Waiver wire pickups: Look to Immanuel Quickley, Cameron Johnson

Dealing with the denial wire is critical to success in fantasy basketball. With so many games, injuries and endless rotation changes throughout the marathon campaign, we will need to get stats from free agents to maximize our imaginary lineups.

The willingness to entertain the competition for the last few places on your fantasy hoops list can be helpful. When curating this volatile body of statistics, it’s helpful to consider that your players at the back of the bench are in direct competition with free-will talent.

The goal of this weekly series is to identify players in every position widely available in free agency in the Sportzshala leagues. Some nominations are specialists capable of helping in one or two categories, while others offer more varied and important statistical offerings. In the breakdown below, I’ve ranked the players in each position based on acquisition priority, not percentage of Sportzshala league rosters.

point guard

Immanuel Quickly, New York Knicks (reported in 20.3% of Sportzshala leagues): A primetime breakout game against the Celtics should make Quickley a hit this week. However, it’s not just a single-game figure that proved impressive as the Kentucky product scored at least 13 points in 11 straight games and became a fixture in New York’s rotation.

Dennis Schroeder, Los Angeles Lakers (31.0%): The absence of LeBron James, combined with the departure of Russell Westbrook, means Schroeder will take on a major role in spreading the Lakers in the coming weeks.

Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs (11.5%): This talented rookie, a rare player suited to both power forward and Sportzshala league point guard, has shown a dynamic production in recent weeks.

Dennis Smith Jr., Charlotte Hornets (20.3%): LaMelo Ball’s injury at the end of the season made Smith an important figure for Charlotte. While he doesn’t always need a heavy diet or a lot of minutes, there is real value in a player with a strong interception and passing record on a team with such a shallow backcourt.

Tyus Jones, Memphis Grizzlies (9.9%): With Ja Morant out for several games, Jones is due to start as point guard this week for the Grizzlies. Jones’ scoring is often low, but double-digit assists come into play as a Memphis starter.

Attacking defender

Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder (46.6%): Even though the team lacked Chet Holmgren’s top pick, this rookie dazzled with a fun combination of scoring, defense and playmaking rarely seen in a professional rookie.

Donte Di Vincenzo, Golden State Warriors (15.0%): It’s a good sign that Di Vincenzo spent nearly 40 minutes starting for the Warriors with three defensemen over the weekend. The return of Stephen Curry hasn’t pushed him to the fringes of the rotation, suggesting that this two-way combo defense retains some real statistical impact.

Matisse Tibull, Portland Trail Blazers (8.5%): One of the league’s most prolific perimeter defensemen has moved from a limited, specialized role for the 76ers to a full-time starter in Portland. Scoring and shooting results can be a little choppy, but few players can match his wild combination of steals and shots.

small forward

Jayden McDaniels, Minnesota Timberwolves (25.8%): Currently, only a handful of players are flirting, averaging almost a block and a steal per game, including McDaniels. This high level perimeter limiter also handles more offensive load since the deadline.

Kyle Anderson, Minnesota Timberwolves (19.4%): There are some players who are quite valuable in terms of fantasy, despite the fact that they are not elite in any category, but rather show ability in several. Anderson can do a little bit of everything, which helps him cope with those nights when his scoring wanes and his playing and defensive stats shine.

Tari Eason, Houston Rockets (10.0%): The Rockets, in the lottery draw, have given their young talents minutes and touches as Eason is in the middle of a career-best stretch of two-way production.

Power forward

Delon Wright, Washington Wizards (16.7%): This unique all-round wing can hold three positions in Sportzshala leagues, including shallow forward pool, adding value to those looking for frontcourt depth. After all, Wright leads all players with at least 300 minutes in steal percentage and has shown some funny passing prowess in recent games.

Cameron Johnson, Brooklyn Nets (36.4%): The new level of shooting and scoring since joining Brooklyn has allowed Johnson to overcome the fantasy clout as the North Carolina player has become a regular assistant to rising Mikal Bridges.

Marvin Bagley III, Detroit Pistons (16.9%): The Pistons are looking to add to their collection of former top lottery players, which includes Bagley, who thrives on posts and points.

Xavier Tillman, Memphis Grizzlies (4.9%): A season-ending injury to Brandon Clark puts Tillman in a vital role in Memphis’ already depleted frontcourt. Over the past week, Tillman has nearly averaged a double-double.


Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz (49.5%): Another week and another endorsement for this rare beginner rim protector. Kessler has amassed an astonishing 18 blocks over the last four games as he entered Sunday’s Thunder. For some context on how special this rookie’s inside defense has turned out to be, only Defensive Player of the Year favorite Jaren Jackson Jr. is ahead of Kessler in blocked percentage this season.

Mark Williams, Charlotte Hornets (20.0%): Right behind Evan Mobley and just behind Jarrett Allen as the 17th-best center in the last two weeks, Williams is another rising rookie deserving more attention from fantasy managers.

Zach Collins, San Antonio Spurs (16.2%): Having allowed himself more minutes and more responsibility from both sides of the floor after the deadline, Collins has impressively amassed at least four dimes in five of his last eight games and averaged three amazing combined blocks and steals last week.

Naz Reid, Minnesota Timberwolves (4.4%): A recent stellar stretch has shown that this unique stretch big delivers a strong combination of points, shots, rebounds and steals. Until Karl-Anthony Towns returns to the rotation, Reid should retain statistical value.


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