The NBA regular season continues to proceed at an accelerated pace with injuries and load management continuing to impact fantasy basketball on a game-to-game basis. If you’re playing season-long fantasy basketball, it’s vital that you stay on top of player movement, rotation changes and players’ availability and keep your roster in top shape by working the waiver wire. Each week, you can find my top four pickups for season-long fantasy basketball leagues, with some other options to consider included at the bottom.
Looking at the coming week, 18 teams play a total of four games while the other 12 teams each play three times. No team plays more than four games or fewer than three, so it sets up to be a fairly balanced week overall. Depending on your specific team need and league rules, here are the four players I think you should look at on most waiver wires
PG/SG Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors (vs. PHI, at SAC, vs. ATL)
Poole made back-to-back starts for Golden State on Friday and Saturday against the Grizzlies and continued his resurgence since re-joining the Warriors after some time in the G League bubble. Poole produced 25 and 26 points in 34 and 38 minutes while adding in strong non-scoring numbers as well, averaging 3.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.0 steals.
Even before that chance to fill in for Steph Curry (who was sidelined by a tailbone injury), Poole was playing well. In his seven games since returning to the team, Poole has scored 20-plus points four times and is averaging 20.9 points, 2.6 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 0.7 steals. Curry could return as soon as this week, but coach Steve Kerr seems to appreciate the offensive spark that Poole brings to the second unit even when Curry is healthy. While the Warriors have multiple wing options, Poole offers the most offensive upside, which should keep him in a prominent role moving forward for three fairly favorable matchups this week. If Curry is out, Poole is a must-own, but even with Steph available, he’ll be a strong pickup.
PF/C Marcus Morris Sr., Los Angeles Clippers, (vs. ATL, at SAS, at SAS, vs. PHI)
The Clippers have rolled with Morris in their starting lineup for each of their past three games, and coach Tyronn Lue said that Morris will continue to start in place of Nicolas Batum moving forward even after Serge Ibaka (back) is able to return from his injury. Morris initially volunteered to come off the bench after seeing the success of the Clippers’ starting lineup early in the season, but Lue decided the time was right for a change.
Since getting inserted into the start five, Morris has produced solid numbers overall with a significant increase in minutes. He had 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and a steal in 31 minutes in his first start of the season, and he followed that with 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals for another solid game even though he struggled to just 5-of-14 shooting from the field. He bounced back with a better shooting performance on Saturday against the Hornets, producing 13 points on 5-of-9 from the field in just 21 minutes in a blowout victory. If his minutes stay high with the starting unit, he should be able to produce at a very nice return on a nightly basis moving forward.
SG/SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Los Angeles Lakers, (at NO, vs. PHI, vs. CLE, vs. ORL)
The Lakers are going to need some offensive production from the other options on their roster while superstars LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (calf) are each out indefinitely. While Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma will probably pick up most of the scoring, they’re also not on the waiver wire. Horton-Tucker is widely available and should also see quite a bump in usage whether he enters the starting lineup or just sees more usage in the second unit.
Even before the Lakers lost James to injury, Horton-Tucker has scored at least nine points in six of his previous seven matchups while averaging 12.6 points, 3.0 assists, 2.9 rebounds and a steal per game. THT played 21 minutes on Saturday in the game where LeBron was hurt and produced nine points, five rebounds and four assists. He offers multi-category contributions and showed during an impressive preseason that he can be a standout in short stints. The Lakers will need him to step up even more in the coming weeks, so he makes a solid speculative pickup.
PG/SG De’Anthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies (vs. BOS, at OKC, at UTA, at UTA)
The Grizzlies have juggled their rotation throughout the season, getting rookies into the mix and working back in veterans following injuries. Melton has been pretty consistent, though, and continues to see meaningful work off the bench for the Grizz. Last night against the Warriors, he played a very limited role with just three points in 11 minutes, but he had been fairly consistent before that rare down game.
In his 10 previous contests, Melton played 21 minutes per game with a 19.5% usage rate and 63.3% true shooting percentage. He averaged 11.3 points, 3.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. He can hit 3-pointers in bunches while contributing solid steals to go with his good scoring. He has at least one steal in 12 of his previous 14 games while averaging 1.5 steals per contest. He should be able to bounce back from Saturday’s disappointing results to be a solid contributor in the four games on the Grizzlies schedule this week.
Other options to consider
- C Dwight Howard, Philadelphia 76ers
- SF/PF Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs
- SG/SF Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers
- SF Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons
- PG/SG T.J. McConnell, Indiana Pacers
- SG/SF Alec Burks, New York Knicks
- C Robert Williams, Boston Celtics
- SG/SF/PF Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks
- PG Ty Jerome, Oklahoma City Thunder
- PF/C Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks
- SF/PF Otto Porter Jr., Chicago Bulls
- SG/SF Reggie Bullock, New York Knicks
- SG/SF Grayson Allen, Memphis Grizzlies
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 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.
21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.