NBA Waiver Wire: Week 23
Justin Fensterman goes around the league, providing players who are worth adding to your roster.
Are you ready to dominate? This is YOUR time. Let’s all win our fantasy NBA Playoff games. All season long, we’ve talked strategy in regards to what trends to look for and hopefully you are taking it game by game with your players. Always remember, it’s not about how flashy your roster looks at the end of the season. It’s about WINNING THAT TITLE! If you’re best player isn’t playing on the final day of the week, you may need to make that sacrifice in order to win. It’s about production at this point. Don’t get emotionally invested into the players who have helped carry you there. They are useless if they’re injured for multiple games. Put the points on the board!
James Johnson F MIA-32% Ownership: The injury to Justise Winslow has benefitted Johnson. Johnson has scored in double figures in three of his last four games and he’s played 22-plus minutes over his last four games. Johnson had the Winslow role last season and he can even bring up the ball if needed. He’ll provide some help with assists. He’s recorded two multi-steal games in his last four and he’s even blocked shots in three of his last five. Johnson will see a lot of high-percentage shots from downtown. He’s a threat from distance. Johnson has done a good job fighting for boards and he’s grabbed five in two of his last three games. The Heat need all of the defensive help they can get and Johnson has been a major help on the perimeter.
Mario Hezonja SG, SF NY-26% Ownership: No, I’m not telling you to pick up Hezonja because he had that game-winning block on LeBron James last week. He’s shown signs of life in his last few games and his minutes indicate that he’s a committed part of the Knicks rotation. Hezonja scored 17 or more points in 2 of his last 4 games. Hezonja has been helpful on both sides of the ball and he uses his speed to get back on defense in an attempt to slowdown transition play from the opposition. He’s had two two-steal games in his last four. He can hit three’s, but he’ll look to drive the lane more and sacrifice his body. He will go to the free-throw line regularly, but don’t put it past him to drive and kick out and then run back to the arc and drill a three. He’s a real wildcard with his path to the basket. He’s also grabbed 3.8 boards per game this season, which is encouraging.
Terry Rozier G BOS-43% Ownership: It’s no secret that Boston wants to preserve Kyrie Irving ’s health down the stretch. They’ve been successful in the post-season without him in the past, but this year, they will look to rest Irving a bit in the final few weeks of the season. Any Irving owners reading this article should be prepared and handcuff Rozier to Irving NOW. His ownership continues to creep up and normally I wouldn’t suggest picking up a player who is already owned in over 40 percent of leagues, but there’s still time and Rozier is capable of filling in and being a multi-category producer. He’s more polished on offense than Marcus Smart . Rozier has played over 20 minutes in his last three games and he’s scored in double figures in his last two and he’s starting to see more plays called for him. He’ll help with scoring, rebounding and assists consistently if Irving sits.
Danuel House Jr. SG HOU-15% Ownership: House’s hot streak may be over, but he’s still logging a lot of minutes and he scored 13-plus points in three of his last four games. The Rockets will continue to give him minutes. His major competition for minutes will be Eric Gordon and Iman Shumpert . If the Rockets need more perimeter defense they’ll opt for House and Shumpert over Gordon. View House, who is used as a bailout three-point shooter for the most part on offense, as a short-term solution. His rebounding numbers are very encouraging too. House has grabbed at least three boards in his last four games. He’s good at grabbing long boards and he’s shown toughness when he’s been in the paint and he has been to the free-throw line in three of his last four games. Even with Gordon and Shumpert active, House should be able to keep 20 minutes in that rotation.
Mikal Bridges SG, SF PHX-29% Ownership: Bridges is a must-add at this point because Kelly Oubre Jr. is out for the season and we haven’t seen any sign that T.J. Warren is returning to the lineup. Josh Jackson being banged up has been very beneficial for Bridges. Bridges bring perimeter defense to the Suns who desperately need it. He’s grabbed steals in six of his last seven games. He’s even been able to facilitate the offense a bit dishing at least four dimes in four of his last six games. Bridges is a shooting threat from long-range and he’s nailed three’s in his last four games. He’s also scored in double figures in his last four games. The bottom line is that the Suns have nothing to play for and they are running out of mid-court options. Bridges has been seeing minutes in the 30’s and 40’s in recent games. What other proof do you need?
