Fantasy Basketball

Waiver Wire Watch: Mid-Semifinals Edition

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Monday marks the midway point of the fantasy basketball semifinals, which means it’s time to make some drastic moves if you find yourself trailing significantly.

Are you still clinging to a high-end draft pick who hasn’t performed nearly at his expected level? (Here’s looking at you, Serge Ibaka.) Are you still holding out hope for Chris Bosh or Blake Griffin to make a miraculous return this week? (The latter still has to serve a four-game suspension, so there’s zero chance of that.)

Whatever the case may be, you can’t be afraid of a radical roster shakeup. Sure, someone may very well scoop up one of the underperforming players you drop based on name value alone, but box-score production is the only thing that’ll help you advance in the coming days. If a big-name stud isn’t getting it done but a no-name afterthought on the waiver wire is, well, ball don’t lie.

Assuming you do have a spot or two at the end of your fantasy roster for a streamer, here’s a look at five such potential pickups, all of who are owned in fewer than 50 percent of leagues. Check out the bottom of this piece for five players owned in 50 percent or more of leagues who can be dropped, too.

Bojan Bogdanovic, SG/SF, Brooklyn Nets (40.6% owned)

Anyone who had to play against Bojan Bogdanovic this past week is already well aware of how hot the Nets swingman has been in recent days. Over his past four contests, the Croatian sophomore averaged 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 triples in 33.0 minutes a night, punctuated by a career-high 44-point eruption against the hapless Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.

Bogdanovic made an appearance on the Waiver Wire Watch two weeks ago, as Joe Johnson’s departure from Brooklyn opened the door for him to end the year with a bang. While another 44-point outing might not be in the books — prior to that, his personal best was a 28-point night against Orlando on the final day of the 2014-15 season — anyone in need of points and triples should give Bogdanovic a long look.

Bismack Biyombo, C, Toronto Raptors (37.6% owned)

When Jonas Valanciunas suffered a left hand contusion Monday against the Chicago Bulls, it gave Bismack Biyombo a chance to become a short-term playoff wild card. The shot-swatting Congolese big man moved into the Raptors’ starting lineup the following night and averaged 10.7 points on 70.6 percent shooting, an eye-popping 16.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks a night over Toronto’s next three contests.

Valanciunas was active Friday but didn’t play, so his return appears at least somewhat imminent, and he’s available to play against the Orlando Magic on Sunday. Even so, Valanciunas still may not play again, and Biyombo can still be a solid contributor if you’re in need of help in points, field goal percentage, rebounds or blocks. 

Michael Beasley, SF, Houston Rockets (30.9% owned)

After signing with the Houston Rockets earlier this month, it only took Michael Beasley a few games to work his way into regular minutes, providing some serious scoring punch to Houston’s second unit. Over his past six games, the former No. 2 overall pick has averaged 17.8 points on 57.5 percent shooting, 7.0 rebounds, 0.7 steals, 0.5 blocks, 0.5 assists and 0.3 triples in just 21.7 minutes a night, earning serious praise from interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff in the process.

“With him, the thought when Michael came on board was he’s a guy who can flat-out score the ball,” Bickerstaff said last week, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “You can just give it to him and get out of the way. Or he can offensive rebound it. With that second group, his ability to create a bucket…he’s another guy when James is out, you can give him the ball and let him go to work.” If your squad is in need of some scoring pop, Beasley might very well be the best available option. 

D.J. Augustin, PG, Denver Nuggets (26.5% owned)

When the Oklahoma City Thunder sent D.J. Augustin to the Denver Nuggets at the trade deadline in a package for Randy Foye, it largely flew under the fantasy radar. One month later, Augustin has managed to supplant Jameer Nelson as the Nuggets’ backup point guard, averaging 13.3 points on 46.6 percent shooting, 4.7 assists, 2.0 rebounds, 1.9 triples and 0.9 steals in just 24.4 minutes a night during his first 16 games in Denver.

The 28-year-old has been particularly hot of late, stringing together five straight double-digit scoring outings to go with at least seven assists in three of those contests. If you’re in need of assists, steals, treys or points — and don’t mind an occasional clunker in field goal percentage — Augustin is showing no signs of slowing down, having played at least 25 minutes in all but one of his past five games.

Josh Richardson, SG, Miami Heat (12.7% owned)

Out of nowhere, rookie 2-guard Josh Richardson has become the Miami Heat’s version of Stephen Curry. After lighting up the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting (including four triples), the former Tennessee Volunteer has now banged home 22 of his past 30 three-point attempts, chipping in 13.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.9 blocks per night over that eight-game span.

Season-ending injuries to Tyler Johnson and Beno Udrih forced the Heat to throw Richardson into the fire headfirst, but Joe Johnson’s presence as a steadying member of the starting five has allowed the rookie to thrive in his reserve role. There’s zero chance of him maintaining this type of efficiency from deep — hell, even Curry is only shooting around 46 percent from beyond the arc — but owners shouldn’t hesitate to ride him while he’s this scorching hot. 

Mentioned in previous weeks

JaMychal Green, PF, Memphis Grizzlies (37.7% owned)

Jeff Green, SF/PF, Los Angeles Clippers (37.1% owned)

Taj Gibson, PF/C, Chicago Bulls (35.1% owned)

Matt Barnes, SF, Memphis Grizzlies (32.8% owned)

Ian Mahinmi, C, Indiana Pacers (29.2% owned)

Deeper-league adds

Hollis Thompson, SF, Philadelphia 76ers (11.8% owned)

Jusuf Nurkic, C, Denver Nuggets (6.5% owned)

Brandon Bass, PF, Los Angeles Lakers (6.3% owned)

Marreese Speights, PF/C, Golden State Warriors (6.0% owned)

Darrell Arthur, PF, Denver Nuggets (3.2% owned)


Blake Griffin, PF, Los Angeles Clippers (86.0% owned)

Tim Duncan, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs (75.4% owned)

Chris Bosh, PF/C, Miami Heat (72.7% owned)

Zaza Pachulia, C, Dallas Mavericks (60.8% owned)

Arron Afflalo, SG, New York Knicks (54.0% owned)

All player rankings via ESPN’s Player Rater and are current through Saturday, March 19.

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