In most default formats, this week is the final week of the regular season in season-long fantasy basketball. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t true difference makers still available on the waiver wire. It’s a bit of an oddly paced week with only three games on Monday as Tuesday and Saturday have the busiest nights with a pair of nine-game slates. As teams continue to deal with injuries and try to build for the future, rotations continue to change which opens up opportunities for new fantasy contributors to emerge.
Most teams play three games in the coming week, but there are fewer games overall. The Celtics, Nets, Hornets, Bulls, Nuggets and Jazz are the only teams playing four games, while on the other extreme, the Pistons, Pacers, 76ers, Suns, Kings and Raptors play only twice. If you can look ahead to the playoffs, you can afford to not focus on that too much as you make your pickups. However, if you need a big week, you’ll want to try and stock up on players from those teams playing four times.
As you make your roster adjustments for the final week of the regular season, check out these top four pickups that are widely available.
C ARON BAYNES, PHO (at POR, at DAL)Baynes was a great pickup early in the season while filling in for Deandre Ayton during his suspension, but Baynes’ injuries and Ayton’s return have relegated him back to the waiver wire since his role basically disappeared. All that changed this week, though, when Ayton was sidelined with a sprained ankle and Baynes went off for a career night against the Blazers on Friday.
Starting in place of Ayton, Baynes exploded for 37 points, 16 rebounds, two blocks a steal and an assist. He hit nine three-pointers after never averaging more than 0.4 three-pointers in his seven previous NBA seasons. The big Aussie showed off his sky-high ceiling in that contest, but established himself as a regular double-double threat earlier in this season while Ayton was out. If Baynes is healthy for the rest of the year, he can be a key contributor even in this week with only two matchups, including a rematch with Portland. Ayton’s ankle injury isn’t expected to be serious, but Baynes will be a great play for any contests he misses.
SG DAMION LEE, GS (vs. LAC, vs. BKN, at MIL)Lee is another player that appeared in my pickup recommendations earlier the season but is back on many waiver wires since he missed an extended period of time due to injury. He has been involved when healthy, playing an average of 28.9 minutes in his 47 games with Golden State this season and producing 12.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 steal per game.
The whole Warriors team will get a boost from Steph Curry’s return, and Lee showed some great chemistry with Curry in the All-Star’s first game back. Lee had 23 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal while starting next to Curry. The two should continue to work well together, not only because they’re brothers-in-law but also because their games complement each other nicely.
PF/C PJ WASHINGTON, CHA (at ATL, at MIA, vs. CLE, at ORL)The Hornets have a very nice schedule this week, so Washington could be just the last-minute option you need to help you get key stats this coming week. The 21-year-old from Kentucky has been a strong contributor during his rookie season and has started in 54 of the 55 games he has played. He is still available in over 50% of both Yahoo! and ESPN leagues, though, since the Hornets are a hard team to watch and his production has fluctuated.
Since returning to the starting lineup from an injury in early February, Washington has averaged 32.3 minutes per contest over his past 11 games. He has scored at least nine points in each of his eight games since the All-Star break, averaging 15.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He has stepped up with 19 and 20 points in his past two games and seems poised for a strong push to the finish of his first NBA season.
SG/SF CAM REDDISH, ATL (vs. CHA, vs. NYK, vs. CLE)Speaking of rookies finishing strong, Reddish has rebounded from a slow start and has looked sharp since the All-Star break. The Hawks have three great matchups at home and Reddish should be a good play if he doesn’t get slowed by lower back pain that forced him onto the injury report as probable ahead of Saturday’s game.
Reddish had a career-high 28 points against the Wizards in 29 minutes on Friday night. He has averaged 17.4 points in seven games since the break with 3.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.3 rebounds. His peripheral stats aren’t quite as good as Washington or Lee, but Reddish can definitely pour in the points and should be primed for a big week against the Hornets, Knicks and Cavs. Reddish is a big part of the Hawks’ future plans after they nabbed him No. 10 overall in last year’s draft.
Other options worth watching
- C Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers
- PG/SG Donte DiVincenzo, Milwaukee Bucks
- C Naz Reid, Minnesota Timberwolves
- PG/SG Jordan McRae, Detroit Pistons
- PG/SG Seth Curry, Dallas Mavericks
- SG/SF Trevor Ariza, Portland Trail Blazers
- SF/PF Eric Paschall, Golden State Warriors
- PG/SG Brandon Knight, Detroit Pistons
- PF/C Trey Lyles, San Antonio Spurs
- SF De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks
- SF/PF Juancho Hernangómez, Minnesota Timberwolves
- PG/SG Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz
- PG/SG Shaquille Harrison, Chicago Bulls
- PF/C Daniel Theis, Boston Celtics
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.