De'Aaron Fox among top fantasy hoops waiver-wire pickups

De'Aaron Fox contributes steals and assists, and could see an increased role if George Hill is traded. Ed Szczepanski-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. It can help to consider your end-of-bench players in direct competition with the talent floating in free agency.

In this weekly series, we identify players available in at least half 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, we believe the names below -- ordered by rostered rate at each position -- can contribute positively to fantasy rosters.

With the NBA trade deadline looming later this week, I make sure to mention several influential scenarios at each position. It's worth proactively speculating in some situations, such as with the LA Clippers' frontcourt.

Point guard

De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings (rostered in 43.6 percent of ESPN leagues): An already impressive role could become truly special if the Kings deal George Hill to a contender. If he had the full show to himself, Fox could become a difference maker in steals and dimes. Among the widely available crop, Bogdan Bogdanovic would also see a spike in opportunity rates sans Hill from the rotation.

Terry Rozier, Boston Celtics (33.6 percent): With Marcus Smart ailing, we endorsed Rozier as a key acquisition last week when he was rostered in only 12.2 percent of leagues. Rozier has delivered a triple-double and a 31-point opus in recent outings, and could continue to enjoy rewarding usage as a key combo guard for Boston in the weeks ahead.

Ish Smith, Detroit Pistons (28.4 percent): Maybe it's pure coincidence, but I find it interesting that Smith is thriving with Blake Griffin in the fold. He's shooting 72.7 percent from the floor with 18.5 PPG, 5.5 APG and 4.5 RPG during the past two games. Even before Griffin's arrival, Smith has been driving his way to healthy scoring totals for about three weeks now.

Shooting guard

Austin Rivers, LA Clippers (15.1 percent): If you need assists and steady 3-point production, Milos Teodosic is a fine target. If you want to target a player who could explode in regards to usage and raw scoring volume if Lou Williams is dealt, then look to Rivers. During a 28-game stretch before getting injured, Rivers averaged 14.3 shots and 17.1 points per game with Williams in the lineup, so this is likely his floor.

Malik Monk, Charlotte Hornets (1.2 percent): In the five games Monk has played at least 23 minutes this season, he's averaged 17.2 PPG with solid shooting results. If Kemba Walker is dealt, Monk could become a productive offensive microwave down the stretch.

Power forward

Danilo Gallinari, LA Clippers (46.2 percent): This trade-centric edition of the waiver column is appropriately Clippers-centric. I want shares of Gallinari, even if Williams and DeAndre Jordan aren't traded, but he could become an absolute usage hog if both are deal in the coming days. For some context, Gallinari enjoys the highest surge in usage and DraftKings production on the roster when Williams is off the floor. Some shares of Wes Johnson are also intriguing for those in deeper leagues.

Kyle Anderson, San Antonio Spurs (21.3 percent): Even though he's averaging only 7.7 points over his past nine games, Anderson has the highest rating on Player Rater over the past 15 days among players available in at least half of ESPN leagues. A versatile floor game reveals a strong fantasy profile worthy of our attention.

Power forward

Bobby Portis, Chicago Bulls (28.4 percent): With Nikola Mirotic jettisoned to New Orleans, Portis has been a beast on the glass and should enjoy steady opportunity rates for the remainder of the season.

Larry Nance Jr., Los Angeles Lakers (25.4 percent): However unlikely, if the Lakers deal Julius Randle or buy Brook Lopez out, it could result in a rewarding role for Nance.


John Collins, Atlanta Hawks (46.3 percent): With Ersan Ilyasova off the court this season, Collins enjoys a marked jump in usage and rebounding rate. It's quite possible the veteran stretch forward is dealt, leaving Collins set for a strong finish.

Montrezl Harrell, LA Clippers (8.4 percent): A DFS darling thanks to his ability to thrive when tabbed for heavy minutes, Harrell is an awesome speculative investment ahead of the deadline given the buzz around Jordan being be dealt.