For most season-long fantasy basketball leagues, it’s playoff time! There are just four weeks left in the NBA regular season, and most standard leagues have a three-week postseason that tips off this week. Even though it’s late in the season, there are still some great options available on many leagues' waiver wires that can help you push to the championship.
For a second straight week, the schedule is fairly evenly paced from day to day throughout the week. There is no day in Week 21 that has more than eight games and only Thursday (five games) has fewer than seven. The Charlotte Hornets, Utah Jazz and New York Knicks only play twice in the coming week, but 15 teams play four times and the other 12 have solid three-game weeks. Make sure to consider how many games each team has and how good the matchups are if you’re looking for an addition with instant impact.
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 Tyus Jones, Memphis Grizzlies
- PG Dennis Schroder, Los Angeles Lakers
- PG/SG Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks
- PG/SG Delon Wright, Washington Wizards
- SG/SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Utah Jazz
- SG/SF Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks
- SG/SF/PF Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans
- SF/PF Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans
- PF/C Jabari Smith Jr., Houston Rockets
- PF/C Xavier Tillman, Memphis Grizzlies
- C James Wiseman, Detroit Pistons
PF Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs (vs. ORL, vs. DAL, vs. MEM, vs. ATL)
Despite being officially eliminated from the playoffs, the Spurs are a team that has to be on your fantasy radar this week with four good matchups all at home. Even though their defense is awful and they have the third-worst record in the NBA, they are actually a fun team to watch that plays very aggressively and typically puts up points.
As they give their younger players expanded roles to gain experience, look for Sochan to get a ton of usage in the coming weeks. The No. 9 overall pick in last year’s draft has had a solid rookie season overall, but he’s still available in over 60% of leagues. He didn’t play in the second game of San Antonio’s back-to-back set with the Rockets due to right knee soreness, but there is no major issue there to cause concern.
Over his past five games, he has averaged 18.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 30.5 minutes per game. He had over a 25% usage rate in four of those five games, which is a dramatic increase from his 18.4% usage rate in his first 48 games this season.
Sochan had 18 points and nine rebounds on Friday in a nice Spurs win over the Nuggets, and he should continue to get plenty of work with the starting unit for the rest of the season. It’s always a little risky rolling with a member of the Spurs given the ever-shifting rotation, but Sochan is enough of a part of their future that he’s a strong play this week with four great matchups.
PG/SG Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic (at SA, at PHX, at LAC, at LAL)
Suggs made a few spot starts earlier this week, but even after returning to the bench showed he can offer solid contributions in the Magic’s rotation. Even though Orlando’s backcourt is a little crowded, the second-year guard from Gonzaga should still be able to carve out a niche for himself the rest of the season.
He scored at least 15 points in four of his past five games, averaging 13.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 steals per game. On Saturday, he left the game for a little while with a head injury but was able to return. Franz Wagner (ankle) also left the game, and Suggs was one of several players who stepped up after he departed. If Wagner is sidelined for any of this week’s matchups, more work would be available for Suggs.
While he isn’t a pass-first prototypical point guard or a three-point specialist, he can provide solid scoring and steals numbers if he keeps getting around 30 minutes per contest. Orlando is on a four-game road trip this week that finishes with a back-to-back over next weekend in Los Angeles. If you need some guard help, Suggs is available in three-quarters of leagues and should be able to fill in nicely this week.
SF/PF Jordan Nwora, Indiana Pacers (at DET, at MIL, vs. PHI)
Nwora was part of the big four-team deal at the trade deadline that involved the Bucks, Pacers, Nets and Suns. When the dust settled, he left Milwaukee and landed with the Pacers, where he has started to find a nice role on the wing.
The Pacers are dealing with multiple injuries and could take a chance to see what Nwora can offer on a nightly basis down the stretch. He has a revenge-game narrative against Milaukee as part of his three matchups this week, and then he has a pair of four-game weeks to finish the postseason in most leagues. If you have a bye this week and can afford to stash him, he could be huge in the final two-week window.
Nwora has scored double-digit points in seven straight games after posting 11 points in Saturday night’s contest. He started twice and averaged 22.8 minutes per game during that stretch while producing 13.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 three-pointers per game. The Pacers already announced they’ll be short-handed to start the week without Tyrese Haliburton (knee), Myles Turner (back), Bennedict Mathurin (ankle) and T.J. McConnell (back) on Monday. Their absences could open up more opportunity for Nwora.
In the past when filling in for Giannis with the Bucks, Nwora flashed a high fantasy ceiling, and if he gets expanded time to run free in this up-tempo Indiana attack, he could end up finishing the season with a flourish that can help push your team over the top.
SF/PF Ousmane Dieng, Oklahoma City Thunder (vs. BKN, at TOR, vs. PHX)
Digging even deeper to a player almost universally available but suddenly emerging onto the fantasy landscape, Dieng is an option that could also contribute meaningful stats in the remainder of the season.
The Thunder traded up to grab Dieng with the No. 11 overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft, but he has spent most of the season in the G League playing for the Oklahoma City Blue after suffering a wrist injury. The 19-year-old from France is considered a long-term project but has been getting a lot more work lately after Kenrich Williams (wrist) was ruled out for the season.
Dieng had scored double-digit points with multiple three-pointers in three straight games coming into Saturday night while also adding 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals in an average of 22.4 minutes per game. He played a more limited role in Saturday’s win over the Pelicans with just three points in nine minutes.
The Thunder are still battling for a spot in the Play-In Tournament, but could still try and get Dieng extra work down the stretch. He’s at least a young player to keep an eye on since the Thunder, like the Pacers, play four games and four games in Weeks 22 and 23. If Dieng is getting minutes, he definitely could be a good grab at some point during that span.
Other options to consider
- PG T.J. McConnell, Indiana Pacers
- PG/SG Kris Dunn, Utah Jazz
- PG/SG Corey Joseph, Detroit Pistons
- SG Malik Monk, Sacramento Kings
- SG/SF Josh Okogie, Phoenix Suns
- SG/SF Austin Reaves, Los Angeles Lakers
- SG/SF Quentin Grimes, New York Knicks
- SG/SF Grayson Allen, Milwaukee Bucks
- SG/SF Terrence Ross, Phoenix Suns
- SG/SF Royce O’Neale, Brooklyn Nets
- PF/C Santi Aldama, Memphis Grizzlies
- C Nick Richards, Charlotte 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.