Fantasy

Fantasy Basketball: Must-add waiver wire pickups for the fantasy basketball playoffs

The Fantasy Basketball season is coming to a close as most leagues are either in their final week of the regular season, first week of the playoffs, or, the playoffs are already under way.

At this point in the fantasy season, one of the biggest issues to navigate is teams resting players for the actual NBA Playoffs, whether it be due to injury or just simply to give them the night off.

That means you have to be aggressive on the waiver wire, searching for available players that can help take you over the top in pursuit for a fantasy championship.

Below, you can find a list of players that have been stepping into bigger roles in the latter part of the season that you'll want to roster immediately if available in your league.

Listed in descending order of percentage owned based on ESPN Fantasy Basketball.

Kelly Olynyk - C/PF, Houston Rockets

Owned in: 74.2 percent of leagues

Olynyk has been a fantasy stud since being traded to the Rockets at the deadline.

Taking over as the team's starting centre, Olynyk has averaged 18.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.1 3-pointers made per game in Houston, proving to be one of the best late-season fantasy pickups this year.

Olynyk is likely already owned at this point because of his recent stretch of success, but this is to put the Canadian big man on your radar just in case he's still lurking in the waiver wire (he is still available in 25.8 percent of ESPN leagues).

Joe Ingles - SF/PF, Utah Jazz

Owned in: 71.8 percent of leagues

Spawning off of the ankle injury that is set to keep Donovan Mitchell out for an extended period of time, Ingles becomes a must-roster if he's still available in your league.

While Mike Conley is still the team's primary ball-handler, Ingles will still absorb a huge portion of Utah's playmaking duties with Mitchell out. He showcased that in the first game without Mitchell - where Conley was also out, receiving some late-season rest - going for 20 points and 14 assists with 6 3-pointers as a kicker.

Ingles has been a quality source of efficiency, 3-point shooting and assists all fantasy season, but expect that to ramp up even more late in the year as the Jazz have all but solidified themselves as a one of the top seeds in the West. He could be a key addition to a deep playoff push.

Luguentz Dort - SG/SF, Oklahoma City Thunder

Owned in: 50.5 percent of leagues

Dort has been on fire as of late and will certainly be one of the most popular waiver claims this week.

After erupting for a career-high 42 points at the beginning of last week, he followed that up with two more stat-sheet-stuffing performances that will have fantasy owners rushing to the waiver wire.

Since returning from a seven-game absence due to concussion protocols and other nagging injuries, Dort has averaged 28.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.3 steals and 4.3 3-pointers made per game, ranking as one of the top players in fantasy over that span.

MORE: Beyond the numbers: Inside Dort's evolution

He'll continue to have plenty of opportunities to produce when he's on the floor for the Thunder, but it is worth noting that the team has been resting him every so often, which is something you'll have to live if you pick him up. Even with that being said, Dort is worth the add for how productive he has been in games he plays.

Jae'Sean Tate - SF, Houston Rockets

Owned in: 49.3 percent of leagues

Tate has been a diamond in the rough all fantasy season, first establishing himself as a trusty streaming option, now establishing himself worthy of a full-time roster spot in the playoffs.

He's a quality source of steals, rebounds and assists, and as of late, he's even had more opportunites as a scorer too.

Since the All-Star break, Tate has averaged roughly 13 points and one 3-pointer per game on an efficient 51.8 percent shooting from the field. Add that to his contributions in the aforementioned categories where he thrives, and you're looking at a high-quality end of the bench option for a championship push.

MORE: Did Tate remain in the top-five on the Rookie of the Year ladder?

On a team like the Rockets who are simply trying to develop their young players for the remainder of the season, Tate will surely continue to see a ton of playing time and scoring chances.

Darius Bazley - SF/PF, Oklahoma City Thunder

Owned in: 28.4 percent of leagues

Bazley was beginning to cement himself as a fantasy option with a high ceiling of potential earlier this season, before a shoulder injury sidelined him for a month of action.

The 20-year-old prospect has picked up right where he left off since returning from that shoulder injury, and with the Thunder in full rebuild mode, he could be a contributor to the fantasy playoffs.

In the five games Bazley has appeared in since his return, he's averaging 16.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. His field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and turnovers haven't been very good, but if you're simply looking for someone to add counting stats to your weekly matchup, Bazley is still a solid option if you have an open roster spot.

Cole Anthony - PG, Orlando Magic

Owned in: 27.8 percent of leagues

Anthony was forced to miss a large chunk of his rookie season due to a rib injury but the 20-year-old guard has been very solid for the Magic since his return.

When he rejoined the team after his injury, he stepped into a full rebuild situation where the team is solely focusing on maximizing the opportunities of their young players. That bodes incredibly well for Anthony as a fantasy player, and his playing time has ramped up even more since Michael Carter-Williams went down with an ankle injury.

Anthony has posted 12.9 points, 5.6 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game since returning from injury, but in the two games he has started in Carter-Williams' place, his numbers are even more enticing for fantasy owners.

Averaging 32 minutes as a starter in those games, Anthony's averages increase to 17.5 points, 7.0 assists and 5.5 rebounds. With Carter-Williams expected to miss "multiple" games, Anthony would be a great get on the waiver wire.

Nerlens Noel - C, New York Knicks

Owned in: 25.8 percent of leagues

Noel has been another late-season gem in fantasy, taking on a big role for the Knicks since Mitchell Robinson went down with a foot injury that required surgery.

He has been one of the league's best shot blockers all season, averaging 2.1 blocks per game. In the month of April, he's averaging 7.4 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.0 steals per game while shooting an efficient 63.6 percent from the field.

He has a firm grasp on New York's starting centre position, and if your team needs a jolt in blocks, boards, steals or field goal percentage, Noel is your guy.

Isaiah Stewart - C/PF, Detroit Pistons

Owned in: 22.9 percent of leagues

Stewart has the potential to be one of the biggest surprise contributors to fantasy playoff success if the Pistons remain committed to playing their young guys.

The rookie's production has been solid all season but the playing time wasn't always there, playing behind Mason Plumlee, who had been a consistent fantasy contributor. But as of late, Detroit has shifted their focus to letting their rookies run wild, appearing to hand the keys to Stewart, Killian Hayes and Saddiq Bey for the remainder of the season.

Over Stewart's last three games, he's posted two double-doubles including a monster 15-point, 21-rebound game against the Thunder. He's averaging 15.3 points and 13.7 rebounds in those three games, adding five blocks to his stat sheet as well.

Give Stewart an add if he's still available, because he won't be available for long if he keeps this up.

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