Waiver watch: Look to Richaun Holmes

Richaun Holmes is putting fantasy managers on his back at the right time. Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

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 at each position widely available in free agency in ESPN leagues. 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 men's basketball leagues.

Point guard

Scoot Henderson, Portland Trail Blazers (Rostered in 51.5% of ESPN leagues): Buried deep in the standings for yet another spring, the Trail Blazers are turning to their prospects to develop some momentum for the franchise heading into the summer. Henderson's rough rookie season could end on a high note given he's been tallying stronger numbers in recent games and should often see at least 30 minutes of run in these final days of the marathon.

Keyonte George, Utah Jazz (17.5%): After posting some absurd scoring performances, things have calmed for George recently. Even with a more reasonable offensive bandwidth, George is a worthy pickup given what should be a very busy role at the helm of the Utah offense in the final weeks of the season.

Miles McBride, New York Knicks (3.3%): When coach Tom Thibodeau likes a player, he really shows it via heavy usage and playing time. Such is the case with McBride lately, who is on the floor all the time for the Knicks the past week. Given this uptick in trust, McBride's shooting savvy could continue to surface.

Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics (11.6%): The Celtics are the top seed in the East and have the best record in the league, which in part can afford the team the ability to rest and restore their veteran backcourt stars down the stretch. With tons of minutes lately, Pritchard has responded with starting-caliber point guard production.

Shooting guard

Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (35.6%): Driving and shooting with new levels of confidence and success, Dosunmu brings scoring, steals and assists to fantasy managers willing to trust that his recent leap is sustainable for the final 20 days of the season.

Amen Thompson, Houston Rockets (33.6%): The shot is still quite immature in the context of the caliber this league demands, but essentially everything is quite mature for this rookie. He can compile steals, blocks, boards, and dimes in any given box score. The other angle is that Cam Whitmore is ailing and Alperen Sengun's injury adds to Thompson's run as a small-ball forward.

Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors (27.9%): When the shot is falling and the minutes are flowing, Trent is a fun fantasy option. Such is the case in recent games for a depleted Raptors rotation, as this veteran 3-and-D contributor is busy as ever and valuably has eligibility at both backcourt spots in ESPN formats.

Keon Ellis, Sacramento Kings (3.0%): Can Ellis score at an NBA level? No really, it's not clear. What is clear, though, is that he's a feisty defender and rare shot-blocker at his size and experience. If Kevin Heurter is out, Ellis is a nice deep-league get.

Small forward

Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans (34.2%): Fifth among the most-added small forwards over the past week in ESPN leagues, Jones' popularity stems from rare defensive rates. Think of him as if Matisse Thybulle was capable on offense.

Kyle Anderson, Minnesota Timberwolves (26.5%): A theme of this week might be to consider players who are valuable to your fantasy roster despite a lack of pure scoring pop; Anderson is absolutely in this mold. The versatile point-forward veteran regularly can compile dimes and boards but simply isn't a savvy scorer. Teammate Jaden McDaniels (10.0%) has been better on offense lately, while his elite defensive rates are as loud as ever.

Aaron Nesmith, Indiana Pacers (11.0%): A season-ending injury to Bennedict Mathurin means Nesmith is going to be busy for the Pacers the rest of the way. This roster is light on size and shooting at the wing given injuries and deadline results, which plays into a sense of sustainability for Nesmith.

Power forward

Naz Reid, Minnesota Timberwolves (57.0%): This team produces several relevant pickups, an impressive sign of depth during one of the best years in franchise history. The injury to Karl-Anthony Towns means Reid will be on the floor a lot in the final games as the resident floor-spacer and complementary big aside Rudy Gobert.

Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs (25.5%): Eligible at both power forward and point guard, Sochan is an active defender and improving scorer. There is real value in the positional optionality given the ability for managers to plug him all over the roster amid the flurry of late lineup changes we find at this time of the season.

GG Jackson, Memphis Grizzlies (14.9%): A surprisingly strong rookie season from Jackson has been a key positive for the Grizzlies amid an otherwise lost campaign. A huge line against the Warriors and his AAU mentor Chris Paul got Jackson some fun attention, while fantasy managers will want to afford him a look for his steady minutes and impressively efficient scoring touch. Teammate Santi Aldama (16.0%) is similarly a nightly double-double threat for this depleted front court.


Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Knicks (40.4%): Thibs loves him some Hartenstein, and for good reason; the big man is an active defender and gifted rebounder. Even as his playing time isn't as heavy as earlier in the season, the production remains really special, particularly in category leagues that value defensive volume.

Kelly Olynyk, Toronto Raptors (26.8%): A gifted passer with a recent 10-dime showing to validate such praise, Olynyk is a hub for the Toronto offense and capable of delivering immense value even when not scoring much.

Richaun Holmes, Washington Wizards (2.2%): A recent uptick in minutes has resulted in some big lines, namely a massive double-double against Olynyk's Raptors. Can he keep up as a key contributor? Time will tell, but the Wizards' light depth chart at center is certainly in his favor.

Special teams: This section focuses on specialists; players who flash in a singular category and can provide specific value to those in category and roto formats. Nominations are based on which category such players are helpful in and will rotate throughout the season. 3-pointers: The Grizzlies' Jackson isn't just a young rookie, he's also on an awesome shooting bender that has him ninth in added value via 3-pointers on the Player Rater over the past two weeks. The Suns' Grayson Allen (48.0%) has been a very popular waiver add the past month as he continues on a career shooting season. The Wizards' Corey Kispert (5.2%) doesn't offer much beyond shooting, but at least he's thriving at his best NBA skill.

Steals: The Kings' Ellis is a larcenous defender, while Hartenstein is the choice among centers for such defensive prowess. Henderson is also rising on defense, confirmed by sitting seventh in added value via steals the past two weeks.

Rebounds: The Pistons are empowering James Wiseman (7.4%) in recent games and his rebounding numbers are surfacing at helpful levels. Wendell Carter Jr. (45.5) is also seeing some success on the boards the last 15 days.

Blocks: Paul Reed (11.4%) hasn't fully earned the trust of the staff for Philadelphia, but his block rate is at least of real help for those in deeper leagues. Minnesota's Reed isn't just spacing the floor on offense, he's also collapsing on shooters on the other side of the floor.