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NBA Waiver-Wired: Week 20

Jaxson Hayes

Jaxson Hayes

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Week 20 Schedule: Games Played

5 Games: TOR



2 Games: POR

Week 20 Back-to-Backs:

Sunday (Feb. 27th)-Monday: CHA, IND

Monday-Tuesday: BKN, MIN, TOR

Tuesday-Wednesday: HOU

Wednesday-Thursday: MIA, SAC

Thursday-Friday: ATL, CHI, DET, TOR

Friday-Saturday: MIN, ORL, PHI

Saturday-Sunday: MEM

Waiver Wire Pickups:

*To qualify for this list, players have to be available in over 60% of Yahoo Leagues.

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Cameron Payne (40%)- Chris Paul (thumb) is a drop in fantasy leagues with his regular season likely over, and while Payne isn’t fully recovered from his right wrist sprain, he’s due back in a matter of days and I’m willing to pick him up and wait patiently for his return. Payne is a step above every healthy PG in Phoenix and I’d much rather get five good weeks of value out of him rather than a few streams of Aaron Holiday in the short term. With Paul off the court this season, Payne has a per-36 line of 18.8 points, 6.6 dimes, 5.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.0 triples in a sample size of over 600 minutes.

Jaxson Hayes (31%)- At one point this season, Hayes was the third-string center racking up DNPs. Nowadays he’s getting minutes at both the four and five, and he has reestablished himself as one of the key players of New Orleans’ rebuild. Hayes is a graceful rim runner with some impressive touch around the rim and some decent shot-making ability, and assuming Zion Williamson isn’t walking through that door anytime soon, I think Hayes’ newfound value is here to stay. In his last three games before the break, Hayes averaged 15.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.0 dimes, 0.7 steals and 0.7 blocks in 25.2 minutes.

Deni Avdija (22%)- While KCP is leading the Wizards in fantasy value lately, Avdija is not far behind. Over his last five games, Avdija is ranked inside the top-75 in 9-cat with 12.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.0 dimes, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.4 triples. Already an elite defender, Avdija has another gear to hit in terms of fantasy upside with the Wizards expected to put the ball in his hands more often down the stretch.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (34%)- KCP is set up for a big finish after the break unless the Wizards dial him back in the name of the tank. Usually a bland 3-and-D type, KCP has a lot more upside these days with Bradley Beal shut down and Spencer Dinwiddie traded for the remnants of Kristaps Porzingis’ knee. Over his last five games, KCP led the Wizards in 9-cat value (top-70) with 14.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.6 dimes, 1.4 steals and 2.4 triples.

Isaiah Jackson (28%)- If you’re like me, you’ve been stashing this guy for weeks with no luck. However, that’s about to change with Jackson cleared to play on Friday. Myles Turner is at least a couple weeks away from a return, and Jackson is a lot more intriguing than Goga Bitadze and likely has the backing of the front office and coaching staff for his long-term appeal to the team. The last time we saw Jackson with a full workload, he went off for 26 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks, a steal and a triple...

Maxi Kleber (35%)- With Kristaps Porzingis no longer in Dallas, Kleber’s competition in the frontcourt is about as uninspiring as it gets. Kleber has been a bit of a mixed bag in recent games with some gems and duds, but he’s been a top-80 player in 9-cat over his last four with 11.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 0.5 steals and 1.8 triples.

Aleksej Pokusevski (15%)- Despite averaging 24 minutes over his last seven games, Poku has been an 8th-rounder in 9-cat with 11.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.4 dimes, 0.7 steals, 1.1 blocks and 1.6 triples. He is one of the most fun players to watch in the NBA with his irrational confidence from 3-point range, playmaking ability and rim protection. Poku is the definition of a silly-season hero and I’m expecting OKC to turn him loose down the stretch.

Donte DiVincenzo (15%)- I really like Donte’s fit with the Kings and I think his minutes are going to trend up pretty quickly because of his two-way versatility. He’s already been a 10th-rounder in 9-cat in his first four games with the franchise in only 24.4 minutes, averaging 9.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.0 dimes, 1.8 steals and 1.5 triples.

