This article is part of our Category Strategy series.
You want waiver help. We all do. But you don't just want any waiver prospect. You want – no, you need – the player who works best for your roster.
Fantasy managers are always scouring the waiver wire. However, the best overall addition isn't always the best fit for their specific team. A head-to-head manager who is in last place in threes doesn't get much benefit from picking up Bryn Forbes. Dewayne Dedmon is a solid add for a team that needs rebounds or blocks, but a lot of rosters would be better off looking elsewhere.
Well, this article is for you. Today we'll go category by category, identifying the best pickups to help your roster in the categories you need most.
In general, we'll focus on players rostered in less than two-thirds of CBS Leagues. Players in the "other recommendations" sections are listed in order of their overall fantasy value, not in terms of their value within that specific category.
PointsBogdan Bogdanovic, Kings
(55 percent rostered)
Bogdanovic is still working his way back from early-offseason knee surgery. He's only been back for six games, and he has yet to top 25 minutes in a game. Despite the limited workload, he's already averaging 16.0 points over his last four games, while also contributing 3.3 assists and 2.8 threes. Kings coach Dave Joerger indicated during the preseason that he expected Bogdanovic to eventually start for the team, so it's likely that Bogdanovic's minutes will increase as he continues to get healthier. If he's still available, he has potential to be one of the best waiver-wire acquisitions of the season.
Other recommendations: Bojan Bogdanovic, Pacers (65 percent rostered); Trey Burke, Knicks (28 percent rostered); Terrence Ross, Magic (43 percent rostered); James Ennis, Rockets (9 percent rostered); Kelly Oubre, Wizards (41 percent rostered)
Three-pointersBryn Forbes, Spurs
(21 percent rostered)
When Dejounte Murray (knee) went down in the preseason, pretty much everyone expected Derrick White to step in as the new Spurs point guard. Then, barely a week later, White went out with a heel injury of his own. Forbes stepped in and was surprisingly effective, averaging 14.5 points and 2.5 threes with efficient shooting numbers in 31.0 minutes per game.
His effectiveness fell off in the games before White's return, and many assumed we'd seen the last of Bryn "Fantasy Relevant" Forbes. We were wrong. White only lasted in the starting lineup for five games. With DeMar DeRozan averaging a career-high in assists, the Spurs re-inserted Forbes into the starting lineup as a shooting specialist pretending to be a point guard. Forbes' streak of at least two threes per game started before Election Day, and he's averaging 3.0 triples during that eight-game streak. He's shooting an incredible 55.8 percent from behind the arc during that stretch, a rate which would easily be the best in the league this season.
Other recommendations:Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kings (55 percent rostered); Bojan Bogdanovic, Pacers (65 percent rostered); Terrence Ross, Magic (43 percent rostered); Tyler Johnson*, Heat (42 percent rostered); Reggie Bullock, Pistons (14 percent rostered); Wayne Ellington, Heat (10 percent rostered); Dorian Finney-Smith, Mavericks (6 percent rostered)
*Johnson (hamstring) missed Tuesday's game, but as of publication time, it is not clear if he'll miss additional time.
ReboundsJaMychal Green, Grizzlies
(32 percent rostered)
Green just came back from missing almost a month with a jaw injury, and his value is directly linked to the production of Jaren Jackson, Jr. The rookie stepped into the starting lineup when Green went down, and performed admirably. Jackson is still starting, but in Green's first game back, Green played more minutes than the rookie. The very next night, though, on the second game of a back-to-back, Jackson had one of his best outings so far and more than doubled Green's workload.
Overall, Jackson has not done enough to permanently lock down the starting job for a potential playoff team, but he has certainly done enough to keep the job for now. If Jackson falters and the Grizzlies maintain their current strong play – they are tied for first in West – Green's role would increase. Green averaged 8.4 rebounds in 28 minutes in 2017-18. In his two games back, he's averaged 8.5 rebounds in 18.0 minutes.
*As long as Draymond Green (toe) remains sidelined.
AssistsPatrick Beverley, Clippers
(31 percent rostered)
Assists are hard to come by. Beverley has not been all that good, but over the past week he's averaging more assists per game than anyone else available on waivers. He makes some threes, provides pretty good rebounds for a guard, and he's always a threat for some defense stats – all of which combine to minimize the fact that, overall, he's barely worth rostering. One of the best factors working in his favor is that Milos Teodosic and rookie Jerome Robinson have been out of the rotation, providing some relief on what looked like a over-crowded backcourt.
StealsMikal Bridges, Suns
(26 percent rostered)
We have to be wary of Suns wings this season because their offseason strategy seemed to be "if small-ball is in, then let's only acquire small forwards". As a result, the team's second-best returning player, their best free agent signing, their 2017 lottery pick, and one of their 2018 lottery picks all play the same position. There is always the chance that one or more of them suddenly see a big drop in minutes. That said, Bridges has looked really good lately, and as a team with no hope of winning, Phoenix's most logical plan would be to keep giving Bridges more experience. He's averaging 1.3 steals per game this season, and now that he's seen more than 20 minutes in four straight games, he's worth rostering. He also has the potential to block some shots and provide good-enough scoring and threes, but his steals are likely to be the most exciting part of his fantasy profile.
Larry Nance barely qualifies for this article, so I didn't want to focus this section on him, but if he's available he has potential to be the best overall add mentioned here. He has started the last four games, averaging 28 minutes per game. He's an efficient fantasy producer, and he's averaging 1.3 steals per game.
Other recommendations: Jonathan Isaac, Magic (56 percent rostered); Larry Nance, Cavaliers (63 percent rostered); Cory Joseph, Pacers (5 percent rostered); Wesley Matthews, Mavericks (67 percent rostered) Dorian Finney-Smith, Mavericks (6 percent rostered)
BlocksGary Clark, Rockets
(6 percent rostered)
It wasn't until November 3rd that Clark only entered the Rockets rotation in any meaningful way. In the eight games since, he's averaging 1.5 blocks per game – that would be good for 18th in the league this season. Everyone in the top-17 is rostered in virtually all fantasy leagues. The modern NBA has very few great shot-blockers, and adding a top-20 player in the category can have a massive impact on any roster's competitiveness. Clark also contributes a three per game, and is otherwise a bit of a fantasy drain. Nonetheless, the shape of the blocks market is so barren that Clark is worth adding, despite his spartan contributions elsewhere.
Jonathan Isaac also qualifies for this article and is a better fantasy add than Clark in every way. But mentioning him feels like cheating, because he should never have been dropped in the first place (he was rostered in over 75 percent of leagues before his November 2 injury). He's really good. In games where he's played at least 20 minutes, he's averaging 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals.