The NBA season is rolling on through the holidays with a steady flow of great action leading up to the Christmas Day showcase in just under a month. For the second week in a row, we have an unbalanced schedule with double-digit games on Monday (10 games), Wednesday (13 games) and Friday (11 games) but only four games on Tuesday and one on Thursday.
In Week 7, the Miami Heat only play twice, and both games are against the Boston Celtics. Every other team plays either three games or four games, so there isn’t a ton of schedule differential to target aside from avoiding picking up Heat players and expecting instant impact.
In this weekly post throughout the season, you can find some of the hottest trending players, some deep league additions to consider, and a more in-depth look at four sleeper pickups. The sleeper targets listed below aren’t quite mainstream, but they are emerging as options with plenty of potential upside. The top trending players are good pickups to consider if available but are quickly vanishing off waiver wires. The deep league options at the bottom of the post can be a help if the top options and the four sleeper pickups have already been picked up.
Things change in a hurry from day to day throughout the season, so follow along on my Twitter account @ZT_sports if you are looking for single-game streaming options, along with cheap DFS plays on a daily basis.
Top Trending Players
- PG/SG Cameron Payne, Phoenix Suns
- PG/SG Shake Milton, Philadelphia 76ers
- PG/SF Derrick White, Boston Celtics
- SG/SF Norman Powell, Los Angeles Clippers
- SG/SF Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SG/SF Malik Beasley, Utah Jazz
- SG/SF Lonnie Walker IV, Los Angeles Lakers
- SF/PF Aaron Gordon, Denver Nuggets
- SF/PF K.J. Martin Jr., Houston Rockets
- SF/PF Bruce Brown, Denver Nuggets
- PF Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs
- PF/C Jabari Smith Jr., Houston Rockets
- PF/C Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors
- PF/C Thaddeus Young, Toronto Raptors
SF/PF Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans (vs. OKC, vs. TOR, at SA, vs. DEN)
Murphy missed a couple of games with a right foot contusion and was playing a slightly reduced role before suffering the injury last Friday against the Celtics. As a result, his ownership has actually trended down a bit over the past week, and he’s available in almost two-thirds of leagues. If someone dropped him in your leagues, this could be the perfect time to pounce and add a player with good upside and varied production.
In his return on Friday, Murphy led the Pelicans with 21 points while adding three rebounds, an assist and a steal. Just as important for Murphy’s future potential, Brandon Ingram (toe) was forced to leave after just 18 minutes with a sprained toe and could miss future games. While his status hasn’t been clarified, if he misses any time, Murphy would be the obvious candidate to step into an increased role and maybe the starting lineup.
Prior to his injury, Murphy had posted double-digit points in 10 of his previous 13 games, averaging 2.3 three-pointers, 4.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.0 steals per game over that span. He had a double-double with 19 points and 10 boards in his most recent start, which came against the Bulls, and he has a ton of upside if he steps into the lineup or picks up usage over the next week with favorable matchups on the schedule.
PF/C Marvin Bagley III, Detroit Pistons (vs. NY, vs. DAL, vs. MEM)
Bagley has been a regular in the Pistons’ starting lineup and is starting to pick up his production to a point where he can be a valuable big-man addition. His minutes had been limited to 20-to-25 minutes until Friday’s game when he played 31 minutes against the Suns and put together his best line of the season with 13 points, 12 boards, a steal, a block and an assist.
Even though he hadn’t been getting that much work, Bagley has been serviceable, producing double-digit points in six of his seven starts and averaging 13.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 0.4 blocks over that span. He is shooting 60% from the field over that span and has four blocks in his past four games.
If you need a power forward or center upgrade, Bagley is an option that can contribute both short-term and long-term for as long as he stays healthy and involved. Isaiah Stewart (toe) will likely return soon and take some of the minutes in the middle, but Bagley has enough potential that Detroit will likely keep him heavily involved even after Stewart’s return.
SF/PF Deni Avdija, Washington Wizards (vs. MIN, at BKN, at CHA, vs. LAL)
Avdija has done a little bit of everything lately for the Wizards and can also contribute across the box score for your fantasy team. Avdija has averaged 30.9 minutes over his past eight games, all starts. The 21-year-old forward from Israel has produced double-digit points in six of those games while shooting 44.7% from the field and 75.0% from the free throw line. He has been doing extra work on the boards lately, with at least nine rebounds in each of his past three contests. That jump in production has helped him average 11.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.0 blocked shots per game over his eight most recent contests.
With Kyle Kuzma, Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis all healthy, Avdija can slide into his blue-collar, hard-working role at forward and not have to carry a lot of volume. In that role, though, he still provides enough multi-category production to be worth a look coming into four nice matchups this week.
PG/SG Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks (at DET, vs. MIL, vs. DAL, vs. CLE)
Quickley hasn’t started a game yet this season for the Knicks, but that could change with Jalen Brunson (quad) and Derrick Rose (toe/foot) both ailing coming into the week and listed as questionable Sunday against the Grizzlies. Quickley has been picking up his play lately after a sluggish start, and he’s worth a speculative pickup in case he gets a chance to step into the starting spotlight or even just continue to contribute in a key role off the bench.
Over his last seven games, Quickley has averaged 27.0 minutes per game, producing 13.0 points, 3.6 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 three-pointers made and 1.7 steals per game. He has over 12 points in four of those seven games and has been producing defensive numbers as well.
He scored 18 points in each of his two most recent games with four made three-pointers in each contest and nine total assists. His recent success helps him make sense even if Rose and Brunson are able to play through their injuries, but the possibility of even more work gives him an even higher ceiling.
Other options to consider
- PG/SG Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons
- PG Dennis Schroder, Los Angeles Lakers
- PG/SG/SF Alec Burks, Detroit Pistons
- SG/SF Terance Mann, Los Angeles Clippers
- SG/SF Damion Lee, Phoenix Suns
- SG/SF Austin Reaves, Los Angeles Lakers
- SF/PF Georges Niang, Philadelphia 76ers
- SF/PF Teri Eason, Houston Rockets
- SF/PF Caleb Martin, Miami Heat
- SF/PF Torrey Craig, Phoenix Suns
- PF Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs
- PF/C Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz
- PF/C Juancho Hernangomez, Toronto Raptors
- PF/C Usman Garuba, Houston Rockets
- C Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors
- C Bruno Fernando, Houston Rockets
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.