We’re about to enter the stretch run of the fantasy basketball season. This column usually talks about players who are already owned and whether to buy low or sell high on them, but since the trade deadline has passed in the most leagues we’re going to focus on players who are widely available on the waiver wire. For those of you gearing up for the playoffs in head to head leagues or trying to gain that edge in roto leagues, here’s a list of waiver wire suggestions to help put you over the top.
James Johnson, Mia SF,PF
James Johnson should have been owned in nearly all competitive leagues since we last mentioned him. However, if you’re lucky enough to play in league where he was dropped due to his recent dip in scoring, pick him up. Johnson puts up extremely versatile numbers across the board, averaging 4.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks over his last 7 games. Add in nearly a three per game and less than 2 turnovers and you have a must-start player in every format who will get heavy minutes as the Heat make their improbable playoff run.
Maurice Harkless, Por SF
Harkless’ minutes have been trending up since the All-Star break (30+ each night) and that means it’s time to grab him in all leagues. He’s averaging 13.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.6 blocks, and 1.2 three pointers over his last five games. If he’s able to keep this up and peak at just the right time, he’ll have fantasy owners chanting “Gimme Moe!” over the next few weeks.
Andre Igoudala, GS SG,SF
Andre Igoudala had a big game on Monday, filling up the stat sheet with a 24/5/4 line with 3 steals, 1 block, and 4 triples. He should see minutes in the 30s with Kevin Durant out for the duration of the regular season, and looks like he’ll be a sneaky good pick up for owners in all leagues. Iggy will be able to fill out the stat sheet without doing anything negative to your team.
Malcom Brogdon, Mil PG,SG
Many owners expected Brogdon to look as good as he did a couple months ago once Jabari Parker went down, but most of Parker’s opportunities have gone to Khris Middleton. However, Jason Kidd has continued to go smaller up front and it’s continuing to look more and more like Brogdon will be the starter and finisher for the stretch run of the season. His numbers aren’t outstanding (he’s only averaging 14/2/3 over his last 7 games), but if he can hold off Dellavedova from stealing the starting job back, Brogdon will be worth owning in all standard leagues based on his potential alone.
Frank Kaminsky, Cha PF,C
Only consider picking up Kaminsky if you have an IR spot or if you can afford to stash him, because news just came out yesterday that he’ll be out 10-14 days with a shoulder sprain. However, that doesn’t change the fact that he was averaging 18/7/3 with a steal a block and 2.4 three pointers in the nine games leading up to his injury. There is no reason not to assume that Kaminsky will retain his starting job once he returns, and those elite numbers can easily win you a key playoff matchup.
Yogi Ferrell, Dal PG
He’s been a little disappointing since Dallas gave him the reins to the team, but it’s not for a lack of opportunity. His shot has been off, but he has taken around 4 three point attempts a game, which will eventually pay off. He’ll get opportunities down the stretch and the brightest spot is that he hasn’t been turning the ball over despite being asked to become their main distributor. Yogi is a great player to gamble on for the stretch run.
Trevor Booker, Bkn PF
The dream ride was great while it lasted, right? After an incredible start to the season that saw Booker returning third round value for his owners, he has been slowly trending down the last two months and has not scored in double digits since the All-Star break. It won’t be surprising to see the lowly Nets test out their younger players as the season winds down, so it won’t be surprising if Booker becomes a cut candidate around fantasy playoff time. He’s not a must-drop candidate, but don’t hesitate to ditch him for any of the players mentioned above on this list.
Alex Len, Pho PF,C
If you were holding Alex Len all season waiting for the Suns to let him loose around March, it’s time to give up. March is here and everyone now knows that Len just isn’t good. His stats and minutes have been dipping and he’s losing minutes to Alan Williams. Len has teased owners the last two years with his inconsistent performances, and now is the time to cut him loose for this year.
DeMarre Carroll, Tor SF,PF
Carroll seems determined to prove to everyone that he will never be as good as he was in Atlanta. He never truly got it going this year and is now dealing with a nagging ankle injury. With abysmal averages of 9/4/1 with 1.6 threes and 1.1 steals over his last 7 games, Carroll’s lack of production makes him a cut candidate in all leagues.