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Waiver Wired

Wired: Top Pickups for Week 21

by Steve Alexander
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

It’s fantasy playoffs time and the waiver wire still has some very worthwhile candidates. Check out the Week 21 schedule, as well as 25 players you might be able to pick up in your league. And follow me on Twitter by clicking here.


Games Played Week 21



3 Games: CHI, HOU, LAL, PHX


Point Guards


Alexey Shved Knicks 29% owned in Yahoo! leagues – Shved has been one of the best Knicks over the last few weeks, averaging 16.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.2 3-pointers on 42 percent shooting. He’s helping a lot of owners roll through the fantasy playoffs and he should be owned in more than 29 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Sure, Jose Calderon could come back and rain on his parade at some point, but I’ve basically written him off.


Jordan Clarkson Lakers 37% – Clarkson has been a bit up and down, is always in jeopardy of losing minutes to Jeremy Lin, and has been on this list for several weeks now. But he’s still hitting double digits in scoring consistently, and is averaging 14.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and nearly a 3-pointer per game over his last five, while shooting 44 percent.


Ish Smith Sixers 5% - Smith had nine points, five dimes and a three in his last game, but is averaging 13 points, 6.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 3-pointers over his last five. As our latest blurb says, he’s actually a better player to own than Trey Burke right now, and I bet he has a nice game on Monday against the Celtics.


Norris Cole Pelicans 9% owned – Cole started for Tyreke Evans last Tuesday and went off for 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and four 3-pointers. He’s also scored in double figures in three straight games. He doesn’t have much appeal when Evans is healthy, but might have earned a bigger role going forward after his strong play this week. Let’s see what he does on Sunday, when Evans is expected to play.


Langston Galloway Knicks 19% - Shved has really hurt the value of Galloway lately, but Gallo has hit double digits in three of his last five games and has hit a pair of 3-pointers in each of his last two games. His five-game averages of 9.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, a steal and a 3-pointer still make him worth a look.


Shooting Guards


Tony Snell Bulls 14% - Snell was an absolute bust when I started pimping him in this column as a fill-in for Jimmy Butler. Then he finally flipped the switch and scored 21, 10 and 17 points with 10 3-pointers in a three-game stretch, and then added eight points, four boards, three assists and two 3-pointers on 3-of-10 shooting on Sunday. The key is that he’s averaging 37.2 minutes over his last five games, and you know the saying. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.


Evan Turner Celtics 39% - Talk about hit-or-miss players, Turner had four points on Wednesday, 30 points on Friday and four points again on Saturday. The key to his game is his rebounds and assists, as he’s averaging 11.2 points. 4.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 0.8 steals over his last five games. His shooting is a mess, as he hit just 9-of-33 shots in four of his last five games, but got hot for 12-of-20 shooting in Friday’s bonanza. Turner can either help or hurt you, depending on your league format, but I still think he’s worth holding in most situations.


Avery Bradley Celtics 63% - Bradley missed a few games with an injury, but has scored in double digits in his three games since returning. He’s averaging 14.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.7 3-pointers over his last five, and he should be getting healthy again.


Tim Hardaway Jr. 18% - Hardaway took a two-game break due to a sore back, but has bounced back nicely. He scored 22 points on Thursday, hitting five 3-pointers, and had 13 points, four boards, three assists and three 3-pointers on Saturday. No, I don’t really trust him, but he’s one of the few options the Knicks have the rest of the way.


Will Barton Nuggets 9% - I don’t fully trust Barton now that he’s coming off the bench, but the guys in front of him are always health risks and he’s still averaging 11.0 points, 3.2 boards, 2.2 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.0 blocks over his last five games. He’s not a 3-point shooter, but can offer some deep-league help.


Small Forwards


Danilo Gallinari Nuggets 68% - Gallinari slumped early in the week, scoring just nine points on Monday, but then blew up for 23 points, five rebounds, five assists and four 3-pointers on Wednesday, and 24 points, seven rebounds and a 3-pointer on Friday. He’s been picked up in most leagues, but make sure he’s not available in yours.


Corey Brewer Rockets 37% - I don’t know why or how, but Brewer has been killing it, scoring 25, 23 and 24 points in each of his last three games. His five-game averages of 18.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 1.4 3-pointers and 58 percent shooting scream “pick me up!”


