The ridiculous and predictably bad “condensed” NBA schedule has finally reared its ugly head. The injuries are rolling in faster than me when they say there’s free cake in the break room, and fantasy teams everywhere are hurting. Hopefully you have multiple IL spots. I have two in the league I run usually, but we upped it to three midseason.
If your commissioner didn’t have such foresight, RIP. But there’s good news: You don’t have to hurt anymore.
When players go out, that means other players step up to fill the void. So who should we be grabbing for the week? Who is going to win us our fantasy playoff matches?
Who’s out: Trae Young and maybe Clint Capela
Who’s the pickup? Brandon Goodwin and Lou Williams are in a timeshare for the time being and Trae Young is going to be reassessed before their game on Monday against the Pistons. Look for the news, but with just one game of potential increased output and not a lot of clarity, you can probably do better than either of these guys. Onyeka Okongwu might see a game of increased output too if Capela can’t go, but he’s also not really worth the add either, so in the end, no one is really a great add here.
Who’s out: Robert Williams
Who’s the pickup? Tristan Thompson (24% owned) should be available and can be viewed as an elite rebounding option on most days. There isn’t a lot of clarity around Robert Williams’s absence, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be back with their next few games, so feel free to stream TT for the boards.
Who’s out: James Harden
Who’s the pickup? Bruce Brown (42% owned) has been seeing the bulk of the minutes in the Nets backcourt alongside Kyrie Irving and he is worth a pickup here. Boards, points, and steals should come in bunches as long as Harden remains out, and after his recent setback, the Nets should be in no rush to get him back in there. Landry Shamet (26% owned) is worth a stream for threes, but the return of Kevin Durant does cap his upside quite a bit.
Who’s out: LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward
Who’s the pickup? It’s likely someone already has Miles Bridges on their roster, but if he’s available for some reason, go run to get him. Outside of that, Jalen McDaniels (30% owned) is worth a look for points and rebounds with a smattering of assists. Hayward is likely to miss more time than Ball, who is said to be on the path back relatively soon.
Who’s out: Zach LaVine
Who’s the pickup? Everyone thought Thaddeus Young would pick up again without LaVine, but that hasn’t been the case. He can’t get more than 20ish minutes on any given night, so he’s fully droppable at this point in my opinion. The same goes for Tomas Satoransky, and there really hasn’t been a clear winner here outside of Nikola Vucevic.
Who’s out: Collin Sexton, Taurean Prince, Damyean Dotson
Who’s the pickup? Damyean Dotson and Taurean Prince saw increased the last games that Sexton was out, but they are also on the sidelines now. The only other guard who benefited from Sexton’s absence was Matthew Dellavedova (1% owned). Sexton is out with a concussion, so he’s likely to miss at least Monday’s game against Toronto. A speculative add of Delly makes sense only if you need assists.
Who’s out: Maybe Kristaps Porzingis, Luka Doncic, Josh Richardson, Maxi Kleber
Who’s the pickup? All of the guys above are day-to-day as of the writing of this article so you will need to pay close attention. You’re likely looking at a one-game stream, at best, for their game against Sacramento, but the Mavericks also have five games this week, so picking someone up makes sense. Tim Hardaway Jr. (54% owned) is definitely worth a look if Doncic misses, as he will get an increased workload on the offensive side of the ball. Jalen Brunson (26%) is also worth a look, specifically if you need assists. Dorian Finney-Smith (31% owned) might be the best add since he is a multi-category producer.
Who’s out: Will Barton, Monte Morris, Jamal Murray
Who’s the pickup? Michael Porter Jr. is going to go ham but is likely owned in your league. PJ Dozier (11%) is worth an add with Barton down for multiple games as he should see near 30 minutes per game and he produces in every category. Beyond that, Facundo Campazzo (10%) is worth a look as long as Monte Morris is out and it doesn’t seem like M&M will be back anytime soon.
The Pistons are relatively healthy but tanking. See my previous articles for value there.
Golden State Warriors
Who’s out: James Wiseman, Kent Bazemore
Who’s the pickup? Be wary as the Warriors only have three games this week, but they are still in contention for the playoffs so they will continue to go hard. Juan Toscano-Anderson would be worth a stream for his ability to produce points, boards, and assists while shooting at a high and efficient clip.
Who’s out: Kevin Porter Jr., DJ Augustin, maybe Christian Wood
Who’s the pickup? Jae’Sean Tate (63%) has taken on more of a ballhandling role with KPJ on the sidelines. He’s likely rostered in your league, but it is worth a look. Kenyon Martin Jr. (3%) saw over 40 minutes in their last game as they have bodies down and are embracing the tank. Kenyon looks like the add here, though that has less to do with injuries and more to do with the fact that the Rockets aren’t super interested in winning games right now.
