Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Top pickups for your playoff matchups
TO Gabe Allen, RotoWire
Special for Sportzshala Sports
Most fantasy basketball leagues are in the midst of the playoffs, so fewer managers are vying for release from the wire. Sticking to my recent method, I’ve divided the proposed additions into two categories: a few players from a broad list whose availability you’ll want to double-check for availability, and another group of guys sitting on the redline in at least four out of every five leagues. As usual, there is a list of recently recommended players at the end.
Carys LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers (48% of the team)
Over the last six games, LeVert averaged 15.2 points, 4.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 triples, 1.8 steals and 0.8 blocks in 32.3 minutes. Although Cleveland lacked Donovan Mitchell in one of those games and Darius Garland in another, LeVert seems to have had some success lately, whether he starts as one of Cleveland’s star guards or in his usual sixth man role. Those who subscribe to the hot hand theory can add it.
Malik Monk, Sacramento Kings (with 42%)
Kevin Huerter (hamstring) was out of Thursday’s game against the Nets and there is a chance he will be forced to miss a few games. Meanwhile, over the last five contests, Monk averaged 14.8 points, 4.8 dimes, 4.0 rebounds, 3.2 triples, 1.0 steals and 0.6 blocks in 23.5 minutes. Fantasy managers shouldn’t count on a constant defensive contribution, but on offense, Monk is a threat that will fill him up every time he’s on the court.
At the very least, you need to keep an eye on Huerter’s health, because if he’s missing, Monk will be an obvious addition. However, Sacramento will play four games next week, so even if Huerter can start sooner rather than later, Monk still has a lot to offer.
Royce O’Neal, Brooklyn Nets (32% of members)
O’Neal made his way into most leagues early in the season when he delivered brilliant performance in several categories with a team in contention for the title that included Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. It seems like it was a long time ago, but after a tough gaming period in which fantasy managers often abandoned him, O’Neal is back on track. Over the last five games, O’Neal averaged 9.4 points, 8.4 boards, 2.6 dimes, 2.4 treys and 1.4 steals in 27.9 minutes. With Brooklyn due to play four games next week, O’Neal is worthy of attention in most formats.
Santi Aldama, Memphis Grizzlies (20% of participants)
The Grizzlies’ frontcourt has been hampered by lengthy injuries to Stephen Adams (knee) and Brandon Clarke (Achilles), Aldama has stepped up of late, albeit in a reserve role. After averaging 10.2 points, 6.0 boards, 2.0 assists and a 1.0 treble in 24.2 minutes in his last five games, Aldama is a decent option in the deep leagues. What’s more, Memphis has four games to play in the next three weeks, so it has some potential for the rest of the season.
Andrew Nembhard, Indiana Pacers (19% of participants)
Tyrese Haliburton (knee) has missed three games in a row and is expected to miss at least three more. During his recent absence, Nembhard excelled, averaging 19.3 points, 6.7 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 triples in 32.2 minutes as a starting point guard. There are four games scheduled in Indiana next week, two of which are likely to have eliminated Halliburton, so Nembhard is an intriguing pickup, especially for those who already play with Halliburton.
If Nembhard, T.J. McConnell and Jordan Nwora are no longer available, another Pacer to consider adding is Aaron Nesmith (7% of the roster) who is averaging 13.3 points, 5.3 boards, 2.5 triples, 2.0 dimes, 0.8 interceptions and 0.8 blocks per 30.0 minutes. in the last four competitions.
Joe Ingles, Milwaukee Bucks (8% of participants)
Despite Chris Middleton playing 30-plus minutes a night again, Ingles has been a big factor for the Bucks lately. Over the last six games, Ingles averaged 11.2 points, 4.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 triples and 1.0 hits in 27.7 minutes. Fantasy managers looking for a versatile forward would be wise to have Ingles in mind, as he seemed pretty comfortable running the show as Milwaukee’s second-line playmaker.
Trendon Watford, Portland Trail Blazers (4% of participants)
Jerami Grant (quadriceps femoris) left Sunday’s game against the Pelicans, missed Tuesday’s game against the Knicks, and is currently under question for Friday’s game against the Celtics. It’s unclear how close Grant is to returning, but if he’s not ready to return to the rotation this weekend, Watford should be added to your watchlist and he could be a solid pick next week. In their last three games, Watford averaged 10.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.7 three-point assists in 29.3 minutes as a starter.
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