Most teams in the NBA reach the halfway point of their regular season this week, which means the fantasy basketball season is well past the midway point and time is running out to get into the playoff position. If you need to give your team a boost, there are plenty of options available on the waiver wire.
In the coming week, the NBA has a fairly balanced schedule from day to day with no days with more than nine games and no days with fewer than six games. As a result, most of the teams are scheduled for either three or four games. Thirteen teams play four games and 16 teams play three games, while only the Brooklyn Nets are outliers 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/SG Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks
- PG/SG Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons
- PG/SG Malcolm Brogdon, Boston Celtics
- SG/SF Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks
- SG/SF Victor Oladipo, Miami Heat
- SG/SF Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers
- SG/SF Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SG/SF Luguentz Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SF/PF Jalen McDaniels, Charlotte Hornets
- SF/PF De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks
- SF/PF Kyle Anderson, Minnesota Timberwolves
- PF/C Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz
- C Thomas Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
- C Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors
SG/SF Naji Marshall, New Orleans Pelicans (at WAS, at BOS, at DET)
The Pelicans are without both Brandon Ingram (toe) and Zion Williamson (hamstring), which has left plenty of usage for role players like Marshall, who has stepped up and turned from an energy guy off the bench into one of the top creators in the starting unit. His energy is still there, to be sure, but he’s also turning in great stat lines in his expanded role and is worth adding for as long as New Orleans is short-handed.
Marshall has started seven of the Pels’ last nine games, averaging 30 minutes and reaching double-digit scoring in eight of those nine games. During that stretch, he averaged 15.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals per contest.
He had a season-high 23 points on Friday night against Brooklyn and added nine rebounds, three steals and an assist. On Saturday with C.J. McCollum resting he set another season-high with 24 points and added four assists, three steals, two rebounds and a block.
The third-year forward from Xavier can contribute solid counting stats, hit some three-pointers and continue to be a solid option at least until one of the Pelicans’ stars returns. Once New Orleans gets all its bodies back, it remains to be seen what the roles will look like and if Marshall will continue to be worth owning, but for the coming week he’s a solid add.
PF/C Montrezl Harrell, Philadelphia 76ers (vs. DET, vs. OKC, at UTA, at LAL)
Another superstar’s absence that has opened a window of fantasy relevance for his backup, is whatever is going on with Joel Embiid’s foot. Emibiid has missed two games with left foot soreness and is also out Sunday. Coach Doc Rivers said Embiid doesn’t have a clear timetable to return, but Rivers also said he’s not concerned about the issue.
For as long as Embiid is out, Harrell has shown he can definitely be worth a look for fantasy lineups. Even though he hasn’t started either of the games without Embiid, he has played increased minutes off the bench and posted strong stat lines. He had 19 points, five rebounds, four blocks, a steal and an assist in his 28 minutes in the Sixers’ win on Wednesday and followed that up with 17 points, four rebounds and a steal in 23 minutes in Friday’s loss to the Bulls.
When Embiid is healthy, Harrell is limited to just a few minutes off the bench and not much usage, but when given opportunities he has shown he can still contribute. His rebounding numbers aren’t great for a center but he scores points in bunches with a great field goal percentage and mixes in good defensive stats due to his high energy. For however many games Embiid misses, Harrell will be a good play this week, which finishes with a big road back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday next weekend.
SG/SF Josh Richardson, San Antonio Spurs (at MEM, at MEM, vs. GS, vs. SAC)
The Spurs are another team that injuries have dramatically impacted. Devin Vassell (knee) underwent surgery on his knee and will be sidelined indefinitely and Keldon Johnson (hamstring) left Friday’s game with an injury as well and did not play Saturday, leaving San Antonio without their top two offensive options. While Jakob Poeltl picked up a lot of the scoring load Friday, he sat out Saturday with an Achilles issue. There should be plenty of work on the wings available while the Spurs continue to sink in the standings to help their chances of getting Victor Wembanyama.
One player who could help soak up minutes and usage on the wing and contribute multi-category production in the Spurs’ four games this week is Josh Richardson, who has had some injury issues of his own, but seems healthy at this point.
In six of his past seven games, the 29-year-old played over 19 minutes and had at least nine points. He averaged 11.4 points, 3.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds with 0.9 steals in 23 minutes per game, and those peripheral numbers would all likely increase if he gets closer to 30 minutes a game. On Saturday, he played 29 minutes and had 18 points, four assists, three rebounds, two blocks and a steal against his former team the Celtics. He should be a reliable contributor across the board in the coming week, especially if Johnson continues to miss time.
PG Dennis Schroder, Los Angeles Lakers (at DEN, vs. DAL, vs. PHI)
The Lakers were already without Anthony Davis (foot), but they also lost Austin Reaves (hamstring) and Lonnie Walker (knee) for the next two weeks. While LeBron James will have to continue his herculean efforts to carry the team, he’s going to need some help from somewhere. Dennis Schroder is quickly getting grabbed in almost every league, but he’s still available in well over half of leagues and should be owned everywhere in his new expanded role.
Schroder moved into the Lakers’ lineup around Thanksgiving but didn’t really start putting up big numbers until just after Christmas. He has at least 12 points in each of his six games, averaging 20.3 points, 3.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 36.2 minutes per game. He scored 32 points against Miami, 21 points against the Hawks and 27 points against the Kings in his three most recent games.
Since he doesn’t typically play the role of a normal point guard, Schroder doesn’t typically have great assist numbers. He does contribute good points and steals, though, so as long as he’s carrying so much offensive workload he’s worth adding even though the Lakers only play three games in the coming week. Like the other players on this list, his role may fluctuate as players return from injury, but for now Schroder is a great pickup.
Other options to consider
- PG Jose Alvarado, New Orleans Pelicans
- PG Duane Washington Jr., Phoenix Suns
- PG/SG Kendrick Nunn, Los Angeles Lakers
- PG/SG Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls
- PG/SG Jaylen Nowell, Minnesota Timberwolves
- PG/SG/SF Alec Burks, Detroit Pistons
- SG Landry Shamet, Phoenix Suns
- SG/SF Max Strus, Miami Heat
- SG/SF Romeo Langford, San Antonio Spurs
- SF/PF Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards
- SF/PF Jae’Sean Tate, Houston Rockets
- SF/PF Anthony Lamb, Golden State Warriors
- PF Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs
- PF Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls
- PF/C Moritz Wagner, Orlando MagicOrlando Magic
- PF/C Larry Nance Jr., New Orleans Pelicans
- C Daniel Gafford, Washington Wizards
- C Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.