With fantasy playoffs starting up, everyone is looking for that competitive edge. Between injuries, players resting and teams tanking, a lot of luck is involved in the final weeks of the season, but at the end of the day a lot of leagues are won due to successful pickups from the wire. With that said, I asked the Rotoworld hoops crew to name a few under-the-radar players to consider picking up. Keep in mind that none of these players are world beaters, but they could make the difference down the stretch. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter by clicking the links next to our names. I’ll kick things off…
Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)
Patty Mills- Tony Parker (toe) is a little banged up and Manu Ginobili isn’t going to play a lot of minutes down the stretch, while Danny Green also might pick up some more maintenance days. Mills has been a stealthy asset since the All-Star break, averaging 10.4 points, 4.0 assists, 2.1 boards, 0.6 steals and 2.1 3-pointers in just 21.7 minutes. If the Spurs rest their players often which is almost a certainty, Mills could be a top option on offense. Additionally, he’s only owned in 15 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
Terrence Ross- If you have an open roster spot, Ross is not a bad option to have. The Raptors have one of the best playoff schedules in the NBA and it sounds like Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas are going to get plenty of maintenance days. That would arguably leave Ross as the primary option on offense, so he could be a solid source of points, treys and steals. He’s averaging 12.0 points, 2.6 boards, 0.6 steals and 2.2 3-pointers in less than 25 minutes per game over his last five and he’s only owned in 15 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
JaMychal Green- He’s one of the most improved players in the NBA in my opinion, and he’s really stepped up for a Memphis team that has been decimated by injuries. Marc Gasol (foot) is done for the season, Brandan Wright (knee) is out indefinitely and Zach Randolph’s knee is a concern, so Green is locked into solid minutes for the foreseeable future. He finished Wednesday’s game vs. the Celtics with 17 points, 13 boards, two assists and two blocks in 37 minutes. He’s owned in 24 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.
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Ethan Norof (@Ethan_Norof)
Josh Richardson: I feel like Richardson has flown a little under the radar, but perhaps it's because he was projected to need more work than a construction site in his inaugural campaign. He's worth a look in leagues with at least 12 teams.
Markel Brown: Count me on the side of Team Markel, it's going to be a bumpy ride to the finish line. Don't pull the parachute on a promising player.
Gary Harris: If you're still sleeping on Harris, it's a near certainty you've pressed snooze for too long to get him.
Lance Stephenson & JaMychal Green: Memphis is hurting at the point guard position, and Lance is going to have to make 'em dance if Memphis wants to remain in the playoff picture. He's worth a speculative add with the Grizzlies' injury issues in the backcourt. As for Green, the kid can play and should've been rostered even prior to Zach Randolph being sidelined by knee soreness. If Z-Bo's injury proves to be a bigger issue than anticipated, Green's surge through the ranks could be astronomical.
Ryan Knaus (@Knaus_RW)
Norris Cole (sore back) has just 31% ownership in Yahoo leagues, perhaps because owners fighting for their playoff lives are cutting him en masse due to his back injury. That's a minor ailment and he was a game-time decision on Wednesday, however, so there's a good chance he'll return on Friday or Saturday. New Orleans' backcourt is thin enough to guarantee big minutes for Cole, who can help you with scoring, 3-pointers, assists, steals and FT%. He's an easy pickup if you're in need of a guard.
JaMychal Green should be flying off the wire after two phenomenal games as a starter, during which he averaged 16.5 points, 11.5 boards, 4.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks. That type of upside doesn't fall into your lap very often, and even when Zach Randolph (knee) returns there should be a 25-minute role waiting for JaMychal.
Taj Gibson has been underwhelming despite the Bulls' substantial injury woes, causing plenty of owners to cut him loose, but he's been very productive over the past two games with Nikola Mirotic active. Gibson played 37 and 38 minutes in those games (incidentally both victories), chipping in across the board, and he's worth a pickup in case coach Fred Hoiberg keeps the playing time sky-high despite Gibson's hamstring issues. He doesn't have the upside of JaMychal Green, but is still worth a look for boards, blocks and FG% with precious few turnovers.
Tony Allen is a guy that most fantasy owners glaze over as a waiver-wire option because he doesn't score much and rarely hits 3-pointers. Nevertheless, Allen remains one of the league's elite specialists in a category that's tough to find on the wire -- steals. His 26-point eruption on Monday was fluky, but an expanded offensive role is all but necessitated by the Grizzlies' dire injury situation, and any uptick in Allen's offense would solidify him as a sneaky roto value.
