Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Pickups to help your playoff chances
By Gabe Allen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
Although there is as much parity this season as there has been in recent memory, the NBA regular season is still starting to wind down, slowly but surely, with more teams slipping out of the playoff race and shifting the focus to developing the young talent.
The playoffs have already begun for some fantasy leagues, while others are nearing that stage. With differing timelines in mind, this week’s waiver wire article separates the suggested pickups into two categories: players widely rostered whose availability should be double-checked, and players widely available who are rostered in no more than one out of every five leagues.
Without further ado, here are nine players to consider adding heading into Week 20.
Marvin Bagley, Detroit Pistons (47% rostered)
After missing a month due to fractured fingers on his non-dominant hand, Bagley has benefitted from the recent absences of Isaiah Stewart (hip) and Jalen Duren (ankle), combining for 50 points and 39 boards in his first three games since rejoining the rotation. However, even once Stewart and Duren are healthy, Bagley’s offensive agility and Stewart’s spacing ability may allow Detroit to regularly roll out lineups with two of their four big men (including James Wiseman). As such, Bagley could be more than a short-term streaming option, so see if he’s still available.
Bruce Brown, Denver Nuggets (46% rostered)
Brown is having his worst rebounding season (3.9 RPG) since his rookie year. Nevertheless, he’s producing career highs in scoring (11.1 PPG), dimes (3.5 APG), threes (1.3 3PG) and minutes (28.6 MPG) while maintaining a solid field-goal percentage (48.7% FG) and chipping in defensively to the tune of 1.0 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. Brown has been rostered in more than 50 percent of leagues for most of the season but that's fallen following a couple of underwhelming outings after the All-Star break. If another manager in your league dropped him, don’t hesitate to scoop up the versatile, multi-positional Brown.
Dennis Schroder, LA Lakers (44% rostered)
Across his last 18 appearances, Schroder is averaging 13.9 points, 5.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.2 threes and 0.9 steals in 33.0 minutes. Moreover, with LeBron James (foot) out for at least three weeks and D’Angelo Russell (ankle) on the verge of missing his fourth straight matchup on Friday against Minnesota, Schroder will be operating with the ball in his hands even more often this month. If, by chance, he’s still available in your league, add him immediately.
James Wiseman, Detroit Pistons (43% rostered)
Like Bagley, Wiseman has benefitted from the recent injury absences of Stewart and Duren, so it’s fair to question how much longer either player will be a consistent contributor. Still, because Bagley and Stewart can occupy the power forward position, it’s feasible that all four frontcourt players will split time somewhat evenly and achieve sustainable fantasy relevance for the remainder of the year. At the very least, Wiseman is worth a speculative add in most leagues in case he can continue collecting copious points and rebounds.
Dennis Smith Jr., Charlotte Hornets (39% rostered)
With LaMelo Ball (ankle) out for the remainder of the season, Smith will likely keep seeing ample minutes most nights for the lowly Hornets. Like Pistons point guard Killian Hayes, Smith has significant value in leagues that disregard shooting percentages and instead prioritize counting stats. Managers in other formats may want to stay away unless they can afford to take a substantial hit in the field-goal percentage department.
Austin Reaves, LA Lakers (20% rostered)
Reaves has scored 17 points or more in three of the last four games while also handing out at least four assists in that same span. Furthermore, the extended absence of James, and to a lesser extent Russell, opens the door for Reaves, among other Lakers, to pop on the stat sheet. Managers in deep leagues shouldn’t overlook Reaves. He’s worthy of consideration in most formats.
Isaiah Joe, Oklahoma City Thunder (19% rostered)
Small sample size alert! Over his last four outings, Joe is averaging 18.8 points, 3.8 threes, 2.8 boards, 1.8 assists and 0.8 steals across 28.8 minutes. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (abdominal strain and health and safety protocols) has missed all four games. Nevertheless, Joe’s deep range could keep him heavily involved even once Gilgeous-Alexander is back. Those in need of treys should look no further than Joe.
Kris Dunn, Utah Jazz (14% rostered)
Managers in deep leagues needing a Week 20 streaming option could do far worse than Dunn. In his three games since joining the Jazz, Dunn is averaging 12.3 points, 4.0 dimes, 3.0 boards and 1.7 steals while committing just 0.7 turnovers in 22.0 minutes as a backup point guard. Collin Sexton (hamstring) is set to be re-evaluated after the weekend, so there’s a chance Dunn’s fantasy relevance will be short-lived. Still, Dunn seems like a decent add until Sexton returns.
Patrick Beverley, Chicago Bulls (11% rostered)
Beverley is coming off a stellar showing against the Pistons, totaling five points, 10 boards, 10 dimes, four steals and one block across 33 minutes. Despite no real increase in playing time through his first four games with the Bulls compared to what he saw with the Lakers, it’s clear that Beverley will be more heavily relied upon in Chicago. Across his first four games with his hometown team, he’s averaging 5.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocks in 27.8 minutes. Beverley’s ability to chip in across every category makes him worthy of consideration, even in standard leagues. Add him now before it’s too late.
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