If you're currently vying for a fantasy championship, kudos. Huzzah. Maintain the focus that has brought you to the precipice of victory, and don't ease up in the final week. It often comes down to single-digit separation in categories when the winner is determined, and that one late-season waiver acquisition could be the difference maker. Finish your opponent "Mortal Kombat"-style.
If you're out of the running to win your league, however, and you're still reading this, that means you're still engaged. It's all about setting achievable goals and securing small victories.
You moved from fifth place to third? Small victory. You led the league in a category? Small victory. You played spoiler to your fantasy nemesis (if you've played in any league for more than one year, you likely have a fantasy nemesis) and ruined their chances for glory? Small victory.
Make it a game within a game and fantasy hoops can be exciting until the final game of the season.
Brian McKitish did this in Monday's Weekly Dish, which was quite helpful, so I'll update the number of games each team has remaining (entering Thursday):
3: Hawks, Pistons, Magic, Jazz, Lakers, Hornets, Suns, Wizards
4: Celtics, Bobcats, Mavericks, Nuggets, Warriors, Rockets, Pacers, Clippers, Grizzlies, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Kings, Spurs, Raptors, Nets, Cavaliers, Heat, Bucks, Timberwolves, 76ers
5: Bulls, Knicks
It's typically best to add guys who play more games, although if you're in a daily transaction league that allows streaming, spot-starting every day in order to maximize value and field a full starting roster is a canny strategy at this point in the season. Here are some widely available options:
Dion Waiters, SG, Cleveland Cavaliers (52.8 percent owned): Waiters returned Wednesday and scored 11 points in 15 minutes. He averaged 15.8 points on 51.4 percent shooting from the floor in February, his last full month of play before missing nine games with a knee injury. If you need scoring, Waiters puts points on the board; his 24.3 points per 48 minutes ranks 27th in the league, ahead of David Lee and Carlos Boozer. He is worth adding for four games if you play in a league where he was dropped.
Carl Landry, PF, Golden State Warriors (29.9 percent owned): An early-season contender for Sixth Man of the Year, Landry was superb in November, averaging 14.0 points on 56.5 percent shooting with 7.1 rebounds per game. But his scoring diminished in each of the next four months as the Warriors' rotation tightened up, and he averaged just 8.3 points per game in March, including a spell from March 6-25 when he averaged just 5.1 points per game. Landry's production has improved recently, as he is averaging 12.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in his past six games while shooting 65.9 percent from the field. He doesn't provide peripheral stats, but he's efficient from the floor due to the fact that 46.5 percent of his shots come at the rim and he finishes with 70 percent accuracy. Landry also provides nice out-of-position production from the stripe, where he offers favorable frequency and efficiency. Of the 27 power forward-eligible players averaging at least 3.5 free throw attempts per game, Landry is one of four who knocks down 82 percent or better. I'm an enthusiast of players who help in both percentage-based categories, and if you need a late-season boost there, Landry is capable of bolstering your team's points and percentages.
Earl Clark, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers (12.2 percent owned): After averaging 10.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 0.9 blocks and 0.7 3-pointers per game in January and February combined, Clark fell off the map in March, averaging just 5.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Perhaps his alma mater winning the NCAA championship inspired him to improve his play once again, as he has scored in double digits in three of his past five contests and is averaging 28.4 minutes per game in April compared to 20 per game in March. Metta World Peace did return to the Lakers' lineup Tuesday, although he has averaged just 14.5 minutes off the bench since returning and will likely be handled with kid gloves as the Lakers will want him fresh for a potential playoff run. Clark has exhibited the ability to post above-average rebounding numbers with across-the-board contribution in points, steals, blocks and 3s and is once again worth a roster spot, especially if you're streaming players since the Lakers have just three games remaining. Overall, this season has been a resounding success for Clark despite some inconsistency, as his PER, rebounding rate and true shooting percentage are all career bests and he'll likely find fantasy relevance again next season.
