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 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 important 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.
Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs (Rostered in 41.9% of ESPN leagues): White won't wow you in any single category such as scoring or shooting, but he does possess a Wade-like block rate from the backcourt and has increased his assist rate to a sizable degree in recent weeks.
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers (29.2%): Surging in the scoring department while also thriving as the team's lead distributor of late, Garland has made a case for an All-Rookie team berth, in addition to a spot on your fantasy roster.
Kris Dunn, Chicago Bulls (13.6%): Second in the entire NBA with 87 steals on the season, Dunn is essentially a one-trick specialist. At least he's a specialist at one of the scarcest statistical categories and continues to get steady burn for the Bulls.
Shabazz Napier, Minnesota Timberwolves (8.4%): The departure of Jeff Teague to Atlanta helps support a starting role for Napier on the Wolves. Even though he's been inconsistent (and even downright ineffective at times) in this role, it appears there is little competition for shots and minutes in the Minnesota backcourt.
Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies (42.8%): A consistent scoring and shooting force since the start of December, Brooks is one of the steadier widely available options in ESPN leagues at this somewhat shallow position.
Jarrett Culver, Minnesota Timberwolves (44.8%): The recent trade of Teague and Treveon Graham to Atlanta opened more usage and overall opportunity rates for a player who the team has deployed in a PG role in recent weeks. With some big lines in recent outings, now is the time to secure shares of Culver.
Josh Hart, New Orleans Pelicans (18.2%): One of the better rebounding guards in the entire league, Hart's overall production swells whenever Jrue Holiday is out of the lineup. If Holiday is dealt in the coming weeks as the Pelicans lean into a youth movement, Hart would become a must-add option in all formats.
Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers (3.5%): An elite wing defender with some stellar steal and block rates, this rookie has been particularly impressive in a starting role wih Joel Embiid sidelined of late.
Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets (20.7%): Since returning from an extended absence due to injury, Gordon has averaged 16.8 PPG and a whopping 3.8 3PG on 9.8 attempts from beyond the arc. While this is just an eight-game sample, if we consider Houston's historically strong appreciation for 3-point frequency, it's likely that Gordon can sustain such incredible shooting volume. For some context, 9.8 3-point attempts per game over the full season would trail only teammate James Harden this season.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings (32.1%): This gifted playmaker returned to the floor over the weekend and while he didn't play a major role in the Kings offense, his creation and shooting will eventually earn him more exposure in the weeks ahead. If he's dealt to the right situation in the coming weeks, Bogdanovic's fantasy value could even rise in a new destination.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Detroit Pistons (12.4%): Finally earning a meaningful role in Detroit's depleted rotation, "Svi" has been a savvy shooting specialist for several weeks now -- with 14.3 PPG and 3.5 3PG during his past eight appearances
PJ Washington, Charlotte Hornets (40.5%): The list of NBA rookies to ever average at least 1.4 3PG, 0.9 SPG, 0.9 BPG, and 12.4 PPG includes Washington and Paul Pierce. That's it. This impressive rookie has naturally endured some lulls in production in his first season, but has recently been on the rise with 14.2 PPG and awesome defensive rates during his past nine appearances, all starts for Charlotte.
Eric Paschall, Golden State Warriors (29.4%): Speaking of uniquely productive rookies, Paschall has averaged 15.5 PPG with strong peripherals during the past four games and remains available in far too many leagues. If the Warriors deal off some veteran contributors at the deadline, Paschall could prove quite busy down the stretch.
Sekou Doumbouya (15.2%) and Christian Wood (12.4%), Detroit Pistons: Doumbouya is yet another rookie eligible at power forward who is earning an endorsement this week thanks to impressive rebounding production and a nice bit of freedom on offense with Blake Griffin's high-usage game missing. Wood, meanwhile, is a career journeyman finally set with a regular spot in an NBA rotation who has responded with stellar defensive rates and the potential for big rebounding games each time out.
Davis Bertans, Washington Wizards (48.8%): While he's not scorching the nets in the same fashion he had been before suffering an injury, it helps that Bertans has acquired eligibility at center. He is still lofting a gaudy nine 3-pointers per game since his return to the rotation last week.
Daniel Theis, Boston Celtics (12.0%): The Celtics' lack of a proven center has served Theis well in regards to earning a regular role in the rotation. He's averaged 26.6 MPG during the past three games and has provided a nice blend of steals and blocks worthy of more attention at this shallow center position.
Nerlens Noel, Oklahoma City Thunder (16.8%): With multiple blocks in six straight appearances and one of the best steal rates among all NBA centers, Noel continues to serve as the "Matisse Thybulle of centers" in that he can surface with powerful defensive rates despite playing a complementary role for the Thunder.
Luke Kornet, Chicago Bulls (3.3%): An ankle injury to Wendell Carter Jr. has led to Kornet averaging 26.4 MPG during his past five appearances, including two starts. You won't get much help in the scoring or rebounding departments from Kornet, but the stretch center can help provide atypically strong shooting and defensive rates in the interim.