5 WAIVER WIRE ADDS TO CONSIDER DOWN THE STRETCH
We’re headed into playoff season in Fantasy Basketball, which means that if you’re reading this article, you’re probably still in contention for your league title – which also means you still should be considering refining your roster. You can’t ever afford to be complacent. Even if you’ve cruised to this point in the regular season, several key injuries and trades have shifted the landscape of the NBA and made several players more/less valuable then they might have been when you drafted your team. Those shifts will show up in the playoffs, where you’re facing only good opposing teams. Have a look at these guys, compare them to players you’re currently still rostering and see if any of them can help you optimize as you head into the crux of fantasy season.
MALIK MONK, SG/SF, LA Lakers, (47% rostered on Yahoo!, 19% on ESPN)
In his last five games, Monk is averaging over 15 points, 5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and over 0.5 blocks in just under 35 minutes. The Lakers are kind of a disaster right now, with their playoff fortunes fading quickly, Anthony Davis injured and out for the foreseeable future (again) and Russell Westbrook’s shooting woes getting him booed in his home arena. Lebron James is working some crazy Gandalf-like old guy magic and is now leading the NBA in scoring average at age 37, but he’ll still need a wingman going forward and Monk is the best option their thin lineup can muster. Even if it’s unlikely, L.A. will never quit on trying to reach the play-in round of the playoffs, so Monk’s usage won’t diminish as the season counts down.
IMMANUEL QUICKLEY, PG, New York (46% rostered on Yahoo!, 10% on ESPN)
Since the Knicks announced that Kemba Walker would not be playing for the rest of the season, Quickley has quickly (see what I did there?) made himself into a fantasy relevant player, averaging just under 15 points, 3.4 assists, and a steal per game over the last few weeks. He was a late first round pick of New York’s out of Kentucky last year and with little to play for in this disappointing season, the Knicks are likely to give him plenty of time on the floor to assess what they have in him. Even if Derrick Rose does return late in the season (don’t bet on it), there’s a good chance that the 22 year-old will be rewarding fantasy owners right to the end, which is what you want for fantasy playoffs.
AARON WIGGINS, SG, Oklahoma City (7% rostered on Yahoo, 1% on ESPN)
Players in Oklahoma City probably get the least attention of those on any team in the NBA – except maybe for those playing in Sacramento. Part of the reason is geographic remoteness, and part of it is that they’re kind of a no-name team at the moment that doesn’t get many national television games. This season is ostensibly over for the Thunder, but they still have to play games and with Luguentz Dort out for the remainder of the year, Wiggins has averaged just under 35 minutes per game in his last three and had a 25 point, 9 rebound, 5 assist game on Wednesday against Minnesota. The rookie from Maryland may have more opportunities for nights like this going forward. Depending on how deep your league is, he might end up being a factor as things come to the end.
ISAIAH ROBY, PF/C, Oklahoma City (42% rostered on Yahoo!, 13% on ESPN)
You remember way back when I said that thing about players in OKC getting overlooked? Those were good times. The same thing applies here – just another ignored player on an ignored team who plays a different position. Over his last four games, Roby has averaged 33 minutes, 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. The Thunder’s schedule is pretty busy over the next little while, and they’ll be missing some key players throughout it. PF/C can be a tough position to replace at this time of year, but if one of your team’s big guys was Robert Covington (personal) or Jakob Poeltl (back) who’ve been missing games recently and you need insurance, he’s a name you should seriously consider.
DEVIN VASSEL, SG/SF, San Antonio (47% rostered on Yahoo!, 14% on ESPN)
Despite Head Coach Gregg Popovich becoming the winningest Head Coach in NBA history a few days back, the Spurs are not going to be a factor in this year’s postseason. Vassell could be a factor in your fantasy postseason, though. San Antonio’s first round pick in 2020 out of Florida State, is going to get more time on the floor as the regular season winds down. Several Spurs rotational players have been missing time lately with nagging injuries and a healthy Vassel has been given more room to roam. He’s been averaging around 30 minutes per game the last few weeks, scoring in double digits in 7 of his last 9, recently scoring 22 in a game vs. Miami to go along with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and a steal. He’s capable of more games like that and could be a useful complementary player if some of your wing players are fading down the stretch.