Basketball Pickups: Ziaire Williams should be on your radar

With the silly season fast approaching, the Memphis Grizzlies have been a team to track due to the loaded injury report, and there is little to no chance of them making a run at the postseason. While Jaren Jackson Jr. is the best available fantasy option, can he be trusted to remain available throughout the fantasy basketball season? Vince Williams Jr. has emerged as a solid fantasy option, while others, such as GG Jackson, have had their moments in the spotlight. In the aftermath of the Grizzlies' loss to Minnesota on Wednesday, is Ziaire Williams working his way onto the radar in most leagues?

Rostered in just eight percent of Yahoo leagues, Williams has started the Grizzlies' last four games. While Monday's loss to the Nets was a dud, he dropped 27 points on the Bucks in Memphis' final game before the All-Star break. He was solid in Wednesday's loss to the Timberwolves, playing 36 minutes and finishing with 16 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and two 3-pointers. Over his last four games, Williams is averaging 14.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.8 3-pointers, which has been suitable for 11th-round value.

Is that kind of return enough to make Ziaire a player who needs to be added immediately? No. But the combination of increased production and status as a starter makes him a player worth watching as the fantasy playoffs approach. Maybe he'll offer sustained value, or maybe he will wind up being nothing more than a schedule play, especially if the Grizzlies decide to shut down the currently injured Desmond Bane and Marcus Smart. But Williams has played his way into the conversation, and the Grizzlies end Week 19 with two home games against another struggling team in Portland.

Let's look at a few solid pickups from what was a relatively quiet six-game night:

Andre Drummond (40%)

Drummond was the focus of Wednesday’s column, and with good reason, as he played well off the bench in a loss to the Pistons. With Wednesday's opposition, Cleveland, starting two big men and Alex Caruso (hamstring) ruled out, Drummond was moved into the starting lineup. He was outstanding, accounting for 17 points, 26 rebounds, one steal, and three blocked shots in 36 minutes. Averaging nearly 27 minutes per game, Drummond has been a 6th-round player in 9-cat formats over his last four games. Whether he solely backs up Nikola Vucevic or starts alongside him when the matchup calls for it, Drummond is worth rolling the dice on in standard leagues.

Obi Toppin (33%)

Bennedict Mathurin has benefitted the most from Aaron Nesmith (ankle) being sidelined, as he was Rick Carlisle's choice to move into the starting lineup. But Toppin had his best scoring night in over a month on Wednesday, dropping 16 points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and two 3-pointers in 24 minutes off the bench. Adding Pascal Siakam to the roster virtually eliminated Toppin's fantasy value, but based on the rostered percentage, there are still managers holding off on dropping him. They were rewarded on Wednesday, but Obi's value will take a hit once the Pacers return to full strength.

GG Jackson (29%)

Jackson was mentioned earlier in this column and has reached double figures in eight of his last nine games. In 27 minutes off the bench against Minnesota, the rookie amassed 14 points, three rebounds, and two 3-pointers, shooting 5-of-7 from the field and 2-of-2 from the foul line. It would be nice to get some assists or defensive production out of Jackson, but his value should only increase as the fantasy playoffs draw near.

Rui Hachimura (26%)

While LeBron James had a masterful fourth quarter in the Lakers' comeback win over the Clippers, Hachimura chipped in with five points during that rally. A fixture in the starting lineup since February 3, he finished with 17 points, two rebounds, one steal, and one 3-pointer in 29 minutes. Like Jackson, the limited defensive production lowers Hachimura's fantasy ceiling. However, he's playing starters' minutes consistently, and with LeBron considered questionable for Thursday's game against the 9-49 Wizards, that matchup could be a good one for Hachimura.