Fantasy

DMX on the Madison Square Garden marquee

Madison Square Garden

For many managers, their playoff prospects are dark and hot as hell heading into the final week of the fantasy basketball regular season.

But before you can compete to be grand champ, you need to stop, drop, shut your duds down and open up the waiver wire for your last gasp this regular season. Here are some names you should be looking for to give you that push you need.

Rest in peace, DMX.

Booms

Kyle Anderson Forward Memphis Grizzlies

The former UCLA star might have taken the tale of the tortoise and the hare a little too seriously, but the "slow and steady" mantra has given him a successful NBA career and impressive fantasy numbers. For the past week, Slow Mo has averaged 16.3 points on 48.9 percent shooting, seven rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.3 made threes, two steals and one turnover a game.

Anderson has been a consistent contributor throughout the season and it's tough to see his numbers take a hit even when Jaren Jackson Jr. returns at the end of the month. If you haven't rostered him yet, it would be a huge mistake.

Jalen McDaniels Forward/Center Charlotte Hornets

Staying on the court has been a problem for McDaniels this season, but the absence of Gordon Hayward has forced the Hornets to look for other options on the court and the second-year player has been one of the beneficiaries. In the last three games, the San Diego State product averaged 16.3 points on 62.5 percent shooting, two made threes, five rebounds and 3.3 assists. He even threw in 1.3 steals and one block per game.

Hayward is expected to be out for at least three more weeks. Until he's back, expect McDaniels to continue his more proactive approach on this team.

Miles Bridges Forward Charlotte Hornets

McDaniels isn't the only one who has taken advantage of Hayward's injury. Bridges has cranked his game up a notch, averaging 21.7 points on 60.5 percent shooting, three made threes, six rebounds and one steal in the last three games. He may have even had the dunk of the year, posterizing Clint Capela on Sunday.

Until Hayward is back, Bridges will get a lot more freedom to operate and that means more fantasy contribution in the coming weeks.

Reggie Jackson Guard Los Angeles Clippers

Depth has not been a problem for the Clippers the last few seasons, but it has been trouble for fantasy managers looking for consistent contributors on that team. Rest and injuries haven't slowed the Clippers' winning ways this week because Reggie Jackson stepped up for them and gives fantasy participants a short-term high performer to lean on for the week.

In a week where Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Paul George missed time, Jackson thrived, averaging 17.3 points on 61 percent shooting, three made threes, 4.8 assists, and 1.3 turnovers in four games.

With Beverley out with a fractured hand and Rondo/George/Kawhi undoubtedly taking games off to save themselves for the playoffs, Jackson may not be a bad desperation option in standard fantasy and worth tracking in daily fantasy formats.

Busts

Tim Hardwaway Jr Guard/Forward Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks' recent success has not translated into numbers for all players. Tim Hardaway Jr. is one of them.

The Michigan product averaged 12 points on 37.5 percent shooting, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in four games last week. He did make two three-pointers per game in that span, but that is like threading a silver lining on a used rag.

Hardaway is still the third scoring option on the team, so he will get more chances to increase his production, but this week was a tough pill to swallow for a lot of fantasy managers.

Derrick Rose Guard New York Knicks

Rose has found a home with the New York Knicks, but his role has not been kind to fantasy managers. We all know the former MVP can still score, but head coach Tom Thibodeau hasn't asked him to do much else.

In the last four games, Rose has averaged 14.3 points on 43.1 percent shooting, 0.8 made threes, 1.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists. That kind of one-dimensional play is a killer of many fantasy teams looking for a more diverse portfolio of contributions.

If you need a boost in scoring, Rose isn't a terrible option to consider, but if you need anything else, you should leave him on the waiver.

Lou Williams Guard Atlanta Hawks

Like Rose, Williams isn't asked to do anything other than score at this point in his career. But even in the past week, he can't even do that at an elite fantasy level. Only averaging 11.8 points per game, 1.8 made threes, 2.8 assists and basically non-existent in every other category in fantasy sports.

It's safe to say that Lemon Pepper Lou's effectiveness as a fantasy star is gone.

Jusuf Nurkic Center Portland Trail Blazers

Okay, I know Trail Blazers have been trying to ease Nurkic back into the lineup and giving him restricted minutes. However, with the fantasy managers looking for that final push to the postseason, there might have to be an executive decision on whether Nurkic needs to be played or pitched.

Teams firmly in playoff position can hold out for him to be used properly again, but other managers won't be able to stomach another week of missed games and low-end production.

Bogdan Bogdanovic

USA Today

For college basketball, the madness is over. For the NBA fantasy managers, the madness is just beginning.

We are two weeks away from playoffs, and people are scrambling for solutions to their team's problems. Take a look at these waiver wire picks and see who will give you that final push you need to get into the postseason and avoid the humiliation of whatever fantasy punishment you may face.

