Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Keon Ellis leads pickups to make ahead of the championship round

Keon Ellis #23 of the Sacramento Kings
Keon Ellis has been gaining fantasy stock this month. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

By Gabe Allen, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

With two weeks remaining in the NBA regular season, fantasy leagues that aren't yet finished are in the final stretch. The first week of April is an especially busy one for most of the teams in the league. All but four teams have four games this coming week; Chicago, Denver, San Antonio and Utah have three. As such, it shouldn't be terribly surprising that none of the players mentioned in this week's column suit up for the teams playing one less game than everyone else.

I've recommended five players to consider adding heading into April, and I've included a long list of recently suggested pickups at the end, as usual.

Max Strus, Cleveland Cavaliers (41% rostered)

Strus returned Wednesday from a 12-game absence with a strained knee to deliver 19 points, five treys, four boards and two swipes in 24 minutes. He reclaimed his spot in the starting lineup right away. While the Cavaliers may ease him back into the 30-plus minutes per night role he has enjoyed thus far this season, the club is still very much in contention for the second or third seed in the Eastern Conference, despite having lost seven of the last 10 games.

Given how solid Strus looked his first night back, he's probably worth adding in pretty much all formats. A couple of weeks ago, I recommended adding and stashing him, noting that once he did rejoin the rotation, he wouldn't remain widely available for long. If he puts together another strong showing against the 76ers this evening, he'll be rostered in more leagues than not by the time your kids are watching Saturday morning cartoons.

Marvin Bagley III, Washington Wizards (36%)

Bagley (back) is back following a nine-game absence, and now Richaun Holmes is nursing a toe contusion. In the three games Bagley has played since returning from his recent injury, he is averaging 14.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.0 threes and 1.0 blocks in 19.5 minutes. Given that he's likely to see significant minutes like he did prior to his recent injury absence, Bagley is an obvious add across all scoring formats and in leagues of all sizes. If he's still available in your league, what are you waiting for? Add him now, or someone else will very soon.

Larry Nance Jr., New Orleans Pelicans (21%)

Nance has been the widely available Pelican to step up with Brandon Ingram (knee) sidelined lately. The recently reduced role of Jonas Valančiūnas has arguably had as much to do with Nance's increased involvement and production. Nevertheless, Nance has been contributing well-rounded averages over the last couple of weeks.

Across his last 10 appearances, Nance is averaging 7.0 points (60.9% FG, 78.6% FT), 4.8 boards, 2.1 dimes and 1.4 steals in 25.3 minutes. He's proving to be a better two-way fit alongside Zion Williamson, and the loss of Ingram saps some of the squad's ability to play super-small lineups. With the Pelicans fighting to avoid falling into the postseason Play-In Tournament, core rotation players such as Nance will probably see plenty of minutes over the next two weeks.

Keon Ellis, Sacramento Kings (18%)

Ellis has seen his stock rise here in the month of March. Across 13 appearances this month, he is averaging a well-rounded stat line of 7.0 points (53.8% FG, 43.9% 3PT), 2.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.4 treys and 0.8 blocks in 24.7 minutes. With Kevin Huerter (shoulder) out for the remainder of the season, Ellis has been thrust into a larger role of late and could end up seeing 30-plus minutes per game for the rest of the year.

Having hoisted more than eight field-goal attempts only once all season, Ellis is not someone who should be relied upon for significant scoring outbursts. Still, his versatile skillset and growing role make him worthy of consideration in most formats.

[It's not too late: Join or create a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league for the 2024 MLB season]

Duop Reath, Portland Trail Blazers (13%)

Deandre Ayton (left elbow tendinitis) may miss his fifth straight game Friday. Given that Portland has very little to gain over the final weeks of the season, Ayton may have made his final appearance until 2024-25. If that's the vibe you're getting, Reath is worth adding.

He has performed well every time Ayton has missed extended time, and this recent stretch is no exception; across the last four contests, Reath is averaging 14.5 points (52.3% FG, 31.6% 3PT, 100.0% FT), 5.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 threes, 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocks in 26.8 minutes. Especially if you're already rostering Ayton, snag Reath sooner rather than later, if only for insurance purposes.

Recent recommendations still rostered in less than 50% of leagues: Nick Richards, Payton Pritchard, Dalano Banton, Mitchell Robinson, Kyle Anderson, Rui Hachimura, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Miles McBride, Tre Mann, Corey Kispert, T.J. McConnell, Grant Williams, Vasilije Micic, Jock Landale