Happy New Year! The NBA starts the first week of 2022 with a busy slate of action featuring four days with at least nine games on the schedule. Hopefully, the league can avoid any further cancelations and roll out a full week of games for plenty of fantasy basketball goodness. This week, 18 of the NBA’s 30 teams have full four-game slates, while the other 12 all play three times. With a fairly busy but balanced schedule, you can be aggressive to make your roster improvements for season-long leagues while targeting teams that play four times. With injuries and players checking into and out of protocols, things change in a hurry from day to day, so check out my Twitter account @ZT_sports if you are looking for single-game streaming options, along with cheap DFS plays on a daily basis.
At the top of this post, you can find the top trending pickups, most of whom have been featured in this space over the past several weeks. They are rapidly disappearing off the waiver wire and probably rostered in your league, but they’re great options to consider if available. At the bottom of the post, you can find some deep-league options worth considering if you are trying to get ahead of the rush or the other options aren’t available. In between those two groups, you can find four highlighted sleepers who I think are good pickups and are trending in the right direction.
Top Trending Players
- PG/SG Eric Bledsoe, Los Angeles Clippers
- PG/SG Malik Monk, Los Angeles Lakers
- PG/SG Malik Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves
- SG/SF Hamidou Diallo, Detroit Pistons
- SG/SF Terence Mann, Los Angeles Clippers
- SG/SF Gary Harris Jr., Orlando Magic
- SF/PF Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans
- SF/PF Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns
- PF/C Marcus Morris Sr., Los Angeles Clippers
- PF/C Larry Nance Jr., Portland Trail Blazers
- PF/C Mason Plumlee, Charlotte Hornets
- C Nicolas Claxton, Brooklyn Nets
PG/SG Coby White, Chicago Bulls (vs. ORL, vs. WAS, at DAL)
White has moved into the starting lineup for the Bulls’ las five games and should continue to get even more run with Lonzo Ball (health protocols) and Alex Caruso (foot) sidelined. He missed the start of the season with left shoulder surgery and then spent his own stint in the health and safety protocols. He has started to find a groove lately, though, and has great upside for as long as he keeps getting so much work.
He has averaged 21.2 points in 32.3 minutes per contest over his past six games and has scored over 12 points in five of those contests. In all but one of those contests, he has made at least three 3-pointers, as well, including a season-high six 3-pointers in a 24-point performance vs. the Pacers. The third-year guard has also improved his assist production while running the point and had a season-high 12 assists on Wednesday in a great double-double showing vs. the Hawks. He had the assist on the game-winner Friday and has re-established himself as a core contributor for the Bulls.
SG/SF Aaron Wiggins, Oklahoma City Thunder (at MIN, vs. MIN, vs. DEN)
The Thunder come into the week continuing to battle their COVID-19 outbreak. One of the bright spots in the recent weeks, though, has been the emergence of the 23-year-old rookie from Maryland who the Thunder took in the second round. Wiggins moved into the lineup five games ago and has averaged 29.2 minutes per game with an 18.1% usage rate that has been rising slowly.
In those five games, Wiggins has averaged 15.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, one assist and one steal per contest. He has scored 13 points or more in four straight and should stay very involved in three favorable matchups this week. He doesn’t have quite as much upside as White but is more stable since White’s role could take a hit if Ball or Caruso returns. Wiggins also brings a little more rebounding potential and similar recent scoring production to White’s and is still rostered in only about 20% of leagues.
SF/PF Keita Bates-Diop, San Antonio Spurs (at TOR, at BOS, at PHI, at BKN)
The Spurs moved Bates-Diop since his breakout game vs. the Lakers on Dec. 23. With Doug McDermott and Lonnie Walker IV entering health and safety protocols Saturday, KBD should be in for even more work this week, as long as the hamstring issue that kept him out of the lineup Saturday isn’t a big deal. Devin Vassell, who stepped up in his absence Friday, has been highlighted in this post before and would be a good option if Bates-Diop remains out, but Bates-Diop had been playing ahead of Vassell prior to the soreness that kept him sidelined for the Spurs overtime loss vs. the Pistons.
Two days before Christmas, Bates-Diop shot a perfect 11-for-11 on his way to 30 points in that big game in Los Angeles and started each of the four games since that performance before being sidelined Saturday. In those four games dating back to that performance, he has averaged 12.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 22.6 minutes per contest. With more minutes probably coming his way, he’s a nice low-demand option to snag with the Spurs playing five games in seven days starting Tuesday.
C Guillermo Hernangómez, New Orleans Pelicans (vs. UTA, vs. PHX, vs. GSW, at TOR)
Hernangómez is lined up for a busy week and should step back into the starting lineup with Jonas Valanciunas landing in health and safety protocols after missing time last week with a back injury. In his first start, Hernangómez had only three points on 1-for-11 shooting, but he still added 16 rebounds and a steal in 32 minutes. He started the next game, as well, and produced 14 points, six rebounds and two assists. He returned to the bench when Valanciunas was back but has been able to produce double-digit points in nine of his past 17 games, even when Valanciunas was available.
On Saturday — JV’s first game out due to protocols — Hernangómez started again and posted 11 points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes vs. the Bucks. His backup, Jaxson Hayes, looked great in that contest, but I still think the Hernangoat is a safer addition if you’re looking for points, rebounds and good big-man numbers this coming week.
Other options to consider
- PG Rajon Rondo, Cleveland Cavaliers
- PG Facundo Campazzo, Denver Nuggets
- PG Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics
- PG/SG Donte DiVincenzo, Milwaukee Bucks
- PG/SG Gary Payton II, Golden State Warriors
- PG/SG/SF Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Washington Wizards
- PG/SG/SF Garrett Temple, New Orleans Pelicans
- SG/SF Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers
- SG/SF Josh Richardson, Boston Celtics
- SF Amir Coffey, Los Angeles Clippers
- SF Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers
- SF/PF Obi Toppin, New York Knicks
- PF Jalen Smith, Phoenix Suns
- PF/C DeMarcus Cousins, Milwaukee Bucks
- C Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans Pelicans
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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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