Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wired, Week 21: Payton Pritchard stepping up as Celtics rest

Whether you’re fighting for a championship or just getting your playoff run started, streaming is vital to securing a win. If you’re reading this column, you’re probably no stranger to that concept. There are only a few weeks left until the playoffs, and teams are shifting into gear. That could be to get into the playoffs, to get a better seed, to make sure they’re fresh for the playoffs, or to improve their lottery odds. Those are all factors to consider when streaming.

While Dallas doesn’t play during the final three days of the week, it’s also important to note that 13 teams only play one game during this stretch. Keep that in mind when making streaming decisions!

One game Friday-Sunday: Sacramento, Phoenix, Houston, Washington, Denver, New York, Charlotte, Orlando, Chicago, Brooklyn, Memphis, Utah, Milwaukee

The format for this article will feature players who are “tired” and those who are “wired.” Tired players are those worth adding off the wire but with tempered expectations or highly rostered players who can be dropped in favor of a hot pickup. Wired players are those who are the best additions with the highest rest-of-season ceilings.

Pickups in order of priority (with strongest categories):

  1. Caris LeVert (ast, stl)

  2. Payton Pritchard (pts, ast, 3s)

  3. Taylor Hendricks (reb, blk, 3s)

  4. GG Jackson (pts, 3s, ft%)

  5. Trayce Jackson-Davis (reb, blk, fg%)

  6. Naji Marshall (stls, reb, ast)

  7. Simone Fontecchio (pts, 3s)

  8. Miles McBride (pts, 3s)

  9. Keon Ellis (stl, blk)

  10. Bruce Brown (ast, pts)

  11. Nikola Jovic (pts, 3s)

  12. Caleb Martin (stl, reb)

  13. Georges Niang (3s)

  14. Sam Merrill (3s)

  15. Tosan Evbuomwan (pts)

  16. Jahm’ius Ramsey (stl, 3s)

Tired: Everyone in Dallas

The Mavs played their final game of the week on Thursday, which means that if your championship is this week, they can’t help you anymore. Yes, it is okay to drop Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. If your league doesn’t end this week, this doesn’t apply to you. However, since they don’t have another game this week, other guys like Daniel Gafford, Dereck Lively II and Tim Hardaway Jr. are fine to drop in order to ensure you make it to the next round. They play four games next week, so you’ll want to get them back after that.

Wired: Payton Pritchard (20%) ⚡️

While the Mavs are done for the week, Boston still has two more games. Pritchard has been playing really well as of late with the Celtics resting some of their core guys to keep them fresh for the playoffs. They have basically locked up the top spot in the East, so they might as well. That has allowed Pritchard to take on a larger role and thrive. He is averaging 18.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 4.0 triples per game over his last three, and with Boston playing a back-to-back on Friday and Saturday, he should play big minutes in both games.

Tired: Donovan Mitchell (99%), Evan Mobley (95%)

Mitchell is out until Tuesday at least, which means he’ll miss at least three more games. J.B. Bickerstaff said that Mobley is getting closer, but there still isn’t a firm timeline for his return, which was also the same update that he gave for Max Strus and Dean Wade. Even if they make a big impact when they’re on the court, they can’t help if they’re in street clothes.

Wired: Caris LeVert (65%), Georges Niang (13%), Sam Merrill (6%) ⚡️

Instead, turn to the other guys in Cleveland. LeVert has been elite as a fill-in starter and has been one of the best assist guys in the league over the last two weeks. He’s harder to find on the waiver wire, but Niang and Merrill have also been playing well, with most of their value coming from beyond the arc.

Tired: LaMelo Ball (94%), Mark Williams (47%)

It’s time to let it go. They’re not coming back until October. It’s frustrating that there wasn’t much clarity here, especially surrounding Williams.

Wired: Naji Marshall (6%) ⚡️

Brandon Ingram exited Thursday’s game with a left knee injury, though no official diagnosis has been given. Trey Murphy should be the player that benefits the most in fantasy, but he should already be rostered. Marshall should be a lot easier to find on the waiver wire, and he can provide well-rounded value.

Tired: Kevin Huerter (35%)

Huerter was diagnosed with a torn left labrum, which should mean that his season is over. He certainly won’t be back to contribute during the fantasy season, so he can be dropped.

Wired: Keon Ellis (22%) ⚡️

If you need defensive stats to help swing a category your way, look no further. Ellis wasn’t productive on Thursday, but he had 10 steals and eight blocks over his previous four games. With Huerter out indefinitely, Ellis should be the starting shooting guard moving forward.

