There are just four weeks left in the NBA regular season, and this will be another jam-packed week of basketball as the action in season-long leagues and the NBA playoff race comes down to the wire. The sped-up schedule has resulted in teams constantly shifting their rotations to get players rested, compensate for injuries and see how younger players fit into their future plans. The ever-shifting roles from game to game make managing your season-long fantasy team challenging but also present awesome opportunities to bolster your roster by staying active on the waiver wire. Some of the best addition options are highlighted below.
Looking at the week ahead, 19 teams play four games while 10 teams play three times. The one outlier is the Toronto Raptors, who have only two games on tap this coming week as they host the Nets and visit the Knicks.
As you look at the upcoming week and fill out your roster, remember to consider your specific team needs and league rules as always. As you look to push your roster across the finish line, here are the four players who are widely available that I think you should start your search with this week.
C Daniel Gafford, Washington Wizards (vs. OKC, vs. GSW, at OKC, vs. CLE)
Gafford was sent from the Bulls to the Wizards at the trade deadline as part of a three-team deal with the Celtics also involved. Gafford was a second-round pick out of Arkansas but has more long-term potential and a higher ceiling than the other Washington frontcourt options. Gafford had a strong debut with the Wizards but suffered an ankle sprain that kept him sidelined six games. Since his return on April 10, he has been playing limited minutes which has capped his production, but the numbers have still impressive on a per-minute basis.
However, Gafford may be on the verge of becoming a great play for the next few weeks if he keeps pushing for more playing time. He logged 26 minutes on Friday against the Pelicans and had 18 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Gafford had a 26% usage rate in that game and has a 23.3% usage rate over his six games with the Wizards coming into Saturday’s game against the Pistons. Even though it was the second game of the back-to-back, Gafford played 16 minutes against Detroit finishing with eight points, eight rebounds and four blocks. Even coach Scott Brooks admitted Gafford moving into the starting lineup is a “definite possibility.” If that happens, he’ll be a top addition moving forward, especially with a pair of matchups this week against the Thunder.
SF/PF Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder, (at WAS, at IND, vs. WAS)
Bazley is another player returning from injury to step into a large workload for the stretch run. The Thunder’s 20-year-old PF missed almost a month with a left shoulder contusion but has stepped right into a high-usage role with Aleksej Pokusevski (arm) now dealing with an injury of his own. Bazley has started all four games since returning, averaging 31.6 minutes per game with a 24.2% usage rate.
He had at least 17 points in three of those four games and has added 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game as well. He doesn’t have the highest efficiency ratings or chip in many steals or blocks, but he can definitely be a good source of counting stats, scoring and rebounding for the Thunder the rest of the way. The fact that he quickly rejoined the lineup shows how the team views his role in their future.
SF Naji Marshall, New Orleans Pelicans (vs. BKN, at ORL, vs. SA)
Injuries have also stretched the Pelicans very thin and opened the door for Marshall to emerge as a part of the rotation. He has averaged 27.4 minutes per game over the past nine games, including four starts. Unlike Gafford and Bazley, Marshall typically doesn’t get a ton of usage, but his time as a defensive presence gives him useful counting stats.
He has been scoring more frequently in his past few games, though, since moving into more of a PG role following the injury to Nickeil Alexander-Walker (ankle). His usage rate is also starting to climb, and he has a usage rate of over 15% in three of his past four games. He has scored 14 points or more in each of those three games and had one of the best games of his career on Friday night when he played 33 minutes and produced 16 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. That production came despite the return of Lonzo Ball to the rotation. As the Pelicans get healthy, Marshall’s role is uncertain, but he has shown enough to be considered as a “three-and-D” contributor the rest of this season and moving forward into next year.
PG/SG Reggie Jackson, Los Angeles Clippers (at POR, vs. MEM, at HOU)
Jackson has been carrying more work lately for the Clippers, but that scenario could continue to play out multiple times over the rest of the season with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard both getting rest and trying to be ready for more run in the postseason. Patrick Beverley (hand) and Rajon Rondo (adductor) are both banged up as well, which has led to plenty of chances for Jackson to shine, and the veteran PG has stepped up and done just that.
In each of his past five games, Jackson has played more than 28 minutes, averaging 17.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.6 3-pointers per contest. He had 29 points and the game-winner against the Pistons on Wednesday and followed that with 13 points, four boards and four assists in a narrow loss to the 76ers. While his production and usage will depend on the availability of his teammates, he has shown enough potential to be a nice guard addition and he has a high ceiling when the usage comes his way.
Other options to consider
- PF/C Isaiah Stewart, Detroit Pistons
- PG/SG Coby White, Chicago Bulls
- PG/SG Tomas Satoransky, Chicago Bulls
- SG/SF Luguentz Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SF Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons
- PG Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic
- SG/SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Los Angeles Lakers
- SG/SF Grayson Allen, Memphis Grizzlies
- PF/C Marcus Morris Sr., Los Angeles Clippers
- PG/SG Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons
- SF/PF/C Jarred Vanderbilt, Minnesota Timberwolves
- PG/SF/PF Paul Watson, Toronto Raptors
- PF/C Tristan Thompson, Boston Celitcs
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