A pair of Kings among top fantasy hoops waiver-wire pickups

As the Sacramento Kings turn to a youth movement, Bogdan Bogdanovic isn't their only player worth a close look in fantasy leagues. Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

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

A willingness to entertain competition for the last spot or two on your fantasy hoops roster can prove rewarding, so it can help to consider those end-of-bench players as being in direct competition with the talent floating in free agency.

In this weekly series, I 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

De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings (Rostered in 38.2 percent of ESPN leagues): The Kings are intentionally turning to a youth movement for the rest of the season, which means plenty of opportunities for Fox in the months ahead. Since returning from injury, Fox has averaged 13.3 PPG and 6.1 APG in 32.3 MPG during his past nine outings.

Ish Smith, Detroit Pistons (27.8 percent): Found just ahead of Damian Lillard and Lou Williams and just behind James Harden in touches per game over the past 10 games, Smith is consuming a rewarding workload in place of Reggie Jackson. Keep in mind that you won't get any 3-point production from Smith, but he provides positive results in assists and steals.

T.J. McConnell, Philadelphia 76ers (14 percent): You'll need to endure some lean scoring nights when rostering McConnell, but you'll also net fairly stellar steal and assist rates for a complementary guard. For some context, McConnell is fifth among point guards in added value from steals over the past seven days.

Shooting guard

Wesley Matthews, Dallas Mavericks (33.8 percent): An inefficient scoring pattern -- Matthews has hit just 39.4 percent of his shots over the past three seasons -- limits this gifted defender from being a consistent fantasy commodity. That all said, Matthews is hot from the field of late and merits immediate consideration; he's tallied 2.8 3PG and 16.3 PPG in 36.1 MPG over the past eight games.

Wayne Ellington, Miami Heat (13.1 percent): A mid-career reinvention is always a fun story. In Ellington's case, he's become a sharpshooter of the highest degree, as he's second behind only Williams in added value in 3-point shooting among shooting guards during the past 15 days.

Small forward

Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings (31.8 percent): The Kings' commitment to their budding prospects has fueled Bogdanovic's ascent; he's averaged 17.6 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 3.3 APG during his past seven games. It's time to invest in the Kings' young playmakers.

Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies (4.8 percent): Another hot hand who deserves our attention, Brooks has stepped up as a premier perimeter scorer for Memphis over the past week; he's averaging 17.0 PPG and 1.5 SPG in 29.1 MPG during his past four games, all starts.

Power forward

Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks (36.2 percent): Nearing a return to the court from an ACL injury, Parker likely won't provide much value at first but could become a meaningful fantasy contributor come March.

Rudy Gay, San Antonio Spurs (31.7 percent): Capable of producing a rewarding mix of defensive numbers with some solid offensive results, Gay could be worth stashing, given what should be a sizable role for the Spurs if Kawhi Leonard remains sidelined.

Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz (28.5 percent): This Australian wing has been quietly savvy this season despite modest scoring results; he's one of just eight players in the NBA averaging at least 2.0 3-pointers, 1.0 steals, 4.0 assists and 4.0 boards per game this season.

Bobby Portis, Chicago Bulls (19 percent): The Bulls are quite likely to be active at the deadline, namely with Nikola Mirotic on the block. Moving Mirotic could mean Portis assumes more minutes and touches, as he thrived when he had the frontcourt usage to himself earlier this season.


Robin Lopez, Chicago Bulls (39.1 percent): While Brook is getting marginalized with the Lakers, Robin is the thriving Lopez brother; he's averaged 15.6 PPG on 68.5 percent shooting from the field during his past five outings.

John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks (23.2 percent): The Bucks' frontcourt apparently is the place to go for value in the second half of the season. Henson is 12th on the Player Rater among power forwards during the past 15 days, thanks to a great blend of blocks and rebounds.