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 roughly half of ESPN leagues at each position (although we will make some exceptions). 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.
Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic (rostered in 34.0% of ESPN leagues): Rookies are always prone to some degree of production volatility, so it's natural that Anthony's scoring tends to fluctuate. If you can stomach some of the lighter scoring nights, there is enough passing potential here for Anthony to help fantasy teams.
Facundo Campazzo, Denver Nuggets (33.0%): A dazzling passer and a savvy shooter, Campazzo brings enough production in multiple categories to surface as a fantasy starter for the final week of the season.
R.J. Hampton, Orlando Magic (20.7%): Playing a more important creation role next to Anthony, Hampton has surfaced in Orlando as a solid streaming play in deeper leagues down the stretch.
Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors (30.3%): A six-game absence due to a leg injury saw Trent getting dropped in a good portion of leagues. While that was somewhat understandable, it's now time to give this shooting specialist another shot. He's averaged 36 minutes and 21.5 points in his two games since returning to the rotation.
Dwayne Bacon, Orlando Magic (5.9%): One of the rare steady hands for the Magic this season, Bacon has become a bankable scoring option for Orlando during the last two weeks.
Kenyon Martin Jr., Houston Rockets (32.1%): From fringe rotation member to primary scoring option for Houston in just a matter of days, Martin has incredibly averaged 25 points (with strong peripherals) for the Rockets over the last three games. As Houston limps to the finish line with the worst record in the league, Martin might just be the most valuable option on the waiver wire these days.
Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers (17.1%): This endorsement is all about Osman's health, as he's been very productive when on the court, but also recently suffered an ankle injury. If he's good to go in the coming days, Osman's versatile production could help fantasy managers.
Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers (5.6%): The only player in the league found in the 100th percentile both in steal and block rates, I'm interested in shares of Thybulle this week -- especially given the real potential for Philadelphia to sit their starting wings for the final few games.
Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder (35.4%): One of the only mainstays of the Thunder rotation this season, Bazley has really turned up both the scoring and rebounding in recent weeks. Oklahoma City will likely feature the second-year forward for the final week of the season, making him a top target in a shallow free-agent class of power forwards.
Isaiah Stewart, Detroit Pistons (32.6%): A top spot starter when Mason Plumlee sits, Stewart is merely a backup option in other scenarios. Yet, when he's called on to start, Stewart tallies both blocks and boards in bunches.
Juan Toscano-Anderson, Golden State Warriors (11.0%): Back in the mix as a premier member of the rotation, Anderson has produced at least four assists in eight of his last nine games. He also delivers enough defensive potential to trust him in lineups for the final week.
Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs (47.5%): In this final week of the campaign, a focus on scarce statistics such as blocks could be rewarding in category-based formats. Poeltl has the league's sixth-highest block percentage. Nerlens Noel is another "block party" option for those in deeper leagues.
Mo Bamba, Orlando Magic (44.0%): There is some risk that it's already too late to roll with Bamba, as the team could reintroduce Wendell Carter Jr. to a larger role. Bamba has been really fun with three consecutive games of at least 15 rebounds this last week. Here's hoping his recent dip in minutes was simply an outlier.
Khem Birch, Toronto Raptors (29.6%): A blend of rebounding, efficient scoring, and defensive potential helps fuel Birch's ascent as a relevant fantasy option at a shallow center position.