Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 21 (2020)
Momma, we made it! The fantasy playoffs are finally here for most of us. The time for being a sweet and cuddly owner are over. Only the Machiavellian will prosper, so where you drafted a player or how much FAAB you spent to acquire are irrelevant. It is all hands on deck now, so the sick and gangly must be thrown overboard. Maximize minutes and games played, while looking at the schedule and matchups. Good luck and I hope to see you back here next week!
Ownership percentages are from the Yahoo database, and only those players owned in less than half of leagues will be highlighted.
Below is how the NBA schedule maps out for Week 22:
Here are the schedules for each team (shout out to Hashtag Basketball for the grid):
In the past few weeks, I’ve broken down potential pickups by category. This week, I’m just going to highlight players that play four games next week.
Cam Reddish (PG/SG/SF – ATL) – 31% owned
Over the past six games, Reddish has been a top 60 player, averaging 28.5 minutes, 17.8 points, 3.2 three-pointers, 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1 steal, and 0.5 blocks. He’s shot 56% from the field and 76% from the free-throw line. I’d be wary of the shooting efficiency, though, as he’s a 38% shooter from the field on the season. With that said, he has improved as the season has progressed. A reasonable expectation should be somewhere in the low-40% range. ATL plays at the fifth-fastest pace and gets two juicy matchups against NOP (2nd in pace) and WAS (6th in pace) next week.
Naz Reid (C – MIN) – 39% owned
It ain’t hard to tell that Naz is Illmatic. Over the past four games, he’s been a top 65 player. Naz can score, even from beyond the arc, grab rebounds, and contribute those precious defensive stats. The free-throw shooting isn’t bad at 70% either. The field goal percentage is a concern, though, as he’s at 40% for the season and often goes through stretches with a sub-40% number. The biggest question to his future outlook is the health of Karl-Anthony Towns. The timetable has him being re-evaluated for his wrist injury in a week, but what’s the motivation for bringing him back to play? I’m thinking they shut him down for good and allow Naz to get valuable experience.
Delon Wright (PG/SG – DAL) – 41% owned
There has been nothing wrong with Wright over the past three games, as he’s been a top 50 player. The usage rate is low at 12%, so don’t expect many points, but he provides steals while contributing some three-pointers, rebounds, and assists. The biggest issue concerning Wright is the playing time, as he averages only 24 minutes per game, but there is a chance that he gets more if Seth Curry misses time due to his injury.
James Johnson (SF/PF – MIN) – 27% owned
Johnson only averages around 22-24 minutes per game, but he’s been a top 75 player over the past four games, averaging 12.8 points, 1.8 three-pointers, 4.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.5 blocks with 50% field goal percentage. He literally contributes in every category and is a valuable player to have on any fantasy squad. The one bugaboo is the 60% shooting from the free-throw line, but it’s on 2.5 attempts so the impact is mitigated.
Trey Lyles (PG/C – SA) – 23% owned
Over the past six games, Lyles has been a top 50 player, averaging 33 minutes, 14 points, 2.2 three-pointers, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.8 blocks. LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl have been out due to injury, so that’s the reason for the elevated playing time. When everyone is healthy, Lyles plays around 27 minutes per game. The status for Aldridge is still up in the air, so the upside still remains, while the floor is relatively high.
Shabazz Napier (PG/SG – WAS) – 21% owned
Napier is starting for a team that plays at one of the fastest paces in the league and is one of the worst defensive teams, so the opportunities for fantasy goodies are always there. The usage and shot attempts won’t be voluminous because he’s sharing the backcourt with Bradley Beal, but Napier can contribute three-pointers, assists, and steals. The shooting efficiency is always a concern, as he’s at 40% on the season, but there are times when he catches fire.
Damion Lee (SG – GS) – 35% owned
Even with the return of Stephen Curry, Lee has continued to play over 34 minutes per game. The shooting efficiency has actually increased, which makes sense because opposing defenses pay so much attention to Curry. Lee is attempting over 13 shots per game, providing points, three-pointers, rebounds, assists, and steals.
Dewayne Dedmon (C – ATL) – 38% owned
Since returning from injury, Dedmon has played 20, 21, and 28 minutes. The field goal percentage is terrible for a big man (40% on the season) because he thinks he’s Steph Curry now, but as a result, he does provide some three-pointers. What you’re really rostering him for, though, are the rebounds, steals, and blocks, which he provides plenty of.