College Basketball Waiver Wire: Opening Week Pickups

College Basketball Waiver Wire: Opening Week Pickups

This article is part of our College Basketball Waiver Wire series.

With no preseason/scrimmages, and more bubbles forcing multiple games in a short window, Week 1 of the college basketball season was a flurry. Season-long fantasy players have every reason to be aggressive and swing for the fences based on what little we've seen, and adjust accordingly in the week's beyond. There are certainly league winners to be had and immediate time to correct fallacies from draft day.

Power Conferences

Matt Cross, F, Miami

There's a lot to digest from Miami's Sunday night opener. Isaiah Wong was the clear breakout, and needs to be owned in most formats where he's not previously. But Cross looks like a nice ACC sleeper. He posted 10 points, seven boards and two blocks, and that type of performance should keep him starting over Anthony Walker, who has missed some practice time with a knee issue.

Day'Ron Sharpe, F North Carolina

I suspect this column to be littered with Tar Heels over the coming weeks, as they played only once last week and are still sorting out both back and front court rotations. But Sharpe is going to feature prominently regardless. His length was obvious and he attacks the glass with enthusiasm. He'll be a steady source of boards, and should stumble his way into enough scoring and blocks to be useful.

Hunter Dickinson, C, Michigan

Dickinson doesn't have a clear path to a starting gig, but man was he productive to start his career. He opened with 11 points and eight

With no preseason/scrimmages, and more bubbles forcing multiple games in a short window, Week 1 of the college basketball season was a flurry. Season-long fantasy players have every reason to be aggressive and swing for the fences based on what little we've seen, and adjust accordingly in the week's beyond. There are certainly league winners to be had and immediate time to correct fallacies from draft day.

Power Conferences

Matt Cross, F, Miami

There's a lot to digest from Miami's Sunday night opener. Isaiah Wong was the clear breakout, and needs to be owned in most formats where he's not previously. But Cross looks like a nice ACC sleeper. He posted 10 points, seven boards and two blocks, and that type of performance should keep him starting over Anthony Walker, who has missed some practice time with a knee issue.

Day'Ron Sharpe, F North Carolina

I suspect this column to be littered with Tar Heels over the coming weeks, as they played only once last week and are still sorting out both back and front court rotations. But Sharpe is going to feature prominently regardless. His length was obvious and he attacks the glass with enthusiasm. He'll be a steady source of boards, and should stumble his way into enough scoring and blocks to be useful.

Hunter Dickinson, C, Michigan

Dickinson doesn't have a clear path to a starting gig, but man was he productive to start his career. He opened with 11 points and eight rebounds, and followed it up with 19 points, four boards and four assists. He's a freshman and likely center eligible, checking major fantasy boxes.

Montez Mathis, G, Rutgers

Mathis has seen 30+ minutes in all three of the Scarlet Knights' games to date, considerably up from the 22.6 he saw last season. He's responded with double-digit points in every outing and has decent peripherals thus far with 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals. I'm not sure it's sustainable for a team with limited backcourt turnover from a year ago, but Geo Baker appears like he'll miss time due to an ankle injury, so Mathis should be in line for steady short term usage.

Antwann Jones, G, Creighton

Jones started in Denzel Mahoney's absence, and put in a useful 11 points, five rebounds and four assists. That all-around appeal can make him useful in the short term, though we don't know the exact nature of Mahoney's issue.

Jalen Coleman-Lands, G, Iowa State

The well-traveled Coleman-Lands showed well in his Cyclones debut, putting up 17 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals. If he continues to post lines like this, he'll cement a role even when Tre Jackson (knee) returns later in December.

Jalen Wilson, F, Kansas

Wilson has been inserted into the Jayhawks starting five, and is one of only six players in this rotation that's playing 20+ minutes. Kansas is very guard heavy, so you'd think Wilson's rebounding totals would increase along with his minutes, but 12.5 point and 6.5 board averages are useful in Big 12-heavy leagues.

Noah Williams, G, Washington State

Williams turned heads with a 19-point, eight-rebound, three-assist, four-steal outing Saturday against Eastern Washington. While that's eye opening, so is the zero-point, three-rebound, two-assist, one-steal line he posted in the opener against Texas Southern. Washington State doesn't figure to be very good, which is likely going to lead to some peaks and valleys for Williams. But anyone capable of that positive line likely is worth a roster spot.

Sahvir Wheeler, G, Georgia

Wheeler averaged 4.5 assists as a freshman last year, and that was with ball-dominant Anthony Edwards in Athens. The Bulldogs are certainly rebuilding, and don't figure to be a great team throughout the year, but Wheeler enjoyed a 26.7 percent usage rate in their opener, and converted that into 12 points and 12 assists. The dimes surely aren't going to be that plentiful, but Wheeler looks to be in a spot to build on last year's totals.

Tolu Smith, C, Mississippi State

Smith may be the top priority add in power conference leagues where he's center eligible. He's started both games thus far, seeing 30+ minutes, and averaged 16.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. If he can maintain those minutes and stay out of foul trouble, those numbers are useful even if he's only a forward.

Tier Two

Marcus Sasser, G, Houston

Sasser flashed late last season, and so far that scoring potential has carried over. His minutes are up eight per game thus far, playing 31.7, and it's led to 17.3 ppg after averaging 8.1 as a freshman. He's not doing much more than score, but it's unrealistic to ignore the uptick. It also helps Sasser's cause that Caleb Mills has been a bit banged up of late.

Nathan Cayo, F, Richmond

Cayo enjoyed a huge two-game stretch in Lexington, scoring 41 points on 18-of-23 shooting. You'd like more than the seven total rebounds he secured, and Cayo is anything but a shooter, but there's reason to believe his offensive outburst is the start of a trend. UR is without Nick Sherod (knee) for the year, and will play six or seven at most. It's rare a team can provide four viable fantasy options, but Cayo looks to be pushing that belief.

Nick Blake, F, UNLV

Blake may already be rostered, especially in Tier 2 formats that require freshmen, as he was voted the MWC Freshman of the year in the preseason. He didn't start the Rebels' first game but still managed 16 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal in 23 minutes, and it would seem only a matter of time before his minutes increase. Consider this a preemptive strike, as the Rebels are set to play in the Maui Invitational this week, possibly giving Blake some national exposure.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Bennett
Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.
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