With the adjusted schedule, there is no All-Star break in February for the NBA, which will keep rolling along at its accelerated pace throughout the rest of this month. Week 9 tips off on Monday with seven games, and every night this week has at least seven games except for Thursday, which only has three contests. While most teams are very busy, the Dallas Mavericks are the one team that gets a little bit of a break with only two games on their schedule this week. Seventeen teams double up Dallas’ workload with four games and the other 12 are scheduled to play three games. Depending on the restriction placed on your drop/adds you may want to avoid Mavericks this week, but there are still plenty of good pieces emerging on the waiver wire that deserve consideration to help fill in some of the gaps that you may be trying to manage through for your season-long team.
Each week, I’ve been posting my top four pickups for season-long fantasy basketball leagues, with some other options to consider included at the bottom. If you have specific questions about your roster or format, you can find me on Twitter at @ZT_Sports, where I’ll be happy to let you know what I would do in your situation. There are definitely some nice potential pickups on many leagues’ waiver wire who can give your team a boost this week. Start your search with these key additions.
PF/C Nerlens Noel, New York Knicks (vs. ATL, at ORL, vs. SAS, vs. MIN)
The scramble for Noel on the waiver wire started earlier this weekend when Mitchell Robinson (hand) suffered an injury that will keep him sidelined for four-to-six weeks, according to reports. If there’s any way to still grab the versatile, stat-sheet-stuffing big man, though, he should be grabbed right away with a great schedule ahead and a big workload coming his way.
In his first game after the Robinson injury, Noel played 32 minutes against the Rockets and had 10 points, six rebounds, two blocks and a steal. He only had a 10.1% usage rate, but his defensive stats and high shooting percentage (5-of-6, 83%) should make him a great play if you need counting numbers from your center spot. Noel’s matchups this week should allow him to fill in your box score nicely since he should keep seeing 30-plus minutes per game.
SG Jae’Sean Tate, Houston Rockets, (at WAS, at PHI vs. DAL, vs. IND)
Throughout the ups and downs of the Rockets’ season with players in, out, traded away and acquired, Tate has been one of the few consistent contributors, and the 25-year-old rookie continues to play a very involved role on the current roster. With Victor Oladipo (foot/ankle, knee) dealing with multiple issues and the Rockets watching both his and John Wall’s workload carefully, Tate has usually found his way to plenty of usage.
Over his past nine games, Tate has scored at least nine points seven times while averaging 11.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.8 steals and 28.2 minutes per game. He has a usage rate of 15.1% over those nine games and continues to get plenty of minutes. With good matchups in the coming week, Tate makes a lot of sense, especially if Oladipo stays sidelined early in the week.
SG/SF Grayson Allen, Memphis Grizzlies (vs. NO, vs. OKC, vs. DET, vs. PHX)
If you’re looking for more shooting and scoring from your wing than Tate offers, Allen has looked sharp since returning from his four-game absence. Allen jumped right back in and has played over 20 minutes in each of his four games since coming back and moved back into the starting lineup on Friday for the first time since the end of December.
In his start on Friday, Allen hit six 3-pointers on his way to 23 points, three rebounds, two steals and an assist. He has multiple threes in all four of his games since returning and has averaged 15.3 points with over 18% usage in three of those four games. As long as he keeps getting run and taking shots, he’ll be a nice spot for Memphis and is owned in under 10% of leagues
In this fourth spot, I usually like to highlight a longer-range option that may not give immediate returns but could make a nice addition for your team down the road. Saric definitely fits that description after returning for the Suns this past week. His role for the Suns at this point is undefined since he has only been available for eight games all season due to his own bout with COVID-19. He has a ton of upside, though, since he provides solid scoring on the outside and would be a nice complement to what Phoenix has been running with Chris Paul and Devin Booker in the backcourt.
In his return, Saric looked strong in 20 minutes against his former team, the 76ers, producing 15 points with four steals, four assists and a pair of rebounds. Saric isn’t usually going to pile up blocks or boards, but if you’re looking for a big man that can give you defensive stats with some solid long-range ability, Saric could be a great pickup and stash option to see what role he grows into as he returns to 100%.
Other options worth watching
- PG/SG Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando Magic
- SG/SF Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz
- SF Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons
- C Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs
- PG Kendrick Nunn, Miami Heat
- PF/C Kelly Olynyk, Miami Heat
- PG/SG Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks
- PF/C Paul Millsap, Denver Nuggets
- PG/SG T.J. McConnell, Indiana Pacers
- PG/SG Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
- SF/PF Jae Crowder, Phoenix Suns
- PF/C Isaiah Stewart, Detroit Pistons
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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 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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