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.
Jalen Brunson, PG, Dallas Mavericks
Jalen Brunson has recently started to see a boost in minutes which has followed up with a boost in production. With Dallas trying to do their best to stay in the postseason picture, Rick Carlisle is leaning on his most productive players down the stretch of games. In his last five games, the third-year guard has averaged 17 points, 3.6 rebounds, four assists, and a steal per game. His shooting numbers have been even more impressive, shooting 58 percent from the field and 47 percent from deep. Expect Brunson’s role to stay the same as long he continues to have productive games. He is worth adding to rosters immediately in 10+ team leagues.
Tomas Satoransky, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls
With Colby White continuing to struggle in his second season, Billy Donovan has started to rely more on the veteran, Tomas Satoransky, to get the job for Chicago to make a playoff push. In his last five games, Satoransky has averaged 12 points, 3.6 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He has also shot an effective 55 percent from the field and 46 percent from three. Similar to Jalen Brunson, as long as Satoransky continues to produce well, his role should stay the same. This makes him a solid candidate for the waiver wire in 10+ team leagues.
Malachi Flynn, PG, Toronto Raptors
With Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet missing time due to injury, it has been rookie Malachi Flynn filling those minutes and getting some decent playing time to build in his young NBA career. In his last three games, where Flynn has played over 30 minutes per game, Flynn has averaged 14 points, six rebounds, four assists, 2.7 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. This kind of production likely won’t continue once either Lowry or VanVleet return from injury. But that time is currently unknown, making Flynn a great addition for deep leagues.
Will Barton, SF/SG, Denver Nuggets
Since the trade deadline, Will Barton has played much more smart and efficient basketball that has given him a top spot on this column. In his last five games, Barton has averaged 15 points, six rebounds, four assists, and a steal per game. He has also done well shooting the three-ball, hitting it at 39 percent in those same games. Barton’s role has been consistent all season and that’s unlikely to change with Denver in full playoff mode, winning their last six games. Barton is a must-add player on the waiver wire this week.
James Johnson, SF/SF, New Orleans Pelicans
James Johnson was moved down to New Orleans as part of the JJ Redick trade that sent him to Dallas. Since then, Johnson has been playing excellent basketball due to Brandon Ingram missing some games. In the four games he’s played for the Pelicans, Johnson has averaged 15 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, and 2.5 blocks per game. He also shot 54 percent from the field and 47 percent from three. Both of these blow away his career averages. The 11-year veteran may be on the radar for a potential buyout if the Pelicans can’t get their act together and make a push for the playoffs. But for now, Johnson is worth adding in all leagues.
Rudy Gay, PF, San Antonio Spurs
At 34 years old, Rudy gay has still found a way to play consistent basketball for the San Antonio Spurs. In his last five games, Gay has averaged 14 points, 4.6 rebounds, two assists, and a steal per game. He has also shot 46 percent from both the field and from three. With the Spurs also in a mediocre spot, similar to the Pelicans, Gay could be on the radar for a buyout to join a contender. The Spurs have been 1-4 in their last five. But for now, Gay continues to consistently produce for the Spurs, making him a solid pickup in almost all leagues.
Kelly Olynyk, C/PF, Houston Rockets
After being moved to Houston in the Victor Oladipo trade, Kelly Olynyk has been able to provide productive games even off the bench. In his last five games, Olynyk has averaged 19 points, five rebounds, three assists, and a block per game. He has also shot a notable 61 percent from the field in those same games. He has produced these numbers while playing only about 28 minutes per game. It is unlikely that he will be bought out to move to a contender. So it is hopeful that Olynyk will hold these averages for the remainder of the season. He is worth picking up in all leagues.
Taj Gibson, PF/C, New York Knicks
After Mitchell Robinson fractured his foot, the center position was likely gonna be split between Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson. Gibson has been producing some solid stats for only playing around 23 minutes. In his last five games, Gibson has averaged six points, five rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game. He has also shot an incredible 82 percent from the field in those same games. Gibson’s role will likely stay the same for the rest of the regular season. Gibson is worth keeping on the radar in deeper leagues where defensive stats are boosted higher than standard leagues.