December 22, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic (77) shoots the basketball against Golden State Warriors forward Alfonzo McKinnie (28) during the second quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In Part 1, I created an overview for the surface-level statistics and elements that go into deciding on a waiver pickup. In Part 2, I’ll go deeper into the investigation of reliability, the factors that have caused a player’s impressive play, and the usefulness of looking far-off into the season.

#1: Fire Status

Presumably, this player has been putting up numbers recently, and now it’s time to compare those against his career stats. For stats that have greater variability, like defensive stats or free throws, try to see how the player is collecting these stats. Watch some highlights: is he a key rim protector for the team, or did he just get a few golden opportunities? Was this player just getting calls this game, or was he getting to the rack at will? It’s also important to consider if he had the hot hand for a game or two or three and if that lines up with career stats — which also begs the question of luck or a change in approach. Is this a Patrick Corbin-style permanent adjustment, or is it Kolten Wong batting .500 in the last month of the season before burning out in the playoffs? 

#2: Matchups

Who has this player been facing as of late? Has he been taking advantage of some rest days, injuries, and straight-up bad players? Even if affected players aren’t directly matching up against your watchlist target, it’s possible he saw a favorable matchup or weaker overall team. Check out advanced defensive stats for teams he’s played against, and you’ll have a better idea of just how impressive his recent hot streak is.

#3: Rest Of Season Schedule (ROSS)

The ROSS factor is not as important as these other two, but if you’re really trying to maximize season-long efficiency, a case is to be made for its pertinence. If you notice trends in the player’s team’s schedule are easier or harder at certain points, use that information to buy or sell at opportune times. Your league mates probably aren’t thinking on this level — it’s exhaustive and time-consuming but so worth it.


Ultimately, don’t listen to anyone other than yourself. Learn the information relevant to your situation and make decisions based on that. “Experts” are working with the same information you have access to.

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