Fantasy Basketball 2019: NBA Pickups to Watch After March 20

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2019

San Antonio Spurs' Jakob Poeltl of Austria plays against the Minnesota Timberwolves in an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

With most fantasy basketball owners in the midst of the semifinal round of the playoffs, this is a do-or-die week that could be won or lost based on the waiver-wire additions you make.

With four days remaining in the week, it should already be clear which categories should be targeted when it comes to deciding who to pick up. Also, it is ideal to find a player or players who have multiple games remaining this week in order to get the most out of your moves, especially if there is a weekly limit.

With a potential fantasy basketball finals berth on the line, here is a look at three players owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues who could make a significant difference for you the rest of this week across multiple categories.


Jakob Poeltl (27 percent owned in Yahoo fantasy leagues)

After primarily coming off the bench for much of the season, San Antonio Spurs big man Jakob Poeltl has been inserted into the starting lineup at center, and it has coincided with San Antonio's best run of the season.

While the Spurs fell 110-105 to the Miami Heat on Wednesday, they won nine in a row before that, and Poeltl's addition to the lineup played a major role.

According to Jeff Garcia of News 4 SA, head coach Gregg Popovich has been especially impressed with Poeltl's defensive play:

JeffGSpursZone @JeffGSpursZone

Popovich on J. Poeltl this season: "Now that he has been starting these games in a row, he’s starting to feel real comfortable and really helping us at the defensive end of the court."#GoSpursGo #NBA

Poeltl starting at center has allowed LaMarcus Aldridge to move to his natural position of power forward, and the team has thrived as a whole because of it.

The 23-year-old Poeltl's season-long numbers are modest with averages of 5.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game, but they have seen a significant jump lately. Over the past two weeks, Poeltl has been one of the top players in fantasy basketball with 6.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

It isn't always easy to find quality sources of rebounds and blocks on the waiver wire, but Poeltl has been precisely that. In back-to-back games against the New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers last week, Poeltl posted five blocks in each contest.

If you're locked in a close blocks battle or need a strong comeback in the category, Poeltl is perhaps the only player available who can get you some blocks in bunches, and that makes him highly valuable.

Poeltl will face the Houston Rockets on Friday and the Boston Celtics on Sunday, so don't hesitate to add him and get him in your lineup as a cheap source of boards and rejections.


Alex Caruso (13 percent owned in Yahoo fantasy leagues)

The 2018-19 season has been a miserable and disappointing one for the Los Angeles Lakers, but one of the few bright spots in recent weeks has been guard Alex Caruso.

Prior to this month, Caruso had played a grand total of 21 minutes this season. With guards Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball injured and the Lakers out of playoff contention, however, he has gotten every opportunity to show what he can do.

The former NBA G League journeyman has made the most of it and has been one of the Lakers' most productive players this month.

Over his past seven games, Caruso has shot 50 percent or better from the field five times and 50 percent or better from beyond the arc on four occasions. He has played 20 minutes or more in six of the past seven games, and over a three-game stretch from March 14 to March 17, he averaged nearly 15 points per game.

He was especially productive against the Knicks on March 17 with one of the NBA season's most unique lines, per Justin Russo of the Settle Down Podcast:

Justin Russo @FlyByKnite

Alex Caruso is the first player this season to have 5+ steals and 3+ blocks in a single game off the bench. Just like we all expected.

Against New York, Caruso had not only five steals and three blocks, but he also registered 12 points, three rebounds and two assists, which gives him appeal across all categories.

His follow-up performance against the Milwaukee Bucks wasn't great with just four points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 22 minutes on Tuesday, but there is still a lot to like about him as a waiver-wire add.

Over his past three games, Caruso is averaging a hearty three steals per game, so if you're lacking in that category in particular, Caruso is worth a look with games against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday and Sacramento Kings on Sunday.

Also, as a bonus, the Lakers play four games during the championship week, meaning he could be worth holding on to for the remainder of the season. 


Damyean Dotson (41 percent owned in Yahoo fantasy leagues)

One of the most under-the-radar great players in the NBA over the past few weeks has been Knicks guard Damyean Dotson, who is making a case to be a key player for the team next season even if it manages to make a big splash through the draft and free agency.

The 2017 second-round pick has been the go-to guy for a Knicks team that is limping to the finish line, and he has become a must-own fantasy player in the process.

Over his past six games, Dotson has scored 18 or more points five times, and he has shot 50 percent or better from the field in each of his past three games despite having a fairly high shot volume.

Dotson is pitching in across most categories, but he has been especially good from beyond the arc with three or more treys in six straight games, which is something that hasn't been done by a Knicks player in five years:

NY_KnicksPR @NY_KnicksPR

Damyean Dotson has hit at least three three pointers in six straight games. He’s the first Knick to accomplish the feat since JR Smith in 2013-14 and fifth all-time.

He has even made an impact in rebounds with six or more in four straight games from March 6 to March 12.

While Dotson can't necessarily always be counted on for rebounds or assists, he is your man if you need points and threes. The Knicks don't have much else right now, so there is nothing stopping him from jacking up shots and racking up points.

Over the past 14 days, Dotson is averaging 18.1 points, 3.0 threes, 3.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steals, which is a line that few others can boast.

With games against the Denver Nuggets on Friday and Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, pick Dotson up now and make him be a potentially huge factor in your team reaching the finals.