Fantasy Basketball: 5 waiver wire pickups to keep your eye on

Fantasy basketball managers often live and die by the waiver wire, and when an injury strikes or an unexpected player emerges, acting fast can make or break your team. You better believe I’m still salty over missing out on Bol Bol, so let’s dive in on 5 deep league players I’m currently keeping on my watchlist that you should too.

Fantasy basketball-Walker Kessler (26% rostered in Yahoo Leagues)

No one expected the Jazz to dominate at the start of their season, but veterans like Conley, Clarkson, and Olynyk mixed with the emergence of Lauri Markannen have led to a hot start. Thus far, Kessler hasn’t gotten the playing time many anticipated, but that won’t last all season. At 7’1 and 245 pounds, Kessler was a dominant shot blocker in college, averaging over 4 a game. Ironically, Kessler was acquired in the Gobert trade, and once he’s unleashed, he has the potential to produce Gobert-type defensive numbers. Keep an eye on him.

Fantasy basketball-Jalen Williams (17% rostered in Yahoo Leagues)

I’ll admit that it took me a few games to navigate the plethora of Jalen and Jaden in the NBA this season, but OKC’s Jalen Williams should not be overlooked. The current headline story in OKC is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander putting up first-round numbers. However, the looming potential for his late-season shutdown is ever-present.

When given minutes, Williams has flashed his potential with lines like 13 points, 3 boards, 3 dimes, 4 steals, and a block. He also dropped a double-double one game with eleven dimes. As the season progresses, keep an eye on Jalen, as he could quickly become a must-grab player.

Fantasy basketball-Tari Eason (32% rostered in Yahoo Leagues)

Tari Eason of the Houston Rockets came into this season with a ton of hype, especially after his Summer League performance. He was reached in my fantasy league by one of the purveyors of an aptly named New York Knicks podcast called Long Suffering.

Unfortunately, suffering seems to follow Knicks fans everywhere, as Eason hasn’t been given substantial playing time thus far. What I’m trying to say is yes, because my friend drafted Tari Eason, he’s cursed you all. I hope you accept my apology on his behalf.

Still, in his limited minutes, Eason has put together some unbelievable stat lines like 14 points, 6 boards, 5 dimes, and 5 steals. He’s also had at least one steal in 12 straight games. The Rockets are currently 2-12, and with Eason’s defensive prowess and insane athleticism, it’s only a matter of time before he’s freed and my friend is hopefully redeemed.

Fantasy basketball-Jeremy Sochan (21% rostered in Yahoo Leagues)

This is an interesting week for the San Antonio Spurs as they play five games, and with Tre Jones unavailable Monday, Popovich moved Jeremy Sochan from power forward to point guard. The experiment was a failure, with Sochan failing to record an assist, but it’s intriguing nonetheless. Popovich is a famously tough coach, and even though the Spurs are a far cry from the Tim Duncan days, it’s amazing to see Popovich enlist that much trust in a rookie.

Although Sochan hasn’t particularly impressed thus far, he’s a solid swingman that can rake in stocks. With Joshua Primo out of the mix and veterans Doug Mcdermott and Josh Richardson comparatively less important to San Antonio’s future, Sochan seems to have a runway to a solid rookie campaign in fantasy football.

Fantasy basketball-Charles Bassey (39% rostered in Yahoo League)

Another Spurs specialty here, as Bassey wasn’t on anyone’s radar until Zach Collins went down with an injury. On November 11th, in 18 minutes, Bassey went for 5 points, 14 boards, 4 dimes, 4 blocks, and 1 triple. an extremely intriguing line from the athletic big man. Bassey was drafted by the Sixers in 2021 but was buried on the bench behind Embiid.

With minutes opening up and the Spurs going nowhere soon, Bassey could emerge as a low-end block specialist or the next Bol Bol on the waiver wire. I’ll take my chances this week.