The Duel

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Pickups Include Christian Wood and Richaun Holmes

Dan Israeli
Portland Trail Blazers v Sacramento Kings
Portland Trail Blazers v Sacramento Kings / Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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Now in Week 2 of the 2019-20 NBA fantasy season, it's still early enough in the year where playing close attention to rotations could lead to some unearthed gems off the waiver wire.

In addition to that, injuries will always open the door for increased minutes and opportunity in fantasy basketball, which results in strong, albeit temporary, pickups. Here are five players to consider, one at each position, off the fantasy basketball waiver wire.

5. Devonte' Graham, PG, Charlotte Hornets

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Devonte' Graham has seen his ownership surge dramatically in less than one week of the season. Almost universally unowned going into the year, the Charlotte Hornets' backup PG is up to 56 percent owned in Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball leagues thanks to an eye-turning start. Graham is averaging 16.4 points and 7.6 assists per game so far, and is getting plenty of burn at 29.2 minutes off the bench. Graham is also playing in tandem with starting PG Terry Rozier, and is honestly the team's best pure playmaker as Rozier has always been more of an attacking guard. Graham should be owned even in 10-team leagues, as he is looking like a legit contributor in points, assists and 3-pointers.

4. Wesley Matthews, SG, Milwaukee Bucks

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One of the Milwaukee Bucks' new additions this year, Wesley Matthews, is off to a hot start with the team, averaging 11.3 points, 2.3 threes and 1.0 steals through the team's first three games. Matthews won't contribute in several categories, but is still one of the best three-point specialists in the league. His outlook is improved this season playing on the Bucks, as no player invites more defenders to the paint and, in turn, creates as many open threes for his teammates as Giannis Antetokounmpo. Matthews is available in 85 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

3. Jae Crowder, SF, Memphis Grizzlies

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After thriving on the Boston Celtics, Jae Crowder's numbers have taken in a hit in recent seasons, as he played off the bench for most of his tenure with the Utah Jazz. Now, on the talent- and veteran-deprived Memphis Grizzlies, Crowder is playing the most minutes of his career through three games (32.5 minutes per game), and has responded with some impressive per game averages of 10.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.3 threes. Crowder should average even more as a scorer and will continue to play a ton of minutes for the Grizzlies, unless his role is affected by a trade. He is owned in just 28 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

2. Christian Wood, PF, Detroit Lions

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Fantasy basketball junkies have been well aware of Christian Wood since late last season, when he went on an eight-game run with the New Orleans Pelicans, averaging 16.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. His name started trending when it was announced Blake Griffin would miss the start of the season, but Wood failed to play much in the team's first three games. He broke out in a major way off the bench against the Indiana Pacers, finishing with a double-double (19 points, 12 rebounds) in just 21 minutes. Wood benefitted from Markieff Morris getting into foul trouble, but the upside is there if he can establish even 20-25 minutes per game, at least while Griffin remains out. He is available in 88 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

1. Richaun Holmes, C, Sacramento Kings

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings' front court was dealt a major blow when second-year power forward Marvin Bagley went down with a fractured right thumb, which will cost him 4-6 weeks. In the meantime, playing time is up for grabs, and one player who looks up for the task is Richaun Holmes. Always a per-minute fantasy monster, Holmes broke out big time against the Denver Nuggets, dropping 24 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks in 30 minutes off the bench. Kings' starting center Dewayne Dedmon has looked shot so far this season, and too slow for the fast-paced Kings. Even when Bagley returns, there is a chance Holmes can maintain value as the preferred option at center. He is available in 75 percent of Yahoo! leagues.


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