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.
Frank Jackson, PG, Detroit Pistons
After being a five-star recruit out of high school, that transition into the NBA hasn’t been as smooth for Frank Jackson. However, he started to find some great consistency in Detroit. In his last five games, Jackson has averaged 19 points, three rebounds, and two assists per game. He is also shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc in those same games. With Dennis Smith Jr and Cory Joseph both dealing with injuries, Frank Jackson is a project short-term pickup for the championship week. He could even be a solid sleeper pick next season depending on his and his team’s offseason.
Hamidou Diallo, SG, Detroit Pistons
After being traded to the Detroit Pistons from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Hamidou Diallo has finally regained his consistent production after dealing with multiple injuries since coming to the Motor City. In his last five games. Diallo has averaged 16 points and seven rebounds per game. His shooting percentages are what’s most impressive, which are above 50 percent from both the field and from three. Diallo is also a perfect short-term waiver wire pickup for the championship week. he can also be a solid sleeper pick assuming he stays with the rebuilding Detroit Pistons.
RJ Hampton, PG, Orlando Magic
After being part of the Aaron Gordon trade that sent him to the Denver Nuggets, RJ Hampton has finally gotten some consistent minutes towards the end of the season to build up his young NBA career. He recently earned his first double-double against the Pistons where he finished with 16 points and 10 assists. In his last five games, Hampton has averaged 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists per game. His shooting percentages in those same games only remain around average. But the opportunities he will have the remainder of the season, along with his progression, make him a solid pickup candidate.
Doug McDermott, SF/PF, Indiana Pacers
Dougie McBuckets has been red hot later for the Indiana Pacers who are doing their best to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference. He recently had a 31 point explosion against the Oklahoma City thunder where they won by 57 points! In his last five games, McDermott has averaged 17 points while shooting 62 percent from the field and 47 percent from deep. With only a few games left in the regular season, McDermott’s fantasy outlook doesn’t have the concern he will eventually burn out. This makes him a solid addition off the waiver wires for the championship week.
Juan Toscano-Anderson, SF/PF, Golden State Warriors
Juan Toscano-Anderson’s defensive presence over the last couple of games has earned some huge fantasy outings. He recently finished a game with four steals and five blocks against the Houston Rockets. In his last five games, JTA has averaged six points, five rebounds, three assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game. He’s also shot 60 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. If your league follows ESPN Standard scoring, where steals and blocks are four points each, JTA is the perfect pickup for the championship week.
Aaron Nesmith, SF, Boston Celtics
Aaron Nesmith was a mid-first-round pick but hasn’t gotten a lot of playing time due to players ahead of him on the depth chart. However recently we got to see Nesmith show some of his development over his rookie season. In his last five games has averaged 11 points and four rebounds. His three-point shooting is starting to live up to the hype, as he shot 60 percent across those same five games. If Nesmith doesn’t get any more opportunities the rest of this season, he will definitely a quality steal in drafts next season if the opportunity were to open up for him.
Mo Bamba, C, Orlando Magic
Mo Bamba has finally shown some consistency in his games after the opportunity open for him since the Nikola Vucevic trade. He recently achieved a 22 point and 15 rebound game against the Detroit Pistons. In his last five games, Bamba has averaged 11 points, nine rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. He’s also shot 55 percent from the field in those same games. Bamba will have the rest of this season and the entire offseason to attempt to live up to the potential as a top 10 pick for the Orlando Magic. He will be a quality steal in drafts next season.
Dwight Powell, C, Dallas Mavericks
Dwight Powell has been one of the most underappreciated players in terms of consistency and efficiency throughout the entire season. In his last five games, Powell has averaged eight points, six rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game. he has also shot an incredible 72 percent from the field in those same games. His defensive prowess has been able to keep the Mavericks as the fifth seed in the Western Conference. Powell is a solid pickup in deeper formatted leagues for the championship series.