By Gabe Allen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
Fantasy basketball managers have a lot to be grateful for these days. A week ago, the waiver wire seemed like it had hit its first legitimate lull. But it was short-lived. Jump to today, and the free-agent pool features plenty of talented players who can help both in the immediate future and the long term.
Without further ado, here are 11 players to consider adding this weekend.
Isaiah Jackson, Indiana Pacers (47 percent rostered)
Jackson is coming off a scintillating performance in which he poured in 17 points (6-7 FG, 5-6 FT), 10 boards, one dime and one block in merely 18 minutes of action. The sophomore big man has seen his playing time increase only marginally compared to his rookie campaign. However, through 11 appearances this season, he has showcased a budding skillset, perhaps most notably, improved passing.
With averages of 8.5 points, 5.5 boards, 1.3 assists (compared to just 0.3 dimes per game last year), 1.3 blocks and 0.5 steals in about 18 minutes per game, his upside is tangible, as an injury, trade, or earned promotion could result in substantially more minutes going forward. Add Jackson right away if someone in your league ran out of patience.
Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks (47% rostered)
Okongwu is off to a relatively slow start. Plus, he’s averaging almost a minute per game less than last season through 12 games. Nevertheless, the ability is evident. It was on full display during Thursday’s win over the 76ers, in which Okongwu delivered his first double-double of the year, totaling 10 points (5-6 FG), 11 rebounds and two blocks across 21 minutes.
Veteran starter Clint Capela is off to a solid start, but even if Capela enjoys a healthy season and continues playing most of the available minutes at center, Okongwu could still be a factor in fantasy leagues thanks to his lofty field-goal percentage and defensive excellence. Especially if you’re already rostering Capela, do yourself a favor and make room on your squad for Okongwu.
Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans (46% rostered)
Murphy is off to an impressive start this season — a compelling early contender for Most Improved Player — and saw his rostered percentage rise rapidly over the first few weeks. However, a recent slow stretch convinced enough managers to drop him that he’s now available in more leagues than not. Boasting averages of 11.9 points (48.0% FG, 42.4% 3PT, 95.0% FT), 4.8 boards, 2.3 treys, 1.5 dimes, 1.0 steals and 0.4 blocks in just under 30 minutes per game, snatch Murphy up if someone hastily let him go over a couple of lackluster outings.
Mason Plumlee, Charlotte Hornets (46% rostered)
Regular readers know I avoid suggesting the same players in consecutive columns. Nevertheless, this is the third week in a row I’m recommending Plumlee as a player to add. Although his free-throw percentage is downright dismal and he offers very little defensively compared to most seven-footers, he’s making quality contributions across numerous categories. He averages 9.1 points (on 60.3 percent shooting from the field), 9.1 boards and 4.2 assists in about 26 minutes per night. Add Plumlee immediately, or risk reading about him here again next week. The ball is in your court, folks.
Aleksej Pokusevski, Oklahoma City Thunder (43% rostered)
After earning less than 20 minutes in three of the first four games this season, Pokusevski has played 24-plus minutes in five straight appearances. During this recent five-game stretch, the third-year forward has averaged 11.6 points on 48 percent from the field with 7.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.0 blocks, 1.8 threes and 1.0 steals in just under 30 minutes per contest. There will be nights where he misses a bunch of shots and commits a ton of turnovers, but he will have every opportunity to stuff the stat sheet this season. Pokusevski possesses no shortage of potential, particularly in points leagues. Add him now while you still can.
Cam Thomas, Brooklyn Nets (37% rostered)
Thomas has scored 17 points or more in three of the last four games while averaging 15.8 points, 3.5 assists, 1.3 threes and 1.3 steals in 28.3 minutes. At the very least, Thomas is worth adding in most leagues as a solid short-term streamer with some long-term upside.
Malik Monk, Sacramento Kings (36% rostered)
Monk is averaging 12.2 points, 4.4 dimes compared to 1.4 turnovers, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 threes in less than 22 minutes per game. He has made a significant leap as a distributor, having averaged a career-best 2.9 dimes in over 28 minutes per game last season. The fact that he has increased his assist average while reducing his turnovers (1.6 TOV in 2021-22) is nothing to sneeze at. If it continues, his role will likely expand as the campaign continues.
Cameron Payne, Phoenix Suns (35% rostered)
Payne drew the start in place of Chris Paul (heel) during Wednesday’s win over the Timberwolves and exploded for 23 points, eight assists, six boards and one steal while committing zero turnovers across 35 minutes. With the Suns likely to prioritize the long haul regarding Paul, Payne could be in line for at least a few more starts. Adding Payne is a no-brainer with four games on Phoenix’s schedule next week.
Kenyon Martin Jr., Houston Rockets (22% rostered)
Across the last five games, Martin has managed averages of 15.2 points on 61.7 percent from the field, 4.4 boards, 2.2 threes, 1.6 assists and 1.2 blocks in 25.8 minutes. Don’t neglect the players on bad teams. Over the years, Martin has proven capable of providing quality stat lines when he’s afforded decent minutes.
Jevon Carter, Milwaukee Bucks (21% rostered)
Carter cooked up 36 points on 15-of-27 from the field while dishing 12 dimes and draining five triples in Wednesday’s double-overtime win against the Thunder. With averages of 8.1 points, 2.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 1.5 treys and 0.7 blocks in 26.0 minutes per game, Carter has been a well-rounded contributor for a league-leading Bucks team that is currently without its top three players (Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton) due to injuries.
Jordan Goodwin, Washington Wizards (19% rostered)
Goodwin has showcased a well-rounded skillset amid Bradley Beal’s COVID absence, averaging 9.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks in 25.3 minutes across the last three games. He has flashed enough ability to warrant adding across all formats just in case he carves out a meaningful role for himself going forward.
Recent recommendations: Jalen McDaniels, Norman Powell, Patrick Williams, Tari Eason, Bruce Brown, Jalen Duren, Walker Kessler