Top fantasy basketball waiver-wire pickups at every position

Finally healthy, Brooklyn Nets point guard Jeremy Lin is posting fantasy-friendly stats again. Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Working the waiver wire is crucial to succeeding in fantasy basketball. With so many games, injuries and endless shifts in rotations throughout the season, we need to source stats from free agency to maximize our imaginary rosters.

In this weekly series, we identify players available in more than 40 percent of ESPN leagues at each position. Some nominations are purely specialists capable of helping in one or two categories, while others deliver more diverse and important statistical offerings. Either way, I believe the names below -- ordered by ownership rate at each position -- can contribute positively to fantasy rosters.

Point guard

Jeremy Lin, Brooklyn Nets (Owned in 50.7 percent of ESPN leagues): He's not yet playing heavy minutes after missing most of the season with lingering injuries, but Lin has impressively averaged 17.5 points in 24.2 minutes over his past four games, all starts. Advanced analytics corroborate Lin's impressive offensive role, as his usage rate is a robust 29.8 percent over that stretch. With the Nets second in the league in pace since the break with 103.3 possessions per 48 minutes, Lin is an interesting addition for the stretch run.

TJ McConnell, Philadelphia 76ers (33.6): You won't net many points or rebounds from this scrappy starter for Philly, but McConnell leads the NBA in passes per game since the break for a team that ranks fifth in pace over the past two weeks. Given such dominance over distribution duties for an up-tempo offense, McConnell is a fine source of assists and even steals.

Cory Joseph, Toronto Raptors (23.5): A significant injury to Kyle Lowry affords "CoJo" a rewarding starting role; he's averaged 32.1 minutes en route to helpful scoring, assist and steal rates.

Tyler Ulis, Phoenix Suns (11.5): In 24 minutes per game over the past six, Ulis has averaged 5.7 assists and 1.3 steals as a productive complementary distributor for a Phoenix team that leads the league in pace since the break.

Patty Mills, San Antonio Spurs (8.6): Mills doesn't offer consistent scoring production but could prove valuable as a streaming option if Tony Parker's balky back persists.

Shooting guard

Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets (47.1): Third in the NBA in points per touch (.487) since the All-Star break, Harris is among the most efficient and effective young shooting guards in the league. The Nuggets tend to shuffle usage among a bevy of capable scorers, but steady minutes and steals complement his efficient scoring pattern.

Tim Hardaway Jr., Atlanta Hawks (43.1): On a career-best scoring bender, Hardaway has averaged 20.5 points and 31.4 minutes over his past six games. As the scoring microwave for the second unit, Hardaway is doing his best Jamal Crawford impersonation of late.

Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings (23.7): Even as there is a lot of pressure on Hield as a key part of the Boogie blockbuster, it's impressive to note he's produced at least 10 points in all but one appearance for Sacramento. Through nine games with the Kings -- the two most recent being starts -- Hield has averaged 13.9 points and 2.4 3-pointers over this sample.

Small forward

TJ Warren, Phoenix Suns (56.9): The team's trade of P.J. Tucker has proven beneficial for Warren, who is among the league leaders in points per touch this season and has averaged 16.7 points on 61 percent shooting since the break. With a healthy share of the league's fastest offense, Warren is a must-add at the wing for the fantasy playoffs.

Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings (39.5): In his second stint in Sacramento, we find Evans earning increased exposure of late; he's averaged 24.5 minutes and 18 points over his past three games. The Kings are explicitly tanking, but this agenda at least affords Evans with a versatile offensive role down the stretch.

Bojan Bogdanovic, Brooklyn Nets (38.1): Leading the NBA in points per touch since joining the Wizards, Bogdanovic is similar to Cleveland's Kyle Korver in that he's nearly solely a shooting specialist for fantasy purposes.

Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic (20.8): On one hand, Ross has hit just 16.7 percent of his 3-point attempts over his past four games. On the other, he continues to earn more than 30 minutes a night and will deliver some strong scoring nights worthy of attention in deeper leagues.

Power forward

Trevor Booker, Brooklyn Nets (59.5): The story remains the same with Booker; a helpful blend of boards and defensive metrics. Over the past three games, Booker is netting 11.7 points and eight boards per game, suggesting he's a viable streaming option in 10-team formats.

Marvin Williams, Charlotte Hornets (47.2): Third in miles run per game since the break at 2.61 thanks to averaging 36.5 minutes over this stretch (13th in the league), Williams is thriving, thanks to one of the busiest roles in basketball over the past two weeks.

Maurice Harkless, Portland Trail Blazers (35.0): I'm a big believer that the All-Star break (and the trade deadline to a significant degree) can produce meaningful shifts in rotations and schemes around the league. In the six games leading up to the break, Harkless averaged 24.1 minutes -- he has averaged 34.7 per game since, en route to meaningful fantasy value.

Richaun Holmes, Philadelphia 76ers (16.3): The team's depleted frontcourt means Holmes is earning steady minutes and reaching new offensive heights over the past two weeks. For those in need of help in blocks, Holmes is of particular interest.


Alan Williams, Phoenix Suns (48.0): Nearly half of ESPN leagues are hip to Williams' awesome surge in rebounding production. We're not sure what the other half is waiting for, as Williams is 10th in the NBA since the break with 18.7 rebounding chances per game -- defined as being within 3.5 feet of an available rebound.

Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets (24.0): Keep an eye on Frank Kaminsky III, as he becomes the more valuable asset once he returns from his shoulder injury, but Zeller is particularly productive on the glass in his peer's absence. We can net some serious value by paying attention to this Charlotte center rotation.

Kosta Koufos, Sacramento Kings (13.0): Deep-league investors might want to consider Koufos, given he's averaging nearly 27 minutes over his past six with 9.3 points and 8.3 boards per game.