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.
Cory Joseph, PG/SG, Detroit Pistons
Cory Joseph was part of the trade that sent Delon Wright to the Sacramento Kings and Joseph to the Detroit Pistons, along with two second-round picks. Joseph was recently moved into the starting lineup and has been able to have much more meaningful games for the Pistons. In his last five games, Joseph has averaged 13 points, four rebounds, and seven assists. He has also shot an impressive 56 percent from the field. His three-point percentage in those games has hung around average at 37 percent. With the only competition being rookie Killian Hayes for point guard minutes, Joseph is a perfect fantasy pickup for deeper leagues.
Cole Anthony, PG, Orlando Magic
Cole Anthony has finally returned after missing 24 games due to a broken rib. He hasn’t been playing starter minutes since his return but he is certainly getting the opportunities despite recent trades that made the backcourt a bit more crowded. In his four games since returning, Anthony has averaged 11 points, five rebounds, and five assists. However, he has drastically struggled from the field, only shooting 14 percent from three and 36 percent from the field. It’s good to see Anthony still getting the volume even while struggling. This and his upside make him a solid fantasy pickup in deeper leagues to head into the playoffs with.
Cameron Payne, PG, Phoenix Suns
After struggling to get his career started since being a lottery selection in 2016, Cameron Payne now finds himself with the PhoenixSuns playing some of his best basketball in his career. He was a star in the bubble and helped Phoenix go undefeated. However, now playing behind Chris Paul, he is still getting some valuable backup minutes for the team. In his last five games, Payne has averaged 10 points and four assists, while shooting 50 percent from three and 46 percent from the court. Paynes is a solid candidate to keep on watch lists in deeper leagues as the Suns may eventually start to play Chris Paul fewer minutes when transitioning into the playoffs.
Jalen McDaniels, PF, Charlotte Hornets
After Gordon Hayward went down with a foot injury, it has been Jalen McDaniels who has been a minutes boost in recent games and has also played some tremendous basketball since the boost. In his last five games, McDaniels has averaged 14 points, five rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. He has also an effective 50 percent from beyond the arc and 60 percent from the field. McDaniels is the perfect pickup in all league formats with Gordon Hayward likely to be out for the next three weeks. Make sure you don’t get this guy mixed up with Jaden McDaniels on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Marcus Morris Sr, PF/SF, Los Angeles Clippers
Marcus Morris has been a key third option for the Los Angeles Clippers to start looking towards the playoffs and earn the best seeding possible in a tight race. In his last five games, Morris has averaged 15 points, five rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. His most impressive aspect has been his shooting numbers, He has hit the three-ball at 52 percent and from the field at 57 percent in those same five games. The percentages are something that Morris has struggled with since being a member of the Clippers. So it is hoped that he continues to hold these percentages for the rest of the regular season.
Luguentz Dort, SG/SF, Oklahoma City Thunder
Lu Dort has been out of the lineup for the last seven games, dealing with a concussion. But he returned on Saturday and did not seem to miss a beat. He had a career night against the Jazz the other night. He finished with 42 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and four steals. He also shot extremely well from three, hitting 7/11, and 51 percent from the field as well. Dort seems to be finally healthy and in rhythm again, making him a solid pickup in deeper leagues as he hopes to build off of his game the other night.
Nerlens Noel, C, New York Knicks
Nerlens Noel has played a huge role in helping the Knicks maintain their eighth seed in the Eastern Conference after Mitchell Robinson went down with a fractured foot. In his last five games, Noel has averaged seven points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 2.8 blocks per game, while also shooting at 59 percent from the field. If your league is ESPN Standard, where defensive stats are awarded one or two extra points, Noel is the perfect pickup as he will likely be the starting center for the remainder of the fantasy season.
Mo Bamba, C, Orlando Magic
Since Nikola Vucevic was traded to the Chicago Bulls, Mo Bamba has finally been given a real opportunity to prove his worth in the NBA. Despite only playing 18 minutes a game, he’s been averaging 13 points, five rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in his last five games. He has also has been shooting the three at 63 percent on 3.8 attempts in those same five games. Bamba did suffer a hip injury in his most recent game, but it looks like he should only miss a game or two with no long-term concerns. Bamba has a solid outlook for the rest of the season, making him a solid addition in deeper formatted leagues.