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Fantasy Basketball: Top NBA Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 17 of 2022-23

Zach Thompson gives his top additions from the waiver wire for your season-long fantasy basketball leagues heading into Week 17, which starts Monday, February 6.

Washington Wizards v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The final full week of the NBA season before the All-Star break also contains the NBA Trade Deadline on Thursday, February 9 at 3 p.m. ET. It should be a busy week full of news and rumors, but there’s also some great action lined up on the court. There are at least four games every day through the work week with 11 games Friday and nine Saturday before a very light Sunday of only two games on the day of the Super Bowl.

Of the 30 teams in the NBA, nine teams have four games on tap this week, while 20 teams are scheduled for three games. The only team that is an outlier is the New Orleans Pelicans, who play just twice. Make sure to take into account a team’s upcoming schedule when you consider who to add 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.

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/SF Alec Burks, Detroit Pistons (vs. BOS, at CLE, vs. SA, at TOR)

The Pistons are going nowhere fast and have compiled the worst record in the Eastern Conference at just 14-40 through 54 games. Part of their struggle has been due to the absence of Cade Cunningham (shin), who is out for the season. Killian Hayes was starting in his place most of the season, but Burks has moved into the starting five for the past five games and turned in solid numbers.

In his five starts, the 31-year-old has produced 14.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 0.4 steals in 27.7 minutes per game. He scored over 15 points in three of those games, had at least five rebounds three times and hit multiple three-pointers four times.

Coach Dwayne Casey has said Detroit’s lineup will be fluid the rest of the season, and he could end up wanting to take a longer look at younger players, but Burks has shown he can be a stabilizing veteran presence and produce in multiple categories.

Despite his increased role, he is still only owned in about a third of season-long leagues. Over the past few seasons, he has stepped up when given a larger role, and as long as he stays in the starting five he’ll be a strong play, especially in a four-game week like the one he has upcoming.

SG/SF Malaki Branham, San Antonio Spurs (at CHI, at TOR, at DET, at ATL)

Another option from a team at the bottom of the standings is Spurs’ rookie Malaki Branham, who the team took with the No. 20 overall pick in last year’s draft. Branham’s role is still a little uncertain, as usually is the case with the Spurs, but he has been very impressive in the past two games while asked to step into a larger role.

On Wednesday against the Kings, starting point guard Tre Jones (foot) and Jeremy Sochan (back) both left the game early, and the duo was also sidelined for Friday’s home game against the 76ers. In those two games, Branham sparked with 22 points and five assists against Sacramento followed by 26 points and three assists in a spot start against Philadelphia.

In those two games, Branham shot a combined 69.0% from the field and made 5-of-10 three-point attempts. While those percentages are unsustainable, he has been a fairly efficient scorer when given opportunities this season.

Even after those two games, Branham is still only owned in 5% of leagues since the Spurs haven’t said that Jones’ injury is a major concern. Branham is still a speculative addition at this point since it isn’t clear exactly how much the youngster will play when everyone is healthy, but if you can stash him, he could be key down the stretch if San Antonio gives their young players more minutes. He’s not as established as Burks, to be sure, but he does have intriguing enough upside to definitely be worth monitoring.

SG/SF Cam Thomas, Brooklyn Nets (vs. LAC, vs. PHX, vs. CHI, vs. PHI)

Like Branham’s, Thomas’s role is unclear going forward, but he has shown enough to be worth considering at this point. Thomas’ fantasy future is tied to the trade request of Kyrie Irving and what the Nets’ rotation will look like with whatever they get back from a deal. After making the trade request Friday, Irving mysteriously developed calf soreness and was forced to sit out Saturday. If Kyrie continues to be sidelined through the trade deadline, Thomas could get a few more chances to shine before moves are made and the dust settles. The Nets open the week with back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday against the Suns and Clippers.

Thomas showed his potential with a career-high 44 points on Saturday night. The 21-year-old scored a career-high 44 points to lead the Nets to the win even though they were without Kyrie, Kevin Durant (knee), T.J. Warren (shin) and Ben Simmons (knee) before the game and lost Seth Curry (adductor) and Markieff Morris (knee) to in-game injuries.

In each of Brooklyn’s three most recent games, Thomas has scored at least 19 points, averaging 28.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists in just 25.5 minutes per game. He has definitely shown the ability to step up and score, and he may continue to get the chance for enough usage to make him a great play for the next few days. He has the potential to be a better short-term pickup than both Burks and Branham, but his long-term potential is clouded by the uncertainty of who the Nets will have available and when for the rest of the season.

PF/C Trendon Watford, Portland Trail Blazers (vs. MIL, vs. GS, vs. OKC)

Last week, I had Trail Blazers PF/C Drew Eubanks in my top pickups since Jusuf Nurkic and Jerami Grant were both a little banged up. Since then, Nurkic aggravated his calf issue and has been ruled out through the All-Star break, making both Eubanks and Watford strong pickups for the coming week. Eubanks is owned in about 30% of leagues while Watford is still owned in under 10%.

Of the two Trail Blazers’ bigs, Watford has a slightly higher upside although Eubanks is safer since he has taken over the starting job for now. In the first game after Nurk’s most recent injury, Watford flashed his upside with 21 points in 30 minutes and added five assists, three rebounds and a steal. On Saturday, he played 22 minutes in the second half of the back-to-back and had 11 points, three assists, two rebounds and a block while being slightly limited by foul trouble.

The second-year forward from LSU is a little under-sized to log too much time at center but does bring more athleticism and versatility than Eubanks. Both are good additions until Nurkic returns, although Watford’s production may be volatile depending on his role and his matchup.

Other options to consider

  • PG/SG Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls
  • PG/SG Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic
  • PG/SG Patrick Beverly, Los Angeles Lakers
  • PG/SG Edmond Sumner, Brooklyn Nets
  • SG/SF Quentin Grimes, New York Knicks
  • SG/SF Josh Green, Dallas Mavericks
  • SG/SF Aaron Nesmith, Indiana Pacers
  • SG/SF Pat Connaughthon, Milwaukee Bucks
  • SG/SF Max Strus, Miami Heat
  • SG/SF Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • SF/PF Rui Hachimura, Los Angeles Lakers
  • SF/PF Tari Eason, Houston Rockets
  • SF/PF Kenrich Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • PF/C Dario Saric, Phoenix Suns
  • PF/C Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors
  • PF/C Santi Aldama, Memphis Grizzlies
  • PF/C Moritz Wagner, Orlando Magic
  • PF/C Larry Nance Jr., New Orleans Pelicans
  • C Daniel Gafford, Washington Wizards
  • C Isaiah Hartentstein, 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.