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Fantasy Basketball: Top NBA Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 8 of 2021-22

Zach Thompson gives his top additions from the waiver wire for your season-long fantasy basketball leagues heading into Week 8, which starts Monday, Dec. 6.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Houston Rockets Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Rosters and rotations in the NBA continue to churn and change on a daily basis due to injuries, acquisitions and now issues with health and safety protocols as well. With so much turbulence, one of the biggest keys to success in season-long fantasy basketball is being extremely active in roster management. There are some great options available on the waiver wire in many leagues headed into what should be a very busy week. There are a massive 13 games scheduled for Wednesday, highlighting a schedule that has 13 of the 30 NBA teams playing four times this coming week. Thirteen teams play three times, and three teams play twice. You may want to avoid the Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors, and Phoenix Suns if you’re looking for short-term help since those three teams play only two times in Week 8.

At the top of the post, you can find the top trending players, who have been hot pickups in the past and are rapidly disappearing off the waiver wire. They are likely already owned in your league, but if not, they’re great options to consider. At the bottom of the post, you can find some options that are worth a look for deeper leagues or if you are trying to get ahead of the rush. In between those two groups, you can find four highlighted sleepers who I think make good additions and will be trending in the right direction over the coming week and beyond.

Top Trending Players

SG/SF Garrison Mathews, Houston Rockets (vs. BKN, vs. MIL, at MEM)

The Rockets have been without No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green (hamstring) for the past four games, and Matthews has stepped into the vacated starting spot and produced solid numbers. In those four games, he has averaged 17.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 4.3 made 3-pointers while playing a massive 34.7 minutes per game.

While he isn’t getting a high usage rate since his assist numbers are low, he offers lots of upside from long-range and with his scoring potential on a team that is always looking to get points from the wings. The Rockets have been playing well and have won five straight, so Mathews should stay in the mix even after Green works his way back from injury, especially now that Kevin Porter Jr. (thigh) is sidelined as well.

PG Ish Smith, Charlotte Hornets (vs. PHI, vs. PHI, vs. SAC)

While the Rockets are missing some players, they aren’t as short-handed as the Hornets, who were forced to place four key players in the NBA health and safety protocols on Saturday. Charlotte is expected to be without LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier for the near future, which opens a ton of usage in their backcourt since Ball and Rozier have a combined 50.3% usage rate. Smith should be one of the main beneficiaries and has proven in the past that he can put together solid numbers in short-term chances in an expanded role.

The 33-year-old veteran hasn’t started any games this season and has played under 10 minutes in 12 of the Hornets’ past 13 games. He was much more involved while Rozier was sidelined earlier this season and averaged 9.8 points, 4.6 assists and 1.0 steals in 21.5 minutes per game over that stretch. His scoring is inconsistent at times, but he has shown he can pile up assists. If you’re looking for ever-elusive point guard production, there is no better pickup on most leagues’ waiver wires. He has been playing so little that he’s barely owned but should have a heavy workload while Ball and Rozier are out.

SG/SF Terence Davis, Sacramento Kings (vs. ORL, at CHA, at CLE)

The Kings made the only in-season head coaching change of the season thus far, letting go of Luke Walton and replacing him with Alvin Gentry. Gentry has gone 4-3 since taking over and made the move to re-insert Davis into the rotation and ultimately the starting lineup. As he showed in his rookie year in Toronto, Davis has shown he can score points in bunches while providing solid rebounding and defensive contributions as well. He has started each of the past four games and played over 28 minutes and scored over 22 points in each of his two most recent contests.

In his five games under Gentry, Davis has averaged 17.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. He has been getting high volume with 12.8 field goal attempts per game and has been averaging 2.8 three-pointers made per contest. Moe Harkless (knee) could return and cut into his playing time, but the Kings will likely try to keep the 24-year-old Davis involved while he stays this hot since he is much more a part of their future and provides more scoring punch than Harkless.

PF/C Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks (vs. BKN, at MEM, at IND, at OKC)

The Mavericks’ frontcourt is still in flux as coach Jason Kidd has shuffled pieces around with Dwight Powell, Willie Cauley-Stein and even Moses Brown for a game next to Kristaps Porzingis. He also said that he wanted to get Kleber a chance to start next to Porzingis, but that plan had to be put on hold after Porzingis suffered a knee contusion and has missed Dallas’ two most recent games. Kleber started each of those two games, averaging 10.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in 31.8 minutes per contest. He was playing his way into a bigger role about a month ago but was sidelined for nine games with a left oblique strain. Now that he seems past that issue, I think there’s a good chance he secures a significant role since he has proven he can mesh well with superstar Luka Doncic.

Kleber can chip in solid blocks and boards contributions along with scoring double-digit points in most contests. He has scored exactly 13 points in three of his past five games and has logged over 25 minutes in five of his past six games. Even once Porzingis is back, Kleber could find enough of a role to be a fantasy option, and he’s the best widely-available big-man to add at this point, especially with four games coming up this week and Porzingis’s availability unclear.

Other options to consider

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