By Gabe Allen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
NBA All-Star weekend is merely a month away. The regular season is flying by; the halfway point is in the rearview mirror. As far as fantasy leagues go, the finish line is already in sight, with the managers in the middle of the pack gearing up for a final playoff push. This next month leading up to the All-Star break will be critical for those trying to maintain their tentative spot in the postseason or those aiming to work their way into the playoff picture by leapfrogging the competition. Making use of the waiver wire during the next several matchup periods is of the utmost importance.
As usual, rather than rehashing the case for players I’ve recently recommended, I’ve made numerous new suggestions, turning over as many stones as possible. Without further ado, here are seven players to consider adding heading into Week 15.
Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls (43% rostered)
Caruso is practically a non-factor in terms of scoring (5.5 PPG), but he’s been delivering his most disruptive defensive season, averaging career highs of 1.7 steals and 0.7 blocks through 39 appearances. Furthermore, he has been stuffing the stat sheet across every category over the last three games, supplying 8.3 points, 5.3 boards, 5.0 assists, 3.7 steals, 1.3 blocks and 1.3 threes in 28.7 minutes. There will probably still be nights where he fails to make much of an impact, but managers in need of defensive stats and dimes may want to pick up Caruso right away.
Seth Curry, Brooklyn Nets (35% rostered)
Curry is virtually the opposite of Caruso in terms of statistical production. Over the last eight contests, Curry is collecting 15.8 points (52.7% FG, 48.9% 3PT, 100.0% FT), 2.8 threes, 2.5 boards, 1.4 assists and 0.9 steals across 26.2 minutes. Managers searching for a well-rounded contributor would be wise to look elsewhere, but those needing scoring and treys could do a lot worse than calling on Curry for the next few weeks until Kevin Durant (knee) returns.
Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Knicks (25% rostered)
Mitchell Robinson (thumb) will be re-evaluated in three weeks, allowing Hartenstein to earn more minutes than usual in the short term. He may not see a significant boost in playing time, but managers in deeper leagues — or those already rostering Robinson — may want to consider adding Hartenstein in case he is thrust into a larger role.
Although his scoring (5.1 PPG) has fallen off considerably compared to last season (8.3 PPG), Hartenstein is hauling in a career-best 6.1 boards in a career-high 18.5 minutes per game. If he does earn closer to 30 minutes during Robinson’s absence — although there’s no guarantee he’ll be that heavily involved — Hartenstein could be a double-double threat on a nightly basis.
Grayson Allen, Milwaukee Bucks (19% rostered)
After struggling in December, Allen has gotten back on track here in the new year, accumulating averages of 12.8 points (45.7% FG, 45.7% 3PT, 87.0% FT), 3.6 boards, 3.2 dimes, 2.3 threes and 0.9 steals in 27.0 minutes through nine matchups in January. He has been especially impressive over the last three games with Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) sidelined, recording 18.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 3.3 treys and 1.0 swipes across 30.6 minutes. It’s unclear how soon Antetokounmpo will be ready to return to the lineup, and it appears that Khris Middleton (knee) could be nearing his return as well. Nevertheless, Allen is minimally worthy of short-term consideration. Moreover, the eventual presence of Antetokounmpo and Middleton should result in even cleaner looks for Allen as the campaign continues.
Wenyen Gabriel, LA Lakers (19% rostered)
Small sample size alert! Gabriel is generating 13.0 points (on 65.7 percent shooting), 5.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.0 steals in 26.8 minutes over the last four outings. He has been outplaying Thomas Bryant of late, and Anthony Davis (foot) is still a couple of weeks away from rejoining the rotation. Those searching for short-term streaming options ought to consider grabbing Gabriel until Davis is ready to return, at which point he can likely be let go.
Damion Lee, Phoenix Suns (16% rostered)
Lee has stepped up lately due to Phoenix’s myriad of injuries, producing 17.6 points, 4.4 boards, 4.2 dimes and 2.6 threes in 30.2 minutes across the last five games. With most of the team’s backcourt (Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Cameron Payne, Landry Shamet) hobbled, Lee has taken on a significant role offensively, not only as a scorer but also as a playmaker, something he hasn’t had the opportunity to showcase much during his career. It may only be for one more week — if that — but Lee has legitimate upside as a one-week streaming option for Week 15.
Hamidou Diallo, Detroit Pistons (5% rostered)
Diallo has been dialed in dating back to New Year’s Eve, posting averages of 12.7 points (on 69.6 percent shooting), 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 22.5 minutes across the last 10 contests. He has been contributing next to nothing in terms of dimes, blocks and three-point shooting, and his free-throw shooting (46.9 percent on 3.2 attempts per game during this recent stretch) leaves a lot to be desired. Still, he has been absurdly efficient as a scorer, and Diallo may earn more playing time as the season continues, while veterans such as Alec Burks, who have been enjoying a more prominent role, may see a slight dip in minutes. As such, Diallo is worthy of consideration because of his recent hot streak and his upside for the remainder of the campaign.
Recent recommendations: Jalen McDaniels, Naji Marshall, Kevon Looney, Tyus Jones, Max Strus, Quentin Grimes, Josh Richardson, Donte DiVincenzo, Ricky Rubio, Pat Connaughton, Joe Ingles