College Basketball Waiver Wire: Pickups of the Week

College Basketball Waiver Wire: Pickups of the Week

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

Can someone get injured, ha?! Not really, as I'd never wish harm on anyone, but barring something along those lines, this column is relegated to highlighting players that are taking a step forward in role/opportunity compared to a prior season, but also that look to have staying power, rather than flash against overmatched opponents early in the year. 

We're somewhat center heavy this week, which can be a boost to most rosters.

Power Conferences

Alondes Williams, G, Wake Forest

Maybe a little late to the party, but maybe some leagues are deep enough where Williams still sits out there, or maybe some were waiting to make sure his first few weeks were real. After putting up 38 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists against Oregon State and LSU, I'm buying for the time being. I'm not sure I am fully on board with Williams in ACC play, but for now, he's the Deacon to have rostered over Daivien Williamson, who looks like a volume scorer and not much more.

Malik Williams, C, Louisville

Williams seems to be warming up, posting a double-double with four steals Saturday against Maryland, playing 30 minutes in the process. He's been a bit inconsistent out of the gates, but he was also voted second team All-ACC during the preseason. The talent is obviously there, and the expectation is his production levels out as his minutes become consistent as the Cards' schedule picks up.

Qudus Wahab, C, Maryland

Wahab's production per minute

Can someone get injured, ha?! Not really, as I'd never wish harm on anyone, but barring something along those lines, this column is relegated to highlighting players that are taking a step forward in role/opportunity compared to a prior season, but also that look to have staying power, rather than flash against overmatched opponents early in the year. 

We're somewhat center heavy this week, which can be a boost to most rosters.

Power Conferences

Alondes Williams, G, Wake Forest

Maybe a little late to the party, but maybe some leagues are deep enough where Williams still sits out there, or maybe some were waiting to make sure his first few weeks were real. After putting up 38 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists against Oregon State and LSU, I'm buying for the time being. I'm not sure I am fully on board with Williams in ACC play, but for now, he's the Deacon to have rostered over Daivien Williamson, who looks like a volume scorer and not much more.

Malik Williams, C, Louisville

Williams seems to be warming up, posting a double-double with four steals Saturday against Maryland, playing 30 minutes in the process. He's been a bit inconsistent out of the gates, but he was also voted second team All-ACC during the preseason. The talent is obviously there, and the expectation is his production levels out as his minutes become consistent as the Cards' schedule picks up.

Qudus Wahab, C, Maryland

Wahab's production per minute has always been appealing, but its the lack of big minutes that have kept him from being a fantasy star. And frankly, the seven points, four rebounds and two blocks he posted over the weekend against Louisville and the aforementioned Malik Williams could be his in conference norm. Still, Wahab at worst is an option at fantasy's most difficult position to fill, where his size will allow him to, at worst, stumble into blocks and boards.

Patrick McCaffery, F, Iowa

McCaffrey is back from a two-game absence due to a lower-body issue. He isn't elite in peripheral stats, but he's a steady scorer that's well worth rostering in Big 10-heavy leagues, having reached double-digit points in every outing to date. 

Gabe Kalscheur, G, Iowa State

The Minnesota transfer appears invigorated at his new home, averaging 14.3 ppg after his production as a Gopher dropped to 9.2 ppg last year, coming off of a 30-point outburst against Memphis to boot. While he's chipping in a couple of rebounds and assists, Kalscheur's new-found fantasy appeal comes from the 2.2 steals he's putting up. Having averaged 1.0 spg or fewer in all three years at Minnesota, that may not be sustainable, but a change in team defensive philosophy seems to be paying off.

Jalen Wilson, F, Kansas

This week's preemptive strike, hopefully. Wilson has seen 23 minutes or less in three games since returning from suspension, so it's clear he needs to earn his way back into the team's good graces. Averaging 4.3 points and 4.0 rebounds certainly isn't rosterable, but we're chasing last year's 11.8 ppg and 7.9 rpg that many assumed would grow at the season's outset.

Posh Alexander, G, St. John's

This week's reminder to not make assumptions on ownership. Alexander missed a game last week and was seen in a walking boot, seemingly ominous signs. Perhaps you're in a league where a manager got impatient, or presumed a longer absence. Alexander missed only one contest and is back to being a multi-category contributor and amongst the best guards in the Big East.

Christian Koloko, C, Arizona

Koloko could be the most improved player in the country. A season after he averaged 5.3 ppg and 4.8 rpg, Koloko is up to 16.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg and 3.5 bpg. Equally impressive, he saw his two highest minute totals against the Wildcats' two best opponents, Wichita State and Michigan. The blocks should be a mainstay for the 7-foot-1 junior even if fouls become an issue in conference, but the scoring and rebounding paired with it make Koloko an elite option in the middle.

Keyshawn Bryant, F, South Carolina

If you didn't draft and stash Bryant, he looks like a priority add this week. Cleared from a five-game suspension, he put up 17 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks in just 21 minutes Sunday night. With more minutes to come, that production has staying power.

Juwan Gary, F, Alabama

Truthfully, I'm not sure what to do with Gary. He missed two games due to ankle/leg issues, then promptly starts and posts a double-double Friday. He managed just 16 minutes Sunday night against Miami. I'm going to chalk that up to the contest's blowout nature and Miami's undersized front line. Gary has double-double potential nightly if playing, so I'll take a speculative add on him here and hope for the best.

Tier 2

Tristen Newton, G, East Carolina

Newton has been a great find for the Pirates, who had oodles of production to replace when Jayden Gardner left for Virginia. Newton has always had multi-category appeal, as he averaged a usable 4.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists, and he's right back there again this season, posting 4.4 of each thus far. But it's the huge increase in scoring that has made Newton viable regardless of format. He's put up at least 14 in every game, 28 or more twice, and is averaging 19.9 ppg on the year.

Amir Spears, G, Duquesne

Spears appears to be a nice find for head coach Keith Dambrot, who seems to evaluate really well and bring in diamonds in the rough almost annually. A lightly-regarded, two-star recruit, Spears has started every game in his brief career, and is coming off of a monstrous 21-point, six-assist, six-steal night against American. He's not great from behind the arc, and surely will hit some kind of resistance as defenses aren't caught off guard. But Spears surely went undrafted in Tier 2 leagues, and provides even more appeal where freshmen are a lineup requirement.

Andrew Platek, G, Siena

While it's unlikely many leagues include the MAAC, we know there are some hard-core folks out there. Siena looks to be pretty bad too at 1-5, but that doesn't mean we can't get fantasy production. Platek, a former 3-star recruit who spent his first four years at North Carolina, has suited up just three times while his transfer was approved, but he's starting to get his legs under him. He saw a season-high 30 minutes after playing a total of 41 in his first two, responding with 11 points, six rebounds and two assists. He qualifies as a big fish in a small pond, and with the minutes increase, I expect fantasy relevance.

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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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