Waiver wire pickups: Surprise starters making the most of their minutes

Lexie Brown of the Los Angeles Sparks has started her last two games, playing 33 and 38 minutes respectively. Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

We've reached the All-Star break, the unofficial halfway point of the season. This week off should help players dealing with nagging injuries get healthy, and players who were dealing with fatigue to get rested. Presumably, coming out of the break, teams will have more of their primary starters active than they have now. This could eat into the chances for bench players who have been getting extra run, but as we've seen all season, there will always be unexpected players stepping up and earning their spot on the fantasy radar. Our job, in this space, is to shine a spotlight on those players. Let's get to it.

Moriah Jefferson, Minnesota Lynx (49.2% rostered in ESPN leagues): Seriously. Jefferson should be universally rostered by now. She's been in this space three straight weeks, and continues to put up monster numbers on a nightly basis. She had her first career triple-double last week, and in her last six games is posting star-level stats: 16.7 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.8 RPG, 2.2 3PG and 1.0 SPG in 30.7 MPG.

Stefanie Dolson, New York Liberty (23.1%): Dolson, known on IG as BigMamaStef, has alternated big and average games for the last few weeks. In her last six games, she has games of 20 points and 7 rebounds, 16 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, and 12 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks with overall averages of 10.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.3 BPG and 1.2 3PG.

Marine Johannes, New York Liberty (18.1%): Johannes moved into the starting lineup six games ago, and in her last five she's averaged 16.0 PPG, 4.2 3PG, 4.0 APG, 2.2 RPG and 0.8 SPG. She should be an every-game starter in fantasy hoops leagues as long as she's playing at this level.

Lexie Brown, Los Angeles Sparks (7.3%): Brown has started the last two games in place of Brittney Sykes (COVID-19), but her biggest game of the week (17 points, 5 3-pointers, 2 rebounds, 1 steal) was in a game off the bench before that stretch. Her long-term upside is capped because Sykes should return soon, but Brown is worth keeping an eye on as long as she's playing starter minutes.

Rebekah Gardner, Chicago Sky (6.1%): Gardner is in this spot for the second week in a row, as she continues to produce even since returning to a role off the bench. She's scored in double figures in four straight games, in which she's averaged 10.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.5 SPG and 0.8 APG.