The fantasy playoffs are quickly coming to an end, so if your team is still alive you’re likely looking at the wire to see if you can find some gems who can give you an edge. With that said, I asked the Rotoworld crew to discuss some unlikely heroes who could give your team the boost it needs. Also, be sure to click the link beside our names to follow us on Twitter! I’ll start us off…
Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)
Salah Mejri- Now that Zaza Pachulia doesn’t exist anymore and Chandler Parsons (knee) could be done for the year, it looks like Salah Mejri is locked into significant minutes the rest of the way. He’s averaging 13.5 points, 13.0 boards, 1.0 assists, 3.5 blocks and 1.0 steals over his last two games and needs to be picked up everywhere. If he wins me my fantasy leagues Tunisia will become my second favorite country.
Josh Richardson- I keep waiting for him to slow down and he did have a dud against the Pelicans on Tuesday, but he bounced back nicely on Wednesday vs. the Spurs and had 17 points, four assists, two boards, three steals, one block and three triples in 34 minutes! He also doubles as a solid handcuff for Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic owners, so he needs to be owned in all leagues. The Heat have found a gem.
Jusuf Nurkic- He’s still one of my favorite young bigs in the NBA, and while his surgically-repaired knee has been an issue all season, he’s finally getting minutes again and is making the most of them. He’s averaging 9.0 points, 5.5 boards, 1.5 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals in just 21.5 minutes over his last four games. Give the man more minutes!
Tim Hardaway Jr.- For a guy that spent most of his season in the D-League, he’s coming on really strong. Kent Bazemore is in the doghouse and has been pathetic lately, while THJ has averaged 17.8 points, 3.8 boards, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 3.3 3-pointers in 25.2 minutes over his last four games. That’s good enough for top-25 value in standard leagues in that span.
Sean Kilpatrick- The Nets play five times next week, but I’d still consider Kilpatrick even if it was only four. He’s averaging 18.0 points and 2.6 3-pointers in just 22.8 minutes over his last five and the Nets want to give a long look the rest of the season.
Ethan Norof (@Ethan_Norof)
In this sense, don't confuse unsung heroes with saviors, because none of these players will single-handedly save your fantasy campaign.
Josh Richardson: Richardson has been worth a roster spot since the All-Star Break, and owners in 12-team leagues should make the investment where he's still available.
Sean Kilpatrick: The D-League product has found a home in Brooklyn, where he's emerged as a scorer and 3-point spark plug off the bench.
Salah Mejri: Zaza Pachulia is wearing down, the Mavs can't keep playing Dirk Nowitzki at center in small-ball lineups sans Chandler Parsons (knee) and Mejri has difference-making potential with his ability to block shots.
Michael Beasley: Beasley can score and rebound, but he's going to have to play more than just 20-23 minutes have his game hold more value than his name.
Lance Stephenson: Born Ready has restarted his career in Memphis, where he's playing a key role for a Grizzlies team that needs what he brings to the table.
Tony Allen: First Team All-Defense for those who desire to defend their fantasy basketball crown.
Toney Douglas: The Pelicans are decimated.
Tim Frazier: See above.
Steve Alexander (@Docktora)
I've soured on Josh Richardson since his disappearing act on Tuesday, but I still like him as a player. I just won't trust him in DFS again anytime soon.
And while Michael Beasley's minutes were disappointing on Tuesday night, I still think the Rockets are ready to ride him until the end of the season. In fact, out of all the guys on this list, I think Beasley may have the most "game changing" potential, as long as Houston gives him enough run.
Jared Johnson (@JaredJ831)
I'm a fan of Sean Kilpatrick. He basically only scores and hits triples, but with the Nets set to play five games next week (two of which are on lighter six-game nights), he could make for a sneaky pickup in deep leagues.
Jusuf Nurkic is finally getting minutes, and he's responded with averages of 9.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.3 blocks over the past four games. He could fall out of the rotation at a moment's notice, but if you need a low-end big that can rack up the defensive stats, Nurkic is worth a look.
New Orleans been absolutely destroyed by injuries, leaving Jrue Holiday, Toney Douglas and Tim Frazier as last men standing to man the guard positions. Norris Cole (back) has spent the past eight straight games on the shelf, and it's unclear if he's at all close to making his way back to the court, so those guys should be looking at quality minutes for the foreseeable future. Chances are Douglas is already owned in your league, but Frazier (9% ownership Yahoo! Leagues) could be sitting on your waiver wire. Since arriving in New Orleans, Frazier has posted a usage rate of 22.6 to go with averages of 13.8 points, 4.8 assists, 3.8 boards, 1.3 steals and 2.5 turnovers per contest on 52.9 percent shooting. That all amounts to mid-round value in 8-cat leagues and late-round value in 9-cat leagues, and if you're seeking a low-end point guard, Frazier is your man.
Bismack Biyombo's arrow is pointing in the wrong direction with the return of Jonas Valanciunas, and with just two more games for Toronto this week (both of which are played on busy nights), those that swooped up Biyombo for his short-term production sans JV should probably just go ahead and send him back to the wire.
Mike Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher)
I’d imagine Bojan, Mack and Richardson are owned where they should be.
Salah Mejri - Cuban loves him, the Mavs need a rim protector, they can’t go small anymore with Chandler Parsons (knee) out, David Lee can’t consistently play 24 minutes and Zaza Pachulia is za-za-zapped. If there is going to be a difference maker of anyone mentioned, it’s him. I'd say I'm all in on him with his tremendous upside.
Toney Douglas and Tim Frazier - This is tough because we still don’t know what’s up with Norris Cole. The Pelicans have called him questionable for almost three weeks now and he has yet to play. If you want scoring, go TD. If you want a well-rounded guy, Frazier.
Darrell Arthur - I’ve always been a fan of Arthur in fantasy because he can add some steals, blocks and treys as a sneaky guy. However, Jusuf Nurkic only had shortness of breath on Tuesday.
Michael Beasley - He doesn’t do anything besides score and his rebounding is down. He’s nice for DFS, though.
Jusuf Nurkic - Another potential difference maker here. Nurkic had shortness of breath on Wednesday, so it’s not his knee. He’s a monster at just 22 minutes per game, but health is a massive road block. Give me the upside.