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Fantasy basketball waiver-wire finds: Jae'Sean Tate, T.J. McConnell among key pickups

With DeMarcus Cousins out of Houston, the door is wide open for Jae'Sean Tate to be a reliable source of fantasy basketball stats. Jesse D. Garrabrant/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 available in roughly half of ESPN leagues at each position (although I will make some exceptions). 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

T.J. McConnell, Indiana Pacers (Rostered in 38.4% of ESPN leagues): Dynamic defensive and passing production helps offset sleepy scoring numbers from McConnell, as the guard has averaged 4.5 dimes to go with three combined steals and blocks the past week and paces the entire league in steal percentage this season.

Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs (24.1%): Once the team can resume play after some COVID-19 issues, White can continue to provide fantasy managers with a fun blend of scoring and defensive production.

Patrick Beverley, LA Clippers (12.6%): You will endure some ugly offensive outings from Beverley, but overall, he can net helpful defensive rates, as the bulldog guard is averaging 1.7 combined blocks and steals on the season.

Facundo Campazzo, Denver Nuggets (4.0%): A dazzling passer and helpful complementary shooter for Denver's rotation, Campazzo has compiled two steals in five of his past seven appearances and has scored in double figures in five straight.

Shooting guard

Gary Trent Jr., Portland Trail Blazers (49.5%): Maybe this will be Trent's final appearance in this space, as he's rostered in nearly half of all leagues, thanks to some brilliant scoring and shooting metrics since CJ McCollum's injury. With McCollum likely sidelined until at least the All-Star break, Trent should continue to start and shine for Portland as a high-volume 3-point shooter next to Damian Lillard.

Kendrick Nunn, Miami Heat (44.7%): Serving a critical role as a complementary playmaker and scoring force for Miami with Goran Dragic sidelined, Nunn has recovered from a slow start to the season with a solid stretch of production that includes double-digit scoring performances in eight of his past nine outings.

Josh Hart, New Orleans Pelicans (19.3%): One of the best rebounding guards in the league, Hart has added efficient scoring to his repertoire recently. Playing in crunch-time lineups for New Orleans in recent games, Hart could truly ascend to fantasy stardom if the team deals Lonzo Ball by the deadline.

Cam Reddish, Atlanta Hawks (17.0%): A theme this week on the waiver wire seems to be appreciating defensive contributions, as Reddish has averaged 2.8 combined steals and blocks the past week as the primary defensive stopper on the perimeter for Atlanta.

David Nwaba, Houston Rockets (1.7%): Posting 16.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per 36 minutes whenever Victor Oladipo and Christian Wood are off the floor this season, Nwaba brings needed defensive and interior toughness to the floor for Houston in such scenarios.

Small forward

Josh Jackson, Detroit Pistons (29.8%): Since the beginning of February, Jackson has slashed for 16.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.4 APG, and 1.6 combined steals and blocks in 28 MPG. Detroit's new sixth man has thrived in the wake of Derrick Rose being dealt and will enjoy even more solid usage with Blake Griffin on the shelf.

Jae'Sean Tate, Houston Rockets (20.1%): Solid production during the past eight games reveals how versatile Tate can prove as Houston's "glue guy." Tate has averaged 13.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.3 APG, and 1.5 combined blocks and steals the past eight games.

Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons (28.0%): This rookie out of Villanova is seeing plenty of run lately with the team shifting its focus to empowering its young talent. Bey has played at least 30 minutes in four straight games, all starts, and could prove helpful for those in need of shooting and scoring from the wing.

Luguentz Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder (19.4%): A recent uptick in scoring has helped Dort's fantasy stock, as the young two-way wing can already help managers with a strong steal rate.

Power forward

Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers (51.9%): Scoring in double figures in 10 of his past 12 games, and with a season-high 23 points over the past weekend, Kuzma is starting to shine as a statistical contributor with Anthony Davis ailing.

Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder (25.7%): Capable of doing a little bit of everything but without being elite in any single category, Bazley plays steady minutes and is more of a sum-of-all-parts fantasy contributor with helpful shooting, rebounding and defensive rates.

Davis Bertans, Washington Wizards (27.4%): A career scoring and shooting outing last week could signal some momentum for Bertans, who is capable of being a difference-making specialist for those in roto formats.

Marcus Morris Sr., Los Angeles Lakers (26.3%): You'll endure some major fluctuations in scoring results, but Morris can help those in deeper leagues with his elite 3-point efficiency.

Center

Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs (16.8%): At least eleven boards in four of his past five outings helps bolster a profile driven by elite block numbers. Poeltl might just be the league's most underrated rim protector and one worthy of more attention once the Spurs are back in action.

Nerlens Noel, New York Knicks (15.5%): Increased minutes with Mitchell Robinson sidelined for several weeks has boosted Noel's fantasy stock, thanks to his stellar steal and block production.

Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago Bulls (43.0%): He might not be living up to the hype as a former top prospect, but Carter's respectable scoring and rebounding results can help fantasy investors.

Robert Williams III, Boston Celtics (12.1%): Finally seeing the floor more for Boston, the "Time Lord" has been a major force in regards to blocks and boards when given extended run.

Willy Hernangomez, New Orleans Pelicans (8.1%): Only really relevant for as a long as Steven Adams is sidelined by an ankle injury, Hernangomez has proved to be a capable volume rebounder when given the opportunity.