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Fantasy Basketball: Top NBA Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 15 of 2021-22

Zach Thompson gives his top additions from the waiver wire for your season-long fantasy basketball leagues heading into Week 15, which starts Monday, Jan. 24.

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

It’s been a scramble to get to this point in season-long fantasy basketball leagues, and if you’ve made it to this point, you probably already know the value of grabbing the right pickup at the right time to give your roster a boost. Some additions are for a specific category and others are more across-the-box score production. Some are short-term pickups and others are better options for further down the road. This week sets up to be another busy one unless you’re the Houston Rockets, the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Washington Wizards, who only play twice. Thirteen teams play twice as many times with four games on the schedule, which is definitely a factor to consider, especially if you’re looking for shorter-term pickups.

At the top of this post each week, you can find the top trending pickups who are rapidly disappearing off the waiver wire and probably unavailable in your league. If they are still kicking around the waiver wire, they’re great options to consider. On the other extreme, you can find some deep-league options to consider at the bottom of the post each week. In between those two groups, you can find four highlighted sleepers who I think are good pickups and are trending in the right direction. Things change in a hurry from day to day, so check out my Twitter account @ZT_sports if you are looking for single-game streaming options, along with cheap DFS plays on a daily basis.

Top Trending Players

C Goga Bitadze, Indiana Pacers (at NO, vs. CHA, at OKC, at DAL)

The Pacers have a long road ahead of them with Myles Turner (foot) and Domantas Sabonis (ankle) both battling significant injuries. While Oshae Brissett and Isaiah Jackson have nice upside and will also get more run while Turner and Sabonis are sidelined, Bitadze looks poised to step into a major role and be a key contributor in points and rebounds right away. The 22-year-old has been a decent per-minute producer but had seen very limited work this season, which is why he’s owned in under one-third of leagues. Before last week, he had only played 7.6 minutes per game in the 23 games in which he saw the floor while not playing at all in 20 contests. Injuries have set the stage for the Goga party, though, and a favorable schedule with four games makes him a great pickup if you need a big man.

Bitadze played 25 minutes Monday and scored double-digit points for just the second time this season, finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds. He didn’t play much against the small-ball Lakers on Wednesday but then moved into the lineup after the Sabonis injury for Thursday and Saturday’s games. On Thursday, he posted an impressive 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists against the Warriors, and he followed that up with 16 points, 11 rebounds and two more assists in Saturday’s loss to the Suns. He has also chipped in at least one block in each of his past four contests, so he appears to be ready to produce in all the typical big-man categories for as long as he stays starting in the middle for coach Rick Carlisle.

PG Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (at OKC, vs. TOR, at SA, vs POR)

Dosunmu’s ownership has bounced all over the place in the past few days, but he’s back to available in about 60% of leagues coming into the day on Sunday. The second-round rookie has shown a very high ceiling over the past week and should be set up for a heavy workload while the Bulls deal with multiple injuries. Zach LaVine (knee) could make his way back this week, but Alex Caruso (wrist), Lonzo Ball (knee) and Derrick Jones Jr. (knee) are all expected to be out long-term. Dosunmu can contribute in multiple categories and has played multiple positions, but it looked like his minutes were going to decline with Caruso’s return, causing many owners to bail on Dosunmu. However, with Caruso’s wrist injury suffered Friday, the opportunity for heavy minutes is once again there for Dosunmu.

Dosunmu entered the starting lineup four games ago and has averaged a massive 39 minutes per game over that span. In those games, he has produced 14.8 points, 7.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals. He had 10 rebounds in one game, 10 assists in another and double-digit points in three of four games. He played more off the ball while Caruso was on the floor but still managed to dish out at least six assists for the fourth straight game. Whether he’s at guard or on the wing, he should contribute plenty of counting stats in the coming week, so grab him right away if someone in your league pivoted away too quickly.

SG/SF Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs (at HOU, vs. MEM, vs. CHI, at PHX)

Vassell is another multi-category option I’m a big fan of who has a favorable four-game week upcoming. The second-year wing is available in over two-thirds of leagues but is settling back into a big role in the Spurs’ rotation. He could be lined up for even more work once the need to showcase Doug McDermott for a trade is over in a few weeks.

In his nine games in January, Vassel has scored double-digit points eight times while averaging 13.4 points per game. He has taken double-digit shot attempts in every one of those contests with a solid 20.1% usage rate. He has also added strong non-scoring numbers with 5.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks. He struggled shooting on Friday night, going 0-for-5 from long-range but had hit multiple 3-pointers in four straight and seven of his previous eight. Vassell’s gritty, defense-first approach should continue to endear him to coach Gregg Popovich, and down the stretch, I think he’ll get more minutes and more production.

SF/PF Nicolas Batum, Los Angeles Clippers (at WAS, at ORL, at MIA, at CHA)

Batum had an inconclusive COVID-19 test that cost him a game earlier this week, but he was able to return on Friday night with a strong showing against the 76ers. Batum had 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. The veteran forward has stepped into a much bigger role since returning in mid-January and has averaged 28.9 minutes per game over his past six contests, all starts.

Batum has averaged 13.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per contest over those six games and broke out for 32 points in one of those contests, carrying the Clippers to a win over Goga’s Pacers. While he typically doesn’t score that many points, his other statistical contributions make him worth a look while he’s getting so much work. He also has a great week of matchups ahead with plus spots against the Wizards and Magic before a tougher matchup against the Heat and a final matchup with his former team, the Hornets.

Other options to consider

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