Who’s out: Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, Jeremy Lamb, maybe Doug McDermott and Goga Bitazde
Who’s the pickup? Be advised, they only have three games this week. Oshae Brissett (28%) has been one of the hottest pickups of late, and for good reason. He has double-doubled in two straight and is capable of contributing blocks while shooting at a high rate from the field. If Goga Bitazde (3%) is back though, he’s probably the better pickup and has massive upside in blocking the basketball.
Who’s out: Serge Ibaka, Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Beverley
Who’s the pickup? Only three games this week, so there are likely better options, but if you need a Monday through Wednesday stream, Marcus Morris Sr. (36%) is definitely worth a look, especially for points and threes but don’t expect much else. Ivica Zubac (48%) is constantly overlooked and should have been rostered already. Nicolas Batum (33%) is worth a look and a nice multi-cat option if you don’t want Morris. Reggie Jackson (24%) and Terance Mann (3%) are also worth looks while the big dog, Kawhi, is on the sidelines.
Los Angeles Lakers
Who’s out: LeBron James
Who’s the pickup? Now that Anthony Davis is back in the mix, there aren’t really any great pickups here on the Lakers.
They are mostly healthy.
Who’s out: Tyler Herro, Victor Oladipo
Who’s the pickup? Victor Oladipo is out indefinitely, but Herro probably won’t miss the whole week. Kendrick Nunn (44%) is still worth a hard look though as he is on a heater and likely to see 30+ minutes for the foreseeable future. Goran Dragic (50%) would also be worth a look, but Nunn seems to have more opportunity and a larger role.
No one of note is out for the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Timberwolves are actually getting healthy finally and there isn’t any opportunity created by injuries at the moment.
New Orleans Pelicans
Who’s out: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Josh Hart
Who’s the pickup? Lonzo Ball is back in action now, so the upside is limited, but Naji Marshall (9%) is worth a look as he has been getting near 30 minutes nightly. He contributes everywhere, but not a ton of stats. Kira Lewis Jr. (1%) would be worth a look in deep leagues as well, but he just doesn’t have enough playing time right now to matter too much.
New York Knicks
They are relatively healthy. Without Mitchell Robinson, most leagues have scooped up Nerlens Noel (62%) already, but they only have three games this week anyways so it’s best to stay away.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Who’s out: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Who’s the pickup? As long as SGA is on the sidelines, Luguentz Dort (54%), Darius Bazley (51%), Aleksej Pokusevski (21%), Theo Maledon (14%), and Kenrich Williams (5%) are all worth a look on a five-game week. You could toss Ty Jerome (3%) in there for deeper leagues as well. They are all inconsistent, but you can’t beat the opportunity.
Who’s out: Terrence Ross, Otto Porter Jr., James Ennis, Michael Carter-Williams
Who’s the pickup? Notice a trend with the guys listed out for the Magic? I’ve been saying for weeks that the Magic have almost no interest in playing their veterans as they tank their way to Cade Cunningham. Mo Bamba (31%) seems to have a longer leash these days and is definitely worth an add. Chuma Okeke (27%) has a role in the tanking offense as does Gary Harris (7%) inexplicably. The main add here is Cole Anthony (49%) though, and he’s a fantastic option for threes, points, and assists the rest of the way.
Their stars have been out, but will likely be back for a majority of their games this week.
Anyone unhealthy doesn’t really matter.
Portland Trail Blazers
Mostly healthy at the moment, nothing to see here.
Who’s out: De’Aaron Fox
Who’s the pickup? De’Aaron Fox is the latest player to fall to the league’s dreaded health & safety protocols this season. Delon Wright (47%) is worth a speculative add as he is likely to draw the start here and play big minutes. That’s really it, but it’s a solid add.
San Antonio Spurs
They are entirely healthy right now.
Who’s out: Chris Boucher
Who’s the pickup? Go out and get Khem Birch (18%) now instead of later if you need rebounds blocks and a great field goal percentage. Aaron Baynes (4%) might be an add in deep leagues, but he might not even play. It’s likely he has already played his last game as a Raptor.
Who’s out: Donovan Mitchell
Who’s the pickup? Donovan Mitchell owners were likely holding their breath for good news, but unfortunately, it seems like Don Mitch will miss all four games this week for the Utah Jazz. In his absence, Joe Ingles (66%) has taken on a bigger role and needs to be rostered. Jordan Clarkson (75%) is also a must-add, but they are both likely on someone’s roster already.
Who’s out: Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija
Who’s the pickup? The Wizards are suddenly very thin at the wing. It’s possible that Rui Hachimura returns this week, but in his absence,26 Raul Neto (10%) has stepped into a 30+ minute role as the Wizards shift Russell Westbrook or Bradley Beal (however you see it) to the small forward spot. Neto is a fantastic option for steals, points, and assists for those in need.