griselda going to get more recognition as a whole.

Other underrated projects that were released this year were Haram by Armand Hammer, TYRON by Slowthai, and I Lie Here Buried With My Rings and My Dresses by Backxwash.

Patrick
I feel like no one ever mentioned Mick Jenkins’ Elephant In the Room when it comes to the best of 2021, but I feel like it deserves to be in that discussion. Mick’s rapping throughout this project is really fantastic, and the instrumentals are quite unique. This album had no discussion or hype around it, which is quite the shame, as Mick Jenkins delivered one of the year’s best projects as quietly as possible.

Honorable Mention: Mach-Hommy’s Balens Cho (Hot Candles)

BEST FEATURES

Ethan
This easily goes to Donda by Kanye West. Kanye has proved his entire discography that he can gather some of the largest artists on the planet to come together and help make a work of art. That’s been shown on My Beautiful Dark Twisted FantasyThe College DropoutThe Life of PabloLate Registration, and many other of Kanye’s projects. Donda is no different as Kanye still brings on some of the biggest artists from all across different sub-genres of rap and different eras. Jay-Z, Playboi Carti, Travis Scott, Young Thug, Kid Cudi, Westside Gunn, Andre 3000, Tyler the Creator, Conway the Machine, Roddy Ricch, Jay Electronica, and The LOX are just some of the artists Kanye manages to bring on Donda. It was truly a wild event to see this album come together and Kanye add another legendary rollout to his resume.

Any sort of runner-up would have to be awarded to CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST by Tyler, the Creator.

Patrick
Could it be anything else other than Donda? Kanye compiled the rap Avengers on this project, and they all delivered. Off the Grid featured fantastic performances from Fivio Foreign and Playboi Carti, Pure Souls had Roddy Ricch blessing our ears with his verse and hook, and Jay Electronica absolutely ate on Jesus Lord. Some of rap’s elder statesmen were scattered throughout, with Jay-Z popping in on Jail, Conway the Machine, and Westside Gunn appearing on Keep My Spirit Alive, and The Lox showing out on Jesus Lord, Pt. 2. Oh yeah, and André 3000 delivered one of the best, most emotional verses of the year on Life Of The Party.

Honorable Mention: Westside Gunn’s Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Side B

BEST ARTWORK

Ethan
We’re all in this Together by Dave is definitely one of my favorite album covers of the year. The abstract pinks and purples create a soft-toned cover. This fits the album well as it follows the themes of mental health and loneliness, themes that can be seen from the cover alone. I also enjoyed how the cover is a painting with an incredible sky and ocean despite similar colors being used. Bonus points for the album being a solid project overall.

Punk by Young Thug is another album with solid cover art overall. But the best album in terms of music quality with a phenomenal cover is By the Time I Get to Phoenix by Injury Reserve.

Patrick
Even though I was disappointed in Young Thug’s Punk considering the long wait, the album artwork was gorgeous. Thug pays homage to painter Octavio Ocampo’s work “Forever Always” and continued the trend of well-thought-out Thug album artworks. Whatever your thoughts are on the quality of Punk, you can’t debate how freaking cool the album art looks.

Honorable Mention: Mach-Hommy’s Pray For Haiti

MOST ANTICIPATED

Ethan
I’ve been a fan of Kid Cudi since I was first getting into music in general. His ability to connect in my own life during middle and high school was critical in staying positive during my darker days. I also enjoyed his most recent album Man on the Moon III: The Chosen, so I’ve been excited for a while when he announced he was dropping Entergalactic next summer. But what really boosted my excitement was that he was dropping another album before that. Whether it is the fourth album to the Man on the Moon series or something completely different, I am always excited for a new Kid Cudi album. 

Another artist I am excited to see release a new album is A$AP Rocky considering he hasn’t released an album since 2018. 

Patrick
Any Pusha T project is anticipated, especially following the masterpiece of 2018’s DAYTONA. However, when people are saying his 2022 project is album-of-the-year material, and Pusha himself confirms that the album is produced by Kanye AND The Neptunes, it’s clear that whatever is coming is special. Pusha T set himself up for high expectations when he said that his new stuff is better than DAYTONA, but I’m hoping he’s right.

Honorable Mention: Earl Sweatshirt’s Sick!

