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By Gabe Allen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
It’s still early enough in the season that the waiver wire remains ripe for the picking. Soon enough, though, it may resemble a barren wasteland.
Several of last week’s suggested pickups (Jalen Brunson, Bobby Portis, etc.) are still available in more than 50 percent of fantasy leagues. While I could (and maybe should) keep beating the drum for Brunson or try to start a chant for Portis (Bah-bee! Bah-bee!), this week’s recommended adds feature a new batch of players.
Without further ado, here are 10 players to consider rostering heading into Week 3.
ON THE RADAR
Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls (44% rostered)
Caruso’s stellar defense has helped the Bulls get off to a great start this season. Through five contests, Chicago’s backup point guard ranks third in the league in steals (3.0 SPG), to go along with 8.4 points (46.7% FG, 50.0% 3PT, 88.9% FT), 3.6 dimes, 1.6 boards, 1.2 threes, and 0.6 blocks across 28.6 minutes per game. It’s a small sample size, for sure, but apart from the scoring and rebounding departments, those are all career highs.
Several of those marks will probably regress as the campaign continues. Nevertheless, Caruso has been so crucial to the team’s surprisingly steady defensive play thus far that at the very least he seems likely to shatter his previous career-high of 21.2 minutes per game.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers (44% rostered)
Although he’s playing a career-low 21.8 minutes per game while struggling from the field (37.2% FG) and beyond the arc (20.0% 3PT) through five appearances, Love is turning in decent counting stats and seems highly motivated despite the demotion to a reserve role. Who knows how long it will last. But with averages of 10.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.4 assists to 0.8 turnovers, he’s worthy of consideration, especially in deeper leagues.
Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic (40% rostered)
The NBA’s rookie class has been so superb that Wagner hasn’t received much attention yet. However, he’s averaging 13.6 points (51.9% FG, 41.7% 3PT, 66.7% FT), 3.6 boards, 2.0 treys, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steal, and 0.8 blocks in 32.8 minutes. His rebounding leaves a lot to be desired considering his size (6-foot-9), but the fact that he has started all five matchups and leads Orlando in minutes per game bodes well for his projected long-term value this season.
Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio Spurs (36% rostered)
Walker started the team’s most recent game in place of Doug McDermott (knee) and figures to hold onto that role until the sharpshooter returns. Early on it seemed as though sophomore Devin Vassell might leapfrog Walker in the rotation, but they are earning virtually the same number of minutes. Sporting career-high averages across most categories through five appearances, Walker is chipping in 15.0 points (45.8% FG, 36.4% 3PT, 90.0% FT), 3.2 boards, 2.8 dimes, 2.4 threes and 0.8 steals across 25.8 minutes. Minimally, he’s an excellent Week 3 streaming option thanks to the fact that the Spurs have four games. Optimistically, Walker boasts the ability and upside to be a factor in fantasy leagues far beyond the short-term.
Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers (35% rostered)
Thybulle still isn’t a reliable contributor in most categories, and he has seen a dip in playing time with each passing game thus far — 27 minutes in the season opener but down to 16 minutes versus the Pistons on Thursday. Nevertheless, he remains an elite source of steals and blocks, with absurd averages of 2.0 steals and 1.2 blocks across only 21.2 minutes per game.
Cody Martin, Charlotte Hornets (13% rostered)
Charlotte has been dealing with early season injuries to Terry Rozier (ankle) and P.J. Washington (knee), and Martin has stepped up. Through five games, Martin is averaging 9.4 points, 4.4 boards, 2.4 dimes, 1.6 steals and 1.0 three in 25.0 minutes. He has drawn difficult assignments defensively, notably slowing Brooklyn’s James Harden, plus Martin has shown off an impressive two-way skill set, including an improved shooting stroke.
Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (12% rostered)
Simons is (finally) off to a strong start this season, having scored in double figures in all four games thus far. He seems to be gaining the trust of coach Chauncey Billups, and with averages of 14.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.8 threes, and 2.0 assists in 22.5 minutes, the fourth-year guard is an intriguing add — especially in deep leagues. If either of Portland’s star guards were to miss time due to injury, Simons would be the obvious benefactor and a must-add player in most formats.
Bruce Brown, Brooklyn Nets (9% rostered)
After playing only four minutes (during garbage time) in Brooklyn’s season opener, Brown was a healthy scratch in the second game. However, in the three games since, he has averaged 11.3 points, 5.0 boards, and 1.7 steals across 30.7 minutes per game. The Nets have struggled badly on defense, and Brown’s versatility on that end could help him maintain a fairly demanding role going forward.
Shake Milton, Philadelphia 76ers (7% rostered)
Milton (ankle) made his season debut on Thursday against the Pistons, pitching in 13 points, five dimes, two treys, and one block in 16 minutes. Tyrese Maxey has done a solid job holding down the fort as the starting point guard, but Milton’s ability to sink shots from beyond the arc and control the tempo offensively could result in a consistent role even if it is off the bench.
Patrick Beverley, Minnesota Timberwolves (4% rostered)
After serving a two-game suspension to start the season, Beverley has been a key cog off the pine for a Timberwolves team that’s off to an encouraging start. D’Angelo Russell hasn’t been the most durable player over the years, and Beverley is averaging 8.0 points, 5.0 dimes, 3.7 boards, 2.3 threes, 1.0 steal, and 0.7 blocks in 21.3 minutes across three appearances. Even if Russell remains healthy all season, Beverley is worth adding in plenty of formats.