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Fantasy Basketball: Top NBA Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 16 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. 31.

Sacramento Kings v Boston Celtics Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The NBA season heads into February with another busy week of fantasy action. We have two and a half more weeks before the All-Star break in the middle of what will be Week 18 in most formats. This week brings a fairly balanced spread of games with at least six games on each day of the week and no more than nine. As usual, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday are a little busier while Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are a little lighter, but it's not nearly the differential we’ve seen over the past few weeks. The schedule is fairly balanced from a team workload as well, with 17 teams playing four times and 12 teams playing three times. The only outlier is the Utah Jazz, who only play twice this week. The quality of matchups and the quantity of games for each team are definitely factors 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 very available deep-league options to consider at the bottom of the post. In between those two groups, you can find four highlighted sleepers who I think are good pickups 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

PG Davion Mitchell, Sacramento Kings (at NY, vs. BKN, at GS, vs. OKC)

The Kings are a mess right now and all signs point to them hitting some kind of reset at the trade deadline. One positive development, though, has been the progress of the Kings’ top draft pick from last year. The No. 9 overall pick has only made three starts this season but has averaged 25.0 minutes in 45 games overall.

Mitchell has earned his playing time on the defensive end, often living up to his college nickname of “Off Night.” De’Aaron Fox has missed the past four games with an ankle injury, though, and the rookie has shown he can carry more work when called upon. Terence Davis started the first two games without Fox but then went down with a wrist injury and is out indefinitely. Mitchell slid into the starting five at that point and has produced two strong showings. He had 20 points and six assists in 31 minutes against the Hawks on Wednesday and followed that up with at points and five assists in 33 minutes against the 76ers on Saturday. He has shown flashes of offensive upside when given an expanded role and has scored at least nine points in five of his past six games and multiple assists in each of his past eight. The Kings will likely look to give him more work later in the season as they look more to their future, which they view Mitchell as a big part of regardless of other pieces that may be on the move. Fox’s injury isn’t considered long-term, but Mitchell’s multi-category upside makes him worth a look heading into a favorable four-game week.

SG/SF Garrison Mathews, Houston Rockets (vs. GS, vs. CLE, at SA, vs. NO)

The Rockets will likely be without Kevin Porter Jr. for their next few games after he entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Friday. Porter had been playing very well before being sidelined, averaging 17.5 points in 31.4 minutes over his past six games with a 23.0% usage rate. On Friday, the Rockets gave a lot of that work to Mathews in their first game without Porter. As he has all season when called upon, the 25-year-old stepped up and contributed. He moved into the lineup and played 36 minutes, totaling 21 points, three assists, two steals and a rebound.

Before KPJ’s absence, Mathews had seen his role reduced and his contributions inconsistent. As a result, he was dropped in many leagues. If someone bailed on him too early, Mathews is a great pickup now since he should be very involved with plenty of 3-point upside and opportunities to chip in counting stats across the box score in four games this week. The Rockets could also be active in the trade market, so there’s upside depending on the situation in which Mathews lands.

SG/SF Luke Kennard, Los Angeles Clippers (at IND, vs. LAL, vs. MIL)

Kennard is another 3-point specialist who should get plenty of chances. Since returning from reconditioning and the health and safety protocols on Jan. 19, Kennard has been heating up, averaging 3.2 3-pointers over six contests. In those games, he has produced 16.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 28.0 minutes per game.

In 35 games before his two-week absence, he only had a 16.1% usage rate, but since he has been back that has jumped to a 20.0% usage rate. He helped lead the Clippers' historic comeback against the Wizards and has come to represent the resilient nature of the team. Kennard should keep getting plenty of chances for the offense-needy Clippers, who are bracing for continuing to be without Paul George (elbow) for a long time.

PF/C P.J. Tucker, Miami Heat (at BOS, at TOR, at SA, at CHA)

The Heat are getting healthy again, but it looks like Tucker’s spot in their rotation is locked in. Even with Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler and Dewayne Dedmon all back, Tucker has played at least 22 minutes in three straight games and in 10 of his past 11, all of which have been starts. While his primary contributions remain on the defensive end of the floor, his offensive numbers have been trending up as well. He has at least eight points in nine of those 12 games and has averaged 10.8 points per game over that stretch. He has started each of those 12 most recent matchups for Miami and produced 10.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.9 3-pointers in 29.0 minutes per game.

In his three most recent contests, Tucker had 20 points and 22.25 DKFP against the Knicks and followed that with 18 points and 31.25 DKFP in 29 minutes on Friday against the Clippers. On Saturday, he logged 41 minutes in the Heat’s triple-overtime loss to the Raptors and finished with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. With a little extra involvement on offense, his averages are definitely useful enough to make him worth a roster spot in most formats.

Other options to consider

  • PG Gabe Vincent, Miami Heat
  • PG Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons
  • PG Jose Alvarado, New Orleans Pelicans
  • PG/SG Austin Rivers, Denver Nuggets
  • SG/SF Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs
  • SG/SF Grayson Allen, Milwaukee Bucks
  • SG/SF Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks
  • SG/SF Deni Avdija, Washington Wizards
  • SF KJ Martin, Houston Rockets
  • SF/PF Nicolas Batum, Los Angeles Clippers
  • PF Chuma Okeke, Orlando Magic
  • PF/C Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks
  • PF/C Trey Lyles, Detroit Pistons
  • PF/C Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings
  • C Guillermo Hernangómez, New Orleans Pelicans

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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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