The NBA made it to the Christmas Day showcase by adding more rosters spots and pressing through lots of players entering the health and safety protocols. Almost certainly, your fantasy team hasn’t been able to remain unscathed by all the turmoil, but hopefully, you’re in a good spot heading into another busy week. Whether you’re soaring through the storm or floundering a little, there’s plenty of help available on the waiver wire if you stay active and target the right pickups.
Week 11 starts with a busy few days of action — seven games on Monday and eight games on Tuesday. Overall, exactly half the teams in the NBA are scheduled to play four games this week, with 12 teams scheduled for three games. The Detroit Pistons, New Orleans Pelicans and Philadelphia 76ers are only scheduled to play twice this week, so make sure to consider that before adding players from those teams
At the top of this post, you can find the top trending pickups, most of whom have been featured in this space over the past several weeks. They are rapidly disappearing off the waiver wire and probably rostered in your league, but they’re great options to consider if available. At the bottom of the post, you can find some deep-league options worth considering if you are trying to get ahead of the rush or the other options aren’t available. In between those two groups, you can find four highlighted sleepers who I think are good pickups and are trending in the right direction. While there are many players who could pop into big usage for a game or two, I’ll try to focus on players who have some level of staying power. If you are trying to find single-game streaming options along with cheap DFS plays, follow me on Twitter @ZT_sports.
Top Trending Players
- PG Kemba Walker, New York Knicks
- PG/SG Patty Mills, Brooklyn Nets
- PG/SG Malik Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves
- PG/SG DeAnthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies
- PG/SG/SF Alec Burks, New York Knicks
- SG Jalen Green, Houston Rockets
- SG Chris Duarte, Indiana Pacers
- SG/SF Max Strus, Miami Heat
- SG/SF Garrison Mathews, Houston Rockets
- SG/SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Los Angeles Lakers
- SG/SF Gary Harris, Orlando Magic
- SF/PF Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns
- PF Chuma Okeke, Orlando Magic
- PF/C Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors
- PF/C Larry Nance Jr., Portland Trail Blazers
- C Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks
PG Gabe Vincent, Miami Heat (vs. WAS, at SA, at HOU, at SAC)
Before we dive into Vincent’s value specifically, do a double-take at that juicy four-game schedule the Heat have lined up this week. Miami should be set up to bring plenty of post-Christmas goodies to your fantasy team and close 2021 with a great run of production with soft matchups against the Wizards, Spurs, Rockets and Kings. Vincent is the top option for the Heat, but you also have to consider Max Strus, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and any other Miami players floating on the waiver wire. It’s also worth considering Omer Yurtseven, who should be set up for some extended run with Dewayne Dedmon (knee) joining Bam Adebayo (thumb) on the sideline. Yurtseven has proven he can bring in plenty of boards, posting 12, 12, 13 and 12 rebounds over his past four games. He hasn’t scored a ton of points but can bring other, sometimes elusive, big-man production.
But the Heat player who makes the most sense is Vincent, who will be set up for a ton of work after Kyle Lowry entered the health and safety protocols on Saturday. Vincent started both of the two games that Lowry missed earlier this season and will pick up some of the 22.5% usage rate Lowry has carried over the past 10 games. Vincent has started seven straight games due to other absences. In those seven games, he has averaged 33.2 minutes with a 21.6% usage rate. He has reached double-digit points in five of those games, averaging 15.3 points, 4.7 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 2.6 3-pointers per contest. Strus brings scoring, Yurtseven brings rebounding, but Vincent has the highest ceiling in multi-category production. He also seems likely to get even more time as the primary playmaker while Lowry is sidelined.
C Naz Reid, Minnesota Timberwolves (vs. BOS, vs. NY, at UTA, at LAL)
Another team that definitely should have your attention as a fantasy owner headed into the coming week is the Timberwolves. Minnesota will be without its entire regular starting lineup to start the week after D’Angelo Russell entered protocols on Christmas, joining Patrick Beverley, Anthony Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt and Karl-Anthony Towns. While Malik Beasley will definitely get heavy usage in the backcourt, Reid should also be pivotal and get plenty of work down low.
Reid has been excellent all season on a per-minute basis, producing 19.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.6 assists per 36 minutes. The problem has been that his minutes have been very limited as Towns’ primary backup. Towns missed only two games this season, and Reid started both times. On Dec. 3, he made a spot start vs. Brooklyn and posted 19 points and seven rebounds in 34 minutes. He also started Thursday vs. the Jazz and produced 17 points, 10 rebounds, a block and a steal in 36 minutes despite a tough matchup against Rudy Gobert. For as long as Towns is out, Reid should easily see over 30 minutes per game and threaten for a double-double in every contest. Yurtseven may be a better rebounder, but Reid is a better point-rebound combo producer for as long as he starts for Minnesota.
SG/SF Terance Mann, Los Angeles Clippers (vs. BKN, at BOS, at TOR, at BKN)
On Saturday, the Clippers announced Paul George is dealing with a torn ligament in his right elbow and will miss at least three to four weeks. While many Clippers will need to step up and shoulder the load, Mann is one of the widely available options with the highest ceiling.
Mann moved into the starting lineup seven games ago for the Clippers and has averaged 34.8 minutes with a 13.5% usage rate. That usage rate will almost certainly climb without PG on the court. Mann has scored at least 10 points in six of those seven starts, averaging 12.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Reid and Vincent could eventually lose their roles as players clear protocols, while Mann should have a little long-term value with George out and potentially beyond if he steps up. He has shown flashes of great upside, and he should have plenty of opportunities to reach his ceiling in the coming games.
SG/SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Los Angeles Lakers (at HOU, at MEM, vs. POR, vs. MIN)
Horton-Tucker missed the first 13 games of the season, returned for about a month and then missed three games while in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. He returned last week with a woeful 1-for-13 shooting performance vs. the Suns, but he bounced back with a better showing two days later, finishing with 13 points, four rebounds and three assists vs. the Spurs. While he has struggled enough to be on most leagues’ waiver wires, there’s plenty of explosive potential in THT’s game, as well.
Horton-Tucker has started each of the past seven games he has been available for coming into the Christmas Day game, and he logged a solid 19% usage rate with an average of over 10 field goal attempts per contest during that span. He can contribute across multiple categories when he’s in the groove, and he should get plenty of work while Anthony Davis (knee) is sidelined for another few weeks.
Other options to consider
- PG Cory Joseph, Detroit Pistons
- PG Facundo Campazzo, Denver Nuggets
- PG/SG Gary Payton II, Golden State Warriors
- PG/SG Coby White, Chicago Bulls
- PG/SG Donte DiVincenzo, Milwaukee Bucks
- PG/SG Skyler Mays, Atlanta Hawks
- PG/SG Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks
- SG/SF Cam Reddish, Atlanta Hawks
- SG/SF Bruce Brown, Brooklyn Nets
- SG/SF Sterling Brown, Dallas Mavericks
- SG/SF Deni Avdija, Washington Wizards
- PF Jaden McDaniels, Minnesota Timberwolves
- PF/C Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks (stash candidate)
- PF/C Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings
- PF/C Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks
- C Omer Yurtseven, Miami Heat
- C Nic Claxton, Brooklyn Nets
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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.
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