Centers of Attention: Five Big Men to Add Down the Stretch

Centers of Attention: Five Big Men to Add Down the Stretch

While many head-to-head fantasy basketball leagues are over by the conclusion of Week 24, those in roto leagues are still battling it out to the end. This can be a tough stretch to manage with injuries mounting and teams resting players down the stretch. Deploying your best players doesn't always work. With that in mind, you might need some help at center off the waiver wire to get across the finish line. Here are some players who are still available in the majority of Yahoo leagues who could provide value.

Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards

Bryant just makes this list since he is still available in 51 percent of leagues. When Dwight Howard (back) went down early in the season, the Wizards had to rely on Bryant for production. He went through a valuable stretch in which he averaged 11.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks across 35 games as a member of the starting five. He was also a major asset with his percentages, shooting 63.7 percent from the field and 80.6 percent from the charity stripe during that time frame.

The Wizards then made a deal with the Bulls that brought back Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis. Portis started to eat into Bryant's playing time and eventually took over for him as the starting center. However, with nothing left to play for at this point, the Wizards have decided to give Bryant another chance as a starter. Through three games since they made that move, he's averaged

While many head-to-head fantasy basketball leagues are over by the conclusion of Week 24, those in roto leagues are still battling it out to the end. This can be a tough stretch to manage with injuries mounting and teams resting players down the stretch. Deploying your best players doesn't always work. With that in mind, you might need some help at center off the waiver wire to get across the finish line. Here are some players who are still available in the majority of Yahoo leagues who could provide value.

Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards

Bryant just makes this list since he is still available in 51 percent of leagues. When Dwight Howard (back) went down early in the season, the Wizards had to rely on Bryant for production. He went through a valuable stretch in which he averaged 11.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks across 35 games as a member of the starting five. He was also a major asset with his percentages, shooting 63.7 percent from the field and 80.6 percent from the charity stripe during that time frame.

The Wizards then made a deal with the Bulls that brought back Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis. Portis started to eat into Bryant's playing time and eventually took over for him as the starting center. However, with nothing left to play for at this point, the Wizards have decided to give Bryant another chance as a starter. Through three games since they made that move, he's averaged 15.3 points and 8.3 rebounds. While the Wizards only have six games remaining following the conclusion of play Wednesday, Bryant could still provide plenty of value in those contests.

Ivica Zubac, Los Angeles Clippers

Even after they traded away Tobias Harris, the Clippers have clinched a spot in the Western Conference playoffs. In fact, they have gone 15-4 since the trade deadline. Part of the reason for their success might be that they have finally settled down the center spot. Montrezl Harrell has played extremely well off the bench, but bouncing back and forth between Marcin Gortat and Boban Marjanovic was not helping their starting unit. Enter Zubac, who has started each of his 19 games with the team.

Zubac has seen an increase in playing time compared to his days with the Lakers, but he's still not playing a ton at 20 minutes a night. However, that hasn't stopped him from being productive. He's averaging 8.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocks while shooting 50 percent from the field since joining the team.

The Clippers still have seven games on their schedule, including a couple of favorable matchups against the Cavaliers and Lakers. Currently available in 76 percent of leagues, Zubac is a viable target on waivers.

Zach Collins, Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers suffered a crushing blow to their hopes of making a long run in the playoffs when Jusuf Nurkic (lower leg) was lost for the season during Monday's game against the Nets. He's been a force up front, averaging career-highs points (15.6), rebounds (10.4) and assists (3.2). They still have eight games left following play Wednesday, so he was set up nicely for a productive finish to the year.

The player who is likely impacted the most by his injury is Enes Kanter, who should assume his role in the starting five. However, he's rostered in 75 percent of leagues already, so he's likely not a viable waiver wire target. Another player who will likely receive more playing time is Collins. His upside isn't nearly as high as Kanter's, but he's averaged 8.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks across 23 games in which he has logged at least 20 minutes this season. Kanter is the more natural replacement for Nurkic, but Collins is the far superior defender.

Among their final eight games, the Blazers have matchups scheduled with the bad defensive teams in the Hawks, Timberwolves, Lakers and Kings. Collins is available in 84 percent of leagues and shouldn't be overlooked.

Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs have all but locked up a playoff spot, but they still have plenty left to play for. They enter Wednesday as the eighth seed in the West and are only two games away from jumping all the way up to the fifth seed. At the very least, they'd likely love to move up to the sixth spot to avoid the Warriors and the Nuggets in the first round.

The Spurs are playing well as the playoffs approach, which can somewhat be attributed to them giving more playing time to Poeltl. He's only averaged 16 minutes a game for the season, but he's averaged 24 minutes across his last 12 contests with Pau Gasol no longer on the team. He's been serviceable during that stretch by averaging 6.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while shooting a stellar 67.2 percent from the field. Currently available in 77 percent of leagues, Poeltl has some upside with the Spurs set to play seven more times. It's a great schedule, as well, with their opponents including the Cavaliers, Kings, Hawks, Wizards and Mavericks.

Christian Wood, New Orleans Pelicans

Wood spent the last few months tearing up the G League, but he was never able to crack a deep Bucks rotation. Milwaukee eventually decided to waive him, and the Pelicans swiftly claimed him. While he logged just eight minutes in his debut against the Rockets on Sunday, Wood played 32 minutes against the Hawks on Tuesday with Anthony Davis (back) out of the lineup. Wood didn't just play well, he destroyed the Hawks with 23 points, nine rebounds, three steals and six blocks.

It's pretty safe to assume that whenever Davis is out, Wood has a chance to log significant playing time. However, the Pelicans only have six games remaining, none of which are played on consecutive days. If you're in a deep league and desperate, adding Wood off of one good performance isn't a crazy idea, especially with matchups against the Kings, Lakers, Hornets and Suns on tap. However, he might be better utilized in leagues with daily transactions so you can move him in and out of the lineup based on Davis' status.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Barner
Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. In 2018, he was a finalist for the FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Mike also won the 2022-23 FSGA NBA Experts Champions league. In addition to RotoWire, Mike has written for Sportsline, Sports Illustrated, DK Live, RealTime Fantasy Sports, Lineup Lab and KFFL.com.
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