Kevin Knox F NY-39% Ownership: Know is another must-add because if you think the Suns have nothing to play for, the Knicks REALLY have nothing to play for and Knox and Dennis Smith Jr. (if healthy) will be the go-to scoring options down the stretch. Knox has scored in double figures and shot 14-plus shots in his last four games. He’s played 34-plus minutes in three of his last four games. The Knicks need Knox to get as many reps as he can before next season. He’s grabbed six or more boards in three of his last four games. Knox has also been helpful recording steals in three of his last four games. He’ll provide inconsistent help with blocking shots. Rely on his for points, boards and steals. He’s quick and even though he likes shooting three’s and has hit multiple shots from beyond the arc in his last four games, he isn’t afraid to drive the lane and draw contact. He’ll get playing time at both forward spots.
Alex Caruso SG LAL-13% Ownership: The Lakers are out of the playoff hunt and they will look to protect LeBron James as much as possible and with Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram also out for the season, the Lakers have shots to go around and Caruso has been taking advantage of his recent uptick in minutes. He’s played over 20 minutes in his last 5 games and he’s being rewarded for his hustle on the court. He’s scored in double figures in four of his last five games and because he’s a hound of a defender on the perimeter, he stays in the game even when he’s struggling on offense. He’s recorded three multi-steal games in his last four. He’s clearly going to get more playing time down the stretch and Rajon Rondo ’s poor long-range shooting ability, he’ll be the perfect kick out option on the perimeter.
Thomas Bryant C WSH-31% Ownership: The Wizards frontcourt features Bryant and Bobby Portis who can play at Center. Jeff Green , Sam Dekker and Jabari Parker can’t match up against centers meaning Bryant’s spot in the Wizards rotation is safe. He’s scored 17-plus points in his last two games and he’s grabbed more rebounds than his average in four of his last five games. Bryant has also randomly hit three’s lately, but don’t rely on him for them consistently. He’s scored in double figures in three of his last five games. Bryant has blocked multiple shots in three of his last five games. He’s also played over 30 minutes in his last two games. The Wizards are very weak in the post and Thomas will continue to pick up minutes in the final few weeks of the season. He’s gotten better at gaining positioning in the post when the shot goes up. He’ll benefit when Bradley Beal draws the extra defender while driving. He’ll camp out in the post and wait to be fed.
Pat Connaughton SG, SF MIL-7% Ownership: The Bucks have lost a lot of players to injuries and Connaughton is being given playing time in the 20’s and 30’s consistently. He’s scored in double-digits in three of his last five games, but more importantly, he’s been lifting his rebounding numbers. Connaughton has grabbed six-plus boards in four of his last six games with two of those games being double-digit rebounding efforts. Connaughton will serve as the Bucks main bailout option, but you can see while watching him that teams don’t anticipate Connaughton crashing the boards and he sneaks into the lane once the shot goes up. He’s also grabbed steals in two of his last four games and he’s even blocked shots in two of his last five. Don’t rely on him to block shots consistently, but points, boards and steals can be areas of consistent production. He’s also dished four dimes in each of his last three games.
WILDCARD PICK UP: Brandon Knight G CLE-3% Ownership: Knight is the cockroach of the NBA. He refuses to go away even after suffering injury after injury, but with the Cavs having nothing to play for, Knight has been playing 20-plus minutes consistently. He’s scored in double figures in six of his last eight games and he’s been a bit more helpful with assists lately. He’s dished at least three dimes in his last three games. He’ll help out with boards to a much lesser extent, but don’t expect any kind consistency with his boards production. Knight has been helpful by grabbing steals in four of his last six games. He can also hit three’s and serve as a bailout option, especially when he’s on the floor with Jordan Clarkson , who will look to drive a good amount and draw the extra defender. Expect Knight to keep his minutes down the stretch.