Elfrid Payton among top fantasy basketball free-agent finds

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Working the waiver wire is pivotal to succeeding in fantasy basketball. With so many games, injuries and endless shifts in rotations throughout the marathon campaign, we'll need to source stats from free agency to maximize imaginary rosters.

A willingness to entertain competition for the last few spots on your fantasy hoops roster can prove rewarding. When curating this fluid collective of statistical contributors, it helps to consider your end-of-bench players in direct competition with the talent floating in free agency.

The goal of this weekly series is to identify players available in at least half of ESPN leagues at each position. Some nominations are specialists capable of helping in one or two categories, while others deliver more diverse and important statistical offerings. In the breakdowns below, I've ordered players at each position with the priority of acquisition in mind, rather than roster percentage in ESPN leagues.

Point guard

Reggie Jackson, Detroit Pistons (Rostered in 46.7% of ESPN leagues): I've been endorsing Jackson since his return to the floor a few weeks back, and he's been productive in averaging 16.8 PPG, 2.5 3PG and 3.8 APG in nearly 29 MPG during the past week. A recent groin injury to Derrick Rose and the potential for him to be dealt this week ahead of the trade deadline could create a great deal of value for Jackson.

Elfrid Payton, New York Knicks (47.5%): Nearly averaging a triple-double during his past several appearances while regularly topping 30 minutes of action, Payton has revived his fantasy stock and remains an underappreciated option at point guard. For some context, only Trae Young and Damian Lillard have averaged more than the 9.8 assists Payton has during the past five games.

Shabazz Napier, Minnesota Timberwolves (38.2%): Tenth in the league during the past five games with 8.2 dimes per contest, and with more than two steals per game during the past week, Napier is proving there is more to his game than variant scoring results.

Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks (20.1%): An awesome interim addition while Luka Doncic is ailing, Brunson just produced his first career game with at least 25 points and five dimes this past Saturday in an expanded creation role.

Shooting guard

Tomas Satoransky, Chicago Bulls (48.0%): A versatile blend of production helps offset modest scoring output from Satoransky, as he's tallied strong assist, steal and 3-point rates during the past two weeks.

Donte DiVincenzo, Milwaukee Bucks (22.6%): Only Kris Dunn and Dejounte Murray rank ahead of DiVincenzo in steal percentage this season, while his recent surge in shooting and rebounding success helps create a meaningful fantasy profile even in a bench role for the Bucks.

Josh Hart, New Orleans Pelicans (36.8%): Atypically awesome production on the glass from a backcourt role helps Hart remain relevant for fantasy purposes despite working from a bench role for the Pelicans.

Bruce Brown, Detroit Pistons (12.1%): Nearly registering a triple-double this past Sunday against Denver, Brown has flashed impressive passing production whenever Rose has been ailing (as was the case Sunday). Like Jackson, a move involving Rose would vault Brown's fantasy stock.

Small forward

Glenn Robinson III, Golden State Warriors (32.8%): While he's a candidate to be dealt by Golden State, Robinson has been valuable in his current role as a busy wing for the Warriors.

Danuel House Jr., Houston Rockets (27.6%): Catch-and-shoot 3-point opportunities drive value for House, who is adding to his profile with a recent surge in success on the boards. If Clint Capela is dealt, House could enjoy a Hart-like leap in rebounding value.

Chandler Hutchison, Chicago Bulls (2.4%): Injuries have ravaged the Bulls' frontcourt for much of the season, leading to an uptick in usage for Hutchison. The Boise State product has averaged nearly 14 PPG during the past week to go with helpful defensive rates.

Power forward

Taurean Prince, Brooklyn Nets (38.0%): The Nets need Prince's floor spacing and scoring pop, given the dearth of options at power forward on the roster. Prince has impressively netted 1.7 SPG the past week, making him more than merely a scoring and shooting option.

Dorian-Finney Smith, Dallas Mavericks (13.3%): Shares of DFS and teammate Maxi Kleber, who has become a great source of blocks, could prove helpful with Dwight Powell out for the rest of the season. Smith does just enough as a shooter and defender to help offset modest scoring results.

Marquese Chriss, Golden State Warriors (11.7%): Posting 1.7 BPG during the past week is impressive enough to secure shares of Chriss, given how scarce blocks are. If the Warriors deal off several forwards and wings this week as they seek longer-term assets, Chriss could become even more interesting for fantasy managers.

Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors (3.9%): One of those players who doesn't need much burn to produce solid stats, Boucher has netted 1.8 combined steals and blocks during the past week despite playing just 18 MPG.


Nerlens Noel, Oklahoma City Thunder (22.5%): One of the best per-minute defensive forces in the league, Noel is finally getting more exposure, and the results are quite fun; he's averaged three combined steals and blocks during the past week.

Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets (43.5%): With double-doubles in two of his past three outings and an atypically strong steal rate for a big man, Zeller has a consistent role for Charlotte, leading to steady fantasy value for the veteran center.

Christian Wood, Detroit Pistons (23.3%): Like Toronto's Boucher, Wood can somehow deliver helpful lines even when regularly playing fewer than 20 minutes. When he does get additional time, Wood becomes a real force, but for now, he's still a nice source of steals and blocks for those in deeper formats.