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Week 11

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

Max Strus, SG, Miami Heat
The Miami Heat continue to prove that their development of all young players is by far the best in the NBA. Max Strus is another player who is stepping up to fill roles filled by players who are now dealing with injuries or COVID issues. He’s done a phenomenal job at doing more than the minimum. In his last 10 games, Strus has averaged 15 points and four rebounds a game. He’s also shot 47 percent from the field and 40 percent from three, both strong percentages to have to stay in the rotation. He’s a great short-term option off waivers while he continues to get a lot of reps on a depleted Heat team. 

Patty Mills, PG, Brooklyn Nets
Always a reliable backup veteran guard, Patty Mills has had one of his best seasons in his career now with the Brooklyn Nets. He’s had multiple games this season where he’s hit seven or more threes in a game. But he’s been more consistent than that. In his last 10 games, Mills has averaged 18 points and two assist while shooting around 39 percent from beyond the arc. With Kyrie Irving still out due to COVID protocols, Mills has been forced to play over 35 minutes a game, giving him a lot of volume to work with. He’s a perfect option off waivers until Kyrie eventually returns to playing. 

Hamidou Diallo, SG, Detroit Pistons
A crowded backcourt with a new team hasn’t given Hamidou Diallo the best opportunity to shine with the Detriot Pistons. But injuries have opened up his playing time enough to become productive for the team. In his last 10 games, Diallo has averaged 12 points, four rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. Diallo is also shooting almost 55 percent from the field in those games. He’s still around league average, 37 percent, from beyond the arc, something he’s struggled with since being at Kentucky. He’s a quality player off the waiver wire with a lot of potential to still play at a higher level. 

B.J. Boston, SG, Los Angeles Clippers
With Paul George going down the next three to four weeks with a torn UCL, there are a lot of players that could step up a fill his role. One player who isn’t on most’s radars but could make a splash is Brandon Boston Jr., a rookie from Kentucky. He was selected in the second round after being a five-star recruit out of high school. He’s been balling in the G-League this year, averaging 21 points on 50 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He’s long, athletically gifted, and is more than talented to be a decent level scorer in the pros. He’s worth keeping on radars for the time being. 

Forwards

Kyle Anderson, SF/PF, Memphis Grizzlies
While not being the most appealing player in terms of his playstyle, Kyle Anderson has been a solid waiver wire selection for years now. He’s continued to be an all-around producer for the Grizzlies. Over his last 10 games, Anderson has averaged nine points, six rebounds, three assists, 1.6 steals, and nearly a block per game. He’s also done a great job on improving his jumper, hitting around 40 percent of his threes. Now in his fourth year with the team, Anderson has been reliable throughout his entire tenure. He’s a good pick-up off waivers. 

Cam Reddish, SF/SG, Atlanta Hawks
Despite the Atlanta Hawks going through with COVID issues, Cam Reddish has been able to earn more offensive reps to improve his overall game. Players like Trae Young and John Collins have been forced to miss games from protocols. In his last 10 games, Reddish has averaged 15 points, two rebounds, and a steal per game. He’s also done well improving his outside shot, hitting around 41 percent from three. His future role will be important once the Hawks are a fully healthy roster once again. 

Chuma Okeke, PF, Orlando Magic
Since Aaron Gordon was traded to the Nuggets, Chuma Okeke has always been a player on radars who could be a new breakout player. That’s come in bursts but never in a consistent form just yet. He’s shown some flashes this season before entering the COVID protocols. He’s shown much improvement defensively, averaging 2.1 per game over his last 10. But he still has a lot to work on. His shooting percentages are far from what they should be, hitting below 35 percent from the field and 25 percent from three. He could improve as a passer, only averaging about 1.5 assists per game. He’s worth watching on radars in the meantime. 

Centers

DeMarcus Cousins, C, Milwaukee Bucks
Bouncing around from team to team, DeMarcus Cousins has still proven to be an offensive machine when any team gives him a call. He’s now with the Milwaukee Bucks as they deal with injuries to their frontcourt starters. In his last 10 games, Cousins has been able to average eight points, six rebounds, and a steal per game in only about 17 minutes of game action a night. He struggles to manage efficient shooting percentages. But he’s another short-term option on the waivers while players and teams continue to go through their COVID struggles.