It’s officially crunch time. For head to head players, there are only a few weeks left in the Fantasy Basketball regular season before the playoffs begin. Whether you’re chasing that final playoff spot or you need depth to help you win it all, you’ve come to the right place. Of course it wouldn’t be a normal season without key injuries down the stretch. Anthony Davis is dealing with a toe injury, Danilo Gallinari has an ankle issue, and Michael Carter-Williams has patellar tendinitis. If your team hasn’t suffered from injuries and your’e already set for the playoffs, you could just loop Steph Curry’s shot from the weekend over and over. Many consider Thunder vs. Warriors “Game of the Year” and there isn’t much argument there.
Gallinari is expected to miss up to a month with two torn lateral ligaments in his right ankle. Obviously Will “The Thrill” Barton and Kenneth Faried will see a spike in usage while he’s out but so will Gary Harris. Harris has made strides during his second full season as a pro and despite being just 21 years old; he’s proven to be efficient already. Although he’s averaging nearly four 3-point attempts per game, he’s shooting an impressive 45.9-percent from the field overall, fourth best amongst shooting guards in the league. That mark ranks above names like Jimmy Butler, Bradley Beal and DeMar DeRozan. While his season has been up and down in terms of consistency, he’s been much better as of late. He’s scored 14 or more points in six of his last eight games. Not only is he impressive on the offensive side of the ball, but he also racks up steals. He’s had at least one steal in eight of his last nine games and is averaging 1.3 takeaways per game. That mark also ranks him in the Top 10 at the shooting guard position. Harris is very efficient already in his career, and if nothing else he will contribute points, steals and a solid field-goal percentage for those in category leagues. If he’s available in 10-team leagues or deeper, he shouldn’t be.
Looking Deeper: As we continue on the Phoenix Suns starting lineup carousel, their newest starting point guard is 32-year old Ronnie Price. There’s nothing sexy about this pickup but his consistent minutes mean he can be a factor in 14-team leagues or deeper. Over the past four games, he’s averaging 12.8 points, three assists, 1.5 steals, and two 3-pointers per night. Keep in mind the Suns’ lineup could change at any point but while Price is in, he should be owned. He’ll be able to chip in some points, steals and 3-point shooting for the time being.
Although I just bashed the Suns for constantly changing lineups and their distribution of minutes, this next guy is a must-own based on recent performance. Mirza Teletovic has been on fire in the desert and is a perfect replacement for somebody who just lost Gallinari. He has the same position eligibility as Gallo and does a lot of the same things on the court. Teletovic is a great shooter, especially from deep, and he has upped his rebounding as of late. Since February 4, Teletovic is averaging 17.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, and three 3-pointers made per game on 43-percent shooting from downtown. With the Suns having nothing to play for at this point, Teletovic likely has the green light off the bench to shoot and try and score as much as he wants. He isn’t doing it in reckless fashion, however. Despite his career-high usage rate of 22.9-percent this season, Teletovic owns a career-best 58.7-percent true shooting percentage. That is truly the mark of a great player. As he’s earned a bigger role and more responsibility, he’s thrived and took off in that role. Let’s consider Teletovic the resurrection of Gallinari and therefore, he should be owned in 10-team leagues or deeper.
Looking Deeper: Much like his teammate from last week’s waiver wire (Lance Stephenson) P.J. Hairston has a fresh start in Memphis despite only being a second-year player. He’s been inserted in the starting lineup and has not looked back. In three of the last four games he’s scored 14 or more points while adding eleven 3-pointers during that span. Hairston played at UNC and proved to be a scorer there as well, averaging 14.6 points per game during his sophomore year. His shooting can be erratic at times, but in 14-team leagues or deeper, beggars can’t be choosers. He will provide points and 3-point shooting while chipping in some rebounds.
David Lee was bought out by the Boston Celtics recently and has found a home in Dallas. The Mavericks are trying to hold onto their playoff spot in the Western Conference and absolutely needed some depth in the frontcourt. Picking up Lee was a no-brainer and honestly he fit the mold of their team: players 31 years old or older. In all seriousness, Lee is getting decent minutes and has made the most of them so far. In two of the three games where he played 22 or more minutes, he was great. In one game he had a legitimate double-double with 14 points on 6-10 shooting to go along with 14 rebounds. In his next game he just missed another double-double, scoring 13 points while adding nine rebounds. Lee could definitely still play and it’s surprising he didn’t have a role in Boston or somewhere else. He’s going to provide efficient points, helping out field-goal percentages while adding an above-average amount of rebounds for a bench player. He should be looked at in 12-team leagues and if you’re desperate for rebounds, even 10-team leagues.
Looking Deeper: Outside of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum this season, the Blazers have been a mess in terms of consistency and roles. While I’ve been clamoring for Meyers Leonard to see more minutes, it hasn’t happened. Somebody who does receive pretty consistent playing time, however, and is a rebounding machine, is Ed Davis. The scoring is erratic but the rebound and blocks numbers are always there for the 26-year old. He has a block in seven of his last eight with multiple blocks in a game on four different occasions. He’s also corralled nine or more rebounds in three straight. It may not sound like much, but role players like this are needed to compete in deeper leagues. If you need help in those statistical categories in 14-team leagues or deeper, Davis is your guy.