Fantasy basketball -- Bobby Portis among top fantasy basketball free-agent finds

Bobby Portis' minutes, points and rebounds are all up since joining the Wizards. Rob Carr/Getty Images

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 imaginary rosters.

A willingness to entertain competition for the last few spots on your fantasy hoops roster can prove rewarding. When curating this fluid collective of statistical contributors, it helps to consider your end-of-bench players in direct competition with the talent floating in free agency.

The goal of this weekly series is to identify players available in at least half of ESPN leagues at each position. Some nominations are specialists capable of helping in one or two categories, while others deliver more diverse and essential statistical offerings.

In the breakdowns below, I've ordered players at each position with the priority of acquisition in mind, rather than roster percentage in ESPN leagues.

Point guard

Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks (Rostered in 14.2 percent of ESPN leagues): An ascendant fantasy force who has averaged 21.2 PPG and 9.8 combined rebounds and dimes during his past five games, all starts, the rookie from Villanova has quickly become a must-own contributor for the fantasy playoffs.

Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs (28.7 percent): Only John Wall's abbreviated season matches White's impressive 2.2 percent block percentage (estimate of 2-point field goals he blocks while on the floor) among players shorter than 6-foot-6 this year. White's Wadeian block production and helpful offensive numbers fuels a strong fantasy profile worthy of more attention from managers.

Thomas Satoransky, Washington Wizards (36.9 percent): Don't sweat the modest scoring results and instead focus on Satoransky's deft blend of rebounds, assists, and defensive rates as a complementary playmaker for the Wizards.

Deep additions (players available in at least 90 percent of ESPN leagues): Tyus Jones (2.2 percent) is seeing steady minutes recently for the Timberwolves thanks to injuries and subpar play ahead of him in the backcourt. With a nice blend of points, steals, and 3-pointers, Jones could be a potential breakout candidate if he earns a starting gig next season.

Shooting guard

Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics (18.4 percent): If you like winning in fantasy basketball then you might like rostering Smart, a player who can single-handedly fuel success in steals (he's averaged an absurd 3.2 SPG the past five games).

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LA Clippers (11.5 percent): It took some trading to vault this rookie's role into the fantasy-relevant tier, but he's made the jump since the break with 13.8 PPG, 6.7 combined rebounds and assists and 1.8 combined blocks and steals on brilliant shooting rates the past eight games.

Deep additions: Once he's back into the fold from a minor injury, Tyler Johnson (9.8 percent) could prove helpful in deep leagues thanks to healthy usage on fast-paced Phoenix scheme. Atlanta's Kevin Huerter (4.6 percent) has been hot from the field this past week with 17.7 PPG and 3.3 3PG and merits more attention for these final few weeks of action.

Small forward

Justise Winslow, Miami Heat (41.4 percent): The point forward role Winslow inherited earlier in the season has stalled a bit in regards to his passing usage of late, but we still find the Duke product fleshing out a full floor game with 15.3 PPG and 6.6 combined assists and boards and gaudy defensive rates this past week.

Damyean Dotson, New York Knicks (7.6 percent): Tanking season is upon us, although the Knicks seemingly got a head start on the crowd. With the Knicks purely focused on lottery positioning and auditioning young talent in the meantime, Dotson has averaged a stellar 37.3 MPG en route to 21.7 PPG and 8.4 combined rebounds and assists this past week.

Deep additions: Stellar steal production keeps Mikal Bridges (7.4 percent) relevant even when his shot isn't falling. With steady minutes and freedom to shoot, Bridges is yet another rookie from Villanova worth targeting for the stretch run.

Power forward

Bobby Portis, Washington Wizards (45.2 percent): A brutally thin power forward position in the free agent ranks means a combo forward like Jeff Green (11.3) surfaces as a meaningful option in addition to his teammate Portis, who has thrived since joining the Wizards. While there will be some ugly outings for a player trying to stretch his game and face-up opponents more often, Portis has proven productive in this new role.

Jae Crowder, Utah Jazz (19.6 percent): With 13.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG and two 3-pointers per game this past week, Crowder is proving his value as a complementary forward to Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors in Utah.

Nemanja Bjelica (25.5 percent): A hot start to the season gave way to several cold stretches, but Bjelica is warming up again in nearly averaging a double-double this past week. Once the shot from outside starts falling again, Bjelica could become a nice addition in deeper leagues.

Deep additions: Maximillian Kleber (0.9 percent) has been an effective rim protector with a strong block rate while also producing stretch forward numbers in a busier role of late for Dallas (10.3 PPG and 9.5 RPG the past week).


Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat (16.3 percent): For a few weeks, it was Kelly Olynyk helping fantasy managers as a quietly productive role player from Miami, while we're now seeing Adebayo shine from the Heat frontcourt with 11.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 3.3 APG, and 1.8 combined blocks and steals since shifting to a starting role nine games ago.

Alex Len, Atlanta Hawks (7.3 percent): The Hawks sought Len as a "second draft" option after he flamed out as a lottery selection or Phoenix and the results this season have been impressive. Before getting played off the floor by Boston's small-ball savvy, Len averaged 17 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.1 3PG, and 1.4 combined blocks and steals during his previous seven appearances.

Ivica Zubac, LA Clippers (7.1 percent): A befuddling move by the Lakers saw them deal this productive young center to their metro rivals for struggling stretch forward Mike Muscala. The Lakers' loss is directly the Clippers' gain, as they've netted nearly a double-double from the young center this past week.

Deep additions: Cleveland's Ante Zizic is an excellent streaming option in games Kevin Love sits out and is still worth considering in truly deep leagues even with Love active given the team's trust in him as a prospect.