The Duel

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups With 2019-20 NBA Season Now Underway

Dan Israeli
Memphis Grizzlies v Miami Heat
Memphis Grizzlies v Miami Heat / Michael Reaves/Getty Images
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With the shortened Week 1 of the 2019-20 fantasy basketball season, owners will need to start considering who to snatch off the waiver wire heading into Week 2.

There were a few key injuries and one looming suspension this week, leaving a lot of owners scrambling for replacements early in the season. Whether you're in that position or just looking for a boost from the waiver wire, here are five pickups to consider – one at every position (PG, SG, SF, PF and C).

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1. Kendrick Nunn, PG, Miami Heat

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Kendrick Nunn received some hype entering the season, after dropping 40 on the Houston Rockets in the Miami Heat's preseason finale, but uncertainty over his role loomed. Those concerns were temporarily set aside when it was announced Nunn would start on opening night, with Jimmy Butler out due to the birth of his daughter. Nunn (owned in 25 percent of Yahoo! leagues) dropped 24 points in his NBA debut, and it was later announced that he was going to stick in the Heat's starting lineup once Butler returns. Nunn may have come out of nowhere, but he still has the look of a high-upside fantasy play as an explosive playmaker with the ability to score anywhere on the floor, especially if Butler's ultimate return doesn't hinder the rookie's usage too much.

2. Luke Kennard, SG, Detroit Pistons

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Another player who has benefitted from an All-Star's absence from the lineup, Luke Kennard went off in the Detroit Pistons' season opener, dropping a career-high 30 points against the Indiana Pacers. Kennard's scoring cooled off in his second game against the Atlanta Hawks, but he still produced a useful fantasy line with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists, three 3-pointers and a steal. Kennard is getting a lot of burn and usage so far, with Blake Griffin out of the lineup, and it may continue for as long as the veteran forward, who is battling multiple lower body injuries, is out of action. Kennard is owned in 28 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

3. Marcus Morris, SF, New York Knicks

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Heading into the season, it was uncertain how the New York Knicks rotation would shake out, due to an influx of new players at literally every position. However, there is now a clearer picture of how minutes will be distributed, with Marcus Morris looking like one of the early winners. Morris led the team with a whopping 39 minutes in the season opener, scoring 26 points, on 9-of-18 shooting, to go with four rebounds and three steals. Morris is more than capable of producing fantasy value on his new team, as the Knicks should play at a high pace all season. He also led the team in 3-point attempts, making 3-of-7. Morris is still available in 55 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

4. Nemanja Bjelica, PF, Sacramento Kings

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Nemanja Bjelica is one of the biggest beneficiaries of one of Week 1's biggest injuries, as he will replace Marvin Bagley (fractured thumb) in the Sacramento Kings' starting lineup. While his minutes are uncertain, Bjelica has some decent upside thanks to his fantasy-friendly skillset. He started 70 games for the Kings last year with averages of 9.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 0.7 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.3 threes per game. With Bagley expected to miss 4-6 weeks of action, Bjelica makes for a solid stop-gap option at power forward. He's owned in just nine percent of Yahoo! leagues and has the ability to contribute in multiple fantasy categories.

5. Tristan Thompson, C, Cleveland Cavaliers

Abbie Parr/Getty Images

While he'll never be an exciting player to own, Tristan Thompson seems to go ignored in far too many fantasy leagues. The nine-year NBA veteran had a solid season debut for the Cleveland Cavaliers, finishing with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. He won't contribute much else, outside of a strong field goal percentage and the occasional block, but his numbers certainly play in points leagues and for any owner desperate for some production at the center position. Considering two major players with center eligibility will be out for quite some time (Blake Griffin and Deandre Ayton), Thompson makes sense as a pickup.


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