We’re almost a month into the NBA season, and if you’re in a season-long league, it’s time to get your squad running like a well-oiled machine. At this point, you should know your team’s strengths and weaknesses and be making the moves necessary to put yourself in position for the meat of the season over the coming months. The waiver wire is full of options that can be nice short-term or long-term additions to help fine-tune your team, so take a look at the pickups listed below and see who can give your roster a boost.
For the second week in a row, over half the teams in the NBA — 16 of 30 — play four games. Twelve teams play three times, but there are two teams that have an even lighter schedule, so make sure to take that into consideration if you’re looking to add players from the Orlando Magic or the Washington Wizards.
At the top of the post are the top trending players, who have been in these picks in the past or are quickly getting grabbed off the waiver wire. They are likely already owned in your league, but if not, they’re great options to add. At the bottom of the post, are the deep league pickups and other options to consider if you’re in a deep league 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.
Top Trending Players
- PG/SG Shake Milton, Philadelphia 76ers
- PG/SG Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks
- PG/SG Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers
- SG/SF Grayson Allen, Milwaukee Bucks
- SG/SF Josh Hart, New Orleans Pelicans
- SG/SF Matisse Tybulle, Philadelphia 76ers
- SF/PF Jae’Sean Tate, Houston Rockets
- SF/PF De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks
- SF/PF Nicolas Batum, Los Angeles Clippers
- PF/C Thaddeus Young, San Antonio Spurs
- PF/C Nerlens Noel, New York Knicks
- PF/C Bobby Portis, Milwaukee Bucks
- C Ivica Zubac, Los Angeles Clippers
- C James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors
SG Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs (vs. SAC, vs. DAL, at LAL)
The Spurs will be without Jakob Poeltl for a while still while he works his way back from a positive COVID-19 test, and the reshuffled rotation has opened playing time for Vassell. The second-year player has shown a lot of upside in multiple categories when given the chance, and it appears that he’s starting to earn the trust of coach Greg Popovich.
In his nine games this season, he’s averaging 11.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals in 26 minutes per contest. Those numbers are on the rise, though, and he has taken exactly 12 shots in each of his past three games, posting a usage rate of 22.1% over that span. Vassell is excellent on the defensive end, which earns him his time on the floor, and if he’s getting more involved in the offense, he could quickly become a multi-category contributor worth owning.
PG/SG Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (at LAC, at PHX, at HOU, at DEN)
While Vassell offers scoring and multi-category upside, Simons has also been very good and offers some more potential production from long range. He has played a career-high 23.1 minutes over his 10 games this season with a solid usage rate of 22.8%. He has scored in double digits in all but one of those 10 games with multiple 3-pointers made in half of those contests.
On the season, he has averaged 14.0 points while adding 2.2 assists and 2.5 rebounds in addition to his 2.5 3-pointers made. On Saturday, he struggled with his shot, going 0-for-6 from long range, but he showed maturity by adjusting well. He still turned in 10 points while also matching his season-high with four assists and setting a new season-high with five rebounds. Simons typically doesn’t offer a ton of non-scoring production, but he definitely has emerged as a key sixth man for the Blazers and seems to be finally delivering on the potential that has generated him sleeper buzz multiple times over the past few seasons.
SF/PF Georges Niang, Philadelphia 76ers (vs. NYK, vs. MIL, vs TOR, at IND)
The Sixers have been stretched thin with multiple injuries, the ongoing Ben Simmons drama and players testing positive for COVID-19. While Shake Milton was in my picks last week, it’s Niang that I like as a nice option at forward this week. The 28-year-old has been a nice role player off the bench throughout his six years in the NBA but has been getting more run than ever due to the shortages for the Sixers.
He has averaged a career-high 22.7 minutes over his 10 games this season and produced 11.9 points, 2.5 3-pointers, 2.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists. His production has spiked in his past four games, and he has at least 10 field goal attempts in each of those games with an average of 16.3 points, 4.0 boards and 2.5 assists. He had played over 30 minutes in three straight before a little bit of a down game Saturday against the Bulls. Even in that game, though, he still played over 25 minutes. Eventually, Niang will likely go back to his complementary role, but he’s definitely able to offer a nice short-term bump this week.
SG Davion Mitchell, Sacramento Kings (vs. PHX, at SAS, at OKC)
The Kings have been actually fun to watch this season and are over .500 after going 5-4 in their first nine games. Mitchell has stepped right into a meaningful role in the rotation after being taken with the No. 9 overall pick. The rookie is excellent on the defensive end, which helps him secure playing time, and lately, he’s starting to show his offensive potential as well. In his first nine NBA games, he has averaged 10.6 points, 3.6 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 0.7 steals in 27.0 minutes per contest.
Mitchell has posted double-digit points in three straight games while 50% shooting, including six made 3-pointers. Four of those 3-pointers came in his most recent game on Friday against the Hornets, and he finished with 19 points, four assists and four rebounds. For a rookie and especially an SG, he has been providing a solid amount of assists as well. After averaging a 15.9% usage rate over his first six games, Mitchell has a usage rate over 22% in each of his past three games with an average rate of 23.9% in those games. The increased usage rate should continue to lead to more production for the rookie, who is quickly establishing himself as a key part of the Kings’ future.
Other options to consider
- PG/SG Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls
- PG/SG Gary Payton II, Golden State Warriors
- PG/SG Bones Hyland, Denver Nuggets
- SG/SF Derrick Jones Jr., Chicago Bulls
- SF/PF Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers
- SF/PF Royce O’Neale, Utah Jazz
- PF/C Serge Ibaka, Los Angeles Clippers
- PF/C Jarred Vanderbilt, Minnesota Timberwolves
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.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).
Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), or 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org/chat. (CT).
21+ (18+ NH/WY). AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/MI/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.