Getting a little shallower...I'd assume that Andrew Bogut is owned in competitive leagues at this point, but he's still available in 37% of Yahoo leagues. The reason for that lack of ownership is that Bogut plays low minutes and there's a pervasive bias against guys who don't score. Bogut gets you solid boards with reliable defensive stats, terrific FG% (80.6% in his past seven games), and low turnovers. Go get him.
Mike Malone simply loves Gary Harris. We all know about his infatuation with Harris' defensive skills, but Malone is nearly as psyched about him offensively. This is what he told BSN Denver back in January: "Gary is a tough cover because he can shoot it, he can put it on the ground, but he’s always looking to move and cut without the basketball ... Gary has taken it to another level. He’s become our best off-ball mover." Sure enough, Harris is averaging just under 40 minutes over the past two weeks, notching 16.8 points, 2.0 threes, 3.0 boards, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals. He needs to be owned.
Patrick Beverley is owned in just 51 percent of Yahoo leagues -- that number might increase after a strong performance on Wednesday, but it probably won't budge too much. Bev doesn't hand out many assists for a point guard (2.7 per game), and once again a lack of scoring hurts his fantasy image, but he's a great source of 3-pointers and steals and he won't hurt you anywhere...he rarely turns the ball over, and even his shaky FT shooting is mitigated by limited attempts. I'd rather have a steady vet like Beverley than a flavor-of-the-week like E'Twaun Moore.
Jared Johnson (@JaredJ831)
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson - With his return date still uncertain, Hollis-Jefferson (ankle) is more of a deep league stash, but I really love this dude's game. While earning just 22.5 minutes a night back in November, RHJ produced averages of 5.1 points, 6.6 boards and 1.8 steals per game which translated to ninth-round value in standard 9-cat leagues. With Joe Johnson no longer a part of the equation, and player development an obvious priority for the Nets, Hollis-Jefferson should see around 30 minutes a night once he's fully up to speed. If you're playoffs have yet to begin, or you're currently in a bye week, I think now would be the time to swoop up RHJ in competitive leagues.
Jerryd Bayless - Michael Carter-Williams (hip) is done for the year, O.J. Mayo is garbage and Tyler Ennis isn't ready to start, so health permitting, Bayless should be earning over 30 minutes a game as the 2015-16 season comes to a close. Over the past six, Bayless has registered averages of 12.2 points, 3.0 assists, 2.2 treys and just 0.5 turnovers per game, which has been good enough for late-round value in standard leagues. He can be hit-or-miss, but if you're searching for a low-end point guard, Bayless could be your man.
Matt Stroup (@MattStroup)
JaMychal Green - There are obviously no guarantees here, and his minutes may not stay in the 30's once Zach Randolph (knee) is back, but Green has shown some pretty exciting upside lately and is worth a look to see how things play out. Last three games: 16.7 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.3 spg and 1.3 bpg.
Terrence Ross - He's wildly inconsistent, but Toronto has five games next week. Give Ross a look if you need help in points and 3s. Last six games: 12.5 ppg, 2.3 treys.
Mike Gallagher (MikeSGallagher)
I’m late to the party on this, so I’ll add some new names here. Although, I love JaMychal Green right now and he should be owned everywhere — Lance is a solid add until we get news on Mike Conley (foot). I’m also a big Josh Richardson guy, but he’s still not quite a 12-team guy yet. Also like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as a stash. Here are some guys I like with an ownership of 15 percent or less:
Mike Dunleavy - He seems like the No. 2 wing right now and that’s counting Jimmy Butler as the one like Rod Strickland. Coach Fred Hoiberg trusts Dunleavy has his best wing defender and put him on Giannis Antetokounmpo on Monday. Dunleavy also played 35 minutes in that game with a very impressive 18-point night. He’s a stat filler and he’ll be a hot add with another strong game against the Spurs tonight.
Hollis Thompson - Chances are nobody wants to add Thompson in your league. He’s just four percent owned, but he’s been putting up top-80 value recently. The 76ers are likely going to keep playing Jerami Grant at all power forward, so that opens up some wing minutes. I’m not saying he’s a strong add, but he could be useful on some nights. A positive report on Jahlil Okafor would change my mind here.
Darrell Arthur - Yes, Gary Harris is the man now. Although, Arthur is potentially a sneaky add. He can fill up a stat sheet with 3-pointers and some defense, so he really just needs 25 minutes on a consistent basis. Mike Malone loves him as long as the Nuggets don’t go super small, which will definitely happen some of the time.