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Fantasy Basketball: Top NBA Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 21 of 2021-22

Zach Thompson gives his top additions from the waiver wire for your season-long fantasy basketball leagues heading into Week 21, which starts Monday, March 14.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Minnesota Timberwolves Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

After what has been one of the wildest fantasy basketball seasons ever, it’s amazing that there are only four weeks left in the NBA regular season. For season-long fantasy leagues, it’s playoff time in head-to-head leagues and crunch time in every format. Coming down the stretch, we have some exciting playoff races to enjoy, some teams trying to figure things out for the playoffs and others taking a long look at players who they hope can help them in the future. Even with so little time left, there are key additions available on many waiver wires who can help you finish strong over the next four weeks.

In the coming week, 14 teams are scheduled to play four times while the other 16 all play three times. For the second week in a row, there aren’t any outliers with five or two games to take advantage of or avoid, so it’s a solidly balanced week from team to team. There is a way to gain a slight advantage in some formats by adding players who play on Tuesday, Thursday and/or Saturday since those slates are a little lighter compared to Wednesday and Friday which both have over-stuffed 12-game bonanzas.

At the top of this post each week, you can find the top trending pickups who are rapidly disappearing off the waiver wire. Many of them have appeared in this post earlier this season, but if they are still available on your league’s waiver wire, they’re definitely worth considering. On the other extreme, you can find some very available deep-league options 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 at this point in the season, so follow along on 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 Brandon Williams, Portland Trail Blazers (at ATL, at NY, at BKN, at IND)

The Trail Blazers lost Damian Lillard (abdominal) to injury, traded C.J. McCollum to the Pelicans and cut Dennis Smith Jr. Anfernee Simons was carrying the load in the backcourt until an MRI on Thursday confirmed that is dealing with mild patellar tendinopathy in his left knee, meaning he’ll miss at least two weeks. Until then, Williams should be very busy for the Blazers and has shown he can put up good numbers.

Williams is an undrafted rookie out of Arizona who just joined the Blazers on a two-way contract on Feb. 22. He has only played seven games since then, starting each of the past three. He has averaged 15.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 26.4 minutes per game with a 27.4% usage rate. With so much work coming his way and four games on tap for the upcoming week, Williams should be a strong addition for PG production.

SG/SF Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans, (vs. PHX, at SA, at ATL)

The Pelicans will also be shorthanded for the coming week without Brandon Ingram (hamstring) and C.J. McCollum (health and safety protocols). While the Pelicans have Devonte’ Graham to take over at PG, they’ll need someone to pick up Ingram’s production on the wing, especially in scoring. One player with a chance to step up is the Pelicans’ first-round pick from Virginia, Trey Murphy III, who has spent much of the season in the G League playing for the Birmingham Squadron.

In their first game without their two stars, Murphy stepped up with a career-high 32 points and added nine rebounds and two assists. He hit seven 3-pointers and showed a very high ceiling. Even though much of that production came after the game got one-sided, the Pelicans could be in that situation often in the next few games, and Murphy should keep getting run in that scenario as well. He has a high ceiling and is worth a flier for as long as New Orleans is without Ingram and McCollum.

SF/PF Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards (at GS, vs. DEN, at NY, vs. LAL)

The Wizards have been working trade deadline acquisition Kristaps Porzingis into their rotation over the past week, but there has still been plenty of work for Hachimura, who has continued to find his rhythm as the season has progressed after missing the first 39 games of the year to deal with a personal matter and a bout of COVID-19.

Hachimura has scored double-digit points in 10 of his past 13 games after dropping 12 points against the Trail Blazers on Saturday. In those 13 games, he has averaged 12.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 21.4 minutes per game. While his non-scoring numbers aren’t outstanding, he is getting enough work off the bench to be a solid pickup if you need some scoring, and with three games in four days Wednesday through Saturday, he could take a larger load if Washington stays cautious with Porzingis.

SG Austin Reaves, Los Angeles Lakers (vs. TOR, at MIN, at TOR, at WAS)

A lot has gone wrong this season for the Lakers, but one thing that has been working lately is the addition of Reaves to the starting lineup. The rookie has started eight straight games for Los Angeles coming out of the break and has averaged 27.8 minutes per contest. He only has a 12.9% usage rate over that span but has been getting more involved over more recent contests.

Reaves has scored at least nine points in five straight games after posting 12 points against the Wizards on Friday. He has averaged 12.2 points per game over that span while also contributing 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.0 blocked shot per game. His hustle and energy are badly needed by the Lakers’ starting unit, so he should keep getting plenty of minutes and counting stats next to the big-name, high-usage options. His scoring ceiling is lower than Hachimura’s but he offers more production in other categories if that’s what you’re shopping for on the wire.

Other options to consider

  • SG/SF/PF Aaron Wiggins, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • SF Trendon Watford, Portland Trail Blazers
  • SF Keon Johnson, Portland Trail Blazers
  • SF/PF KJ Martin, Houston Rockets
  • PF/C Trey Lyles, Sacramento Kings
  • PF/C Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks
  • PF/C Moritz Wagner, Orlando Magic

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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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