The fantasy basketball season is just about a month old and most NBA teams are nearing the double-digit mark of games played. As roles and rotations settle in for the long haul of the season, there are always a few names that surface that can give your season-long fantasy team a boost. To help you pinpoint the best potential pickups, each week you can find my top four widely available waiver wire options here on DraftKings. If you have questions related to your specific roster I’d be happy to answer them on Twitter @ZT_Sports. You can also find some other good options at the bottom of the page after my top four.
Looking at the week ahead, there are no double-digit slates but also over five games every night. The Hawks, Celtics, Warriors, Rockets, Clippers, Lakers, Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Pelicans, 76ers and Spurs all have four games on tap, while on the other hand the Bucks, Thunder and Suns only play twice. Make sure to consider a potential addition’s short-term schedule if you need someone to give you an immediate boost. All stats used are current before Saturday’s games
PF/C CHRIS BOUCHER, TOR (at LAC, at POR, at DAL)The Raptors were the latest team to get posterized by the injury bug. After it devastated their opponent from last year’s NBA Finals, the injury bug moved on to Toronto, where Serge Ibaka (ankle) is now out indefinitely and Kyle Lowry (thumb) is out at least two weeks. While the whole team will have to help pick up the slack, Boucher should be one of the biggest beneficiaries and should get plenty of minutes in the frontcourt.
The undrafted 26-year-old out of Oregon is in his third season and brings with him fun nicknames like “Slimmduck” and “Swatterboy.” He has more to offer, though, as he showed in his per-minutes stats from last season. In his per-36 from last year, he had 20.5 points, 12.4 boards, 1.3 steals, 5.3 blocks and 2.6 treys. Now, obviously, he’s not logging that much time even with Ibaka out, but he can definitely give you a boost in the time he does get. Even in just 14 minutes against the Pelicans Friday, Boucher had five points, eight boards, one assist, one steal and one block against the Pelicans on Friday. He could be the this year’s version of Pascal Siakam, and he’ll get his chance to prove it over the next few weeks.
PG/SG FRANK NTILIKINA, NYK (at CHI, vs. DAL, vs. CHA)With Dennis Smith Jr. (personal) away from the team for a week and Elfrid Payton (hamstring) sidelined, Ntilikina has been getting heavy minutes lately and showing some impressive promise. Ntilikina started the past four games and had three strong showings, culminating in a great effort against Dallas, in which he had 14 points, six boards, four assists, four steals and three blocks in 38 minutes.
Ntilikina is loaded with potential and showed the kind of upside he can bring offensively to go with his exceptional defense. His role once Payton and Smith return could be shaky, but he has more long-term upside and is a bigger part of the Knicks’ future. They’ll keep giving him all the run they can, and he can be a fantasy asset if he continues to show this improved form. There’s a chance that he just wasn’t ready when first drafted and needed some time to adjust to the Knicks. He’s still just 21 and is showing owners why he was a top-10 overall pick in the draft two years ago.
SG/SF DILLON BROOKS, MEM (at SAS, at CHA, vs. UTA, vs. DEN)The Grizzlies’ offense comes from different places on different nights due to fluctuation from rookie PG Ja Morant and some other inconsistent producers. Brooks is definitely in the mix, though, and can go off for a big night like he did on Wednesday when he dropped 31 points against the Timberwolves. He also can come up empty like he did Friday when he went 0-for-7 from the field and had just three points.
However, there are some good matchups for Brooks this week, especially with his two road games to start the week. Brooks is averaging 13.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 steals per game on the year and has over 15 points in four of his past six games. He may be up-and-down at times, but it looks like he’ll get enough work to be a good wing option most nights.
PG/SG ALEC BURKS, GSW (vs. WAS, vs. DAL)Another player with a big role in his team’s current offense is Burks, who has been a great part of the Warriors’ rotation since returning from his ankle injury. He’s helping fill in for Golden State’s litany of injured players and has worked his way up to over 25 minutes in each of his past three games. In those three games, he has averaged 19.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game.
The Warriors’ rotation will continue to fluctuate with different young players stepping up at times, but Burks is one of the few experienced options that can be relied on every night. Even with D’Angelo Russell (ankle) back, Burks was still vitally involved as the first Warrior off the bench and he should continue to be busy and contribute very good scoring and shooting along with a few boards and assists.
Other options worth watching
- PG/SG Jordan Clarkson, Cleveland Cavaliers
- PG/SG Bryn Forbes, San Antonio Spurs
- PG Raul Neto, Philadelphia 76ers
- SG/SF Normal Powell, Toronto Raptors
- SG/SF Danuel House Jr., Houston Rockets
- SF/PF Jabari Parker, Atlanta Hawks
- SF/PF Marcus Morris, New York Knicks
- PF/C Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks
- PF/C Daniel Theis, Boston Celtics
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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 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.