Jae Crowder Celtics 14% - Crowder started again on Saturday and went off for 16 points with seven rebounds, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers. He’s also hit seven 3-pointers over his last three games, and is averaging 9.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, a steal and 1.6 3-pointers over his last five games. He’s shooting a ridiculous 33 percent over that stretch, but it’s fluky. He hit just 2-of-12 shots on Sunday, March 8, and then went 0-for-3 in his next game.


Rodney Hood Jazz 4% - Hood is starting and has played well over his last three games, scoring 12, 20 and 17 in them, and hitting eight 3-pointers. He’s also been stealing the ball, with six of them in his last four games. Now that he’s healthy and starting, Hood should be one of the hottest pickups of the week, as he’s available in most leagues.


Jerami Grant Sixers 1% - Need blocks?  Grant has seven in his last two games, is averaging 29.5 minutes in them, and started on Saturday against the Nets. He had eight points, four boards and three blocks in that one, as well as a couple 3-pointers. He also had 13 points, two steals and four blocks on Friday, and deep-leaguers in need of blocks will want to give him a close look.


Power Forwards


Andrea Bargnani Knicks 39% - Bargs isn’t doing much outside of scoring, but scorers can be tough to come by off the wire. He’s scored 16 or more in four of his last five games, and is averaging 17.4 points and 4.0 rebounds on 49 percent shooting over his last five games. He’ll get you an occasional three and a block, but if you pick him up, don’t expect more than points. In DFS play, he’s been money with a low salary.


Marvin Williams Hornets 10% - With Cody Zeller’s season on the brink due to a shoulder injury, Marvin is relevant, averaging 12.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 1.5 blocks and 3.5 3-pointers over his last two games. He’s still Marvin Williams, but he’s getting 35 minutes a night and is worth grabbing if you need what he offers (threes, minutes, boards and some scoring).


Thomas Robinson Sixers 3% - Robinson is averaging 8.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 0.4 blocks over his last five games. He’s only getting 17 minutes a night, but his rebounding rate is off the charts. He could finish up strong for the lowly Sixers.


Luis Scola Pacers 8% - With Roy Hibbert banged up and ineffective for the Pacers, Scola had double-doubles on Tuesday and Thursday, and followed them up with four points and six boards in Saturday’s loss to Boston. He’s averaging 9.8 points and 7.8 rebounds over his last five games, and while he’s going to be inconsistent when Hibbert plays, he still might be worth a look.


Dewayne Dedmon Magic 3% - Dedmon’s not exactly killing it and takes a hit now that Nikola Vucevic is healthy again, but is averaging 6.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks over his last five games. If you’re chasing blocks and boards, Bismack Biyombo might be a short-term alternative, as he had 10 points, 10 boards and a block in 22 minutes on Friday. Al Jefferson won’t be out long though, so Dedmon looks like a better long-term option.




Zaza Pachulia Bucks 9% - Zaza is healthy again and starting for the Bucks, and has posted double-doubles in two of his last three games. Over those three, he’s averaging 13.3 points and 9.3 rebounds. He doesn’t block or steal, but if you need points and boards, he’s worth a look.


Cole Aldrich Knicks 8% - Like most of the Knicks, Aldrich is completely unreliable. However he had five blocks and nine boards in just 16 minutes on Saturday, and had 17 points, 13 boards, a steal and a block on Tuesday against the Jazz. He’s averaging 6.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks over his last five games, making him worth a look in most leagues.


Justin Hamilton Timberwolves 4% - Flip Saunders ran Nikola Pekovic into the ground and his ankle finally gave out. While Gorgui Dieng is the main beneficiary, J-Ham has been hot, going for 17 points, 10 boards, three steals and three blocks on Friday, and 15 points and two blocks on Wednesday. He’s not a must-own player, but he has gotten 28 and 34 minutes in his last two games, and might be able to keep it going the rest of the way.


Tyler Zeller Celtics 20% - Zeller has been hit-or-miss all season and his last four games tell the story. He’s scored 18, 5, 12 and 6 points in those games. Kelly Olynyk is getting healthy and should eventually crush Zeller’s value, but Zeller’s five-game averages of 9.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks at least deserve a look from fantasy owners.


Chris Andersen Heat 3% - Andersen went nuts for 18 points, 14 rebounds, a steal and a block in 30 minutes against the Nets on Wednesday, but followed it up with just two points, five boards and a block on Friday against the Raptors. He’s dealing with a sore ankle and if he ever gets fully healthy, he could emerge as a sneaky add in fantasy. 

Steve Alexander

Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2020-20 NBA season marks (at least) his 20th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.