Alec Burks (30%)- Kemba Walker has been shut down for the season in a move that no one saw coming except every fantasy manager in the world. Derrick Rose is expected back any day now, but coach Tom Thibodeau said that Burks would likely get the first crack at the starting PG job. With Kemba off the court this season, Burks has a solid per-36 line of 15.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.6 dimes, 1.5 steals and 2.3 triples.

Jonathan Kuminga (29%)- Last week I mentioned that I wanted to see Kuminga’s steal and block numbers come up, and the rookie has stepped up in that regard with three steals and four blocks over his last three outings. With Draymond Green still not close and the Warriors keeping Otto Porter Jr. in ice baths for half their games, Kuminga will continue to get the job done for fantasy managers with 15.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 dimes, 0.8 blocks, 0.6 steals and 1.0 triples over his last nine games.

Luke Kennard (21%)- After struggling at the beginning of February, Kennard was red hot before the break with 11 triples in his previous two games. We’re expected to know the results of Paul George’s MRI on Friday, so that’s when we’ll know just how important Kennard’s role will be in the fantasy playoffs.

Marvin Bagley (22%)- No one is happier than Marvin Bagley these days, and while I was hesitant to jump aboard initially, I’m warming up to the idea of him becoming a fantasy pickup in Detroit. Coach Dwane Casey said he made an effort to call several plays for Bagley on Thursday including a couple lobs, and he showed some nice chemistry with Cade Cunningham (link). “When (the guards) have that target, escape route,” Casey said of Bagley’s vertical spacing. “When those bigs are closing out, and your man gets a step on him, you can just throw it up and let him go get it. … It is an escape pass for our guys when they get in there amongst the trees. Not to say Isaiah (Stewart) and Jerami (Grant) can’t, but it’s a different type with Marvin.” Bagley finished the game with 16 points, four rebounds and one block in 27 minutes, so look for him to challenge Stewart for the starting role.

Tre Mann (7%)- I haven’t added him anywhere, and while I kind of regret it, I still think most of his value dries up the second that Lu Dort (shoulder) gets clearance. In his last three games, Mann has blown expectations out of the water with 21.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 dimes, 2.0 steals and 2.7 triples.

Thaddeus Young (24%)- The Raptors are the only team to play five times in Week 20. With OG Anunoby’s status up in the air, Young could be a huge pickup this week and now has a path to minutes in the low 20s. If you’re in a shallow league, double check your waiver wire to see if someone dropped Chris Boucher.

Brandon Goodwin (1%), Rajon Rondo (5%)- Darius Garland will likely miss more time with a bone bruise in his back, while Caris LeVert is expected to miss a couple more weeks. Rondo is a pickup if you’re aggressively targeting assists (he had nine in his last game, but Goodwin is the more well-rounded fantasy player and would be my choice between the two. Goodwin will give the Cavs a much-needed scoring boost and was impressive on Thursday with 15 points (6-of-12 FGs, 1-of-1 FT), four rebounds, five assists, two 3-pointers, one steal and just one turnover in 24 minutes.

*Danilo Gallinari (18%)- Gallo is a top-50 option without John Collins but just a late-rounder when the Hawks are healthy. It’s been a fun ride, but it sounds like Collins is close.

Aaron Holiday (17%)- If you want a couple streams, Holiday is a decent low-end PG until Cam Payne returns. As I said earlier, I’d much rather stash Payne for the fantasy playoffs.

Raul Neto (10%), Ish Smith (8%)- Don’t go shelling out your entire FAAB’s for these guys, but Neto and Ish will continue to get the job done as late-rounders in fantasy unless the Wizards sign a young PG to develop down the stretch. If forced to pick one, I’d lean towards Neto who has averaged 4.5 dimes and 2.0 steals over the last four games.

Corey Kispert (9%)- He has 11 triples over his last four games and the Wizards have a terrific fantasy playoff schedule. Not much upside beyond 3s.

Gary Payton II (5%)- This one is simple. If you need steals and Matisse Thybulle isn’t available, Payton II is your guy. He comfortably leads the NBA in steal rate and the Warriors are using him more these days to address their slumping defense.