Changing the format slightly, as I will choose two players from each NBA game last night who are available on the waiver wire. I highly value minutes played and opportunities given when it comes to fantasy. Every single NBA player is elite at basketball and, given the right opportunity, every single player could produce fantasy goodies. There’s a reason every player made the league, so the more chances they’re given the more likely they can produce. So without further adieu, let’s get into the first match from last night.
Knicks vs Hornets
Obi Toppin (18 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 40 minutes)
Replacing an injured Juluis Randle in the starting line up, Obi Toppin showed up to play last night with his best performance of the year so far. With performances like these, and no reason for Randle to rush back from injury, Toppin should continue to see more minutes and opportunities.
Mason Plumlee ( 7 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 27 minutes)
With Montrezl Harrell continuing to struggle, Mason Plumlee continues to carry the load for the Charlotte Hornets. The rebounding numbers continue to be quite strong, and my recommendation continues to remain consistent. Word of caution, though, because his numbers have been seeing a dip the last few games. With Charlotte competing for a playoff spot, competition for that starting role should be fierce.
How good will RJ Barrett continue to be? Since the All-Star break, Barrett has been an All-Star caliber player averaging 24 points, seven rebounds and three assists. The question is will he continue this hot streak heading into next season? As for last night, he contributed 30 points to lead the Knicks to a 121-106 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets work best when their attack is balanced with everyone contributing, so LaMelo Ball putting up 23 field goal attempts only resulted in a good game for LaMelo.
Hawks vs Pistons
Onyeka Okongwu ( 11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 21 minutes)
My recommendation for Onyeka Okongwu comes with a bit of context, as starting center Clint Capela only played 17 minutes last night compared to Okongwu’s 21 minutes. The Atlanta Hawks seem to be leaning more and more on the sophomore, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Okongwu starting by the end of the year. If so, expect his numbers to improve even more heading forward.
Marvin Bagley III ( 13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 28 minutes)
In his last five games, when Bagley has played more than 20 minutes, he’s averaged 16 points, eight rebounds, one steal and 30 minutes. He’s been more consistent than contemporary big men and, at only 50% rostered, he’s at the very least worth a streaming risk, especially during championship season.
Killian Hayes had a solid night for the Pistons, putting up 13, eight and five in 33 minutes. Worth mentioning as well was Isaiah Stewart’s ten rebounds and eight points. With the Pistons rebuilding and trying actively to develop young talent, whoever has the hot hand that night will typically get more opportunities. Hence my recommendation of Marvin Bagley III, one of the few consistent bench players for the Pistons.
Kings vs Pacers
Davion Mitchell ( 25 points, 7 assists, 38 minutes)
With De’Aaron Fox out with some kind of hand injury, and the Kings being all but eliminated from playoff contention, I expect Davion Mitchell to get many more opportunities going forward. Last night he was perfect from the line and converted 66% of his attempts from the field. The Kings should look to further develop Mitchell and the rest of the young players.
Tyrese Haliburton ( 13 points, 5 rebounds, 15 assists, 37 minutes)
The Pacers don’t have any one true under the radar player, so consider this a pick for next year’s draft. Don’t forget about Tyrese Haliburton. He’s gonna be the number one option next year surrounded by solid players in Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner. This kid could be essential to your CAT builds next year!
Jazz vs Celtics
Donovan Mitchell ( 37 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 35 minutes)
I claimed this week I would try to focus on waiver wire players, or players on the rise but Donovan Mitchell is my one exception this week. His usage rate is at a career-high, essentially being the Jazz offense. His shot creation rivals the best players in the league, he has a 53% effective true shooting, and his team’s offense is rated 6th overall this season. Mitchell is an offensive cheat code and a must draft for any points leagues.
Payton Pritchard ( 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 18 minutes)
The Celtics seem to trust the sophomore out of Oregon with the bench unit as he played 18 minutes last night and is averaging 17 minutes in his last 10 games. In that time he’s averaged 50% from three, so there’s potential to develop into a solid three-point shooter with more minutes. With the Celtics being such a competitive, top heavy team I don’t expect an uptick in minutes for Pritchard but he’s getting more than any other young player on the Celtics bench.
After getting no playing time since the 18th of March, Eric Paschall got the nod to start last night. His 25 minutes shocked me as I assumed the Jazz were absolutely done with him, like they are Nickeil Alexander-Walker for some reason. I would have thought Trent Forrest would have started at PF before Paschall got the start. It may mean more minutes for him, or it could mean he doesn’t see the floor again for the rest of the season.
Warriors vs Heat
Jonathan Kuminga ( 22 points, 5 rebounds, 30 minutes)
Rookie Jonathan Kuminga has started in his last 10 games and has averaged 24 minutes, five rebounds and 13 points. With him being a rookie, growing pains are expected, however, with nights like last night I don’t see how he hasn’t gained the confidence from Steve Kerr heading forward. The only point of hesitation are his foul numbers, accruing six personal fouls last night and averaging three in his last 10 games.
Kyle Lowry ( 26 points, 9 assists, 38 minutes)
With the Heat finally getting healthy, Kyle Lowry is proving why the Heat traded for him this offseason, as he’s an elite floor general. With a solid supporting cast, Lowry flourished last night, putting up 26 points on 66% three point shooting. I expect to see more of these performances heading forward, however, two weeks ago he was averaging five points per game for a five game stretch.
