Jaren Jackson Jr. among top fantasy basketball free-agent finds

There's no reason Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson should be on your league's waiver wire this time next week. AP

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

In this weekly series, we identify players available in at least half of ESPN leagues at each position. Some of them are purely specialists, capable of helping in one or two categories. Others deliver more diverse and important statistical offerings.

In the breakdowns below, I've ordered players at each position with priority of acquisition in mind.

Point guard

Darren Collison, Indiana Pacers (rostered in 40.1 percent of ESPN leagues): Victor Oladipo has been sidelined for seven straight games, as right knee soreness has him out indefinitely, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. In those seven games, Collison has averaged 7.7 assists and 2.4 steals. For some context, he averaged just 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals through the first 16 games of the season. Found at No. 4 among PGs on the ESPN Player Rater over the past seven days, Collison is the key addition from the Pacers backcourt in the wake of Oladipo's troubling injury update.

Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets (34.5 percent): Uniquely honest about what it would take for the Nets to re-sign him this summer, Dinwiddie is undoubtedly thriving in his audition for his next contract. The fifth-year guard is averaging a career-high 15.6 PPG and has taken his offensive game to a new level with Caris LeVert sidelined, averaging 17.9 PPG, 6.1 APG, and 1.9 3PG over the last nine games.

Deep additions (players available in at least 90 percent of ESPN leagues): Ryan Arcidiacono (0.5 percent) has started 12 consecutive games for Chicago as of Sunday, as Kris Dunn remains sidelined with an injury. Arcidiacono is averaging 32.4 MPG, 2.2 3PG and 1.0 SPG during this stretch. There will be some lean scoring nights, but he also flashed with five steals and five made 3-pointers against the Bucks last week, signaling some rare upside as a spot-starter in deeper leagues.

Shooting guard

Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks (45.4 percent): It's becoming a bit like Groundhog Day, as we keep on endorsing Brogdon in this column. I'll stop when he gets over that 50-percent threshold in ESPN leagues, which requires some of you reading this to take a closer look at how valuable this combo guard has become as a statistical contributor. He's No. 8 on the Player Rater among PG-eligible players over the past week, and No. 6 among shooting guards. Clean shooting rates and a versatile blend of scoring, assists, and 3-pointers all serve to fuel Brogdon's underrated fantasy profile.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LA Clippers (8.2 percent): Since joining the starting lineup in early November, "SGA" has averaged 2.1 combined blocks and steals, seven combined assists and rebounds and 12.9 points, along with respectable shooting percentages.

Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics (5.9 percent): Over the past two weeks, Smart is No. 18 on the Player Rater, with much of his impact coming via steals. A shift to the starting lineup three games ago has him averaging 32.1 MPG, 2.7 SPG, 5.0 APG and 2.0 3PG (on 46.2 percent shooting) during this stretch. The sample size is small, but Smart should thrive with additional usage, while his elite steal rate will surface almost every night, given enough minutes.

Deep additions: Toronto's Danny Green (4.8 percent) claims one of the stronger block rates among NBA guards and seems to have regained his shooting touch after a weak 2017-18.

Small forward

Robert Covington, Philadelphia 76ers (34.1 percent): Covington has become a weekly inclusion in this column, given such a glaring lack of attention from fantasy managers. Hasn't anybody noticed the fact this elite defender is the only player in the league with 30-plus blocks and 30-plus steals this season. During the past seven days, Covington has averaged 20.7 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 2.3 SPG, 1.3 BPG, and 3.3 3PG. Those are some truly special numbers!

Justin Holiday, Chicago Bulls (14.3 percent): Over the past 15 days, he ranks just ahead of Covington and Kawhi Leonard, and just behind Jimmy Butler -- at No. 6 among small forwards on the Player Rater. Holiday is third in the NBA behind only James Harden and Kemba Walker with 72 made 3-pointers. Only Kevin Durant has played more minutes this season. Are you sold yet?

Deep additions: Orlando's Terrence Ross (2.2 percent) has made 50 percent of his 3-point attempts over the past 11 games while averaging 16.2 PPG and 1.2 combined blocks and steals.

Power forward

Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies (41.2 percent): No rookie has ever averaged at least 13.8 PPG, 2.0 BPG, 1.0 SPG, and 0.9 3PG. "JJJ" is producing this rich blend of production in his Memphis debut season. Over the weekend, Jackson became the second-youngest player ever to score at least 36 points, with only LeBron James accomplishing this feat at a younger age. It's time to acquire this rare rookie in all formats.

Markieff Morris, Washington Wizards (8.2 percent): Warming up from the field over the last six games, Morris has hit 38.2 percent of his attempts from deep -- with 16.2 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 2.2 combined blocks and steals during this successful sample size.

Deep additions: Noah Vonleh (3.9 percent) is finally getting steady minutes for the Knicks. This former lottery pick has averaged 10.9 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.9 3PG, and 2.4 combined blocks and steals over his last seven games, all starts.


JaVale McGee, Los Angeles Lakers (35.3 percent): Blocks are such a scarce statistic that it's worth targeting specialists in the category. McGee certainly qualifies as such. As of Sunday morning, he has four more blocks than any other player. The minutes have dipped since Tyson Chandler joined the Lakers, but McGee has responded by averaging 4.0 blocks in just 20.5 MPG during the past week.

Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers (31.8 percent): Up to No. 6 in the NBA with 20.5 potential rebounds per game this season (defined as being within 3.5 feet of an available rebound), Thompson has averaged 13.4 PPG, 12.8 RPG, and 1.8 combined blocks and steals during the past five games. Center is often a shallow position, making Thompson a priority add amid this great run on the glass.