With two more full weeks of action before the All-Star break shortened week in the middle of Febrary, the NBA is gearing up for another good week of action. If you’re still in the hunt for your season-long fantasy basketball playoffs, this week will be another critical one to establishing your spot.
Due to a few scheduling quirks, this week’s schedule is unusually unbalanced. The Trail Blazers actually only play a single game this week on Wednesday against Utah, and the Cavs, Raptors, Suns, Kings and Timberwolves are only scheduled to play two games each. On the other hand, the Celtics, Hawks, Nets, Hornets, Nuggets, Pacers, Clippers, Grizzlies and Knicks are all scheduled to play four games. While you don’t want to overreact and sit or drop star players, the end of your roster should definitely be stocked with players from the teams with four games, since they’ll have more opportunities to produce stats across the board.
As you make your roster choices for the coming week, take a look at these four pickups who are widely available and trending the right direction. If you’re in a more competitive or active league, I’ve also included some other options at the bottom of the page who are also nice pickups. If you have specific questions about your roster or league format, I’d be happy to answer them on Twitter @ZT_Sports.
PG/SG SHABAZZ NAPIER, BKN (AT BOS, VS. CHI, AT SA, AT ORL)Napier had found a nice role in Brooklyn’s second unit, but was starting to lose time as other wings were returning from injury. That trend reversed in a hurry, though, with a big opportunity opening in the backcourt due to the injury to Spencer Dinwiddie (thumb) that will keep him sidelined three to six weeks.
Coach Kenny Atkinson said that Napier will basically assume Dinwiddie’s role, and that’s what happened on Friday, when Napier played 28 minutes and totaled 18 points, two assists, two boards and a steal. He was extremely active and aggressive and only shot 3-for-13 from the field. If he starts making some more shots, he has an extremely high ceiling in favorable matchups this week.
SG ALLONZO TRIER, NY (AT CHA, VS. DAL, VS. BOS, VS. MEM)Trier has bounced in and out of the Knicks’ ever-changing rotation this season but should be set up for an expanded role over the next few weeks with Emmanuel Mudiay (shoulder) vacating a chunk of minutes in the backcourt. Trier has played in 40 games and averaged 10.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.5 steals in 22.4 minutes per contest, which are solid numbers for an undrafted rookie who was originally on a two-way contract the Knicks later converted.
Over his past four games coming into Sunday, Trier has been even more involved averaging 27.4 minutes, 18.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.5 steals. With nice matchups and extra minutes, Trier should be able to keep producing in multiple categories and be a great add for the coming week.
C JAHLIL OKAFOR, NO (AT HOU, VS. DEN, AT SA)The Pelicans added Okafor as a free agent before the season after the former No. 3 pick overall was traded by the Sixers and not wanted by the Nets. He was fairly uninvolved, averaging just 8.9 minutes in 27 games for New Orleans while not even getting on the floor in 19 contests. That changed quickly though with injuries to Anthony Davis (finger), Nikola Mirotic (calf) and Julius Randle (ankle). Okafor started four games this week and played an average of 32 minutes per contest.
Not only did Okafor’s minutes jump, but he was highly productive while on the floor as well. He had 20 points and 10 rebounds against the Grizzlies followed by an even more impressive 17 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks against the Pistons. He came back to earth a bit with 18 points and eight boards against the Thunder, but bounced back with a monster 24 points and 14 boards against the Spurs on Saturday. Mirotic has already been ruled out for the coming week although there is some hope that Davis could return. As long as he is getting minutes, though, Okafor has shown he can be a productive big-man option. It’ll be interesting to see if his improved play keeps him in the lineup since the Pelicans are definitely not afraid to go big with their rotations. The team could also elect to take it easy with Davis and let him recover through the All-Star break.
SF CEDI OSMAN, CLE (VS. WAS, VS. DAL)If you can afford someone with just two games this week, Osman is a nice addition if you can take the long look because you’re out in front or can sacrifice a bit in the short-term to get a more permanent addition. Osman has stepped up his game since the first of the year and is getting good usage on a Cavs’ team short on talent.
Osman has scored in double digits in eight of his past 11 games and 15 of his past 20. He set a career-high with 25 points against the Celtics on Wednesday and surpassed that with 29 points on Friday against the Heat. He usually adds in some solid non-scoring numbers as well and is a nice pickup lined up for plenty of chances for the rest of the season. He could get even busier if the Cavs move some of their wing options at the trading deadline.
Other options worth watching
- PF/C Noah Vonleh, New York Knicks
- PF/C Kenneth Faried, Houston Rockets
- PG Rajon Rondo, Los Angeles Lakers
- PG Monte Morris, Denver Nuggets
- SG/SF Kevin Huerter, Atlanta Hawks
- PG/SG Tyreke Evans, Indiana Pacers
- C Ante Zizic, Cleveland Cavaliers
- PG/SG Trey Burke, New York Knicks
- SG/SF Marco Belinelli, San Antonio Spurs
- SF Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns
- SF/PF Nemanja Bjelica, Sacramento Kings
- SF/PF Jeff Green, Washington Wizards
- PG/SG Shelvin Mack, Memphis Grizzlies
- PG/SG Jerryd Bayless, Minnesota Timberwolves
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.