The NBA rolls into Week 15 with just a few weeks before the All-Star break and the trade deadline. With the two teams back from their foray to France, it’s set to be a busy week with at least five games every day before a massive 11-game schedule next Saturday and a light four-game schedule Sunday to avoid competing with the NFL’s Conference Championships.
Of the 30 teams in the NBA, 13 teams have four games on tap this week, while 14 teams are scheduled for three games. The Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder have the lightest schedule with just two games. Make sure to take a look at both the quality and the quantity of upcoming matchups, especially if you are looking for players to make a short-term instant impact.
In this weekly post, 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 T.J. McConnell, Indiana Pacers
- PG Monte Morris, Washington Wizards
- PG/SG Malcolm Brogdon, Boston Celtics
- PG/SG Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks
- PG/SG Derrick White, Boston Celtics
- PG/SG Andrew Nembhard, Indiana Pacers
- SG/SF Kevin Huerter, Sacramento Kings
- SG/SF Luguentz Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SG/SF Victor Oladipo, Miami Heat
- SG/SF Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers
- SG/SF Bennedict Mathurin, Indiana Pacers
- SF/PF Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings
- SF/PF Kyle Anderson, Minnesota Timberwolves
- SF/PF Jalen McDaniels, Minnesota Timberwolves
- SF/PF Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns
- PF/C Bol Bol, Orlando Magic
- PF/C Jalen Duren, Detroit Pistons
- PF/C Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz
C Jericho Sims, New York Knicks (vs. CLE, at BOS, at BKN)
The Knicks lost starting center Mitchell Robinson to a fractured right thumb and will be without the seven-footer for at least the next three weeks. Sims and Isaiah Hartenstein should both get an expanded workload while he’s out, but Sims seems to be set up to get the first chance at the role. The second-year big man from Texas has a higher upside than Hartenstein, and he should be a nice addition for as long as he stays in the starting lineup.
On Friday in the first game without Robinson, Sims got the start and played 28 minutes against the Hawks. He went 6-for-6 from the field and finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Also notably, Sims didn’t have a single personal foul after fouling out in 21 minutes on Wednesday.
Sims is shooting 78.9% from the field on the season with 10.4 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per 36 minutes. While he isn’t going to play quite that many minutes in this committee approach, he has shown the potential to log a low-grade double-double with good defensive stats. His minutes haven’t been nearly stable enough to make him usable when Robinson was healthy, but for the next few weeks, Sims should be a good fill-in in the middle.
SG/SF Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets (vs. MIN, vs WAS, vs. CLE, at DET)
The Rockets have a lot of potential value options coming into this four-game week, especially since Kevin Porter Jr. (foot) is out for at least another week. Jabari Smith (ankle) also missed Saturday’s game, so opportunities are available across the Rockets’ rotation.
While Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun carry the offensive load and Tari Eason and Kenyon Martin Jr. can bring good production from the waiver wire, my favorite widely available pickup from the team is Eric Gordon. The 34-year-old veteran hasn’t offered much for the past couple of years, but he has turned back the clock since KPJ’s injury and suddenly become fantasy relevant again.
Over his past 10 games coming into Saturday’s contest, Gordon averaged 14.9 points, 3.2 assists and 1.7 rebounds. He had double-digit points in nine of those 10 contests with 19 points or more in three of his past five. He also had a season-high eight assists against the Lakers, showing he can help in that category as well.
Gordon should keep getting plenty of chances this week, and there’s also starting to be some good buzz around him joining a contender. Depending on where he lands and what his role is, that could help or hurt his fantasy value. In the short term, he makes sense on the Rockets and it’s also a “buy early” chance for a wild card headed to the trade deadline.
SF/PF Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks (vs. WAS, at PHX, at UTA)
The Mavericks will be without Christian Wood (thumb) for a week and Tim Hardaway Jr. (ankle) didn’t look ready to contribute in his return on Friday, going just 1-for-10 from the field. THJ is still a strong “hold” for season-long fantasy, but the hot hand for the Mavs right now is definitely Bullock.
Especially while the team is looking for offense over the next week, the wing should continue to get enough shots to contribute. His strongest category is definitely made three-pointers. He has made multiple shots from long range in seven straight games, averaging 3.7 three-pointers and 12.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.9 steals in 33 minutes per game.
With more shots available for the next week, Bullock is a good addition, especially as he helps fill in for Wood in what should be three favorable matchups against the Wizards, Suns and Jazz.
PF/C Precious Achiuwa, Toronto Raptors (at SAC, at GS, at POR)
The Raptors gave Achiuwa his first start of the season on Saturday when Fred VanVleet was ruled out with a rib injury. The 23-year-old responded with his best fantasy game of the season, producing 17 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals, two blocks in a season-high 37 minutes.
Even before the spot start, Achiuwa was playing his way into a larger role after missing six weeks with an ankle injury. He ramped back up slowly after the prolonged absence but has played over 20 minutes in five straight games. In those five games, he has averaged 12.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 block per game. The game right before that stretch he also had a five-steal game against the Hornets.
Achiuwa is a unique contributor in that he usually provides good rebounding numbers but doesn’t shoot a high percentage. His defensive numbers can disappear for a while and then come in bunches depending on the matchup. His role in Toronto is also uncertain, but if he stays in such a key role, he can help fill in the gaps on your roster in favorable matchups against the Kings, Warriors and Trail Blazers.
Other options to consider
- PG Dennis Smith Jr., Charlotte Hornets
- PG Saben Lee, Phoenix Suns
- PG Jose Alvarado, New Orleans Pelicans
- PG/SG Gabe Vincent, Miami Heat
- PG/SG Jaylen Nowell, Minnesota Timberwolves
- SG/SF Grayson Allen, Milwaukee Bucks
- SG/SF Damion Lee, Phoenix Suns
- SG/SF Chris Duarte, Indiana Pacers
- SG/SF Josh Richardson, San Antonio Spurs
- SG/SF Pat Connaughton, Milwaukee Bucks
- SF/PF Joe Ingles, Milwaukee Bucks
- SF/PF Grant Williams, Boston Celtics
- SF/SF/PF Kenyon Martin Jr., Houston Rockets
- PF Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs
- PF/C Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
- PF/C Wenyen Gabriel, Los Angeles Lakers
- C Mark Williams, Charlotte Hornets
- C Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors
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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.