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Fantasy Basketball: Top NBA Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 16 of 2022-23

Zach Thompson gives his top additions from the waiver wire for your season-long fantasy basketball leagues heading into Week 16, which starts Monday, January 30.

Toronto Raptors v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

It’s getting close to crunch time for season-long fantasy basketball as the NBA rolls into Week 16. The All-Star break and the trade deadline just around the corner. There aren’t any days this week with double-digit games on the schedule but there are at least five games on tap for every night.

Of the 30 teams in the NBA, 16 teams have four games on tap this week, while 12 teams are scheduled for three games. The two outliers from that group are the Boston Celtics and the Utah Jazz, who only have two games this week.

In this weekly post, you can find some of the hottest trending players, some deep league additions to consider and a more in-depth look at four sleeper pickups. The sleeper targets listed below aren’t quite mainstream, but they are emerging as options with plenty of potential upside. The top trending players are good pickups to consider if available but 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 the four sleeper pickups have already been picked up. Unless otherwise noted, all stats are prior to play on Saturday.

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

SG/SF Pat Connaughton, Milwaukee Bucks (vs. CHA, vs. LAC, vs. MIA)

The Bucks are getting their starts back healthy with Khris Middleton ramping up and Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday back in their regular roles. However, with Bobby Portis (knee) sidelined for the next few weeks, Connaughton should continue to get a chance to shine in a complimentary role.

The 30-year-old has started each of the past 17 games for the Bucks, averaging 29.6 minutes per game. While his usage is only 13.8% over that stretch, he has flashed some very strong upside lately. He has made multiple three-pointers in each of his past 10 games, averaging 3.0 three-pointers per contest over that stretch for 11.6 points per game. He has also added 7.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game during that run.

In the two games without Portis, Connaughton’s time has jumped to 35.4 minutes per game and he has contributed 4.5 three-pointers for 16.5 points and 10.0 rebounds while adding 2.5 steals.

Even if he ultimately returns to the bench for Middleton, he should continue to get enough work to contribute solid three-point numbers and good countable stats for the foreseeable future. He is still owned in only 25% of leagues, though, so he makes a great addition for the upcoming week.

SF/PF Deni Avdija, Washington Wizards (at SA, at DET, vs. POR, at BRK)

The Wizards shipped out Rui Hachimura and are also without Kristaps Porzingis (ankle). Avdija was actually in my pickups back in Week 7, but his role has fluctuated a little bit since then, and he’s still available in over two-thirds of leagues.

Avdija was coming off the bench with Hachimura in the second unit, and has stepped into a bigger role now that Hachimura has joined the Lakers. In the two games since the trade, Avdija played 32 and 30 minutes and had a 16.9% usage rate, compared to a 14.7% usage rate in his previous 20 games.

In each of the two games after the Hachimura trade, Avdija grabbed 10 boards. He also averaged 12.5 points, 3.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 0.5 blocked shots. The do-everything forward should continue to get plenty of chances for the Wizards, who seem to be a big fan of the 22-year-old from Israel. He was their top-10 pick just three seasons ago, so look for them to give him a long look the rest of the season.

Avdija has a very favorable week coming up with great matchups against the Spurs, Pistons, Trail Blazers and Nets spread throughout the week.

SG/SF Chris Duarte, Indiana Pacers (vs. LAL, vs. SAC, vs. CLE)

While the Pacers have been without Tyrese Haliburton (elbow, knee), T.J. McConnell has stepped up and run the show for Indiana. McConnell is not as aggressive, though, so some of the other options have gotten more active in scoring. Duarte had a promising rookie season last year but has battled injury this season. He returned to action in mid-December but didn’t re-enter the starting lineup until last week. The slower ramp-up has him available in over 75% of leagues.

In his three games starting, Duarte has hoisted 31 shots, scoring 11, 16 and 17 points. He has also added 5.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.7 steals in his 33.1 minutes per game since returning to the lineup. Even with Andrew Nembhard (illness) available, Duarte stuck in the starting five and should continue to play plenty of minutes with plenty of chances until Haliburton is ready to return.

Duarte does come with some downside, specifically in field goal percentage, but he also brings the potential for production in multiple categories. If you can take a bit of a hit in shooting percentage, he does have some nice matchups and should pile up counting stats in the coming week.

PF/C Drew Eubanks, Portland Trail Blazers (vs. ATL, at MEM, at WAS, at CHI)

Eubanks is still a speculative pickup at this point, but if he gets opportunities he could end up being an awesome play in good matchups this week. His production will depend largely on the health of Jusuf Nurkic (calf) and Josh Hart (hamstring), who both have been battling ailments and had to leave early last Wednesday. If either player is forced to miss any of the upcoming games, Eubanks could be a great addition in the over 85% of leagues where he is on the waiver wire.

On Wednesday in an increased role, Eubanks had eight points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 26 minutes. Even before the injuries, the Shaq of Troutdale was trending the right direction. He has blocked at least one shot in each of his past nine games, averaging 1.9 blocks, 5.7 rebounds and 5.3 points per game in 20.1 minutes per contest. If that number swells to 25 minutes or even more, he can provide solid defensive numbers and the ever-elusive big-man production off the waiver wire.

Eubanks doesn’t shoot a ton, so he won’t hurt your percentages much, and he could end up a key contributor if Nurkic or Hart ends up missing time.

Other options to consider

  • PG Monte Morris, Washington Wizards
  • PG/SG Kendrick Nunn, Washington Wizards
  • PG/SG/SF Alec Burks, Detroit Pistons
  • SG/SF Josh Green, Dallas Mavericks
  • SG/SF Max Strus, Miami Heat
  • SG/SF Grayson Allen, Milwaukee Bucks
  • SF/PF Kenyon Martin Jr., Houston Rockets
  • SF/PF Tari Eason, Houston Rockets
  • PF/C Larry Nance Jr., New Orleans Pelicans
  • PF/C Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors
  • C Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks
  • C Daniel Gafford, Washington Wizards
  • C Jericho Sims, New York Knicks

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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.