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Fantasy Basketball: Week 5 waiver wire pickups

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By Gabe Allen, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

Those who were expecting smoother sailing this fantasy season have been rudely awakened. Injuries and illnesses continue to be a major factor, as was the case last year. As such, playing the waiver wire wisely has perhaps never been more vital.

Sticking with my usual theme of spreading the love around, this week’s list of recommended additions features eight players who have yet to be suggested this season.

Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets (46% rostered)

There aren’t many players seeing fewer than 20 minutes per game with a rostered percentage as high as Houston’s rookie big man. Yet, it still feels like folks are sleeping on Sengun, who is providing superb per-minute production, sporting averages of 9.1 points (46.8% FG, 41.7% 3PT, 66.7% FT), 4.4 boards, 2.4 dimes, 1.7 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 19.3 minutes across his first 10 appearances.

He is making mistakes, including amassing more turnovers (2.6 TPG) than assists. Nevertheless, it’s hard to imagine Sengun will be stuck in a relatively limited role for the entire season, or even most of it. As the campaign carries on and the losses presumably keep piling up for the Rockets, Sengun could (and probably should) become more and more involved. And his per-36-minutes averages of 17.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 3.2 steals, 0.9 threes, and 0.9 blocks are nothing to sneeze at.

Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun (28)
Last call for Alperen Sengun off the waiver wire. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Of course, there’s no guarantee that he’ll end up playing starter-level minutes on a nightly basis, but to paraphrase Chris Farley, “You can imagine what it’d be like if he did, right?”

If you can afford to stash Sengun in hopes that he eventually earns a more substantial role, he has the type of long-term upside that could help swing your league.

Royce O’Neale, Utah Jazz (45% rostered)

O’Neale isn’t exactly a splashy add — he just delivered a dud in Thursday’s loss to the Pacers — but he’s maintaining career-high averages of 7.4 points and 1.8 steals through 12 appearances. While there will likely be some regression in the steals department, O’Neale’s scoring average could still be on the rise, as his current three-point and free-throw shooting percentages (31.1% 3PT, 69.2% FT) are both significantly below his career marks (37.5% 3PT, 78.9% FT). Especially valuable in roto formats thanks to his ability to contribute across every category, O’Neale remains a jack-of-all-trades worth rostering in most leagues.

Luguentz Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder (39% rostered)

Dort has scored in double figures while earning at least 30 minutes in seven straight appearances, and he poured in a season-high 27 points in Wednesday’s win over the Pelicans. While his inefficient field-goal percentage and minimal production in the steals and block categories limit his fantasy value in rotisserie formats, Dort is worth a look in points leagues, especially deeper ones, thanks in large part to his consistently demanding role.

Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder (35% rostered)

Across the last six games, Bazley has compiled averages of 13.2 points on 45.3 percent shooting, 7.2 rebounds, 1.8 threes, 1.5 dimes, 1.2 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 29.8 minutes. He has been a turnover machine during this recent stretch, committing 2.8 per night.

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However, Bazley is earning no shortage of minutes and chipping in across multiple categories, showing off a more well-rounded skill set than in previous years. Like Dort, Bazley is more valuable in points leagues, but that could change if he cuts down on his turnovers while maintaining a decent field-goal percentage.

Frank Kaminsky, Phoenix Suns (27% rostered)

Deandre Ayton (leg) has missed four of the last five games and is listed as doubtful for Friday’s matchup against the Grizzlies. In the lone game during this recent stretch that Ayton played, Kaminsky was a total non-factor, earning just six minutes. However, he has scored in double figures in all four of the contests that Ayton has been held out, including a 31-point explosion in Wednesday’s win over the Trail Blazers.

Boasting averages of 18.5 points, 5.3 boards, 2.5 assists, 1.3 threes, 1.3 steals, and 1.0 block in 28.0 minutes during the recent stretch without Ayton, Kaminsky is clearly worth adding, if only for the short-term, as the Suns have four games on the schedule for each of the next two weeks.

Daniel Theis, Houston Rockets (24% rostered)

After wholeheartedly endorsing Sengun, why am I recommending Theis? For one, there are more than enough frontcourt minutes to go around in Houston. Moreover, the veteran big man is averaging 12.7 points on 69.6 percent shooting to go along with 4.7 boards, 1.3 steals, 1.0 assist, 1.0 three, and 1.0 block in 26.7 minutes across the last three games. Theis combines decent counting stats with solid efficiency, which makes him a sneakily valuable fantasy option, especially in deeper category formats.

Josh Richardson, Boston Celtics (13% rostered)

Richardson has combined for 28 points, five boards, four dimes, three treys, three steals, and two blocks across 64 minutes during his last two appearances. It’s a far cry from what he was accomplishing as a member of the Miami Heat several seasons ago. However, with Jaylen Brown (hamstring) set to miss at least another week, Richardson seems like a fairly serviceable short-term option, especially given Boston’s relative lack of depth along the wing.

Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls (8% rostered)

With Nikola Vucevic (health and safety protocols) expected to miss multiple games, Bradley is the lone healthy player on the roster who’s taller than 6-foot-8. He had earned double-digit minutes in five straight games prior to Wednesday’s matchup versus the Mavericks, and there’s a decent chance he earns 20-plus minutes in each of the four games on Chicago’s Week 5 schedule. As such, Bradley is a strong choice for those in search of a streamer who can add boards and blocks.

Recent recommendations still rostered in less than 50 percent of leagues: Alex Caruso, Matisse Thybulle, Terance Mann, Furkan Korkmaz, Josh Hart, Shake Milton, Eric Bledsoe, Georges Niang, T.J. Warren, Kevin Love, Monte Morris, Davion Mitchell, Kevin Huerter, Devin Vassell, Patrick Beverley, Donte DiVincenzo, Markelle Fultz

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