Raptors: Norman Powell remains underrated in fantasy basketball

Norman Powell #24 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Norman Powell #24 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

If you’re in need of a waiver-wire acquisition, look no further than Toronto Raptors shooting guard Norman Powell.

It’s getting to be that time in the fantasy basketball season when bodies are starting to run thin. COVID-19 has run through the league, with stars and role players alike falling victim to two-plus week stints with that big red “O” beside their names.

As such, the waiver wire has been more important than ever when it comes to keeping your team competitive, and one Raptor who is available in over half of ESPN leagues could help you do just that.

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Indeed, Powell is only rostered by 44.3 per cent of teams this year. And while his tepid start to the season could be blamed for this, there is no reason not to pick up Powell if you have a slot available.

The UCLA product has been on a tear recently, averaging 20+ fantasy points while also seeing an increase in minutes. Available as both an small forward and a shooting guard, Powell also adds positional versatility.

You may be positing that this added production is more due to OG Anunoby’s injury than Powell’s growth. To that I say it is certainly part of the story, but not the whole tale.

Toronto Raptors: Norman Powell’s role makes him fantasy relevant

The number one option for whenever either Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet or Anunoby are hurt, Powell can be seen as the fill-in guy. Or, perhaps more accurately, he can be seen as a player who has proven himself to coach Nick Nurse over the past couple of weeks, providing his patented brand of defensive hustle and ability to attack the rim.

For a coach who is known for rewarding his players with minutes (and who is also in dire need of effort), Powell has worked himself into his good graces.

Powell is also a great addition for category-based leagues. He provides efficient three-point shooting and is averaging 3.7 rebounds over the last week, a marked improvement on his 2.4 career average. He’s also seen an uptick in steals, averaging 2.2 this past week, far exceeding his career average of 0.7.

If you don’t trust me, trust the yahoos who use Yahoo. He’s rostered in 70 per cent of their leagues this season.

Is Powell streaky? Yes. Is his spot in the starting lineup guaranteed? No. But right now, if you need a hot hand, you don’t need to travel outside our country’s borders to find the best option.