The NBA has four days of action on Monday through Thursday of this week before an extended All-Star break which will give teams about a week off with play resuming Wednesday, March 10. Most season-long head-to-head formats are combining these two partial weeks into a nine-day scoring period, but make sure you check how your league will be handling it.
If it is combining the two calendar weeks, most teams will play either four or five games during that window with the exceptions of the Portland Trail Blazers, the San Antonio Spurs and the New Orleans Pelicans, who play six games during that run. The Los Angeles Lakers are on the opposite end of the spectrum with only three games during the next two weeks. While those numbers are important to note, it’s just one factor to consider when making an addition to your squad.
Each week here in the DraftKings Playbook, you can find 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 since those should radically impact your decision-making, 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. For most teams, here’s where I would start my search on the waiver wire:
PG Theo Maledon, Oklahoma City Thunder (at DAL, at SAS, vs. DAL, vs. NYK, vs. MEM)
Maledon was already in my favorite pickups way back when he first broke into the lineup for the Thunder. But since then, he has been dropped by many teams due to a stint in the NBA health and safety protocols that sidelined him for five games. He has been very good since returning, though, and continues to offer solid production in multiple categories for OKC. The 19-year-old rookie has started each of the past 13 games he has been available for, averaging 10.2 points, 3.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 31.4 minutes per game.
He has been even sharper lately and his usage rate is on the rise. He had one of his best all-around games on Friday vs. the Hawks, when he posted a double-double with 13 points and 12 assists. He also flashed upside in steals with four thefts in his previous game against the Spurs. He can contribute in a variety of ways and should stay vitally involved in the Thunder rotation until George Hill (thumb) comes back. Even then, the Thunder are clearly rebuilding, so they should find plenty of playing time for the rookie the rest of the season.
C Robert Williams, Boston Celtics, (vs. LAC, vs. TOR, at BKN, at HOU)
The Celtics are starting to mix Williams into their rotation more often, and he’s starting to push both Tristan Thompson and Daniel Theis for playing time. With Time Lord on a quest for more minutes, it’s time to add him to your squad if you need blocks, boards and a high shooting percentage. He doesn’t add anything from deep but won’t hurt your percentages with a ton of shots either.
In his past six games, Williams has totaled 15 blocks in under 18 minutes per contest. If he ends up closer to 20 minutes per game, a double-double with multiple blocks could become a nightly possibility. Williams had a game just like that in the Celtics’ win on Friday, posting 14 points and 11 rebounds with three blocks in 22 minutes. He isn’t reliably at that level all the time yet, but he should continue to grow and could be a key contributor at C, which can sometimes be tricky to fill mid-season.
The Trail Blazers have an extremely favorable schedule going into and coming out of the All-Star break with a pair of matchups vs. the Timberwolves at the end after home matchups vs. the Hornets, Kings and Suns. Jones is an interesting fit for fantasy teams since he’s a wing that doesn’t focus much on shooting three-pointers and usually provides solid defensive numbers. He can hit one or two from long range every once in a while, but he offers pretty solid production across the board with solid efficiency for Portland.
Jones has scored double-digit points in five of his past six games, averaging 12.3 points to go with 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.7 steals. He has also upped his blocked shots, producing two per contest over that span, as well. If you need scoring rebounds and blocks from your wing, he’s a great addition for the next few weeks with C.J. McCollum (foot) still out for a while.
PG Saban Lee, Detroit Pistons (at TOR, at NYK, at CHA, at BKN)
Lee is on a two-way contract that makes his long-term potential in Detroit a little murky. But, at least until the All-Star break while Delon Wright (groin) is out, Lee should get plenty of work. Coach Dwayne Casey has been hyping the second-round rookie out of Vanderbilt for his work behind the scenes, and so far Lee has looked good in his expanded role, sharing the PG responsibilities with Dennis Smith Jr.
Lee has logged over 20 minutes in four straight contests, averaging 13.5 points, 3.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals. He had a high-water mark of 21 points in his 29 minutes vs. the Magic, and he has contributed multiple steals in three of four games. DSJ has struggled at multiple stops in his career, and if he doesn’t seize the job, the Pistons may look to see what Lee can bring them moving forward. He’s a speculative pickup at this point, but I love the upside if he claims the job.
Other options worth watching
- PG/SG T.J. McConnell, Indiana Pacers
- PG/SG Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks
- PG/SG Malik Monk, Charlotte Hornets
- SG/SF Luguentz Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SF/PF Jarred Vanderbilt, Minnesota Timberwolves
- SG/SF Alec Burks, New York Knicks
- SF/PF Royce O’Neale, Utah Jazz
- C Nicolas Claxton, Brooklyn Nets
- PG/SG Ty Jerome, Oklahoma City Thunder
- PF/C Taj Gibson, New York Knicks
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.
21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.