Targeting players whose teams have most games remaining
For fantasy teams in standard ESPN head-to-head leagues with weekly lineups, we will have just one more chance to put our lineups in place for the stretch run. Currently, they are set through Sunday, and on Monday, April 7, we will lock it in for all games through the regular-season finales on April 16.
To help you get ahead of the curve in culling the waiver wire, let's take a look at players to consider from the six teams that play six times during Weeks 24 and 25 (Hawks, Nets, Rockets, Heat, Timberwolves and Thunder) and a handful of other quality options that play five times during that stretch.
• DeMarre Carroll (52.6 percent): He's not a beast by any means, but he won't hurt you in percentages and can chip in 3s and steals. I added him in a league where I expect to be in a tight battle for steals, because he should be a shoo-in for at least 10-12 swipes during the final six games.
• Louis Williams (17.9 percent): His value may take a hit once Korver settles back in, but Williams has been active in the rotation the past week or so, scoring in double digits in four straight games. He should be a source of scoring, dimes and 3s for deep-leaguers.
• Pero Antic (1.3 percent): I've mentioned him several times in recent weeks, and he remains a nice addition for teams in tight 3-pointer battles in deep leagues because he is a center who can chip in 1.5 or more 3-pointers per game.
• Shaun Livingston (13.5 percent): Having carved out a niche as a solid NBA role player after a knee injury put his career in jeopardy back in 2006, Livingston has been a quiet feel-good story this season. He put up 10.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.0 spg, 53.1 FG% and 84.3 FT% in March, making him a must-own in deep leagues and a player who can help round out a starting lineup in just about any format.
• Andray Blatche (15.6 percent): Don't be surprised if Blatche breaks off a couple of "wow" games in the waning days of the season, especially as the Nets try to get their injury-riddled lineup rested for the postseason. Even in his current role, Blatche has general value as a big man in deep leagues.
• Mason Plumlee (1.9 percent): He doesn't do enough for standard leagues, but his 62.3 FG% on 4.8 FGA per game last month, combined with nearly a block and a steal per game, is enough for a look in deep leagues.
• Marcus Thornton (0.6 percent): He will be worth a look only if he returns from his back injury by next week and the Nets decide to let him hoist a lot of shots down the stretch. Both are realistic possibilities.
• Omer Asik (37.3 percent): If Dwight Howard's ankle injury lingers into next week, Asik will be worth riding in most leagues. Don't go overboard, though; Asik has averaged just 7.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg and 1.1 bpg in a dozen starts this season. Those are helpful numbers if you need boards and blocks, but he's not going to score much and his quality FG% is hollow in standard-sized leagues due to just 5.2 FGA per game as a starter.
• Chris Andersen (7.6 percent): The Birdman has been flapping his fantasy wings of late, pulling down 14 and 11 rebounds in a pair of games last week and blocking 1.9 shots per game in March. He's a steady add for any fantasy squad in a tight blocks battle.
• James Jones (0.2 percent): You probably forgot that he was even on the Heat until he scored 10 points in back-to-back games out of the blue. He also banged down five 3s in those games. His value will depend entirely on other players sitting out, but that's a realistic possibility as the Heat rest players during the final days of the season.
• Corey Brewer (27.6 percent): I've mentioned Brewer plenty in recent weeks, and he remains a solid source of steals and scoring. He's also shooting well from the field, hitting at least half of his shots in each of his past four games and 47.4 percent from the field in March.
Oklahoma City Thunder
• Reggie Jackson (66.8 percent): A sore back left him on the sideline for a couple of games, but with his all-around production, you would be wise to add him now in all leagues for the stretch run. Russell Westbrook is expected to skip a game next Tuesday or Wednesday to rest, and he may well skip another game or two during the final days of the campaign, and that would give Jackson a chance to shine.
• Caron Butler (7.2 percent): He doesn't do much besides bomb 3s -- and even that will come with a penalizing sub-40 FG% -- but deep-league teams in need of 3s may see him as a decent player to round out a roster. He's averaged 2.2 3s per game with the Thunder and has hit at least three 3-pointers in half of his past dozen games.
• Derek Fisher (0.1 percent): Deep-leaguers in need of 3s and swipes should consider the veteran point guard. He averaged 1.4 3s and 1.2 steals in March and hoisted at least six 3s in three of his past six games.
• Ramon Sessions, Milwaukee Bucks (52.5 percent): He's been on a tear lately and has no business being on waiver wires right now. Over the past 15 days, he's contributed 19.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.0 3s and 51.0 FG%. He's also helpful at the charity stripe, taking 5.9 attempts per game and banging down 83.2 percent of them in March.
• Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors (41.2 percent): I've mentioned him at times for teams that need 3s, and he hasn't disappointed, banging down 2.4 per game in March. Game-to-game consistency is an issue, but in a deeper weekly league, Ross is capable of averaging 15 points and three 3s for a short stretch.
• Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings (25.0 percent): It's always worth keeping a close watch on high-end rookies who have struggled and are on bad teams, because they may get turned loose during the final couple of weeks. McLemore fits the bill in that regard and already has been turning it up lately. Over his past four games, the rook has averaged 14.8 points and 2.8 3-pointers. Don't be surprised if he pops off a 25-point night before the season ends.
• Tony Wroten, Philadelphia 76ers (10.2 percent): Don't forget that he was averaging 14.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.0 apg and 1.4 spg before an ankle sidelined him for a trio of tilts. He also returned with nine dimes Saturday. With five games on his schedule down the stretch, there is plenty of fantasy upside to be culled from Wroten in all formats.
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