The NBA is in the middle of the All-Star break, and it’s a good time to reset your season-long fantasy basketball roster and get it tuned up for the rest of the season. Most leagues have about two or three weeks before the playoffs begin since there are seven weeks until the regular season ends on April 9.
Most leagues continue Week 18 when the season resumes on Thursday. There are between seven and nine games on each day Thursday through Sunday and most teams play two games before the end of the week. The Denver Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder will all be a little busier with three games in those four days.
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 daily 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 Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic
- PG/SG Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons
- SG/SF Malaki Branham, San Antonio Spurs
- SG/SF Cam Thomas, Brooklyn Nets
- SG/SF Josh Okogie, Phoenix Suns
- SG/SF Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SG/SF Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Denver Nuggets
- SF/PF Kyle Anderson, Minnesota Timberwolves
- SF/PF DeAndre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks
- SF/PF Deni Avdija, Washington Wizards
- PF/C Zach Collins, San Antonio Spurs
- PF/C Precious Achiuwa, Toronto Raptors
- C Mark Williams, Charlotte Hornets
- C James Wiseman, Detroit Pistons
SG/SF Terance Mann, Los Angeles Clippers (vs. SAC, at DEN)
Mann’s role for the rest of the season is still a little uncertain since the Clippers added Eric Gordon and Bones Hyland and are also one of the teams who may be interested in Russell Westbrook. At least for now, though, it looks like Mann will be carrying a substantial workload on the Clippers’ new-look roster.
When called upon this season, he has stepped up with some big games, and he could be very busy coming down the stretch as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George rest and prepare for the playoffs. He actually moved into the starting lineup in early January but has increased his usage and production over the past two weeks.
In his six most recent contests, Mann has shot a blistering 64.4% with an average of 9.8 shot attempts per game and a 17.2% usage rate. While scoring at least 10 points in each of those six games, he has averaged 16.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and even 0.5 blocked shots in 29.9 minutes per game.
Just before the break, he helped the Clippers knock off the Suns with an impressive 26-point performance, adding four rebounds and three assists and making three three-pointers.
It doesn’t look like Mann will give up his spot easily to any of the newcomers. As long as he keeps playing so well in this significant role, he makes a great pickup. He fits in nicely next to two ball-dominant superstars and has also shown he can carry the load when either one or both stars sit. Surprisingly, he’s owned in only about one-third of leagues.
SG/SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Utah Jazz (vs. OKC, vs. SA)
The Jazz were another team that was active at the trade deadline, as they sent Malik Beasley, Mike Conley and Jarred Vanderbilt to the Lakers. While they did get back Russell Westbrook, it seems very unlikely he ever plays for the Jazz, and the departures of Beasley and Vanderbilt leave a significant vacuum on the wing.
Horton-Tucker has been one of the players to get extra run as a result, and he has shown in the past he can be a fantasy contributor when some volume is available. The 22-year-old former Laker has continued to come off the bench but has averaged 11.4 shot attempts in 25.8 minutes over his past five games after averaging just 6.4 shot attempts in 15.4 minutes per game over his previous 41 contests this season.
In those five games, THT has averaged 13.8 points, 7.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. The scoring potential has always been there, but the assist numbers are especially eye-opening since he has at least six assists in each of those five games and came close to a double-double against the Raptors. Getting that many assists from a position other than point guard can be a huge boost if your team is lacking in that area. Even after his recent surge, he’s only owned in about one-quarter of leagues.
SG/SF/PF Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers (at SAC, vs. HOU)
The Trail Blazers shuffled their rotation at the trade deadline as well, sending Josh Hart to the Knicks in exchange for Cam Reddish and bringing in Matisse Thybulle from Philadelphia as well. While those new additions will get a look to see how they fit into Portland’s future plans, Sharpe has already shown lots of promise and should also get plenty of playing time for the rest of the season.
Sharpe is still only 19-years-old after being taken at No. 7 overall by the Blazers in the 2022 NBA Draft. Since he didn’t play during his one year at Kentucky, he is still a little raw but has flashed huge potential and nice upside. His highlight reel dunks and energy off the bench quickly have made him a fan favorite, but there is plenty of substance to go with the sizzle.
In each of his four most recent games coming into the All-Star break, Sharpe had at least 13 points and averaged 13.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 26 minutes per game. It looks like he’ll continue to come off the bench for now, but the Blazers should be sure to get him enough playing time to remain a decent fantasy option on the wing. He returns to action after the break with two great matchups against the Kings and Rockets.
PF/C Jaylin Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder (at UTA, at PHX, vs SAC)
Even if Zach Collins, Mark Williams and James Wiseman flew off waivers in your league after their increased roles coming out of the trade deadline, there are still ways to piece together good production from your center spot. Williams is one option to consider, especially in the short term. The Thunder have constantly shuffled their rotation all season, and Williams’ long-term role is still uncertain, but he’s getting productive minutes right now and comes out of the All-Star break with a burst of three games in four days.
To be clear, this isn’t the rookie Jalen Williams who plays SG/SF that I highlighted earlier this season. That Jalen Williams was the No. 12 overall pick in last year’s draft and is also starting for the Thunder. He is also a solid pickup and high-ceiling option (listed above). This is the other rookie Jaylin Williams, who has started four of the last five games for the Thunder and was a second-round pick in last year’s draft out of Arkansas. This Williams went into the break on a high note, pulling in a season-high 16 rebounds in 26 minutes last Wednesday against the Rockets.
Even when he has started, Williams’ playing time has been all over the map. He started and played just 12 minutes against the Rockets earlier this month but logged 30 minutes against the Lakers less than a week later. Over his past six games, he has averaged 22.6 minutes per game and contributed 7.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.7 steals per game. He’s not much of a shot-blocker but can do work on the glass and contribute solid percentages since he does most of his work down low.
Available in over 90% of leagues, Williams is a speculative pickup at this point, but the Thunder need production at center, and he has flashed a high ceiling. He’s worth a flier if you need big-man minutes. He could establish himself as a good source of center production if he can build on his strong showing before the break.
Other options to consider
- PG/SG Delon Wright, Washington Wizards
- PG/SG Gabe Vincent, Miami Heat
- SG/SF Aaron Nesmith, Indiana Pacers
- SF/PF Cam Reddish, Portland Trail Blazers
- PF/C Kevin Love, Free Agent
- PF/C Kelly Olynyk, Utah Jazz
- C Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors
- C Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Knicks
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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.