We're at a point in the season where the sample size is large enough to make well-informed critiques. Whether at the top of your standings or fighting for a playoff spot, the waiver wire has impacted your season thus far. Of course, streaming plays an essential role across most formats. However, occasionally you stumble upon a waiver-wire gem, someone who sticks on your roster for the rest of the season. These players can often be difference-makers, providing you with an unexpected boost.
Let's dive in.
Current 9-cat Rank: 62
Coming into the season, Wright's exact role was unclear, given the acquisition of Monte Morris. A hamstring injury suffered early in the year put the brakes on what was an encouraging start for Wright. Since returning to the lineup, Wright's minutes have slowly increased, having now played at least 24 minutes in four of his past five games. He is the 60th-ranked player over the past two weeks, his value built primarily on his assist and steal numbers. Across that span, he is averaging 4.3 assists and 2.0 steals in 23.3 minutes per game. He has also scored double digits in two straight games, a feat he had not achieved all season.
Of course, it is hard to see his role growing too much, barring an injury to Morris. Kendrick Nunn was acquired from the Lakers on Monday, throwing another wrench into the works. With that said, Wright's ability to run the second unit while providing elite defensive numbers should allow him to stick in the rotation. His limited skill set means he isn't for everyone, but his steals upside can be the difference between a win and a loss.
Current 9-cat Rank: 112
Oladipo has been arguably the best feel-good story of the season, resurrecting his career after battling severe injuries over the past few years. He will never be the same player he was during his prime, but he is giving the Heat some great energy off the bench. He sits just outside the top 100 over the past two weeks, delivering serviceable averages of 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 triples. Perhaps more importantly, he is playing upwards of 30 minutes per night, which seemed inconceivable only two months ago.
Oladipo appears very comfortable playing the sixth-man role, affording him some flexibility in what is required on a nightly basis. It's unlikely his scoring takes a jump at any point, but his steal and assist numbers provide a solid Fantasy floor. His skillset is not unlike that of Wright, although he tends to be more involved on the offensive end, giving him slightly more upside.
Current 9-cat Rank: 66
Murphy has made the most of a favorable situation this season, playing a larger role than initially expected. Injuries to multiple guys, namely Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, have opened up additional playing time. Over the past two weeks, Murphy has been rock solid, providing 13.9 points per game on 51.4 percent shooting from the floor, adding 1.7 steals and 1.7 3-pointers. His ability to score is well-documented, although the most exciting part of his strong season has been his ability to contribute from the perimeter and get to the basket.
Ingram is nearing a return, which could cut into Murphy's opportunities. He isn't a high-usage player, meaning playing time is vital to him being a viable asset. He has been a fringe top-60 player over the past two weeks, a rank that could very well be a season-high. Projecting forward, if and when the Pelicans are fully healthy, Murphy figures to see minutes in the mid-20s, likely putting him just outside the top 100 in standard formats.
Current 9-cat Rank: 83
Anderson is another guy who has benefitted from injuries to other players, the most notable being Karl-Anthony Towns. Since moving into the starting lineup almost a month ago, Anderson has been a top-50 player, despite averaging just 10.2 points per game. His ability to contribute across multiple categories gives him his appeal, providing 6.0 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks in that same time frame. His poor free-throw shooting is not really an issue, given he only gets to the line 2.1 times per game.
Towns has no timetable for his return and recently went on record stating his initial six-week timeframe was never a realistic option. While this is not good news for anyone holding him, it is music to the ears of Anderson's managers. The Timberwolves are not living up to expectations this season, and there is not a lot of incentive to rush Towns back into the fold. Until we get word that he is nearing a comeback, Anderson should be rolled out there in every league, providing managers with a top-80 Fantasy floor.
Current 9-cat Rank: 107
Despite the fact he is about to turn 33, Plumlee is putting together arguably the best season of his career. He is the 107th-ranked player in standard formats, a rank that climbs to 49 when punting free throw percentage. He currently puts up 11.8 points and 9.8 rebounds on 66.5 percent shooting from the field, all career-best numbers. His defense is questionable, but his ability to play as a point-center gives the Hornets some flexibility on the offensive end.
He doesn't fit the Hornets' long-term plans, which could lead to him being traded in the next few weeks. Mark Williams and Nick Richards have flashed nice upside at times, and a Plumlee trade would open up a lot of playing time. However, until that happens, managers should sit back and enjoy the full Plumlee experience.