The key to winning your fantasy basketball league is not how well you draft, but the players you add off waivers. This is extremely important because securing hidden talent could replace those late-round selections that aren’t having the best season. Here at NFS, we provide the best picks for players you should grab off waivers now before it is too late. As always, both opportunity and performance are taken into consideration for these players, and also all players listed are rostered below 40 percent on ESPN. Learn to think like a NERD! Check out the NBA New Age Rankings for every player’s year-to-date performance valuation.
Jordan Poole, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors
After spending some time with the G-League, Jordan Poole has seemed to finally get the ball rolling on his young NBA career. The late first-round pick has benefited from some injuries to Steph Curry and Klay Thompson allowing him to move to the starting lineup. In his last five games, Poole has averaged 21 points, two rebounds, and two assists. His shooting percentages have hung around the average mark but have improved a ton from his rookie season. With Curry expected two miss an extended period of time, Poole should be a number one priority when looking on the waiver wire.
Alec Burks, SG, New York Knicks
Alec Burks has been trying to help the Knicks make the playoffs for the first time since 2013. This has been required to take a major step up in scoring to win critical games. In his last five games, Burks has averaged 18 points, five rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. He has also shot 48 percent from three in those same games. With the Knicks in a tight race to secure a playoff spot, Tom Thibodeau will likely lean more on the veterans to win games. Burks should be a top priority on the waiver wire as long as the Knicks continue to be in the playoff hunt.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG/SF, Atlanta Hawks
After sustaining a major shoulder injury that forced him to miss 24 games, Bogdon Bogdanovic has finally gotten in rhythm at the right time while the Hawks are on a winning streak. In his last five games, Bogdanovic has averaged 12 points, three rebounds, and two assists. he has also shot a solid 40 percent from the beyond the arc. Bogdanovic was a huge offseason signing for the Hawks and he only played in nine games before the injury. I expect Bogdanovic’s production to increase has he fits in more with the team. Meanwhile, he is worth keeping on the waiver wire radar.
Jae’Sean Tate, SF, Houston Rockets
Houston’s historic losing streak has benefited young players, one being Jae’Sean Tate. The undrafted rookie has been mentioned before but due to inconsistency, he has likely been in and out of rosters. He has now been on a recent hot streak. In his last five games, Tate has been averaging 14 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals per game. He has also shot a terrific 45 percent on four attempts in those same games. With Houston likely moving their veteran players to contender teams, Tate’s upside makes him a must-add to fantasy rosters through the trade deadline.
Danny Green, SG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers
Since Joel Embiid went down with the knee injury, the entire roster has seen an uptick in production, even Danny Green. He has also been seriously underrated in his defensive presence for the team. Green has also done a fine job at staying consistent, even when he becomes more important in key games. In his last five games, Green has averaged 12 points, 2.6 steals, and a block per game. In those same games, he shot 42 percent from three, which is three percent above his average and six percent above his season average last season. Green is worth keeping on the radar as long as Embiid continues to miss games.
Reggie Bullock, SF/SG, New York Knicks
Along with Alec Burks, Reggie Bullock has had to step up in key games for the Knicks to make a playoff push. After being around multiple different franchises, Bullock has seemed to find a home in New York. In the last five games, Bullock has averaged 13 points, four rebounds, and 1.8 steals. He has also shot 50 percent on almost eight attempts from beyond the arc. With being in a similar situation as Alec Burks, Bullock is a solid selection on the waiver wire as long as the Knicks stay within the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
Ivica Zubac, C, Los Angeles Clippers
With Serge Ibaka being injured the past couple of games, it has been Ivica Zubac moving into the starting lineup for the Clippers. While still efficient off the bench, moving into the starting lineup has now put him on the radar for top waiver wire selections. In his last five games, Zubac has averaged 10 points, seven rebounds, and a steal and a block per game. He has shot an efficient 70 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free-throw line. There is no definite timeline for when Ibaka may return from injury, but that will only benefit Zubac’s playing time for future games.
Nicolas Claxton, PF/C, Brooklyn Nets
Nicolas Claxton has continued to prove his efficiency despite limited playing time. And even with trade rumors that Brooklyn is looking for a new center, Claxton has shown that he can be a solid trade piece or even the future center for the Nets. In his last five games, Claxton has averaged 11 points, five rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. He also shot 66 percent in those same games. He’s only been playing around 22 minutes a game since coming back from injury. Claxton will continue to come off the bench unless he is traded in the near future. However, his outlook beyond this season is only rising as another great prospect emerges out of the Nets system.