Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Pickups to help your playoff journey

·7 min read

By Gabe Allen, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

The NBA Playoffs are less than a month away, which means the league is divided between teams pushing for the postseason and those looking ahead to the 2021 NBA draft.

Though the vast majority of teams are still fighting for playoff spots and positioning, there are another half dozen squads who have essentially packed it in already (at least to some extent).

Oftentimes, it’s the worst clubs that offer the most potential upside as the fantasy basketball season nears its end.

As such, five of my 13 recommended adds for this week are suiting up for Orlando, Detroit, or Minnesota. As usual, to avoid repetition, I have refrained from featuring any of the players mentioned in last week’s column.

TRENDING UP

Cole Anthony, Magic (47% rostered)

Anthony has reached double figures in scoring in seven straight showings. Moreover, across the last seven games, Anthony is averaging 14.3 points on 44.7 percent from the field to go along with 5.4 assists-to-1.7 turnovers, 4.4 rebounds, 1.0 three, 0.9 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 26.9 minutes. Michael Carter-Williams (ankle) has missed the last four matchups, but Orlando had already handed over the keys to its offense to the rookie point guard. Anthony may not be able to maintain this level of efficiency over the final month of the season, but he could continue producing similar counting stats the rest of the way.

Josh Jackson, Pistons (37% rostered)

The former top-five pick turned journeyman has scored in double figures in eight of the last nine games, including four efforts of 20-plus points. During this recent stretch, Jackson is managing averages of 18.8 points on 46.5 percent shooting, 4.3 boards, 1.9 threes, 0.8 blocks, and 0.6 steals across 28.2 minutes. If you can deal with the poor assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4 dimes to 2.7 turnovers over the last nine), Jackson is worth a look as he tries to prove that he deserves to stick in the league long-term.

Grayson Allen, Grizzlies (37% rostered)

During the last nine outings, Allen has cobbled together per-game averages of 16.6 points (on 45.7 percent shooting), 3.2 threes, 3.0 boards, 2.6 dimes, and 1.0 steal in 31.1 minutes. Even with Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee) back in the fold, Memphis remains starved for three-point shooting, which is Allen’s area of expertise. As such, the 25-year-old wing could keep earning plenty of minutes as the Grizzlies jostle for playoff positioning.

Bruce Brown, Nets (32% rostered)

With James Harden (hamstring) out indefinitely, Brown is perhaps the best bet to pick up the slack for Brooklyn. He has certainly been doing his part thus far, having averaged 12.0 points on 49.1 percent shooting, 9.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 26.8 minutes across the last six contests. Brown had a similar stretch of strong performances earlier in the season when the Nets were banged up, so it’s not like this is coming out of nowhere. Fellow backcourt mate Landry Shamet (28% rostered) has stepped up lately as well and could be worth a look for those in need of scoring, threes, and assists. He’s posted averages of 19.0 points, 4.0 treys, and 4.0 dimes across the last six games.

Brooklyn Nets forward Bruce Brown
Bruce Brown is back on the radar with James Harden still on the shelf. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Daniel Gafford, Wizards (32% rostered)

Gafford is coming off a 19-point, 10-rebound, three-block performance against a sturdy Golden State defense. Furthermore, he accomplished all that in only 24 minutes of action. During his last four appearances, Gafford has turned in 14.5 points, 7.5 boards, and 3.0 blocks in 20.5 minutes. If he keeps playing this well, he could end up earning a much larger share of the playing time at center, as Robin Lopez and Alex Len haven’t been consistently productive.

Dorian Finney-Smith, Mavericks (30% rostered)

Dallas isn’t getting much from most of its wing rotation, but Finney-Smith is the exception. He has scored in double figures in five of the last six games, plus he’s a pretty consistent source of boards and treys. April has been by far his most productive month, as he’s averaging 11.8 points (47.7% FG, 44.0% 3PT, 60.0% FT), 6.4 rebounds, 2.8 threes, 1.6 dimes, 0.9 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 34.7 minutes per game.

DEEP LEAGUE OPTIONS

Royce O’Neale, Jazz (24% rostered)

O’Neale is a sporadic statistical contributor, particularly when it comes to scoring. However, he earns no shortage of playing time thanks to his status as the team’s top wing defender, and he’s averaging 10.7 boards and 3.0 assists across the last six outings.

Killian Hayes, Pistons (23% rostered)

Opportunity knocks, or at least it does every other game. Hayes continues to be held out of the front or back end of back-to-backs. However, the rookie point guard has been solid during his last three appearances, averaging 11.0 points, 7.0 dimes, 2.3 boards, 2.3 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 30.3 minutes. On a Pistons team that’s primarily playing for ping-pong balls and focusing on developing its youth, Hayes will likely see increased involvement going forward.

Mo Bamba, Magic (22% rostered)

Bamba earned a career-high 28 minutes in Thursday’s matchup against the Pelicans and made the most of it, totaling 17 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks, and two treys. With Wendell Carter Jr. dealing with a sore ankle, Bamba is worthy of short-term consideration at the very least.

Reggie Bullock, Knicks (19% rostered)

Alec Burks (protocols) has missed four games in a row now, and Bullock was already in the midst of his best month this season. Over the last seven contests, Bullock is averaging 14.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.6 threes, 2.1 assists, and 1.3 steals in 35.6 minutes. His ability to knock down shots from deep and defend multiple positions has helped him earn a reliable role on a team for which those two skills are its most notable areas of need.

Naz Reid, Timberwolves (17% rostered)

Across the last five games, Reid has compiled averages of 14.4 points on 53.8 percent from the field to go along with 8.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.2 blocks in only 22.4 minutes. The sophomore big man could see his fantasy value skyrocket if Minnesota opts to regularly rest Karl-Anthony Towns down the stretch this season. If Towns is on your roster, Reid is very arguably a must-add player, but he’s a strong option in deep leagues regardless.

Xavier Tillman, Grizzlies (15% rostered)

Jonas Valanciunas (concussion) has missed the last two games, during which Tillman has combined for 26 points, 26 boards, four steals, three dimes, two treys, and one block in 69 minutes. It’s unclear how close Valanciunas is to returning, but with Memphis likely to bring Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee) along slowly, Tillman could continue holding down the fort as a starter and seeing ample minutes here in the short term.

Naji Marshall, Pelicans (13% rostered)

Marshall is coming off a stinker in which he managed merely two points, three boards, and four dimes in 17 minutes against the Magic. However, with Josh Hart (thumb) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (ankle) still sidelined, the 23-year-old rookie has been filling in admirably of late. Before Thursday’s dud, Marshall was averaging 13.5 points, 7.0 boards, 5.0 assists, 2.0 treys, and 1.3 steals in 31.5 minutes across his four most recent appearances.

LAST WEEK’S RECOMMENDED ADDS (WHO I STILL BELIEVE IN)

Darius Bazley, Thunder (48% rostered)

Saddiq Bey, Pistons (42% rostered)

Marcus Morris Sr., Clippers (37% rostered)

Jalen Brunson, Mavericks (28% rostered)

Reggie Jackson, Clippers (26% rostered)

Khem Birch, Raptors (13% rostered)

Matisse Thybulle, 76ers (12% rostered)