Every Monday — with a nod to fantasy basketball owners in weekly leagues — we’ll present five players owned in fewer than 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues who merit a look on the waiver wire if your team is in need of some fresh blood. Some of these players could remain fantasy-relevant all season, while others are short-term fixes who figure to be free-agent fodder once more in a few weeks’ time.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Charlotte Hornets (46.0% owned)
If you’re in need of rebounds and blocks from a wing, look no further than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who’s averaging 7.5 boards and 1.1 rejections to go with 9.0 points, 1.3 assists and 0.9 steals in 31.7 minutes per game. He’s had at least one swat in 10 of his past 12 games, and prior to his current four-game slump without a steal, he had racked up at least one takeaway in all but one of his previous eight, too. MKG isn’t likely to scorch the nets most nights—in fact, aside from his 23-point, 14-rebound outing in the season opener, his highest-scoring output was 13 points against Indianapolis on Nov. 7—but defensive stats are far more valuable than points in fantasy anyway.
Terrence Jones, PF, New Orleans Pelicans (25.4% owned)
It took Terrence Jones a few games to get comfortable in his new digs with the New Orleans Pelicans, but he’s quickly approaching must-add territory. When Anthony Davis missed New Orleans’ Nov. 16 game against the Orlando Magic, Jones started in his place and erupted for a season-high 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting, nine rebounds, two treys, two steals and a block in just under 38 minutes. Prior to his goose egg Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks, Jones put up 13.4 points on 51.0 percent shooting, 5.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocks in 26.7 minutes in his previous five games while coming off the bench. Since Davis has yet to make it through a season healthy, Jones has league-tilting upside; in the meantime, he’s proving largely productive in his current role.
Jamal Murray, SG, Denver Nuggets (24.2% owned)
With Gary Harris out for the next few weeks and Will Barton still not fully over the ankle injury that cost him nine games earlier in November, Jamal Murray has emerged as a strong short-term add, although his long-term upside is limited by Denver’s crowded backcourt. Heading into Sunday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, the Kentucky product had averaged 21.3 points on 50.0 percent shooting, 4.8 rebounds, 3.3 triples, 2.3 assists, 0.8 blocks and 0.5 steals in 28.5 minutes across his previous four outings. He cooled down somewhat against Phoenix, finishing with nine points on 3-of-8 shooting, four rebounds, two assists and a trey, but Murray has week-winning upside while Harris and Barton are sidelined.
Danny Green, SG, San Antonio Spurs (20.9% owned)
Danny Green owners from last year can sympathize with what Nikola Jokic owners are feeling at the moment, as the San Antonio Spurs 2-guard was one of the most frustrating players in all of fantasy basketball. Between that and a quadriceps injury that was expected to sideline him for a few weeks to start the year, his average draft position plunged to 140.3, making him a late-round flier for those who hoped he could recapture his 2014-15 form. Those who did have been justly rewarded so far, as he’s currently 52nd in per-game value, averaging 8.3 points on 48.1 percent shooting, 3.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.0 treys, 1.1 blocks and 0.8 steals per game. Green’s well-roundedness should all but assure a top-75 campaign barring another shooting slump, so go pick him up if he’s still floating around on your waiver wire.
Ersan Ilyasova, PF, Philadelphia 76ers (18.1% owned)
Until Ben Simmons returns, Ersan Ilyasova will be a strong under-the-radar fantasy asset in Philadelphia. He’s currently riding an eight-game streak with at least 10 points and one three-pointer, and he’s averaging 13.8 points on 51.2 percent shooting, 6.4 rebounds, 1.8 triples, 1.3 assists and 0.3 steals over that span, too. Ilyasova has supplanted rookie Dario Saric in the 76ers’ starting lineup, as their offense desperately needs a three-point shooting spark with Robert Covington mired in an ice-cold slump, and he figures to hold on to that gig until Simmons makes his debut. If you’re in need of points, threes or rebounds, give Ilyasova a long look.
Stash candidate: Jerryd Bayless, PG, Philadelphia 76ers (7.7% owned)
Jerryd Bayless missed the Sixers’ loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday with wrist soreness, which is hardly good news for a player who sat out the first 13 games of the season with a wrist injury. That said, after an 18-point, six-assist, six-rebound outing against the Memphis Grizzlies the night before Thanksgiving, Sixers head coach Brett Brown saw enough to move Bayless into the starting lineup ahead of Sergio Rodriguez. He turned in an underwhelming line in that start against Chicago—11 points, four rebounds, two assists and a trey in 26 minutes—but assuming his wrist isn’t a long-term concern, owners in need of point guard help should stash Bayless now before he takes off.
J.R. Smith, SG, Cleveland Cavaliers (40.8% owned)
Moe Harkless, SF/PF, Portland Trail Blazers (39.1% owned)
Tyreke Evans, SG/SF, New Orleans Pelicans (34.0% owned)
Tony Parker, PG, San Antonio Spurs (21.4% owned)
Robert Covington, SF/PF, Philadelphia 76ers (18.9% owned)
Deeper-league adds (owned in fewer than 20% of leagues)
JaMychal Green, PF, Memphis Grizzlies (16.6% owned)
Patrick Beverley, PG, Houston Rockets (13.0% owned)
E’Twaun Moore, SG, New Orleans Pelicans (10.5% owned)
James Johnson, SF, Miami Heat (10.1% owned)
Nik Stauskas, SG, Philadelphia 76ers (7.5% owned)
All rankings via Basketball Monster are based on nine-category leagues and are current heading into Monday, Nov. 28. All ownership percentages via ESPN.com. All average draft position info via FantasyPros.