The NBA season is only two weeks old, but it already feels like a very important week for several teams. Some seem to be on the verge of either going on a successful run or totally falling apart. Hopefully, your season-long fantasy team is off to a strong start, but whether you’re looking to overhaul your roster or just add the final piece for a championship run, it’s always worth taking a look at what’s available on your league’s waiver wire to grab players stepping into expanding roles or rookies on the rise. This week’s sleepers highlighted below feature two players in bigger roles and two rookies worth watching.
Each week throughout the season, I’ll highlight some of the hottest trending players, some deep league adds, and take a more in-depth look at four sleeper pickups. These sleeper targets aren’t quite mainstream, but they are emerging as options that can give your team a boost and bring potential upside moving forward. The top trending players are good pickups to consider if available, but they are quickly vanishing off waiver wires. The deep league options at the bottom of the post can be a help if the top options and my four sleeper pickups have already been picked up.
In week 3, which starts Monday, October 31, there are three teams that play only two games, so be careful about adding options from the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers. There are nine teams that play twice as many games as those three teams while the other 18 teams play a standard three-game schedule.
Things change in a hurry from day to day throughout 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 Dennis Smith Jr., Charlotte Hornets
- PG/SG Tre Mann, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SG/SF Josh Richardson, San Antonio Spurs
- SF/PF Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans
- SF/PF Jalen McDaniels, Charlotte Hornets
- PF/C Bol Bol, Orlando Magic
- C Andre Drummond, Chicago Bulls
PG/SG Jaylen Nowell, Minnesota Timberwolves (at PHX, vs. MIL, vs HOU)
Nowell has begun the season on a great roll for Minnesota, embracing his job as the leader of the second unit and putting up good production on a nightly basis. He has averaged 21.5 minutes per game off the bench, producing 14.5 points, 2.5 assists and 0.8 steals with a 28.0% usage rate. He has taken at least 11 shots in each game, so he isn’t the kindest pickup to your shooting percentage, but he brings great scoring upside.
Friday night’s win over the Lakers was the first time this season that Nowell didn’t reach double-digit points, but he still contributed by chipping in a season-high five assists. He came just one rebound from a double-double last Monday, so he can help your team in multiple areas if he’s available in your league, as he is in approximately two-thirds of leagues overall.
C Bismack Biyombo, Phoenix Suns (vs. MIN, vs. POR, vs. POR)
The Suns originally added Biyombo as a midseason addition when Deandre Ayton hurt his ankle. The veteran filled in nicely and played a large role during a seven-game stretch in January, averaging 14.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 27.7 minutes per game over that span. Fast forward to Friday—Biyombo again stepped into a larger role after Ayton hurt his ankle. He played 23 minutes off the bench and started the second half, producing 11 points, 13 boards and two blocks to help the Suns beat the Pelicans.
With Ayton out at least a week according to reports on Saturday, Biyombo is a great short-term pickup to produce big-man numbers, which are often hard to grab from the waiver wire. Biyombo had played a total of one second in the Suns’ previous three games, so he’s still available in over 90% of leagues. He and Jock Landale are both candidates to step into more playing time and usage, but Biyombo is more of a proven option in terms of blocks, boards and helping your shooting percentage.
SF/PF Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers (vs. MEM, at PHX, at PHX)
With Damian Lillard (calf) sidelined for a week or two, there’s a huge window of opportunity for Sharpe to step up and thrive alongside Anfernee Simons in the Blazers’ backcourt. Sharpe was the No. 7 overall pick in last year’s draft despite not playing at Kentucky the year before.
Sharpe has been flashing plenty of upside with double-digit points in four of his six games this season. He had eight rebounds against the Heat on Wednesday in 21 minutes off the bench, and then he moved into the starting lineup in place of Dame.
In his first start, Sharpe electrified the Portland crowd with some monster dunks and finished with 14 points, two assists and one rebound. That level of production is probably not worthy of a roster spot quite yet, but he’s exciting the Blazers about his upside, and he can hopefully continue to grow into a fantasy option while Lillard is out.
PF Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs (vs. TOR, vs. LAC, at Den)
The Spurs surprisingly and unceremoniously cut Joshua Primo earlier this week after picking him No. 12 overall in the 2021 NBA Draft. While the details of the story are still very unclear, what is clear is that the Spurs will be looking to fill his time in both the short term and the long term. While Josh Richardson has been one of the hottest names to add over the past week with an expanded role, don’t sleep on Sochan, who was the Spurs’ No. 9 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
While he’s still only 19, Sochan is quickly earning his way into a larger role for the Spurs, who are already turning their eyes to the future and letting their young players learn on the job. The rookie has started all six games for San Antonio and averaged 23.5 minutes per contest. He has played over 23 minutes in each of his past three games, highlighted by a career-high 31 minutes on Friday in a five-point win over the Bulls. In that game, Sochan had 13 points, six rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block. He has scored in double-digits three straight games and is showing he can contribute in other categories as well.
As the Spurs go younger, Sochan is almost sure to have even more usage, so he’s a decent addition now who could grow into a much bigger contributor down the road. He’s still available in over 90% of leagues.
Other options to consider
- PG/SG De’Anthony Melton, Philadelphia 76ers
- PG/SG Bones Hyland, Denver Nuggets
- PG/SG Seth Curry, Brooklyn Nets
- SG Malik Monk, Sacramento Kings
- SG/SF Luguentz Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SG/SF Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks
- SG/SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Utah Jazz
- SG/SF Aaron Wiggins, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SF/PF Jae’Sean Tate, Houston Rockets
- SF/PF Dorian Finney-Smith, Dallas Mavericks
- SF/PF Caleb Martin, Miami Heat
- SF/PF Bruce Brown, Denver Nuggets
- SF/PF Jake LaRavia, Memphis Grizzlies
- PF/C Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks
- PF/C Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors
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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.