The NBA still hasn’t released its second-half schedule, but we know we have two more solid weeks of this fast-paced fantasy season before the league breaks for the All-Star game, now confirmed for Sunday, March 7. It’s sure to be a wild couple of weeks with stars sitting, players in protocols and the regular wear-and-tear of the season leaving many teams very thin at some spots. Your season-long fantasy team is also likely feeling the strain, so hit the waiver wire for some reinforcements.
Looking at the week ahead, the Washington Wizards are lined up for a five-game week with a pair of back-to-backs to start and finish this stretch. If someone in your league gave up on Davis Bertans or there are other Washington options available, the extra game can help them be even more productive. On the other side of the spectrum, the San Antonio Spurs face uncertainty due to their COVID-19 issues and only have two games remaining on their schedule this week after Monday’s against the Indiana Pacers was postponed. 19 of the other 28 teams play a four-game slate this week while nine teams are scheduled for three games.
Each week, 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.
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SF Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons (at ORL, at NOP, vs. SAC, vs. NYK)
I’m a little surprised at how slow everyone has been to grab Bey off the waiver wire, and if he is still out there in your league, grab him while you still can. Bey should be getting plenty more work now that the Pistons and Blake Griffin have decided it’s best for the veteran to sit until he is traded or released. In the Pistons’ three games since that decision was made, Bey hasn’t quite gone off, which is maybe why he’s still so available. He is getting a ton of work, though, starting and logging over 31 minutes in each contest.
Bey had a monster game a week ago Saturday against the Celtics, just before Blake was shelved, and has flashed a very high ceiling when he’s at his best. Over his past four games, Bey is averaging 18.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals while hitting an average of four 3-pointers per contest. The No. 19 overall pick from last year’s NBA Draft should continue to get the green light and plenty of playing time. He has an 18.3% usage rate over his past nine games which should be enough to sustain solid production along with his high ceiling, which he showcased with 30 points and 12 boards in that game against Boston.
SF/PF Jae Crowder, Phoenix Suns, (vs. POR, vs. CHA, at CHI, at MIN)
The Suns have multiple options at forward, but right now it looks like they’re going to start Frank Kaminsky with Crowder and Cameron Johnson in the second unit. Crowder still has the potential for plenty of minutes, though, playing 29 minutes off the bench in the Suns’ game on Friday against the Pelicans. In that contest, Crowder knocked in six 3-pointers on his way to 20 points with three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Crowder can’t always be counted on to hit that many threes, but he does usually chip in very solid production across all the categories. Since returning from a three-game layoff, Crowder has averaged 11.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals in 27.3 minutes per game. He doesn’t offer the same sky-high ceiling that Bey brings, but he is a very proven option in a stable role on a good team.
C Guillermo Hernangómez, New Orleans Pelicans (vs. DET, at MIL, at SA)
For the month of February, the Pelicans have been using Hernangómez as their primary backup center, and the veteran Spaniard has shown he can chip in solid numbers. In his 11 most recent games, Hernangómez is averaging 8.4 points and 8.1 rebounds. He doesn’t provide many defensive stats like Crowder does, but he is a more reliable source of rebounds and is center-eligible, which can be a hard slot to fill from some leagues’ waiver wires.
Hernangómez could be in for a busy week, depending on the seriousness of the two injuries suffered by Steven Adams last week. Adams was forced to leave two games early with two separate issues, and Hernagómez stepped up with 17 rebounds and 11 points in 29 minutes in the second of those games against the Blazers. Hernangómez started Friday in place of Adams and had a solid nine points and 13 rebounds, falling just short of a double-double. If he continues to start, he’ll be a great option, but even in his role off the bench, he can be a useful addition in the middle.
PF Jaden McDaniels, Minnesota Timberwolves (at MIL, at CHI, at WAS, vs. PHO)
The options that are widely available in the backcourt aren’t very inspiring this week, but I have listed a few guard pickups below if you need help in that area. Instead of examining one of those pickups, though, let’s take a more in-depth look at McDaniels, who can help you in a specific category now that he’s getting way more run with the Timberwolves. Minnesota has had a revolving door in the frontcourt next to Karl-Anthony Towns, but they have given McDaniels increased work over their past two games. The rookie played over 30 minutes in each contest after playing under 30 minutes in each of his 22 games earlier this season.
With his playing time on the rise, McDaniels can be a key source of blocked shots. He has multiple blocks in five of his past six games with an average of 2.3 blocks per game to go with 7.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists. McDaniels also hit multiple 3-pointers in four of those games and should continue to develop that part of his game as well. Minnesota has been struggling as a team, but McDaniels has been one of the bright spots along with fellow rookie Anthony Edwards. Look for the team to continue to get him as much work as possible to see how he can be part of their rotation moving forward. If you need blocks, you can grab him now in deep leagues, but keep a close eye on his playing time, since he could quickly become an add in all formats if he keeps seeing over 30 minutes.
Other options worth watching
- PF/C Davis Bertans, Washington Wizards
- PG/SG Kendrick Nunn, Miami Heat
- PG Theo Maledon, Oklahoma City Thunder
- C Daniel Theis, Boston Celtics
- SG/SF Grayson Allen, Memphis Grizzlies
- PF Nemanja Bjelica, Sacramento Kings
- SG/SF Derrick Jones Jr., Portland Trail Blazers
- SG/SF Josh Hart, New Orleans Pelicans
- PG/SG Patrick Beverley, Los Angeles Clippers
- PG/SG Malik Monk, Charlotte Hornets
- PG/SG Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando Magic
- C Robert Williams, Boston Celtics
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