By Gabe Allen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
We’re only a week and a half into the fantasy basketball season, and yet the waiver wire has already thinned out considerably, which is typical given how closely fantasy managers pay attention in the early going. However, there are still hidden gems to be found, plus a handful of players who were recommended last week and remain widely available.
Here are eight players to add heading into Week 3.
Norman Powell, LA Clippers (41 percent rostered)
Powell broke out of his five-game shooting slump last night against the Thunder, scoring 21 points to go along with three boards, two dimes, two treys and one block in 31 minutes. The Clippers have no shortage of star power and depth along the wing, but Powell is a proven bucket-getter who probably won’t be this widely available for long. His rostered percentage has dropped dramatically (-18% Last Day) despite Thursday’s impressive showing and the fact that Kawhi Leonard (knee) is experiencing stiffness.
Every year, a good player gets off to a slow start, and fantasy managers abandon the bandwagon too early. Powell might be that guy this season.
Precious Achiuwa, Raptors (39% rostered)
Although Toronto’s weakest spot in its rotation remains center (not counting Pascal Siakam), Achiuwa has stepped up early with averages of 9.8 points, 10.0 boards, 1.4 assists and 0.8 threes in 24.8 minutes per game. He’s contributing next to nothing in steals and blocks, and his shooting percentages (40.0% FG, 28.6% 3PT, 69.2% FT) leave more than a little to be desired. Nevertheless, for those in deep points leagues, Achiuwa is worthy of consideration.
Lonnie Walker IV, LA Lakers (39% rostered)
Walker has scored at least 15 points in three of the first four games this season while sporting per-game averages of 15.3 points, 3.0 boards, 2.5 dimes, 1.5 steals, 1.0 threes and 0.8 blocks across 32.3 minutes. He’s not the most efficient scorer, but he’s maintaining a career-high scoring average and a career-best field-goal percentage (43.6% FG). If the Lakers continue to deal with injuries, Walker will likely dwarf his previous high in minutes per game (25.4 MPG in 2020-21), and opportunity is half the battle.
Tre Mann, Oklahoma City Thunder (36% rostered)
Mann has reached double figures in scoring in all five games thus far this season. Like every player mentioned thus far in this article, Mann’s shooting percentages are less than stellar. Still, he’s averaging 14.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.0 threes and 1.2 steals in 27.6 minutes. He may not maintain this production level once Josh Giddey (ankle) is healthy, but Mann may be in the process of carving out a considerable role for himself nonetheless.
Jaylen Nowell, Minnesota Timberwolves (28% rostered)
Nowell has been tearing it up despite seeing limited minutes through the first five games of the season, posting averages of 16.2 points, 4.8 boards, 2.0 assists, 1.8 threes and 0.8 steals across 21.8 minutes. Unless his playing time is increased, Nowell may have difficulty maintaining such stellar stats, but he’s doing everything he can to earn a more plentiful role.
Even if you aren’t going to pick him up right away, be sure to put him on your watch list.
Bruce Brown, Denver Nuggets (23% rostered)
Brown, whom I recommended in a pre-season must-draft players column, already appears comfortable in his new home. Brown is averaging career highs of 11.4 points on 53.5 percent from the field and 1.6 threes on 50% from deep. He’s also chipping in 3.4 dimes, 2.8 boards, 0.8 steals and 0.4 blocks in 27.2 minutes. Though the shooting percentages will likely come back down to Earth, the rest of his statline offers room for improvement, particularly in the rebounding and steals departments. Add Brown now while you still can.
Malik Monk, Sacramento Kings (20% rostered)
After struggling in his first two games, Monk has combined for 31 points, 15 dimes, nine boards, seven treys, three steals and one block across 51 minutes in the last two. He brings a lot more to the table offensively than Davion Mitchell, and the Kings need the spacing Monk provides to help make life easier on De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. When the stars aren’t on the court, Monk can go to work. Moreover, his skillset allows him to operate away from the ball, so he’s likely to spend ample time playing in reserve lineups and with the starters.
Another good game or two, and Monk will see his rostered percentage rise through the roof.
Mason Plumlee, Charlotte Hornets (14% rostered)
Plumlee has been stuffing the stat sheet through the first four games, collecting averages of 9.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 0.8 blocks across 24.8 minutes. He has always topped out around one block per game, so expecting a significant increase in that area is a recipe for disappointment. Still, Plumlee has stepped up with LaMelo Ball (ankle) sidelined, especially as a distributor. When Charlotte is at full strength in the backcourt with Ball and Terry Rozier (ankle), Plumlee may see his assists drop a bit. Nevertheless, he may surpass his previous career high in that category (3.6 APG in 2020-21).
For those in need of a solid center, Plumlee is flying under the radar.
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