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Shane Bieber faced off against the Dodgers in Spring Training. He bested Trevor Bauer, allowing only two runs, and striking out nine

Getty Images

Welcome to the Mock Draft lab.

This is where we are running experiments, crunching the numbers, and proving hypotheses, so you can reap the rewards of our hard work. The rules for this exercise were simple: Take the best pitcher in each round without reaching more than 10 spots away in either direction. (This kept us honest and realistic as to who would be available and prevented any major overpays for talent.)

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Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr.

Dale Zanine - USA TODAY Sports

There is never any shortage of outfield talent around Major League Baseball.

What makes the outfield such a fun position to take a deep dive into is there are many different ways that guys have found success. Some can do everything. Others use contact and speed to get on base and cause disruptions. Then there are the guys who prefer to hit the ball into the seats as often as they can to give their team a boost.

So which was is the best way? There's not an easy answer to that question. It all really just depends on the team that you have assembled around your outfielders and what you need them to do to be successful. Myself, Matt Hanson, and Tyler Austin did our best to put together our outfield rankings, so when your turn comes up in your fantasy baseball draft, you'll have a plan on who to draft if you are targeting an outfielder.

The Top 5 Outfielders in Baseball

1) Ronald Acuna Jr. - Atlanta Braves

It's either all or nothing with the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year. In 313 games, Acuna has 81 home runs and 194 RBIs, but he also has struck out 371 times. Last year's shortened season was a strange year to try and evaluate Acuna, as even though he hit just .250, he won his second straight Silver Slugger award.

What's crazy is that Acuna isn't even 24 years old yet. Expectations were so high after the 2019 season, that it was going to be impossible to live up to those expectations last year, especially considering MLB played a 60-game season in front of no crowds. Acuna is one of those players who feeds off the fans in the stands. As patrons return to baseball stadiums, expect Acuna's numbers to tick back up to what we saw from him in 2019. This year the Braves outfielder leaves no doubt that he is the best outfielder in baseball.

2) Mookie Betts - Los Angeles Dodgers

How much do the Boston Red Sox have to be kicking themselves for not getting more for Betts when they traded the outfielder to the Los Angeles Dodgers? The centerfielder felt like the piece that Los Angeles needed to finally win the World Series after losing the Fall Classic in 2017 and 2018.

Last year Betts finished second in the NL MVP voting, hitting 16 homers in 55 regular season games. An area where Betts can make some noise where he didn't last season is in the stolen base department. Last year Betts only swiped 10 bags. The regular season could have been an anomaly though, as Betts stole four bases in the World Series. If Betts can regain some of his baserunning prowess, he could be an even bigger monster for the defending World Series champions this year.

3) Mike Trout - Los Angeles Angels

Mike Trout being third in the ranking of best outfielders in baseball should tell you just how loaded the position is. Even though it doesn't factor into fantasy baseball rankings, you have to wonder if Trout might be a little lower than he probably deserves because he has never been on a team that has won a playoff game. While Trout puts up huge numbers and stat guys always tout his WAR, he won't get quite as much respect until he makes some noise in the postseason.

It's scary to think that Trout could be in store for one of his best seasons. This will be the first year that Trout will have Anthony Rendon and Shohei Ohtani together with him in the lineup for a full season. Opponents will not have a very tough decision to make when it comes to what to do with Trout. As long as Trout stays healthy, he should have no problems smashing 30 homers for the sixth time in his career.

Washington Nationals outfielder Juan SotoJohn McDonnell - Getty Images

4) Juan Soto - Washington Nationals

Much like Acuna, Juan Soto is one of the young faces of baseball. Soto isn't even 23 yet, but he already has had an amazing start to a career that could eventually see him in the Hall of Fame. Soto was a driving force for a Nationals team that won the World Series in 2019, and now will look to cement himself as one of baseball's cornerstones for at least the next decade.

So far in three seasons (313 games), Soto finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2018, crushed 34 home runs in 2019, and led baseball with a .351 average last year. The sky is the limit for Soto, who is only going to improve as he sees more time on the field. If you are in a keeper league, Soto is one of the first players you should be looking at taking if he is available.

5) Bryce Harper - Philadelphia Phillies

It's hard to believe that we are entering Harper's 10 year in the majors. Sometimes we take how good Harper is for granted since he often makes hitting look effortless. While Philadelphia hasn't made the playoffs in Harper's first two seasons with the team, it isn't because of a lack of effort from Harper, who hit 48 home runs and drove in 147 runs in his 215 games with the Phillies.

You can count on Harper to hit at least 30 homers and drive in at least 90 runs for Philadelphia. Even though Harper has been in the league for a decade, he is still in the prime of his career. Even though there is plenty of tape out on Harper, he continues to evolve and improve his game to stay in the conversation as one of the best players in baseball.

