Even more than usual, season-long fantasy basketball has been a wild ride over the past month or so with so many players entering and exiting protocols and fringe players in widely varying roles from game to game and week to week. It has been even more critical than ever to stay active on the waiver wire, so hopefully, these posts have helped you play your way into contention as we head into the second half of January. The upcoming week is an interesting one with 11 games or more on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday sandwiched around only two or three games on tap for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings only play two times each, four teams play three times and the other 23 teams are scheduled to be in action for four games.
At the top of this post each week, you can find the top trending pickups who are rapidly disappearing off the waiver wire and probably rostered in your league. If available, they’re great options to consider. At the bottom of the post each week, 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. 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.
Top Trending Players
- PG/SG Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers
- PG/SG Coby White, Chicago Bulls
- PG/SG Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic
- PG/SG Malik Monk, Los Angeles Lakers
- SG/SF Luguentz Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SF/PF Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans
- SF/PF De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks
- PF/C P.J. Tucker, Miami Heat
- C Omer Yurtseven, Miami Heat
SG/SF Max Strus, Miami Heat (vs. TOR, vs. POR, at ATL, vs. LAL)
Strus’s ownership has actually been dropping over the past week since most people who grabbed him thought of him as a short-term pickup while Jimmy Butler (ankle) was sidelined. Don’t sleep on Mad Max as a longer-term option, though, especially since he has stayed in the starting lineup since Butler’s return. Strus started with Butler, Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker and Omer Yertseven in each of those two games. He only played 20 minutes Wednesday, but that was mostly due to a laceration under his right eye that caused him to miss time. He played 28 minutes Saturday and continued to get plenty of opportunities.
In his eight starts, the Heat have gone 7-1 while Strus has averaged 16.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 3-pointers made and 1.9 assists while shooting 48% overall and 43% from long-range with a 21.4% usage rate. His usage could drop a little bit with Butler on the court, but his scoring and 3-point contributions should continue to make him very rosterable. With Duncan Robinson struggling, it looks like the Heat are ready to let the Strus goose keep cooking even as their roster returns to full strength. This makes him a solid hold option or someone to grab when he’s dropped by a short-sighted owner who doesn’t realize how involved he could remain. If he stays in the starting five, he brings an extremely high ceiling.
SF Amir Coffey, Los Angeles Clippers (vs. IND, at DEN, at PHI, at NY)
The Clippers have back-to-back four-game weeks, so there should be plenty of volume for Coffey, who has been stepping into a larger role lately. In his eight games this month, Coffey has averaged 30.5 minutes per game with a 14.9% usage rate. Even though he’s only taking 8.6 shots per game, he is contributing nicely in multiple categories. Over those eight games in January, he has averaged 12.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 0.9 steals per contest. He has at least five rebounds in six of those eight games and multiple assists in six of those games.
In one of those games, Coffey scored 21 points against the Hawks with five 3-pointers, showing his scoring upside, and he followed that by logging an immense 43-minute workload in a two-point win over the Nuggets. Coffey didn’t play much on Thursday in a rout but bounced back with 20 points in 32 minutes against the Spurs on Saturday. Even once Paul George (elbow) returns, coach Tyronn Lue has said either Coffey or Nicolas Batum will likely stay in the starting lineup, and right now Coffey’s multi-faceted game makes him an attractive pickup while he’s seeing such a large role.
PF/C Trey Lyles, Detroit Pistons (at GSW, at SAC, at UTA, at DEN)
The Pistons remain very shorthanded in the frontcourt, and while they have some promising younger players in the backcourt, there has been plenty of room for some veteran leadership and steady contributions from Lyles over the past few weeks. The 26-year-old has scored double-digit points in eight of his past nine games, averaging 15.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.0 blocks in 27 minutes per contest. He started three of those games, but he has also shown he can impact the game coming off the bench.
Lyles had a 20.5% usage rate over his first 28 games and has increased that to 22.5% over his past 10 games. He can produce in multiple categories and should stay involved as long as the Pistons remain without Kelly Olynyk (knee) and Jerami Grant (thumb).
PF/C Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings (vs. DET, at MIL)
Bagley and the Kings only play twice this week, but he’s on this list as more of a long-term add anyway, so the short-term lack of games doesn’t impact him as much. Bagley was totally out of the rotation early in the year, but when Luke Walton was fired, Bagley emerged from the doghouse and started to work his way back. He helped the Kings beat the Rockets on Friday with a monster game of 26 points, 13 rebounds and two blocked shots in 33 minutes.
While he hasn’t been quite at that level since returning, he has started 11 straight games since coming back from a brief absence. In those 11 games, he has averaged 10.8 points and 8.4 rebounds. With the Kings looking to make moves at the trade deadline, Bagley could be poised to pick up even more usage with Harrison Barnes expected to be on the move. He has an extremely high ceiling if he can realize his potential and should get plenty of opportunities down the road, making him a solid longer-term pickup since he’s still owned in under one-third of leagues at this point.
Other options to consider
- PG Facundo Campazzo, Denver Nuggets
- PG/SG Bones Hyland, Denver Nuggets
- SG/SF Chris Duarte, Indiana Pacers
- SG/SF Grayson Allen, Milwaukee Bucks
- SF/PF Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors
- SF/PF Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder
- SF/PF Jae Crowder, Phoenix Suns
- SF/PF/C Jeff Green, Denver Nuggets
- PF Chuma Okeke, Orlando Magic
- PF Chimezie Metu, Sacramento Kings
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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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