• Hey Hoop Ballers! Welcome back to another edition of Deep League Digging – my weekly column scouring the darkest reaches of the fantasy NBA landscape in search of diamonds in the rough for deep league owners.

    I’m going to keep this one short and sweet for those of you who are still with me at this point in the season. If you made it this far in your H2H league and still need to survey the wire, you are in your championship matchup and to you I say good luck.

    I’ve been saying this for weeks, but it is doubly true at this point – it is full on silly season in the Association. Star players are resting up for the playoffs on contending teams, and starters on tanking squads are seeing their minutes significantly reduced in favor of bench players. 10-day contracts are still being handed out, and chaos rules the day. So, with that in mind, here are a few players that I think are well situated to finish the season on a high note for deep league owners.

    Congrats to all of the owners out there who have already won the championship over the past few weeks, and best of luck to those still duking it out until the very bitter end of the NBA regular season. This will be the last (and an admittedly barren) waiver wire focused Deep League Digging article that I put out for obvious reasons, but if you will allow me one moment for some shameless self-promotion, feel free to check out my dynasty content including monthly articles and rankings over on the premium side here at Hoop Ball. There is no offseason for dynasty owners (corny I know, but true) so I’ll keep the content coming fast and furious on that end all throughout the coming months.

    Alright, now on to what you actually came here for…

    MarShon Brooks (<1% owned) – After fizzling out in the Association and spending his last four years in the Chinese Basketball Association with the likes of Jared Sullinger and Jimmer Fredette, Brooks found his back to an NBA roster when he signed a 10-day deal with the Grizzlies on March 27th. Since then, he has scored a total of 70 points (23.3 ppg) on 58-percent shooting with 11 threes, 11 assists and 5 steals over three games with the Grizzlies. That is entirely unsustainable shooting efficiency considering his career 45-percent mark from the field, but the minutes will be there on a tanking Grizzlies squad, so there is no reason not to ride his hot hand through the end of the season.

    Josh Hart (4% owned) – It didn’t appear that Hart would be poised to continue his strong run from earlier in the season given the bevy of guards that he would be competing for minutes with. However, Lonzo Ball continues to sit with a knee injury, and Isaiah Thomas is done for the season, so Hart should jump right back into enjoying big minutes down the stretch. The Lakers need his production, so look to him as a strong source of triples, boards and steals here in the 11th hour.

    Khem Birch (<1% owned) – I wouldn’t say that he has been unleashed lately, but the per 36 beast that is Khem Birch has at least been lightly awoken. Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon are slowly seeing their minutes dip, while players like Birch, Bismack Biyombo and Mario Hezonja have seen their utilization tick upward. He doesn’t need much more than 20 minutes to fulfill the potential for double-double lines with some big defensive upside. The Magic have a strong four game schedule through the end of the season, so give him a look if you need blocks with some decently steady production on the boards to lock down that deep league championship.

    Shelvin Mack (2% owned) – Similar to Birch, Mack is seeing extended run while veteran point guard D.J. Augustin is seeing his role diminish down the stretch. He can be pretty hit or miss from the field, but has a good schedule moving forward and is probably one of the better sources out there on deep league wires for assists, steals and some added upside from deep when his shot is falling.

    Luke Kornet (1% owned) – The Knicks rotation is an absolute mess, and they are in a full on race to the bottom down the finishing stretch here. I’m not sure that Enes Kanter sees the floor again this season, so that opens up reserve minutes for Luke Kornet and Isaiah Hicks. If I had to choose I’d go with Kornet, as I’m guessing that he will get more run, and his stat set is slightly more appealing with the potential for threes, rebounds and blocks, albeit on poor efficiency from the field. That said, either could be anointed as the tank commander in chief on any given night moving forward, so predicting their utilization seems a bit more like divination at this point.

    Deyonta Davis (1% owned) – I’m not sure that Marc Gasol will play more than 20 minutes in any game going forward for the rest of the season. Adding to that, JaMychal Green has missed the last two games with knee soreness and Jarell Martin left the game in the fourth quarter last night with a leg injury. That should open up even more minutes for Deyonta Davis and Ivan Rabb. Davis is the higher upside add of the two and is mainly a source of blocks and rebounds, while Rabb will probably play less but is a stronger per minute producer on the boards without the defensive upside.

    Damion Lee (1% owned) – After playing on two 10-day contracts with the Hawks, Lee inked a guaranteed deal through the end of the season on April 2nd. He has played well in his 12 games on the big stage, averaging an impressive 1.4 steals per game with modest contributions across the board otherwise on poor efficiency. If you need steals give him a look – the minutes aren’t going anywhere and he has been about as reliable as they come for swipes. If you are set in steals, give Tyler Dorsey a look as a lower upside add for points and treys on even worse efficiency.

    Tyrone Wallace (1% owned) – Guess who’s back, back again, Tyrone’s back, ’till the end. After running out the clock on his two-way deal, the Clippers were forced to play without Wallace until the conclusion of the G-League season in late March. He is now free to play with the team for the remainder of the season, and should see considerable minutes with Milos Teodosic sidelined for the foreseeable future. Give him a look if you need well-rounded contributions across the board with some potential for out of position blocks.

