Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Top pickups for your playoff matchups
By Gabe Allen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
Most fantasy basketball leagues are in the thick of the playoffs, so fewer managers are vying for waiver wire pickups. Sticking with my recent method, I’ve separated these suggested adds into two categories: a few widely-rostered players whose availability you’ll want to double-check on, and another group of guys sitting on waiver wires in at least four out of every five leagues. As usual, a list of recently recommended players is also included at the end.
Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers (48% rostered)
Across his last six showings, LeVert has logged averages of 15.2 points, 4.3 assists, 4.2 boards, 2.8 threes, 1.8 steals and 0.8 blocks in 32.3 minutes. Although Cleveland was missing Donovan Mitchell for one of those games and Darius Garland for another, LeVert has seemingly hit his stride lately, regardless of whether he’s starting in place of one of Cleveland’s star guards or in his usual sixth-man role. Those subscribing to the hot hand theory may want to add him.
Malik Monk, Sacramento Kings (42% rostered)
Kevin Huerter (hamstring) exited Thursday’s matchup against the Nets, and there’s a chance that he’s forced to miss multiple games. Meanwhile, during the last five contests, Monk has averaged 14.8 points, 4.8 dimes, 4.0 rebounds, 3.2 threes, 1.0 steals and 0.6 blocks in 23.5 minutes. Fantasy managers shouldn’t count on continued defensive contributions, but offensively, Monk is a threat to fill it up every time he’s on the floor.
At the very least, you’ll want to keep an eye on Huerter’s health, because if he’s out, Monk makes for an obvious add. However, Sacramento is scheduled to play four games next week, so even if Huerter can give it a go sooner rather than later, Monk still has plenty of upside.
Royce O’Neale, Brooklyn Nets (32% rostered)
O’Neale was rostered in most leagues back in the beginning of the season when he delivered stellar multi-category production on a title-contending team featuring Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. That already feels like ages ago, but after suffering through a rough stretch of play in which fantasy managers widely dropped him, O’Neale has gotten himself back on track. Over the last five outings, O’Neale has averaged 9.4 points, 8.4 boards, 2.6 dimes, 2.4 treys and 1.4 steals in 27.9 minutes. Given that Brooklyn is scheduled to play four games next week, O’Neale is worthy of consideration in most formats.
Santi Aldama, Memphis Grizzlies (20% rostered)
With the Grizzlies’ frontcourt hampered by long-term injuries to Steven Adams (knee) and Brandon Clarke (Achilles), Aldama has stepped up lately, albeit in a reserve role. Having posted averages of 10.2 points, 6.0 boards, 2.0 assists and 1.0 threes in 24.2 minutes across the last five matchups, Aldama is a decent option in deep leagues. Moreover, Memphis is slated to play four games each of the next three weeks, so he has some upside for the rest of the season.
Andrew Nembhard, Indiana Pacers (19% rostered)
Tyrese Haliburton (knee) has missed three straight games and is expected to miss at least three more. During his recent absence, Nembhard has been stellar, averaging 19.3 points, 6.7 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 threes in 32.2 minutes as the starting point guard. Indiana has four games on tap next week, two of which Haliburton is sure to be sidelined for, so Nembhard is an intriguing pickup, especially for those already rostering Haliburton.
If Nembhard, T.J. McConnell and Jordan Nwora are not available anymore, another Pacer to consider adding is Aaron Nesmith (7% rostered), who has averaged 13.3 points, 5.3 boards, 2.5 treys, 2.0 dimes, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks in 30.0 minutes across the last four contests.
Joe Ingles, Milwaukee Bucks (8% rostered)
Even though Khris Middleton is back to playing 30-plus minutes per night, Ingles has remained a factor for the Bucks of late. Over the last six games, Ingles has averaged 11.2 points, 4.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 threes and 1.0 swipes in 27.7 minutes. Fantasy managers needing a well-rounded forward would be wise to keep Ingles in mind, as he has looked quite comfortable running the show as a pick-and-roll playmaker for Milwaukee’s second unit.
Trendon Watford, Portland Trail Blazers (4% rostered)
Jerami Grant (quadriceps) left Sunday’s game against the Pelicans, missed Tuesday’s matchup versus the Knicks, and is currently listed as questionable for Friday’s contest against the Celtics. It’s unclear how close Grant is to returning, but if he’s not ready to rejoin the rotation this weekend, Watford is worth adding to your watch list and could be a sneakily solid pickup for next week. Across his last three appearances, Watford has averaged 10.7 points, 7.7 boards, 2.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.7 threes in 29.3 minutes while filling in as a starter.
Recent recommendations: Bruce Brown, Donte DiVincenzo, Talen Horton-Tucker, Monte Morris, Xavier Tillman, Jeremy Sochan, Austin Reaves, Dennis Smith Jr., Matisse Thybulle, Kris Dunn, T.J. McConnell, Cory Joseph, Patrick Beverley, Jordan Nwora, Malaki Branham