Waiver Watcher: Quality pickups before playoffs begin

Published March 3, 2022, 3:00 PMJon Carlos Rodriguez

Fantasy playoffs are just around the corner! Check out this list of players who can boost your lineups.

Grant Williams - SF, PF (6% rostered)

Season Average: 7.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 24 minutes

It has been an up-and-down season for Grant Williams, but with Jaylen Brown’s recent ankle sprain, he might be turning a corner. Williams isn’t the type to light it up (he hasn’t scored more than 18 points this season), but he does a little bit of everything across the board to be serviceable, at the very least.

He just matched his season-high of 18 against the Atlanta Hawks, in the game where Brown only played a couple of minutes and went out with the ankle injury. With the playoffs coming around, the Boston Celtics might be cautious with Brown. That might help Williams’ fantasy stock. Keep one eye out for Jaylen Brown updates and the other on Grant Williams.

Malachi Flynn - PG, SG (9% rostered)

Season Average: 3.7 points, 1.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.6 3s, 38.7% FG

There are two reasons why Malachi Flynn shouldn’t stay on the waiver wire of your fantasy league. First, the Toronto Raptors are banged up. Second, their leading scorer and All-Star Fred VanVleet is among those banged up. Flynn should be the one to step up in the event he misses more games.

Add a third reason: Flynn is capable of being a reliable go-to guy. He’s done it in the Raptors’ last two games against the Brooklyn Nets. This is his line on one of those games: 18-4-5, plus two steals and three 3s. In the other game, he had this line: 15-6-8. In both games, Flynn played heavy minutes north of 30 while efficiently shooting the ball from the field (64 percent and 55 percent). Best of all, both games were wins for Toronto. Pick up Flynn because this is no fluke.

Gabe Vincent - PG, SG (12% rostered)

Season Average: 9.4 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.9 steals, 42.6% FG, 24 minutes

Gabe Vincent has been getting healthy minutes as of late, and he’s been making the most out of it. In his last two games, he’s averaging 16 points, two rebounds, and three assists per game without any turnovers–not bad for someone who’s only 12 percent rostered.

If the Miami Heat keep it safe by letting Kyle Lowry sit a couple of games down the stretch, then now is the perfect time to pick up Vincent. He won’t be giving you much outside of the occasional double-digit points with a trickle of assists, but he won’t be hurting your team either. 

Cedi Osman - SF, PF (9% rostered)

Season Average: 11.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 42.4% FG, 23 minutes

If you’re a fantasy manager who’s always on the waiver wire lookout, chances are you’ve already rostered Cedi Osman at one point in the season. Then dropped him. Then picked him up again. Then dropped him again. 

Now, we’re at the pick-up point again. The Cavs are, unfortunately, dealing with injuries to Darius Garland and Caris LeVert. Fortunately for them, they are safe in the standings and have guys like Osman who’ve been ready all season long to step up when needed. He proved it again in the Cavs’ last game, dropping 21 points on five 3s, adding five assists and a steal. If Garland and LeVert continue to sit for the coming weeks for playoff precaution, then it’s time once again for Osman to shine.

Lonnie Walker IV - SG, SF (20% rostered)

Season Average: 11.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.5 3s, 40.5% FG, 23 minutes

Lonnie Walker IV–just like in real life–has pretty much bounced around the whole season. On the court, it’s his athleticism; in fantasy hoops, it’s his inconsistency. If he’s been dropped in your league because of that fact, then this is the time to swoop in and take a gamble on him.

In the San Antonio Spurs’ last three games, Walker scored 23, 22, and 22. He didn’t do much else except for a couple of rebounds, but other stats isn’t why you want Walker. You want him for the elite points, low-end 3s, low turnovers, and decent percentages. That’s it. The Spurs are still in contention to get in the Play-In Tournament, which could open up a small window for Walker to cook. It’s time to pick him up (again).