We’re almost a month into the NBA season, and the season-long fantasy basketball grind is in full force. Injuries, off-court drama and “injury management” are shaking up rotations on a nightly basis. Hopefully, your season-long fantasy team has gotten off to a strong start, but whether you’re looking to reset your roster or just add the final piece to your championship squad, it’s always worth looking carefully at what’s available on your league’s waiver wire.
Each week throughout the season, I’ll highlight some of the hottest trending players, list 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 4, which starts Monday, November 7, there are 20 teams that are scheduled for four games in the busiest week of the season so far. The other ten teams each play three times, so there isn’t a huge differential to consider in the number of games, although the quality of the matchups is still something to keep a close eye on.
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/SG Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic
- PG/SG De’Anthony Melton, Philadelphia 76ers
- PG/SG Seth Curry, Brooklyn Nets
- SG/SF Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies
- SG/SF Lonnie Walker IV, Los Angeles Lakers
- SG/SF Royce O’Neale, Brooklyn Nets
- SG/SF Max Strus, Miami Heat
- SG/SF Kevin Huerter, Sacramento Kings
- SF/PF Bruce Brown, Denver Nuggets
- SF/PF Jalen McDaniels, Charlotte Hornets
- SF/PF DeAndre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks
- PF/C Marcus Morris Sr., Los Angeles Clippers
- PF/C Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors
- C Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Knicks
PF/C Larry Nance Jr., New Orleans Pelicans (at IND, at CHI, vs. POR, vs HOU)
The Pelicans have a great schedule this coming week and Nance is playing a growing role in the fun young team’s rotation. He helped fill in while Brandon Ingram was out with a concussion but actually had his strongest showing when Ingram returned on Friday. In that contest, Nance had 20 points, and eight rebounds in 29 minutes while the Pelicans beat the Warriors.
Nance has scored double-digit points in five of his past seven games, averaging 11.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 steals in 25.3 minutes per game. He is behind Zion Williamson and Jonas Valanciunas for playing time but has made the most of his chances and logged more minutes than Valanciunas on a regular basis off the bench. It has usually been about a 50-50 timeshare at center for the Pels, and Nance has shown that if he gets time, he can produce in multiple categories. Big-man numbers can be hard to find on the waiver wire, so take a look at Nance if your front court needs reinforcing.
SF/PF Troy Brown Jr., Los Angeles Lakers (at UTA, at LAC, vs. SAC, vs. BKN)
It feels like Brown has been around a long time, but he’s still just 23 years old even though he’s with his third team in his fifth NBA season. He started the season late due to a back injury, and he’s still owned in under 10% of leagues after his first six games for the Lakers. While the Lakers’ rotation is still very much “under construction,” it looks like coach Darvin Ham has big plans for Brown, who has averaged 26.2 minutes over that span and started each of the Lakers’ last four games.
Brown has averaged 11.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 0.5 steals and 0.3 assists in his four games in the starting lineup. He posted a nice double-double with 15 points and 10 boards in the Lakers’ win over the Pelicans on Wednesday and followed that up with 12 more points on Friday against the Jazz.
Especially in the starting unit, Brown should get good looks at three-pointers while contributing solid points and rebounds on a regular basis. He’s trending up and can be a nice depth option at forward in the over 90% of leagues where he is still on the waiver wire.
SG/SF Cam Thomas, Brooklyn Nets (at DAL, vs. NY, at LAC, at LAL)
Thomas was virtually unowned before a pair of big games this week, and he’s still available in about 75% of leagues. The Nets’ rotation is far from settled with Joe Harris and Seth Curry working their way back to full strength and Kyrie Irving’s availability extremely uncertain. Thomas has made a strong case to have a role, though, and he should be a part of the rotation at least until Kyrie returns.
Before Friday, Thomas had only played two minutes since the season opener, but he logged 32 minutes in Brooklyn’s rout of the Wizards and followed that up with 29 minutes on Saturday in a much closer contest against the Hornets. He made the most of his opportunity, stepping up with 17 points, six assists, four rebounds and a steal on Friday followed by 21 points, four assists, four rebounds and a steal on Saturday.
While Edmond Sumner started both games since Kyrie’s suspension, it was the 21-year-old Thomas who looked like the better fantasy find heading into this coming week. The Nets were high on Thomas last year as well, and he showed a lot of promise. It was odd that he was not in the rotation at all early in the year, but with a coaching change and Kyrie’s undetermined absence, Thomas know looks ready to contribute in the Nets’ four games this week.
PG/SG Andrew Nembhard, Indiana Pacers (vs. NO, vs. DEN, vs TOR)
The Pacers grabbed Nembhard out of Gonzaga with the first pick in the second round of this year’s NBA draft, No. 31 overall. They signed him to the biggest rookie contract ever given to a second-rounder, and are giving him and fellow-rookie Bennedict Mathurin plenty of playing time as they go through their rebuild this season.
Nembhard will get plenty of run over the next few weeks after Chris Duarte (ankle) was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left ankle sprain that will keep him out for four-to-six weeks. Aaron Nesmith (foot) has also been sidelined and T.J. McConnell (knee) has been playing fewer minutes since returning from his own injury.
After Duarte departed on Friday, Nembhard played 28 minutes in his place. While he only hit 2-of-8 shots and scored four points, he did add six assists and three rebounds while playing critical on-ball defense down the stretch. He even contested Tyler Herro’s game-winning shot attempt, which came up short, to seal the Pacers’ victory.
While his numbers weren’t outstanding, he drew rave reviews for his defense and intensity. Coach Rick Carlisle has been very impressed, which means Nembhard will get plenty of reps while Duarte is out. His assists and steals should make him a nice speculative add with upside over the next few weeks. At this point, he’s still just about universally available, but I think he’ll trend upward in a hurry over the next week.
Other options to consider
- PG Jose Alvarado, New Orleans Pelicans
- PG/SG Davion Mitchell, Sacramento Kings
- PG/SG R.J. Hampton, Orlando Magic
- PG/SG Jaylen Nowell, Minnesota Timberwolves
- SG Malik Monk, Sacramento Kings
- SF/PF Grant Williams, Boston Celtics
- SF/PF Yuta Watanabe, Brooklyn Nets
- SF/PF Justise Winslow, Portland Trail Blazers
- PF Obi Toppin, New York Knicks
- PF Chuma Okeke, Orlando Magic
- PF/C Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Oklahoma City Thunder
- C Precious Achiuwa, Toronto Raptors
- C Mason Plumlee, Charlotts Hornets
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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.