The clock on the NBA season has ticked past the All-Star break and the Trade Deadline, meaning it's crunch time for fantasy basketball season. Most leagues have about two weeks before the fantasy playoffs begin since there are six weeks before the regular season ends on April 9. There’s no time to mess around whether you’re aligning your roster for the playoffs or still just pushing to qualify for your season-long league’s postseason.
In Week 19, there are only four games on Monday and Thursday but heavy schedules with at least nine games on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and next Sunday. Eighteen of the 30 NBA teams play four games in the upcoming week while 10 only play three times. The two outliers are the Denver Nuggets and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are only scheduled to play twice in the upcoming 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.
Things change daily 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 Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Clippers
- PG Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic
- PG/SG Malcolm Brogdon, Boston Celtics
- PG/SG Derrick White, Boston Celtics
- SG/SF Malaki Branham, San Antonio Spurs
- SG/SF Bennedict Mathurin, Indiana Pacers
- SG/SF Cam Thomas, Brooklyn Nets
- SG/SF Josh Okogie, Phoenix Suns
- SG/SF Lu Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SG/SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Utah Jazz
- SG/SF Malik Beasley, Los Angeles Lakers
- SG/SF Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Denver Nuggets
- SF/PF Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets
- PF/C Zach Collins, San Antonio Spurs
- C Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks
- C Mark Williams, Charlotte Hornets
- C James Wiseman, Detroit Pistons
PF/C Marvin Bagley III, Detroit Pistons (at CHA, vs. CHI, at CLE)
Bagley is very intriguing as an addition since he has such a high ceiling but has proven very unreliable throughout his career. He was acquired by the Pistons at the Trade Deadline last season but has been limited to 25 games by various injuries this year. He missed the last month with two fractured fingers on his right hand and is only owned in under 20% of leagues after missing almost eight weeks.
On Saturday, Bagley made quite the splash in his return, going off for 21 points, 18 rebounds, and one blocked shot in 28 minutes against the Raptors. He looked as sharp as he has all season and showed how effective he can be at his best.
Aside from the game he left early with his finger injury, he averaged 10.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 0.8 blocked shots in 21.8 minutes per game earlier this year. He should be able to produce good points and rebounds if the Pistons decide to give him enough workload to make him fantasy relevant.
Bagley’s return could come at just the right time for him to step into a big role since Jalen Duren sat out Saturday with bilateral ankle soreness. Also, Isaiah Stewart left in the third quarter with a sore right hip and was unable to return. James Wiseman is also in the mix, but the Pistons will try to get a long look at some of their young big men, as they try to figure out who figures into their future plans.
PG/SG Devonte’ Graham, San Antonio Spurs (at UTA, vs. IND, vs. HOU, at HOU)
Graham was acquired by the Spurs at the trade deadline from New Orleans, where he had fallen out of favor behind Jose Alvarado. Since joining San Antonio, though, he has been in a much larger role.
In six games with the Spurs, Graham has averaged 13.7 points, 4.7 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 0.8 steals with a 21.2% usage rate in 28.1 minutes per game. He earned a spot start on Thursday in the first game after the break and contributed 10 points and five assists in 29 minutes. He returned to the bench on Saturday but still logged 29 minutes, producing 10 points, four assists and four rebounds.
Even after the All-Star break, starting point guard Tre Jones has been unable to return for the Spurs, playing just one game since February 1. While youngster Malaki Branham (highlighted a few weeks ago) will continue to get plenty of run and Devin Vassell (knee) could return this week, Graham should continue to be involved enough to offer good assist production and some scoring. The Spurs' rotation always seems to be changing, but Graham’s versatility and veteran contributions should keep him in the rotation every night and his usage could spike if certain other players sit out or are limited.
The Spurs have a great four-game schedule coming up this week, finishing with back-to-back games against the Rockets. If Branham, Zach Collins, Vassell or other Spurs have been missed on your waiver wire, they make nice additions for the coming week. Graham can offer a big boost too in the over 75% of leagues where he’s still on the waiver wire.
PF Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls (at TOR, at DET, vs. PHX, vs. IND)
The Bulls didn’t trade away any key pieces at the trade deadline and added Patrick Beverley from the buyout market. It looks like they’ll try to make a playoff run with this group. They sit 1.5 games behind the Wizards for the last spot in the NBA Play-In Tournament.
In Beverley’s debut on Friday night, Williams actually moved to the bench for just the second time this season with 58 starts. The new rotation seemed to work for him, though, as he still played 28 minutes and finished with 17 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals in the Bulls’ 44-point blowout win over the Nets.
Williams could actually be more productive in the second unit as long as he keeps getting so many minutes. He usually chips in solid non-scoring numbers as well and his offense seems to be coming around. He has at least 11 points in four of his five most recent contests and has averaged 12.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals in 30.0 minutes per game over that five-game stretch.
Although his ceiling is still limited, a four-game week with some favorable matchups makes Williams worth considering as an addition if you need forward help. He’s owned in about one-third of leagues coming into the week.
SG/SF Ochai Agbagi, Utah Jazz (vs. SA, at OKC, at OKC)
If you’re in a deep or extremely active league or are looking for a player to get in on early, take a look at Agbaji, who is getting a lot of work with the Jazz and could offer very nice upside as Utah plays out the rest of the season and takes a long look at their younger players.
Talen Horton-Tucker (highlighted last week) was one of the big winners of the trade deadline in Utah after the Jazz traded away veterans Malik Beasley, Mike Conley and Jarred Vanderbilt. THT has been grabbed in most leagues, though, so don’t miss that Agbaji has benefitted too. Agbaji is also probably thought of as more of a long-term contributor for the Jazz after they added the No. 14 overall pick as part of their haul in return for Donovan Mitchell.
Agbaji has had a solid rookie season but has seen his workload spike over his past four games. In those contests, he averaged over 30 minutes a game and produced 12.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.5 steals per game. He has made multiple three-pointers in each of those four contests and should continue to get more work the rest of the season.
He’s only owned in 1% of leagues, but it’s worth noting that the Jazz play four games in each of the final three weeks of the season with some very favorable matchups. If the rookie continues to grow his role, he could end up being a nice playoff contributor for your fantasy team.
Other options to consider
- PG TyTy Washington Jr., Houston Rockets
- PG/SG Delon Wright, Washington Wizards
- PG/SG Isaiah Joe, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SG Malik Monk, Sacramento Kings
- SG/SF Josh Richardson, New Orleans Pelicans
- SG/SF Aaron NeSmith, Indiana Pacers
- SF/PF Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic
- SF/PF Cam Reddish, Portland Trail Blazers
- SF/PF Kenyon Martin Jr, Houston Rockets
- PF/C Charles Bassey, San Antonio Spurs
- PF/C Vlatko Cancar, Denver Nuggets
- PF/C Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors
- PF/C Jaylin Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder
- C Mo Bamba, Los Angeles Lakers
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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.