Working the waiver wire is pivotal to succeeding in fantasy basketball. With so many games, injuries and endless shifts in rotations throughout the marathon campaign, we'll need to source stats from free agency to maximize imaginary rosters.
A willingness to entertain competition for the last few spots on your fantasy hoops roster can prove rewarding. When curating this fluid collective of statistical contributors, it helps to consider your end-of-bench players in direct competition with the talent floating in free agency.
The goal of this weekly series is to identify players at each position widely available in free agency in ESPN leagues. Some nominations are specialists capable of helping in one or two categories, while others deliver more diverse and important statistical offerings. In the breakdowns below, I've ordered players at each position with the priority of acquisition in mind, rather than roster percentage in ESPN leagues.
Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks (Rostered in 28.8% of ESPN leagues): A recent ugly outing against the Heat reads like an outlier in the context of his past 10 overall games, a stretch that has seen Quickley slash for 18.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 2.3 3-pointers. A chance for redemption against Miami surfaces this week, as do some soft matchups against the Wizards and Rockets.
Coby White, Chicago Bulls (3.7%): The Bulls have played well the past week during a run that includes more minutes and touches for White. As Chicago's resident microwave, a reasonable expectation to near 30 MPG during a four-game week proves inviting.
Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons (18.3%): It's understandable that fantasy managers waivered with Hayes given worrisome scoring inefficiency, but he does claim an atypically high assist percentage for a widely-available player. In a league rife with heliocentric ball-handlers, Hayes is the rare pass-first point guard for a depleted, older-school Detroit offense. For some context, Hayes ranks 11th in the NBA in assists per game over the past 15 games (min. five games).
Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers (7.1%): Portland's rising rookie has delivered three consecutive games with at least 24 points. With Damian Lillard and several other stars likely to sit out the twilight of another fruitless season, Sharpe and Nassir Little should see unfettered opportunities to produce.
Austin Reaves, Los Angeles Lakers (29.8%): Even though he's isolated to eligibility at shooting guard, Reaves has thrived in recent weeks as the Lakers' de facto point guard. Even with LeBron James back in the rotation, Reaves figures to provide enough scoring and playmaking production to help fantasy rosters.
Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets (58.1%): If he's still available in any shallower formats, Hayward is in the rare stretch where he's both healthy and entirely efficient.
Deni Avdija, Washington Wizards (10.5%): With at least six dimes in four of his last five games and at least 10 boards in three of his last five, Avdija is one of the most exciting late-season additions to consider.
Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans (33.9%): The Pelicans have quietly hit on several emergent 3-and-D wings, with Murphy having surfaced as an ideal of the archetype; busy hands on defense and willing confidence as a perimeter scorer. Up to 20 PPG over the past week, Murphy is arguably the top positive from the Pelicans' wayward season.
Marvin Bagley III, Detroit Pistons (14.6%): Since rejoining the rotation, Bagley has averaged nearly 34 minutes and nearly 20 PPG. Given such rich opportunity rates, it's tough to deny Bagley's rising fantasy stock.
Jabari Smith Jr., Houston Rockets (46.1%): Likely to play plenty of minutes over the final weeks of his rookie season, Smith brings enough rebounding and defensive production to help offset some leaner scoring outings.
Kelly Olynyk, Utah Jazz (34.6%): Another year and another hot finish from this unique big man. Olynyk finds ways to deliver meaningful fantasy production in several ways, especially now that the team's lack of true point guard play funnels playmaking his way.
Zach Collins, San Antonio Spurs (19.3%): Resting every few games limits the overall appeal for Collins, but he's been Olynyk-like when active thanks a diverse skill set.
Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks (24.4%): Despite playing a limited role behind Clint Capela, Okongwu still delivers a stellar blend of efficient scoring and rim protection.