This article is part of our NBA Waiver Wire series.
The finish line is in sight. When making waiver wire moves at this late stage of the year, it's important to keep in mind which teams have something concrete to compete for. Players on teams with limited incentive to win often offer considerable upside, but sometimes the losing teams can be tough to predict down the stretch.
Last week's column included several players from non-playoff teams, while 12 of the 14 players featured in this week's edition suit up for squads that are projected to reach the playoffs or play-in tournament.
Roster percentages refer to Yahoo fantasy basketball leagues.
Bobby Portis, Bucks (51% rostered)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) left Thursday's loss to the lowly Rockets early in the first quarter and did not return. In his absence, Portis posted 10 points, 11 boards, four steals and three dimes in 24 minutes. He then followed up with 16 points, 14 boards and two steals Friday in Chicago. Portis provided excellent scoring and rebounding totals while the reigning two-time MVP missed time earlier in the year, and with Milwaukee virtually locked into third place in the Eastern Conference, Antetokounmpo might be rested fairly frequently down the stretch of the regular season. Milwaukee's Week 20 matchups (Nets, Wizards, Rockets) figure to be high-scoring affairs, though the three-game schedule – as well as an out-of-nowhere illness that kept him out of Sunday's game – is a mark against Portis.
Seth Curry, 76ers (50% rostered)
If nothing else, Curry remains a consistent source of scoring and threes, and he's not going to hurt your free-throw percentage. Philadelphia still has an outside shot of earning the East's top seed, so there's no reason to expect the team to take its foot off the gas—and with a four-game week ahead featuring friendly matchups against the Bulls, Rockets, Pelicans and Pistons, Curry is worth a look in most leagues. If you want a side of steals and blocks with your threes, fellow-76er Danny Green (40% rostered) might be the more appealing option, though he is in a bit of a funk offensively of late.
Goran Dragic, Heat (53% rostered)
During the last three contests, Dragic has combined for 35 points, 21 assists, 11 boards and four steals across 92 minutes of action. Even at this late stage of the regular season, everything is up in the air for the Heat. Miami could earn home-court advantage in round one of the playoffs, or it might have to take part in the play-in tournament. As such, there's no shortage of incentive for this squad to aim for a strong finish this season, which bodes well for Dragic's fantasy outlook.
Oshae Brissett, Pacers (50% rostered)
Brissett's per-game averages across the last six games (15.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.5 threes, 2.7 blocks, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steal) speak for themselves. Brissett played 40 minutes in Saturday's massive blowout win over the Thunder, despite Domantas Sabonis being active and playing a full complement of minutes himself. The eventual return of Goga Bitadze (ankle) could complicate things for Brissett, but he's played well enough to at least earn consistent looks down the stretch.
Keldon Johnson, Spurs (45% rostered)
With Derrick White (ankle) likely out for the season, Johnson is the most obvious beneficiary. Johnson's most productive month thus far this season was January, during which he averaged 15.1 points (50.2% FG, 34.1% 3PT, 75.4% FT), 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 31.2 minutes, while White appeared in only two games. Johnson has already scored in double figures in five straight games entering Sunday's matchup with the Sixers. For those in deeper formats, Lonnie Walker IV (6% rostered) is another young Spur who's likely to benefit from White's absence.
Khem Birch, Raptors (50% rostered)
Regular readers may recall Birch being recommended a couple weeks ago when he was widely available, despite a fairly strong start to his Raptors' tenure. Since then, he has broken out in a big way, establishing himself as the team's best center with Chris Boucher (knee) hurt. Over the last three outings, Birch has combined for 50 points and 32 boards, and he has been a quality source of boards, blocks and steals ever since he joined the team. Given the ongoing absence of Boucher, Birch should continue to see heavy minutes.
Marcus Morris Sr., Clippers (36% rostered)
Kawhi Leonard made his return to action Saturday night against Denver. However, it's unlikely that the team will push Leonard to play a ton of minutes prior to the postseason. As such, Morris, who poured in 20.0 points and 3.5 threes per game across a recent eight-game stretch, is a good bet to keep filling it up on offense over the next couple weeks.
Jeff Green, Nets (38% rostered)
Green has scored in double figures while earning 30-plus minutes in seven of the last nine games. He has also been a well-rounded contributor, pitching in decently across every category. Although Brooklyn boasts decent depth, Green has been relied upon pretty heavily this season. With the Nets trying to lock up the top seed in the conference, Green is likely to continue playing plenty of minutes down the stretch.
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Facundo Campazzo, Nuggets (21% rostered)
With Monte Morris and Will Barton both sidelined by hamstring injuries and Jamal Murray (knee) out for the season, Campazzo has gotten a lot of burn over the last handful of games. Across the last six contests, he's averaging 10.0 points, 6.8 dimes, 2.7 boards, 1.5 steals and 1.2 threes in 32.2 minutes. Denver's decision to keep Austin Rivers around may result in slightly less time for Campazzo going forward. Nevertheless, he still warrants consideration in most formats.
Jalen Brunson, Mavericks (25% rostered)
Brunson's season-long stats speak for themselves. He's both productive and efficient offensively—but doesn't offer much defensively. Dallas is fighting to avoid the play-in tournament, so Luka Doncic (sore elbow) might play through the pain down the stretch this season. While Brunson boasts more upside on nights that Doncic is held out, Brunson has proven himself a steady contributor.
Isaiah Roby, Thunder (27% rostered)
Even on young, injury-plagued, losing teams, someone has to stuff the stat sheet, right? Among the widely available Thunder players – including Moses Brown, Theo Maledon, Kenrich Williams and Aleksej Pokusevsk – Roby seemingly offers the best blend of upside and consistency. He moved into the starting five against Indiana on Saturday but offered little resistance in the 152-95 beatdown. Still, Roby is worth a look – in deeper formats, especially.
Kent Bazemore, Warriors (9% rostered)
With Kelly Oubre (wrist) still sidelined, Bazemore isn't a bad choice in deeper leagues. He has scored in double figures while earning at least 30 minutes in three of his last five appearances. Furthermore, Bazemore has combined for 29 points, 19 boards, nine steals, six treys, five dimes and three blocks across 68 minutes in two recent matchups against Washington and Minnesota. Golden State also has a four-game slate next week featuring friendly matchups against the Pelicans and Thunder (twice each).
Willy Hernangomez, Pelicans (6% rostered)
Steven Adams aggravated his toe injury in his last appearance and has missed the last two games. Hernangomez took advantage of the opportunity to log a pair of starts and register a double-double in each. He played 29 minutes against the Thunder on Thursday and posted 13 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and a block. Then, in Saturday's overtime win over Minnesota, Hernangomez went for 12 points and 12 rebounds in 27 minutes. If Adams misses any more time – he's questionable for Monday – Hernangomez is a significantly more reliable short-term option than teammate Jaxson Hayes.
Bryn Forbes, Bucks (4% rostered)
Forbes finished with a career-high 30 points in Thursday's loss to the Rockets before putting up his second career double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) against Chicago on Friday night. He has the greenest of green lights from the moment he enters games, and though he's only helpful in two categories (scoring and threes), he's connecting on a career-high 44.0 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc this season. Moreover, Milwaukee's starting shooting guard, Donte DiVincenzo, has been struggling lately, and he's coming off of a scoreless effort in 30 minutes Sunday against Brooklyn. Like Portis, Forbes is hurt by the Bucks' three-game week, but if you're in dire need of threes he's an option to consider.