The NBA puts the finishing touches on 2019 and turns the corner into 2020 this week with a solid, but not stuffed week of fantasy basketball action. If you’re looking to start the New Year with some new additions to your season-long fantasy basketball roster, check out the four widely available players highlighted below, or dive deeper into the waiver wire pool with the additional options at the bottom of the page. If you have specific questions about your league rules or possibly pickups, you can reach out on Twitter @ZT_Sports.
As you put the finishing touches on your lineup for this week, make sure to check out each team’s slate of matchups. The Rockets, Pelicans and 76ers have a light week with just two games on tap, while nine teams play double that amount with four games lined up. The Wizards are the only team with all four of their matchups at home, while the Pistons will be on the road for all four of their games.
Here are the four names to check out as you start searching your waiver wire for a strong start to 2020.
SG DAMION LEE, GS (at SA, at MIN, vs. DET)The Warriors have some important roster decisions in the coming days with two-way players Lee and Ky Bowman reaching the end of their maximum time unless their contracts are converted. Even with that uncertainty, however, Lee has been playing well enough to be a nice option.
He returned from a broken hand eight games ago and has been back to a full load, averaging 30.8 minutes per game over his past seven games while contributing 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.1 steal per contest. Lee had a massive 22-point, 15-rebound double-double on Christmas and followed that with another good game against the Suns in which he had 16 points and eight boards. He should keep getting plenty of time while the Warriors remain short-handed over the next few months.
SF/PF P.J. WASHINGTON, CHA (vs. BOS, at CLE, at DAL)If someone in your league dropped Washington while he was out with a pinkie injury, he should be the first player you try to add. The No. 12 overall pick has been incredibly impressive in his rookie season but is barely 50% owned in Yahoo leagues under 20% owned in ESPN leagues. Washington returned from his injury on Friday and showed no ill effects, logging 37 minutes against the Thunder and finishing with 14 points, five rebounds and a block.
Washington is averaging 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists on the season, but was really heating up before his five-game absence. In his previous 10 games, Washington had scored in double digits eight times, averaging 14.5 points, 5.4 boards, 2.2 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. The Hornets have a long way to go before they’re competitive, but Washington is a promising young player who they’ll try to develop by giving him a big workload the rest of the way.
PG ISAIAH THOMAS, WAS (vs. MIA, vs. ORL, vs. POR, vs. DEN)Thomas served a two-game suspension this past week but should be back in the lineup for a great set of matchups this week. Thomas played over 25 minutes in four straight starts before his suspension and produced 18.0 points and 3.8 assists per game over that stretch. He has been a big boost for the Wizards when in the lineup and always puts up plenty of shots.
The Wizards did add Gary Payton II while Thomas has been sidelined, but IT should still return as the starter and get lots of work. Thomas has a very high scoring ceiling and could be even busier if the lower leg soreness Bradley Beal is dealing with lingers or develops into a larger issue.
PF/C CHRISTIAN WOOD, DET (at UTA, at LAC, at GSW, at LAL)Warning: Owning Christian Wood can be a frustrating experience. However, the upside is immense if coach Dwane Casey is finally ready to give him enough run to be productive on a regular basis. Wood missed time over the past few weeks with a left knee bone bruise, but returned to play 23 minutes on Thursday against the Wizards.
In that game, Wood flashed his upside again, dropping 22 points to go with seven rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot. If you don’t count the game in which he was injured or his first game back, he has played at least 20 minutes in three straight games and over 15 minutes in seven of his past nine. With Blake Griffin still playing through a knee injury of his own and Andre Drummond being mentioned in trade rumors, Wood could find his way into a larger role in the Pistons’ rotation in the coming months. If he does, he’ll have a sky-high ceiling and could end up being one of the best pickups of the season. Wood is high-risk, high-reward, so evaluate if there’s a need for that kind of pickup on your roster or if there is a way to stash him and plan for the future.
Other options worth watching
- PF/C Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors
- SG/SF Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets
- PG Elfrid Payton, New York Knicks
- SG/SF Glenn Robinson III, Golden State Warriors
- SG/SF Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks
- PG Aaron Holiday, Indiana Pacers
- SG Gary Payton II, Washington Wizards
- SG/SF/PF Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat
- PF/C Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks
- PG/SG Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz
- PG/SG/SF Kris Dunn, Chicago Bulls
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.