The key to winning your fantasy basketball league is not how well you draft, but the players you add off waivers. This is extremely important because securing hidden talent could replace those late-round selections that aren’t having the best season. Here at NFS, we provide the best picks for players you should grab off waivers now before it is too late. As always, both opportunity and performance are taken into consideration for these players, and also all players listed are rostered below 40 percent on ESPN. Learn to think like a NERD! Check out the NBA New Age Rankings for every player’s year-to-date performance valuation.
Malik Monk, SG, Charlotte Hornets
Malik Monk was mentioned on the Eastern Conference Notes last week as a sleeper but now holds a much more important role on the Hornets with LaMelo Ball likely out for the rest of the season. Since the injury, Monk has averaged 20 points and 1.3 steals while shooting about 42 percent from beyond the arc. He hasn’t played the last two games but his injury isn’t expected to be anything long-term. Monk is a must-add candidate to 10+ team leagues in fantasy, especially with his role likely to stay the same the rest of the season.
Derrick White, PG/SG, San Antonio Spurs
After missing most of the first half of the season with an injury, Derrick White has finally seemed to find some consistency in his recent games. In his last five games, White has averaged 16 points, three rebounds, three assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. He has also shot 42 percent from three, a big improvement compared to his previous season averages. Playing alongside Dejounte Murray will likely be his role for the rest of the season, a big advantage when considering players to select off of the waiver wire. Derrick White is a player that should be number one when looking for waiver wire replacements.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, New Orleans Pelicans
Since being moved to the starting lineup, Nickeil Alexander-Walker has been a solid performer for the Pelicans, even if they are far from the playoff picture. In his last five games, Alexander-Walker has averaged 17 points, five rebounds, and a block per game. His shooting numbers have been solid as well, shooting over 40 percent from three on almost 10 attempts per game. The only concern for Alexander-Walker is that his role will likely diminish when Lonzo Ball is healthy again. But it is still unknown when that might happen. For now, he is a solid waiver wire pick-up for deeper leagues.
Chuma Okeke, PF, Orlando Magic
After the Magic traded Aaron Gordon two the Denver Nuggets, Chuma Okeke will likely be the future starting power forward for the Magic. He has already filled out the role quite nicely in recent games. Since the move, Okeke has averaged 17 points, five rebounds, and 1.3 steals. His shooting numbers have been incredible, 62 percent from the field and 63 percent from beyond the arc. Okeke is the number one player I would recommend adding immediately to your roster. His role will very likely stay the same the rest of the season, especially with his hot start since the role change.
Jae’Sean Tate, SF, Houston Rockets
Jae’Sean Tate has been mentioned on this waiver wire multiple times but now after the trade deadline might be the best time to add him. He now becomes the third player to round out a solid trio of John Wall, Christian Wood, and now Tate, instead of Victor Oladipo, who was traded to Miami. In his last five games, Tate has averaged 15 points, six rebounds, three assists, and a steal and a block per game. He has shot 55 percent from the field but struggled from beyond the arc, only hitting at a 35 percent clip. His role will likely stay consistent as Houston continues to tank.
Jaden McDaniels, SF, Minnesota Timberwolves
Jaden McDaniels was a late first-round selection in the 2020 draft but hasn’t gotten a ton of playing time up until now. He has started four of the last five games and has averaged 12 points, 4.5 rebounds, and two blocks per game. He has also shot 58 percent from the field and 57 percent from three. McDaniels’s role hasn’t stayed consistent the entire season. So unless there is some injury to a starter in his position, it is unpredictable what his role will be. Nonetheless, his production still makes him worthy enough to add to rosters in 12+ leagues.
Nerlens Noel, C, New York Knicks
Well what do you know, Mitchell Robinson got hurt again after just coming back from a broken hand. He will now likely miss the rest of the season with a broken foot, making Nerlens Noel the starting center for the time being. In his last four games, Noel has averaged eight points, nine rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 2.5 blocks per game. he has also shot a very efficient 62 percent from the field in those same games. Noel is a perfect addition for ESPN standard scoring leagues where defensive stats are awarded more points. He is also worth keeping on the radar for all other leagues as well.
Jakob Poeltl, C, San Antonio Spurs
Jakob Poeltl has also been mentioned on this column multiple times but still flies below the 40 percent mark for qualification. Nonetheless, he is a perfect addition to rosters. His role is going to stay consistent for the remainder of the season and his production has been great. In his last five games, Poeltl has averaged 12 points, nine rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game. This includes an extremely efficient 71 percent from the field. His only concern is his free throw percentage, which was 42 percent in those same games. Poeltl is the perfect addition for all leagues regardless of size.