The first quarter of the NBA season wraps up this week for most teams, and for all those in season-long fantasy basketball leagues, it’s time to get that roster primed and ready for mid-season success. With the whole Association taking Thanksgiving off as part of next week’s schedule, this week sets up to be another busy one with 11 games on Monday and Wednesday and nine games each on Friday and Saturday. Nineteen of the 30 teams are scheduled to play four games this week with 10 teams scheduled to play three times. The only outlier is the San Antonio Spurs who play a lighter two-game slate, so keep that in mind, if you’re stacked with Spurs or considering a pickup from their team.
At the top of the post are the top trending players, who have been in these picks in the past or are quickly getting grabbed off the waiver wire. They are likely already owned in your league, but if not, they’re great options to add. At the bottom of the post, are the deep league pickups and other options to consider, if you’re in a deep league or trying to get ahead of the rush. In between those two groups, you can find four highlighted sleepers who I like for the coming week and beyond. I think they make good grabs and are about to become some of the hottest options of the coming week.
Top Trending Players
- PG Dennis Schroder, Boston Celtics
- PG/SG Eric Bledsoe, Los Angeles Clippers
- PG/SG Shake Milton, Philadelphia 76ers
- PG/SG Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls
- SG/SF Luguentz Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SG/SF Josh Hart, New Orleans Pelicans
- SG/SF Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs
- SG/SF Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies
- SF/PF Jae’Sean Tate, Houston Rockets
- SF/PF Nicolas Batum, Los Angeles Clippers
- C Ivica Zubac, Los Angeles Clippers
- C Frank Kaminsky, Phoenix Suns
PG/SG Bones Hyland, Denver Nuggets (at DAL, vs. PHI, vs. CHI, at PHX)
The Nuggets have been using the uninspiring duo of Monte Morris and Facundo Campazzo to fill in for Jamal Murray so far this season, but there are some positive signs that we may be seeing the dawn of a “Bones Day” for Denver moving forward. Hyland was very impressive in Summer League and preseason, but was almost out of coach Mike Malone’s rotation early in the season. Malone is known for bringing rookies along slowly, but he’s starting to give Hyland more run and the rookie is turning in impressive production.
After playing a total of 19 minutes over the first five games of the season, Hyland has played 15 minutes or more in each of his past seven games, averaging 18.3 minutes per contest. He has taken at least seven shots in each of those games while averaging 8.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 0.9 steals. He has hit double-digit points in each of his two most recent games and posted a career-high six rebounds while matching his career-high of four assists to go with his 15 points on Friday night against the Hawks. He has played over 21 minutes in each of his two most recent games, and if he keeps getting that much run he could be a very nice contributor in the Nuggets’ second unit. He should keep getting increased opportunities while Michael Porter Jr. (back) is sidelined, and he could force his way into fantasy relevance.
SF/PF Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder (vs. MIA, vs. HOU, at MIL, at BOS)
Bazley has started all 11 games he has played for the Thunder this season and has offered solid production with 11.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per contest. He started the year in a shooting slump, going just 1-for-16 from long-range in his first four games, but he has bounced back and shot 42% from long-range in his seven games since then and is averaging just under 2.0 three-pointers per contest.
In each of his five most recent games, Bazley has scored double-digit points with a 19.3% usage rate. He had his one double-double of the season during that stretch in a nice 11-point, 11-rebound game against the Spurs. The Thunder have reeled off four straight wins, and their offense has been much improved. While he doesn’t have the high-scoring ceiling of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or Luguentz Dort or the rookie buzz of Josh Giddey, Bazley is a key part of the starting unit and contributes solid rebounding and scoring. He should be a nice forward pickup coming into this four-game week.
PF Chimezie Metu, Sacramento Kings (at DET, at MIN, vs. TOR, vs UTA)
If you’re looking further down the list of available players for someone who could become a breakout contributor in the next few weeks, take a look at Metu, who has stepped into a larger role for Sacramento over the past week. He didn’t even get onto the floor for the first eight games of the season, but moved all the way into the lineup for the Kings on Friday against Bazley’s Thunder.
Metu’s first big game of the year was Wednesday against the Spurs, when he logged 20 minutes, hit three three-pointers and totaled 13 points to go with six rebounds. That performance was enough to earn him the start on Friday, and he produced 14 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes while hitting three more three-pointers. Metu started in place of Moe Harkless and seemed to bring good energy, a little rim protection and excellent floor spacing. If he sticks in the Kings’ lineup, he has a good ceiling and the 24-year-old is more of a part of the Kings’ future than Harkless, who never contributed many stats even as a starter. The Kings could definitely use his rebounding ability and three-point shooting, so he’s definitely an option to watch closely.
SF/PF Alize Johnson, Chicago Bulls (at LAL, at POR, at DEN, vs. NYK)
Another situation where players will have an opportunity to step up in the next few games is in the frontcourt for the Bulls, who will be without Nikola Vucevic for several games after the big man tested positive for COVID-19. While Tony Bradley started in Vucevic’s place on Friday night, it was Johnson who looked the best replacing Vucevic and played a season-high 21 minutes compared to just 14 minutes for Bradley.
Johnson had nine points and seven rebounds along with a steal in his expanded role along with a solid 18.7% usage rate. With Vucevic sidelined and Patrick Williams (wrist) out for the year, the Bulls need someone to step up in the frontcourt. For at least the first game without Vooch, Johnson was clearly their best option. If he keeps getting opportunities, he could play his way into a larger role even after Vucevic is back since he offers a little more offensive firepower than Javonte Green, who has been starting in Williams’ place. Johnson is a speculative add, at this point, but like Hyland and Metu, he seems to have a larger role available ahead of him if he keeps playing well.
Other options to consider
- PG/SG Patrick Beverley, Minnesota Timberwolves
- PG/SG Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers
- PG/SG Garrett Temple, New Orleans Pelicans
- SG Davion Mitchell, Sacramento Kings
- SG/SF Josh Richardson, Boston Celtics
- SG/SF Luke Kennard, Los Angeles Clippers
- SF Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers
- SF/PF Jae Crowder, Phoenix Suns
- C Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls
- C Naz Reid, Minnesota Timberwolves
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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.
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