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Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press
Four days until 2022 fantasy champions are crowned. If you’re in any of my leagues, this is where I humbly ask you to stop reading.
With so little time left, the waiver wire is critical. Most fantasy basketball leagues use the roto (or categories) format, accumulating players’ statistics throughout the week. As such, this is where you can gain an edge by picking up players who excel at certain categories or simply play more games than others.
Two teams only have one game remaining this week: the Memphis Grizzlies and Charlotte Hornets. Conversely, six have three games left: the Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks.
Take those schedule considerations to heart, as a productive waiver Grizzlie like De’Anthony Melton is unlikely to produce more in one game than others will in two or three.
If maximizing games doesn’t affect your league, you should consider Melton or Tyus Jones. If you’re in a shallower league, consider the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Aleksej Pokusevski and Isaiah Roby. For everyone else, here are four key players who are available in over 65 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues.
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David Zalubowski / Associated Press
Hartenstein has swung into the rotation at the perfect time for the Clippers and, consequently, fantasy managers. He doesn’t start or even hit 30 minutes per game, but he’s been putting up numbers, closed out the comeback against the Utah Jazz and plays three more games this week.
Hartenstein has now scored double-digit points in six of his last seven games and tacked on five-plus rebounds in five of his last seven. He’s not just a regular big, though, as he’s hit four-plus assists in four straight games and amassed 12 stocks (steals and blocks) over that same period.
Hitting a number of categories, trending upward and playing three games over the final stretch? Hartenstein may be as good a pickup as you’ll find at this stage.
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Paul Sancya / Associated Press
If you’re looking for an edge in assists, Williams is your guy. In his past three games, the Blazers’ impromptu floor general has dished 8, 12 and 10 dimes.
He’s not one-dimensional, either, as he’s piled up 50 points (with 8 threes), 10 rebounds and 6 steals over that hot stretch.
The Blazers have two games left and Williams is the best-value point on the wire. If you need more points and threes upside from the position, though, the Thunder’s Theo Maledon is a great waiver candidate as well. If you’re in a deeper league and need steals, the Pistons’ Killian Hayes can also be considered.
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Brandon Dill / Associated Press
As the Pacers frontcourt deals with various injuries, Bitadze surges into the limelight. He’s missed three games due to injury himself since March 13, but his ceiling di lui has been obvious in the six games he’s played.
In those six games, Bitadze has scored double-digit points each match, while amassing nine-plus rebounds in three and three-plus stocks in four.
He’s also got a little range to his game, as the third-year center hit seven threes over that six-game stretch as well. The points and boards are nice, but a healthy Bitadze is providing unique value right now given the chance his three-point and defensive production continues.
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Adam Fondren / Associated Press
Last but not least, some managers might only need an edge in the three-point and points departments and, if so, McLemore is a top candidate.
Rostered in just 13 percent of leagues, the veteran wing has quietly hit two-plus threes in six consecutive games and scored double-digit points in eight straight. He adds on steals here and there, but most important is that McLemore has the green light on a bad team and isn’t afraid to shoot it.
He’s gotten hot, too, with three games hitting five-plus threes over the past eight. Against the Thunder on March 28, he totaled eight threes and 28 points — which is a ceiling that few can scoff at.
If you can’t stomach rostering a Blazer or don’t trust McLemore after years of watching him, you can go after the Clippers’ Luke Kennard instead. He’s another three-point specialist who’s been playing well and is widely available, but he has the perk of playing three more games instead of two.