Nazr Mohammed, C, Chicago Bulls (4.1 percent owned): He's basically a warm body to fill Joakim Noah's role in Chicago, but Mohammed is a capable NBA vet with reliable skills and is averaging 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game this month. He has three double-digit rebounding efforts in his past five games, and although he won't provide anything outside of rebounding and blocks, the Bulls have five games remaining and are being cautious with Noah's foot in preparation for the playoffs. Sometimes it's all about who is getting the opportunity to contribute, and with injuries and remaining team games both in Mohammed's favor, he's definitely surfaced as a viable option for boards and blocks.
Jonas Jerebko, SF/PF, Detroit Pistons (2.1 percent owned): One of those players who seems to deserve more minutes than he gets, Jerebko is finally seeing more floor time, averaging 24.8 minutes per game this month with at least 15 points in four of his past seven games after hitting 15 points just three times all season prior to his current run. Despite his limited opportunity this season, Jerebko's per-minute stats are the best of his career, as he is averaging 15.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.2 3s per 40 minutes. He's also taking a higher percentage of his shots at the rim and a lower percentage between 16-23 feet, always a promising sign in the field goal percentage department. Nothing flashy, but Jerebko is averaging 12.6 points on 63.9 percent shooting with 4.8 rebounds, 0.8 3s and 1.2 steals per game over his past five, making him worth a spot start in deep leagues.
Francisco Garcia, SG/SF, Houston Rockets (1 percent owned): Anytime Garcia is sniffing regular playing time and is healthy enough to get on the floor I'm tempted to feature him, because I'm obsessed with his fantasy skill set. With Chandler Parsons resting his sore calf for the playoffs and Carlos Delfino missing the past four contests with illness, Garcia is getting more run. Based upon his career averages of 1.1 3s, 0.9 steals and 0.7 blocks in 22.1 minutes per game and 11.7 points, 2.7 3s, 1.2 steals and 0.6 blocks per game over his past six contests, I like him as a glue option in these waning days.
Norris Cole, PG, Miami Heat (0.9 percent owned): There are several reasons to like Cole down the stretch: The Miami starters will be handled gingerly in these final regular-season games as the team readies for the playoffs, and the Heat have five games left for him to provide fantasy production. Cole has capitalized on his recent increase in opportunity, averaging 10.3 points, 3.1 assists, 1.3 3s and 0.8 steals per game over his past 10 games. He's not efficient, so beware of adding him if you're locked in close percentage-based battles, but if you need some points, 3s, steals and assists, he is playing his best ball of the season and is capable of contributing in those four categories.
Evan Fournier, SG, Nuggets (0.7 percent owned): His profile pic makes him look like he'll steal your girl, and now the rookie Frenchman has burst on the scene with Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari's injuries and stolen the hearts of Nuggets fans. He has three games with at least 17 points in his past five contests, and despite the small sample size, he is averaging 23.1 points, 5.0 assists, 3.0 3s and 2.2 steals per 48 minutes, indicating legitimate fantasy relevance if he's seeing around 20 minutes on a regular basis. He has displayed the ability to shoot and slash, and with the Nuggets lacking in Euroswag with Gallo out, Fournier has a prime opportunity to help fantasy teams now as well as make an impression upon fantasy owners for next season, especially with Andre Iguodala becoming a free agent.
John Jenkins, SG, Atlanta Hawks (0.5 percent owned): The Hawks play only three more games and he's super streaky, but I love Jenkins for the long term. His stroke is a thing of beauty, and he has brandished it recently, averaging 22 points and 3.0 3s per game in his past two contests. He'll be on my sleeper list for next season, since 3-point shooting skills like Jenkins has are special (shooting 42.4 percent from downtown as a rookie and averaged 3.8 treys per game last season at Vanderbilt) and will translate into fantasy value as soon as he's getting regular playing time. Looks like the Hawks are going to employ him as a primary scorer off the bench for the final games of the season, so if 3s are what you need, Jenkins is as pure as they come.