This article is part of our College Basketball Waiver Wire series.
We saw a tad more injuries, returns from injuries and playing time shake ups that seem to make this week's waiver options a bit deeper than in some of the preceding weeks. We're a little more forward heavy this week too – hopefully a welcomed shake-up given what I perceive to be a lack of quality big men nationally.
Jalen Cone, G, Virginia Tech
Foul trouble Saturday slowed Cone's momentum, as he had previously scored in double-digits in five straight. He's started the last three games for the Hokies, and while he's still a bit of a one-trick pony, relying on 3-points almost exclusively for production, he's going to find his way into additional peripheral production simply based on high minutes.
Nik Popovic, F, Boston College
Full disclosure, Popovic was included here after returning to action last Wednesday and playing 30 minutes. He then saw just eight minutes Saturday against Virginia Tech, so I'm personally a bit puzzled. Popovic still figures to reemerge for the Eagles at some point, and match ups with sizable front courts in Louisville, North Carolina and Duke are next up, suggesting he'll be needed more than he was against a smaller Hokies lineup. But Saturday's quiet outing at least brings some pause before adding.
Isaiah Wong, G, Miami
Wong drew the start Saturday at UNC and responded with a career-high 19 points in 35 minutes. Harlond Beverly may have more upside if Chris Lykes and Kameron McGusty continue to miss time, but Beverly has been full of potential and short on production all year. Wong looks like an option to zig when everyone else zags in ACC formats.
Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina
This is just a reminder to not assume ownership. Anthony most likely was held through his knee surgery and recovery, but if your league has slim benches, maybe an owner got impatient. Anthony's return seems imminent, and he obviously needs to be rostered.
Thorir Thorbjarnarson, G, Nebraska
Thorbjarnarson is proving to be more than just a fun name for the Huskers. While he's been a mainstay in the starting lineup, he went through periods of inconsistencies in December. Thorbjarnarson has settled in over his last four however, averaging 14.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 51.2 percent from the floor and 46.2 percent from 3-point range, which plays well in nearly all formats.
Miller Kopp, F, Northwestern
Kopp's lack of rebounding may have kept him on waiver wires longer than he should have been. He's scored at least 12 points in nine straight, averaging 17.0 points in that stretch while topping 20 points three times. The down side is 4.9 rebounds and a 37.0 field goal percentage. If you can get the former elsewhere and are in a league where the latter doesn't factor, Kopp is a clear elite scorer.
Montavious Murphy, F, Kansas State
The Kansas-KSU melee didn't yield any real fantasy-worthy suspensions, but the Wildcats still appear to be shuffling their rotations in its aftermath. Murphy drew the start Saturday at Alabama, and responded with 10 points and eight boards. He put up 11 and 6 in his last start, and may be worth a look in an otherwise slim week for Big 12 adds. Teammate DaJuan Gordon also moved into the starting lineup Saturday, and produced a nice all-around effort in just 21 minutes, and is worth tracking as well.
Terrence Shannon Jr., F, Texas Tech
We may be a week late on Shannon, who's now played three games since returning from a two-game absence due to a back issue. He's a usual double-digit scorer for the Red Raiders, and was reinserted into the starting five over the weekend, and is safe to do so where Texas Tech features heavily.
Zach Freemantle, F, Xavier
The 6-foot-9 freshman has started two straight for the Musketeers with Quentin Goodin sidelined, and posted an impressive 18 points, nine rebound line in his last appearance against Creighton. Freemantle hadn't played more than 23 minutes in any game prior, so his immediate appeal is short-term and tied to Goodin's availability this week. But he looks the part of a long-term contributor/dynasty target who could have earned some additional minutes going forward as well.
Henry Baddley, G, Butler
Baddley may be more of a "check status" type, but in Big East heavy formats, he's worth a speculative add this week. Aaron Thompson missed Saturday's game due to a wrist injury, and Baddley returned to action to see a season-high 31 minutes. There's only short-term appeal here, as Baddley is averaging just 10.9 minutes, but if he's forced into the starting lineup, he'll be an option this week.
Chris Smith, F, UCLA
Smith is an interesting guy to peg for waiver purposes. He's averaging 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in nine Pac-12 games, likely more than enough to have him owned in conference-specific formats. But he's coming off of a seven point, one rebound effort, his second single-digit scoring outing in conference and sixth overall. That inconsistency makes him a bit of a liability in larger player pools. At the end of the day, Smith seems rosterable but may not be startable outside of his own league.
Justin Minaya, F, South Carolina
Minaya almost found himself featured here last week, but now with four-straight solid showings, there was no way he could be omitted. He's coming off of his first double-double since opening night, and is averaging 14.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks over the last two weeks.
Tier 2 Conferences
Dexter Dennis, G, Wichita State
Dennis' season has been all over the map, but we're okay riding a hot hand here. He's started the last two contests for the Shockers, and is coming off of an impressive 18-point, 10-rebound outing against UCF. Seemingly in the team's good graces having moved back into the starting lineup last week, Dennis is back looking like the player we saw to open the season.
Bryce Hamilton, G, UNLV
Hamilton hasn't gotten a lot of ink around here, and after averaging 9.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in the team's first 13 games, it's possible he's still being overlooked due to his season-long per game totals. But he's on a serious heater right now, averaging 30.0 ppg and 6.7 rpg over his last three, and 21.8 ppg and 5.8 rpg over his last nine despite making just one start.
Orlando Robinson, F/C, Fresno State
Robinson scored only 15 points over the Bulldogs last two games, but found a way to contribute across the board, putting up nine rebounds, four assists, four blocks and three steals. He had scored in double-digits in the team's previous eight contests and could see a small uptick if Nate Grimes remains suspended.
Javon Greene, G, George Mason
Greene came back to earth over the weekend at Davidson, but that was largely a result of ice cold shooting, as he hit only 5-of-17 from the floor. He chipped in three steals, three rebounds and four assists to go along with 12 points against the Wildcats, but forced his way into this column by scoring a combined 71 points in his prior two outings against Richmond and UMass. Greene averages 2.1 steals to boot, making him a near elite Tier 2 guard.
Josip Vrankic, F, Santa Clara
Since a six-point, 19-minute dud against San Francisco, Vrankic has become a consistent force for the Broncos, averaging 20.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 steals in five games, including one double-double, a 33-point explosion against Pepperdine and a 20-point, nine-board showing against San Diego. Clearly capable of big outings, Vrankic can be used while hot.