The Rest of the Top 25

6) Cody Bellinger - Los Angeles Dodgers

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian YelichGene J. Puskar - Associated Press

7) Christian Yelich - Milwaukee Brewers

After two straight seasons of hitting over .300, Yelich really struggled to find his swing last year, hitting just .205 and driving in 22 runs. Expect a bounce-back season from Yelich this year. He might not win a Silver Slugger award, but he at least puts himself back in the conversation after earning the honor three times in four years prior to last season.

8) Marcell Ozuna - Atlanta Braves

9) Luis Robert - Chicago White Sox

10) Eloy Jimenez - Chicago White Sox

Unfortunately we compiled these rankings before Jimenez was injured. The young Chicago outfielder will miss at least four months after suffering a pectoral injury. Even though you'll want to avoid him in single-season leagues, Jimenez still has plenty of value in keeper leagues.

11) George Springer - Toronto Blue Jays

12) Whit Merrifield - Kansas City Royals

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron JudgeKathy Willens - Associated Press

13) Aaron Judge - New York Yankees

When he is healthy, Aaron Judge is one of the most dangerous hitters in the game. The staying healthy part is easier said than done for Judge, who has missed significant portions of the last three seasons after winning the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2017. If Judge is able to play at least 140 games, he'll likely be approaching 40 home runs and 100 RBIs.

14) Starling Marte - Miami Marlins

15) Kyle Tucker - Houston Astros

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy ArozarenaTony Gutierrez - Associated Press

16) Randy Arozarena - Tampa Bay Rays

Arozarena is one of the trickiest players in fantasy baseball to assess. While it may seem like a no-brainer to target Arozarena, we have only seen a small sample size of the outfielder in the majors. Even though Arozarena lit up any pitcher he faced in last year's playoffs, pitchers should be able to adjust as they see more tape on him. Plus, you never know what Kevin Cash is going to do with his lineup, which always makes Tampa players tough to gauge.

17) Yordan Alvarez - Houston Astros

18) J.D. Martinez - Boston Red Sox

19) Nick Castellanos - Cincinnati Reds

Castellanos made quite an impression last year in his first year in Cincinnati, helping the Reds make the playoffs. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of change in Cincinnati during the offseason, which will likely make it tough for the Reds to be playing in October this year. With Joey Votto getting older, Castellanos is looking like the best hitter in the Reds lineup this year.

20) Giancarlo Stanton - New York Yankees

21) Michael Conforto - New York Mets

22) Charlie Blackmon - Colorado Rockies

23) Teoscar Hernandez - Toronto Blue Jays

A fantasy baseball "sleeper" this year could very well be Teoscar Hernandez. While Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette get the headlines in Toronto, an argument could be made that Hernandez was the Blue Jays' best hitter last year. After hitting 16 homers and driving in 34 runs in 50 games last year, it'll be interesting to see what Hernandez can do in a full season.

24) Trent Grisham - San Diego Padres

25) Austin Meadows - Tampa Bay Rays

Other notable players from our top 50

27) Kyle Lewis - Seattle Mariners

There hasn't been a lot to get excited about in Seattle in quite some time. Kyle Lewis is changing that. Last year's AL Rookie of the Year burst onto the scene and gave Mariners fans some hope. Now Lewis will have to build off the hype that he generated last year. A fair projection for Lewis in his sophomore year would be around 25 homers, 80 RBIs, and a .270 average.

Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex VerdugoMichael Dwyer - Associated Press

29) Alex Verdugo - Boston Red Sox

Verdugo's stats might not bowl anyone over yet, but we have to remember that the Red Sox outfielder is just 24. Verdugo was the best player Boston got from the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade, and Verdugo showed glimpses of what he can do, hitting .308 in his first season with the Red Sox. Now that he'll be able to see regular playing time, this could be a breakout season for Verdugo.

34) Joey Gallo - Texas Rangers

Joey Gallo is like one of those cartoonish sluggers from Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball. It's either all or nothing from Gallo, who has 120 home runs in 473 career games. If Gallo was able to make regular contact he'd be higher on this list, but the Texas slugger has hit over .210 in just one of his six seasons in the majors. Gallo is a great add if you are looking for homers, he just isn't going to get you much else.

37) Michael Brantley - Houston Astros

Michael Brantley is one of the most professional hitters in baseball. In his 12 seasons in the majors, Brantley has hit below .280 in just three seasons, and has posted a .300 average in six seasons. Houston lost George Springer in free agency over the winter, so even more pressure will be on Brantley to produce this year.

42) Anthony Santander - Baltimore Orioles

Even though the Orioles are a dreadful team, there are a few bright spots in the lineup. Anthony Santander has put together a couple solid seasons for Baltimore, hitting 20 homers in 2019 in 93 games, and following that up with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs last year. Santander isn't a top-tier outfielder, but he could be a solid addition that could pay dividends if he continues to grow as a hitter.

Keep an eye on FindBet.com for the complete top-50 outfielder rankings