    Anthony Tolliver (1% owned) – Tolliver may not do much from a stat set perspective, but boy can he get buckets when the minutes are there. In the four games that he has filled in for the injured Blake Griffin, Tolliver is averaging 16.5 points per game with 3.5 treys on… wait for it… 67 percent shooting! He is absolutely scorching hot right now, so add him if you need points and threes down the final stretch and pray that he can keep cooking.

    Sean Kilpatrick (1% owned) – Kilpatrick’s increasingly prevalent role in the rotation lately over players like Lauri Markkanen and Justin Holiday is a pretty clear indication of what the Bulls are trying to do (cough…lose). Regardless of why it is happening, Kilpatrick continues to see big minutes since signing with the Bulls in late March. He won’t give you much outside of scoring and triples, but consistent double-digit scoring can be hard to find on the deep league wire, so give him a look for a boost down the stretch – I would imagine that he continues to see around 22-26 minutes per night.

Fantasy News

  • Marvin Bagley III
    PF, Sacramento Kings

    Marvin Bagley (right thumb fracture) is out for Friday's tilt with the Spurs.

    Bagley is homing in on a return, but is not there quite yet. When he does Nemanja Bjeclia will take a big hit, and Richaun Holmes will be impacted to a degree.

    Source: Jason Jones on Twitter

  • Mike Conley
    PG, Utah Jazz

    Mike Conley (hamstring) went through portions of practice on Friday.

    He missed the Jazz's game vs. the Lakers on Wednesday but it looks like he's making progress and could return for their game vs. the Grizzlies tomorrow. If not, Joe Ingles will likely continue to start in his place.

    Source: Erik Waldon on Twitter

  • Ian Mahinmi
    C, Washington Wizards

    Ian Mahinmi (rest) will not suit up for Friday's matchup vs. the Heat.

    It's the second night of a back-to-back for the Wizards and Mahinmi is just returning from a strained achilles injured that kept him out since early October. They're going to be cautious with him due to their lack of depth at center and he could eventually end up serving a nice role for the Wizards this season.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Markieff Morris
    PF, Detroit Pistons

    Markieff Morris (neck strain) is being considered questionable heading into Friday's matchup vs. the Pacers.

    He jammed his neck earlier this week but was able to return after coming back from the locker room. He played 15 minutes in Wednesday's game vs. the Bucks but wasn't very productive and even if he does suit up on Friday he shouldn't be in anyone's lineups.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Isaiah Thomas
    PG, Washington Wizards

    Isaiah Thomas (left calf strain) has been ruled out on Friday vs. the Heat.

    This will be his second straight absence as he missed Thursday's game as well. Before injuring his calf, Thomas was coming off of a 20 point, five rebounds, seven assist, two triples and one block outing and may have been starting to turn things around. Hopefully this calf strain doesn't keep him out long but while it does expect Ish Smith to continue to soak up minutes.

    Source: NBA Injury Report

  • Dwight Powell
    PF, Dallas Mavericks

    Dwight Powell (arm contusion) will suit up for Saturday's matchup vs. the Pelicans.

    Powell was seen with a black sleeve on his arm but he said that he'll be able to play on Saturday. He's a top-110 guy over the past week and surely starting to make his way back to fantasy relevance. He's a strong hold in most leagues.

    Source: Brad Townsend on Twitter

  • LaMarcus Aldridge
    PF, San Antonio Spurs

    LaMarcus Aldridge (sore thigh) will be available to play vs. the Kings on Friday.

    He'll return after missing his last two matchups and both Jakob Poeltl and Trey Lyles will go back to seeing reduced roles. Feel free to fire Aldridge up in all lineups once again.

    Source: Paul Garcia on Twitter

  • Thaddeus Young
    PF, Chicago Bulls

    Thaddeus Young (personal) has been ruled out on Friday vs. the Warriors.

    He's likely to only miss this game as he's set to meet with the Bulls in Miami for their matchup with the Heat on Sunday. The Bulls are already short-handed with Otto Porter Jr. also continuing to miss time, but good thing they're playing the Warriors where that shouldn't matter.

    Source: KC Johnson on Twitter

  • Otto Porter Jr.
    SF, Chicago Bulls

    Otto Porter (left foot bone edema) underwent a repeat MRI on his left foot and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

    Porter has already missed nearly a month and now two more weeks will be added onto that. He'll be immobilized for a "brief" period of time before resuming non-contact work and therapy. It looks like Porter might not be back until very close, or maybe even after, the new year.

    Source: Chicago Bulls on Twitter

  • Karl-Anthony Towns
    C, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Karl-Anthony Towns (right knee tendinopathy) and Andrew Wiggins (left thumb sprain) will both be re-evaluated before Friday's game vs. OKC.

    KAT was listed as probable coming into this one so he's got a good shot of suiting up. However, Wiggins has drawn the questionable tag so his status is much more up in the air for Friday's game. Stay tuned for updates closer to tip-off.

    Source: Alan Horton on Twitter