NBA Waiver Wire – Week 17 (All-Star Break Edition)

With the trade deadline looming and a handful of significant transactions already occurring, there are a lot more waiver wire options to consider. Just like my first edition of this article series, I will be highlighting my five favorite additions in season-long fantasy basketball formats.

In this edition, you’ll notice that a lot of the players I like are primary beneficiaries of the DeMarcus Cousins trade.

Willie Cauley-Stein | PF/C | 43% owned in Yahoo! leagues | 19.6% owned in ESPN leagues

If you’re looking for the player that could likely benefit the most from the departure of Boogie, it’s Willie Cauley-Stein. While Kosta Koufos will likely draw the starts at center, there are now a ton of open minutes for WCS at both the 4 and 5 with Omri Casspi gone as well. His per-36 minute numbers this year are impressive – boasting 16 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. If you include his turnovers, that comes out to 30.8 fantasy points per game, making him an extremely viable addition in both multi-category and points format leagues.

Jusuf Nurkic | C | 63% owned in Yahoo! leagues | 42.9% owned in ESPN leagues

Nurkic’s permanent role is still yet to be seen as Meyers Leonard is operating as the starting center, but I don’t expect that to last much longer. In his first game with the Blazers, Nurkic came off of the bench and recorded 13 points (on 5-5 shooting and 3-4 from the FT line), 7 boards, 3 steals, a block and an assist (with 4 turnovers) in 21 minutes. While he should continue to eat into the frontcourt minutes, this was the perfect debut to make. Once acclimated to the Blazers’ offense, I fully expect Nurkic to take the reigns of the starting center position and pose as a consistent double-double threat. Scoop him up while he’s still available.

Buddy Hield | SG | 42% owned in Yahoo! leagues | 19.6% owned in ESPN leagues

This is a rather speculative add because Hield has yet to show much in the NBA. He hasn’t gotten a ton of minutes in New Orleans because of how crowded the backcourt was, but his per 36 minutes instill some optimism – 15.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Kings’ management said that one of the drivers behind the Boogie trade was that they see Hield with a “Steph Curry like ceiling”. While I don’t agree with that statement, it shows the confidence that the organization has in the rookie, so it’s rather safe to assume he’ll be getting a lot of run with his new team.

Michael Beasley | SF/PF | 24% owned in Yahoo! leagues | 7.9% owned in ESPN leagues

The Jabari Parker domino effect has begun, and Michael Beasley has operated as the primary beneficiary thus far. Since Parker went down with his second torn ACL in three years, Beasley has averaged 25.8 minutes per game and has posted averages of 14.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1 steal per game. These numbers obviously don’t jump off of the stat sheet at you, but for the amount of minutes he’s getting, they’re phenomenal. In his one game in which he’s topped 30 minutes since Parker’s injury, he posted 23 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and a block – showing the multi-category contribution he can provide.

Al-Farouq Aminu | SF/PF | 55% owned in Yahoo! leagues | 32.4% owned in ESPN leagues

With Evan Turner out for the foreseeable future and Mason Plumlee being traded, Al-Farouq Aminu has seen a very nice bump in production. Over his last eight games, Aminu has averaged 12.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1 steal per game over 32.7 minutes. Whether he’s started or come off the bench, he’s basically a lock for 30-plus minutes on a nightly basis. He provides solid contribution in the peripheral stat categories and also comes with a rather high double-double potential now that Mason Plumlee is gone. While there’s a chance he’s unavailable in your league, scoop him up if he still is.

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