The NBA has a bit of a lighter schedule this week after a busy start to the new year. There are still plenty of good chances for fantasy basketball glory, though, with at least six games every day this week. If you’re in season-long contests, there are also some additions on the waiver wire that can give your team a nice boost this week.
Most teams have three games this week with a few four-game schedules being the busiest of the week. The Knicks and Wizards are headed to London during the coming week, and they’ll only have that one game this week. The Hawks and Mavericks also get some extra time off and have just two games. The teams with four games are the Celtics, Hornets, Pistons, Pacers, Clippers, Grizzlies, Suns and Spurs. Especially in leagues that only allow roster moves weekly or limit your add/drops, make sure to target those teams rather than players that will play lighter slates.
Here are my top four pickups to target who are widely available and on the upswing, and I’ve also included some other options at the bottom of the page who are also nice pickups if you’re in a highly active league or someone in your league dropped them too early. If you have specific drop/add questions to your roster, you can shout them out to me on Twitter @ZT_Sports and I’ll do my best to answer your questions and let you know what I would do in your spot.
C Bam Adebayo, MIA (AT MIL, AT DET, AT CHI)The Heat have scrambled their rotation throughout the first part of the season while dealing with multiple injuries. Hassan Whiteside has actually been mostly healthy, but Adebayo is still starting to eat into his playing time. The second-year big man has played at least 24 minutes in five of his past six games. He got a spot start Saturday while Whiteside was dealing with illness and finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in his 38 minutes.
Even before Whiteside’s illness, though, Adebayo was finishing games for the Heat, with Whiteside not leaving the bench in three straight fourth quarters. Adebayo has averaged 11.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks over his past four games and contributes a little bit of everything across multiple categories. He has an ultra-high ceiling if Whiteside misses time at any point and is contributing plenty of multi-category value even as part of the second unit.
PF JaMychal Green, MEM (AT HOU, vs. MIL, AT BOS, AT TOR)On Saturday night, the Grizzlies lost starting SF Kyle Anderson (ankle) for what’s expected to be two to four weeks with a Grade 2 left ankle sprain. Green stepped up in that contest against Miami and matched his season-high with 24 points while also adding 11 rebounds and a steal. Green also had a double-double in his previous contest against the Spurs and has been just a few rebounds or a few points short of regular double-double production over the past month.
Green played several minutes in the fourth quarter alongside Jaren Jackson Jr. and Marc Gasol, as the Grizzlies experimented with an oversized lineup. Since the Grizzlies are committed to JJJ getting lots of usage in his rookie season, Green’s minutes have been limited. When Jackson has gotten into foul trouble, Green has had a few big games this season and maintinaed good per-minute numbers off the bench. If he gets extra playing time this week with Anderson out, Green could poised to step into an extremely productive role
SF Royce O’Neale, UTA (vs. DET, AT LAC, vs. CLE)Another player stepping into an expanded role in the coming week is O’Neale, who has started the past two games for the Jazz while Donovan Mitchell slides to PG in place of the injured Ricky Rubio (hamstring), Danté Exum (ankle) and Raul Neto (groin). O’Neale has played over 35 minutes in each of those games and averaged 12.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks.
Last season, O’Neale also excelled when Rubio was out and makes a nice wing man for Mitchell’s version of the Jazz offense. He gets some great matchups this week and should continue to contribute in the short-term while he remains in the lineup. With veteran Thabo Sefolosha (hamstring) also banged up, there could be an expanded role for O’Neale even when he does return to the second unit, but his main value is due to his usage and minutes bump while in the starting lineup.
C Ante Zizic, CLE (AT POR, AT UTA, AT DEN)Larry Nance Jr. (knee) is expected to miss the next two to four weeks, which opens up significant playing time for Zizic as backup center behind Tristan Thompson. Zizic is a former first-round pick that the Cavs acquired from the Celtics in the Kyrie Irving trade, and the 22-year-old Croatian is now poised for his first extended time with regular minutes.
Zizic played over 20 minutes in each of his past two games and showed some solid upside. On Wednesday, he had 10 points, four boards and two assists in 20 minutes and was even more impressive in 24 minutes Friday with 18 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Those numbers were slightly helped by garbage time, but the Cavs tend to be involved in garbage time on a regular basis, setting Zizic up to be a solid producer as Cleveland takes on three Western Conference opponents on the road this week, where they will likely be heavy underdogs.
Other options worth watching
- PG/SG Terry Rozier, Boston Celtics
- PG/SF Justise Winslow, Miami Heat
- PG/SG Tyus Jones, Minnesota Timberwolves
- SG/SF Kelly Oubre Jr., Phoenix Suns
- PG/SG Alec Burks, Cleveland Cavaliers
- SG/SF Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Hawks
- SG/SF Reggie Bullock, Detroit Pistons
- PG/SG Patty Mills, San Antonio Spurs
- PF Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks
- PG/SG Cameron Payne, Cleveland Cavaliers
- PG Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks
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.