Tired: Julius Randle (91%), OG Anunoby (86%)

There hasn’t been much clarity surrounding either player’s injury, which makes dropping them difficult. You’ll always get the feeling that they’ll be upgraded to questionable as soon as you drop them. However, if you’re running out of space in your IL, moving on may be in your best interest in order to advance to the next matchup.

Wired: Miles McBride (15%) ⚡️

McBride has started their last two games with Anunoby out, and he has played 91 minutes during that stretch. His numbers don’t reflect how much he has played, but the opportunity is enough to justify rostering him. He had 29 points and six triples against the Warriors on Monday, which is certainly enough to make a big impact.

Tired: Isaiah Stewart (33%), Ausar Thompson (44%)

Both players were ruled out for the rest of the season on Wednesday. Stewart is dealing with a hamstring injury, so he should be fine for next season. Thompson is being treated for a blood clot after previously being ruled out for a few games due to asthma. The severity is unclear, but it will keep him sidelined for the remainder of the season

Wired: Simone Fontecchio (39%), Tosan Evbuomwan (less than 1%) ⚡️

Fontecchio was sidelined on Wednesday, so Evbuomwan started in his place. Fontecchio will be the best fantasy option when available, but Evbuomwan has some upside to provide some points. He has scored 11 points in each of their last two games.

Tired: Tyler Herro (86%)

Herro has been sidelined since February 23rd, and he is set to be re-evaluated sometime between March 23rd and March 30th. That doesn’t bode well for his chances of playing this week, and he may end up sidelined for most of next week as well.

Wired: Nikola Jovic (3%), Caleb Martin (27%) ⚡️

Jovic returned from a two-game absence on Wednesday and had 14 points, six rebounds and four triples in 33 minutes. They leaned on him heavily with Duncan Robinson, Kevin Love and Bam Adebayo all sidelined. Bam should be back on Friday, but Jovic should continue to start and hopefully see big minutes. Martin struggled in that game, but the minutes have been there consistently, and he averaged 13.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.3 triples across the three games before Wednesday.

Tired: Jerami Grant (85%)

Grant has missed five straight games and has only played twice in their last 10 games. He’s listed as doubtful for Friday, which would be a sixth straight absence. With nothing to play for, their focus will be on developing young guys. They haven’t given an official timeline for Grant, but based on their history of tanking over the final few weeks during the past two seasons, it wouldn’t be shocking if he didn’t play again until October.

Wired: GG Jackson (46%) ⚡️

The second-round pick has been on a tear. Over their last six games, he is averaging 25.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.8 triples while shooting 50% from the floor and 85.7% from the line. He isn’t giving much defensively, and he isn’t going to provide assists consistently, but he has been elite as a scorer. He had 35 points and seven 3-pointers on Wednesday night, which were both career-highs.

Tired: Jalen Johnson (85%)

After injuring his ankle on Monday night, Johnson is now set to be re-evaluated next Thursday. That means he’ll miss at least 3-4 more games, and it could certainly be more. Three of Atlanta’s four games next week come on or before Thursday, and it is unlikely that he plays on the same day that he is re-evaluated.

Wired: Trayce Jackson-Davis (42%), Taylor Hendricks (25%) ⚡️

Here are two other frontcourt players that can make a big impact. Jackson-Davis has been playing a large role off the bench for Golden State consistently, and he has supplied rebounds and blocks while maintaining a sky-high field goal percentage. Over the last three games, he is averaging 14.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while shooting 86.4% from the floor. Hendricks wasn’t productive on Thursday, but he has been a top-100 player over the past week and has been a consistent starter since the All-Star break.

Tired: Immanuel Quickley (81%), RJ Barrett (79%)

Head coach Darko Rajakovic said that there isn’t a timeline for Quickley’s return as he is tending to a family matter. The same can be said for Barrett, who tragically lost his younger brother. Toronto is giving both players as much time as they need, so they may be away from the team for a while.

Wired: Bruce Brown (49%), Jahm’ius Ramsey (not on Yahoo) ⚡️

Rajakovic said that the team’s three ball handlers with Quickley out will be Brown, Ramsey and Javon Freeman-Liberty, though the latter hasn’t produced much value. Keep an eye on him, but Brown will be the best option, with Ramsey being a deep league target. Brown is averaging 12.5 points and 5.0 assists over their last four games. Ramsey is available on ESPN and Fantrax, but Yahoo doesn't have him on their platform currently.