The NBA season is off to a great start with plenty of awesome fantasy action on the hardwood every night. Whether your season-long fantasy team is off to a fast start or has struggled out of the gate, there’s still plenty of time and opportunity to tweak your roster moving forward. The waiver wire is full of nice pickups at this point in the year, and we’re starting to get a good idea of how teams want to work their rotations.
Over half the teams in the NBA — 16 of 30 — play four games this upcoming week while the other 14 are all scheduled to play three times. As you take a look at the upcoming matchups and try to find the players to give your team a boost check out the options listed below.
We made a slight tweak to the format for this week. At the top of the post are the top trending players who are quickly getting grabbed off the waiver wire and are likely already owned in your league. If not, they’re great options to add but they aren’t widely available anymore. At the bottom of the post, are the deep league pickups and other options to consider if you’re desperate or trying to get ahead of the rush. In between those two groups, you can find four highlighted sleepers who I like for the coming week and beyond. They are still widely available and should be able to help your roster in one or multiple categories.
Top Trending Players
- PG Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic
- PG/SG Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies
- PG/SG Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder
- PG/SG Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls
- SG/SF Grayson Allen, Milwaukee Bucks
- SG/SF Cam Reddish, Atlanta Hawks
- SF Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors
- SF Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons
- SF/PF Carmelo Anthony, Los Angeles Lakers
- PF/C Montrezl Harrell, Washington Wizards
- PF/C LaMarcus Aldridge, Brooklyn Nets
- PF/C PJ Washington, Charlotte Hornets
SG/SF Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic (at MIN, vs. BOS, vs. SA, vs. UTA)
Orlando has stumbled to a 1-6 start and looks to be one of the easiest teams to beat this season, but that doesn’t mean they don’t provide some nice fantasy value. One bright spot in their dismal start has been the No. 8 overall pick from last year’s draft, Franz Wagner. Wagner has been getting solid usage every night and providing consistent production. Despite his good numbers, he’s still barely over 40% owned, so grab the 3-point specialist while you can.
In his seven starts, he is averaging a 17.3% usage rate in 32.3 minutes per game and producing 13.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.0 steals. The 20-year-old has hit multiple three-pointers in four of his six most recent games and is averaging 2.0 made three’s per game. Especially for a rookie, Wagner has been pleasantly consistent, dropping at least 10 points in every game with decent peripherals as well. With a nice four-game week ahead, he’s a great addition on the wing.
PG/SG Shake Milton, Philadelphia 76ers (vs. POR, vs. CHI, at DET, at CHI)
The Sixers are still moving forward without Ben Simmons (personal), and his future with the team remains unclear. In his place, Tyrese Maxey has been starting and has been scooped up in most fantasy leagues as a result. If you missed out on Maxey, another player who should help carry Simmons’ workload is Milton, who just returned from an ankle injury.
Milton is still 90% available in season-long leagues and has looked good in his limited work. He returned on Thursday against the Pistons with 13 points and five assists in 16 minutes and followed that with 11 points and four rebounds in 19 minutes against the Hawks. His usage rate in those two games has been 31.5% and 26.3%, and if he stays anywhere near those numbers as his minutes expand, he’ll end up being a very valuable multi-category contributor. Maxey has been decent, but Milton could definitely win back some of that playing time and end up a great pickup while Simmons sits out.
SG/SF Josh Hart, New Orleans Pelicans (at PHX, at SAC, at GSW)
Another player just back from injury who can give your squad a boost in multiple categories is Hart, who missed four games with right quadriceps tendinosis. He returned Friday against the Kings but was thrust right back into a much larger role Saturday when the Pelicans were without Brandon Ingram (hip). Hart started in place of Ingram and played 30 minutes with 16 points, eight rebounds and two assists.
Before the injury, Hart was in the starting lineup alongside Ingram, so he should have a decent role even when Ingram returns. When Ingram is out, Hart has to carry more of the scoring load, but he has shown throughout his career that he is a very nice source of rebounds and other non-scoring stats. Last year as a starter, he averaged 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists.
PF/C Jarred Vanderbilt, Minnesota Timberwolves (vs. ORL, vs. LAC, vs. LAC)
Ever since drafting Karl-Anthony Towns, the Timberwolves have been searching for the right player to start next to him in the frontcourt. The revolving door at PF has featured everyone from Juancho Hernangómez to Taj Gibson, but now it looks like Vanderbilt may be ready to lock down that spot for the rest of the season. He started the season bringing nice energy off the bench but has moved into the starting lineup in each of his past two games. He did start 30 games last year and averaged 6.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in 20.4 minutes per night in those contests.
This season, he replaced Josh Okogie in the lineup and got his first start Wednesday against the Bucks, playing 30 minutes and finishing with a great line of 10 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and a steal. While coach Chris Finch said the change was matchup-based and not a permanent solution, Vanderbilt’s strong game earned him another start Saturday against the Nuggets. He only played 16 minutes and was limited by foul trouble but still contributed six points, six boards and one block. If Vanderbilt keeps starting or getting enough minutes off the bench, he can bring great peripheral numbers and also boost your shooting percentage. He typically doesn’t take a ton of shots but has posted an elite steal rate in the past and usually provides hustle plays and rebounds when given the chance.
Other options to consider
- PG/SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Washington Wizards
- PG/SG Patrick Beverley, Minnesota Timberwolves
- SG/SF Cody Martin, Charlotte Hornets
- SG/SF Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio Spurs
- SF/PF Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder
- PF/C Hassan Whiteside, Utah Jazz
- C James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors
- C Alperen Sengun, 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 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.
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