Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe
Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe (12) drives to basket under pressure from Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

4 SNEAKY FANTASY BASKETBALL WAIVER WIRE PICKUPS FOR WEEK 2

Mike Shara

Now that we’ve had a few games to see how teams are going to use their players and shuffle their rotations, it’s time to move. There are a few undiscovered gems out there in fantasyland waiting to be rostered, as well as a grizzled vet or two that is worth re-examining. With that in mind, let’s have a look at some moves you might want to think about making this week.


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ERIC BLEDSOE, SG, LA Clippers (38% rostered on Yahoo, 75% on ESPN)
This was sort of an inevitability – he had to be better than he was last year, right? After a bitter conclusion of his time in Milwaukee and a lost season last year in New Orleans, Bledsoe has landed in L.A. back with the team he made his NBA debut with over a decade ago. With the Clippers missing Kawhi Leonard for most of the season and Nicolas Batum missing time as well, there are minutes available for Bledsoe to make the most of. Thursday night vs. the Warriors he responded, filling the stat sheet with 22 points, 3 steals, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a block. That’s exactly the kind of stat line from a waiver wire pickup that helps you win in 9 category leagues.
 
DEVIN VASSELL, SG/SF, San Antonio (16% rostered on Yahoo, 6% on ESPN)
Depending on the depth of your league, this is another late acquisition who could end up helping you across several categories. The Spurs’ rebuild has led to them shuffling veterans like Patty Mills and DeMar DeRozan out of town and giving playing opportunities to less established players. One player benefitting from that opportunity is second year pro Vassell, who thus far is averaging nearly 10 points, over 1.5 steals, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in just over 21 minutes. Thad Young will return to the lineup at some point, but on a rebuilding team there’s no reason Vassell can’t continue to get chances if he continues to optimize his chances.
 
DE’ANTHONY MELTON, PG, Memphis (62% rostered on Yahoo, 16% on ESPN)
So far, he has averaged 21 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, has yet to commit a turnover and really hasn’t even scratched the surface of how good he’s going to be. He doesn’t have a steal or a block yet, but last season he averaged over a block per game and more than half a steal and there’s no reason to think those stats won’t continue to accumulate this season as well. He and second-year shooting guard Desmond Bane proved to have a lethal level of chemistry in the first few games of the regular season and Memphis is a very exciting, up-and-coming young team. You could do a lot worse than adding both Melton and/or Bane while you still can. Neither of them will go undrafted in 2022.
 
RICKY RUBIO, PG, Cleveland (31% rostered on Yahoo, 39% on ESPN)
I know the face you’re making as you read Rubio’s name, and I know the arguments you’re going to make against rostering him. You probably have had him on your team in the past and regretted it, citing his lack of scoring prowess. I get it, but here’s the reality: even when Darius Garland returned, the Cavs played with three guards on the floor a whole lot. That system will speed things up for them offensively, spread the floor and optimize Rubio’s particular skill set. He’s also a perfect pick-and-roll partner for rookie phenom Evan Mobley to partner with. Even after his opening night masterpiece (23 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists), the Spanish sensation still averaged 13.5 points and 10 assists over the next two. Assists are hard to acquire on the waiver wire, sports fans, so don’t ignore Rubio because he’s not as sexy as some other picks. If he continues to score in double digits as well, he makes himself impossible to ignore in fantasy this season.

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