Victor Oladipo has returned to the court and, in his last four games, he’s averaged 5 points, 3 assists and 16 minutes. Not exactly the impact the Heat were expecting when trading for him but it’s nice just seeing him back on the court.
Nets vs Grizzlies
Kyrie Irving ( 43 points, 2 rebounds, 8 assists, 44 minutes)
Similar to Utah, the Nets don’t have any true quality depth fantasy options. Instead here’s a shout out to those select few fantasy managers that selected Irving at the start of the year, suffered through his part time status, and are now being rewarded with a guaranteed championship. Congratulations, you lucky few.
De’Anthony Melton ( 23 points, 4 rebounds, 27 minutes)
De’Anthony Melton has been seeing more bench minutes in his last five games and looking at his numbers it’s easy to see why. He’s averaging 10 points, 40% from three on 4 attempts a game, and four rebounds, with three games over 15 points as well. The Grizzlies are a deep team, so keep that in mind before rushing to claim him, but he’s a legitimate option of the bench for a championship contending team.
Suns vs Timberwolves
Cameron Payne ( 13 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists, 32 minutes)
Until his ownership percentage reflects his quality of play I won’t stop recommending you to pick up Cameron Payne. Starting minutes on a contending team, surrounded by championship talent, averaging nine assists in his last 10 games! In any league he’s a perfect streaming option.
Malik Beasley ( 15 points, 4 rebounds, 23 minutes)
On the complete other end of the spectrum we have Malik Beasley, who’s inconsistency can’t be understated. The only consistent part of Beasley’s game are the three-point attempts, averaging eight in his last 10. Everything else is a complete gamble, but if you’re in a points league and need a shot chucker he’s guaranteed to take at least four three-pointers per game.
Deandre Ayton locked down both ends of the floor last night, putting up 35 points, 14 rebounds and containing Karl-Anthony Towns to only 15 points. If the Wolves end up playing the Suns in the first round, it’s gonna be a quick exit for Minnesota.
Magic vs Thunder
R.J. Hampton (14 points, 7 rebounds, 30 minutes)
Despite the fact that R.J Hampton continues to struggle, his minutes have been relatively unaffected. He’s still averaging 27 per game over his last 10, and minutes lead to opportunities for good nights. Any NBA quality player is capable of a 20-point performance, it’s only a matter of opportunity and RJ Hampton has been receiving plenty of opportunities.
Theo Maledon ( 25 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists)
Theo Maledon has averaged five points this season, nine points in his last ten games and put up 25 last night. This is not sustainable but it could lead to more minutes for a brief period of time.
After declaring Lindy Waters III and Olivier Sarr to be the most 2K sounding names in the NBA, they’re currently both flaming me in a 30 team league finals match. Lesson learnt, even if in jest, never mock a potential waiver wire claim.
Rockets vs Mavericks
Alperen Sengun ( 14 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 22 minutes)
A rather low scoring affair for any one Rockets player, so let’s go with the big man that had the double-double last night, and who isn’t owned in 90% of leagues. Alperen Sengun played 22 minutes last night, has averaged 25 minutes across his last five games, and has averaged 9 rebounds in his last three games. I’ve been critical of Sengun in the past, but he seems to be heating up at the end of the season.
Dorian Finney-Smith ( 14 points, 5 rebounds, 35 minutes)
Speaking of players I’ve been critical of this season, I’ve dismissed Dorian Finney-Smith completely. After watching a recent Ben Taylor video and last night’s game, I’ve realized what an integral piece Finney-Smith is to the Mavericks. He’s one of the best 3-and-D players in the league, heavier on the defense but averaging 45% from three in his last 10 games on six attempts per game. From a fantasy perspective he doesn’t offer much besides his shooting and his handful of rebounds per game and one terrible shooting night can tank your CAT week, but I have to give credit where it’s due, and it’s been due to Dorian Finney-Smith for a while now.
76ers vs Lakers
Matisse Thybulle ( 2 points, 1 rebound, 0 assists, 2 steals)
I know what you’re thinking, and let me explain my Matisse Thybulle recommendation. First and foremost, everyone else worth owning on the Sixers has an ownership percentage in the 90s so recommending Tyrese Maxey feels pointless and redundant. Secondly, in a 30-team league, or a 15 team CAT league, if you need steals Matisse Thybulle offers incredible value. He’s averaging two per game on the season, good for 6th overall in the league, putting him in company with Dejounte Murray and Chris Paul. Simply put, if you want to maximize this one category he’s your guy plain and simple.
Wenyen Gabriel (8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, 25 minutes)
Similar to Matisse Thybulle, there was no one else on the Lakers I felt was worth mentioning, but for what it’s worth Gabriel has averaged four rebounds and seven points in the eight games he has played this season. With a full season of training camp and regular reps next season he could develop into a solid 3-and-D player.
Spurs vs Trail Blazers
Devin Vassell ( 16 points, 4 rebounds 5 assists)
Plenty of young, under the radar talent to choose from in San Antonio, so let’s choose the player who had the better night last night. Devin Vassell had 16 points last night and has averaged 12 points through the season. Only a sophomore, with a bigger workload next season he should be a late-round flier for anyone in any league.
Drew Eubanks ( 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 36 minutes)
On another young rebuilding team, Drew Eubanks has solidified himself at the center position. Over the last 10 games he’s averaged 12 points, 28 minutes and eight rebounds per game. I talk up players such as Mason Plumlee for his similar numbers and Eubanks is getting more opportunities, touches and minutes than Plumlee.