It’s Thursday. You know what that means.
We are back from the holidays and looking ahead to Week 7 and the final eight teams of the In-Season Tournament. Weekly, I will look at the waiver wire for the players you should target for both short and long-term success in fantasy basketball leagues.
We’ll look at players that you should consider picking up who are rostered in four different rostership tiers:
What’s more, we’ll give you a breakdown of how many games each team has for the upcoming week so that you can maximize the minutes of your streamers.
Let’s get to it without further delay, starting with the game schedule for next week.
Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Week 6
*The games for the NBA In-Season Tournament do not count for fantasy purposes.
ATL, BKN, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAC, MEM, MIA, MIN, OKC, ORL, PHI, POR, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS
BOS, IND, LAL, MIL, NOP, NYK, PHX, SAC
Rostered in 50-60% of Leagues
Kelly Oubre Jr., thankfully, will be back in a 76ers uniform soon after he was hit by a car as a pedestrian. Oubre was enjoying one of the best seasons of his career prior to the incident, and he should slot right back into his high-volume scoring ways – with little defensive or assist contributions – in short order.
If you held onto Jaden Ivey despite the slow start – Monty Williams didn’t like his defensive effort, apparently – congrats. Ivey has shown signs of his potential as a No. 2 playmaker for Detroit lately, seeing his minutes and production increase. Before his 19-minute outing in the Pistons’ loss to the Lakers Wednesday, Ivey played 30-plus minutes in three straight games, scoring 15, 25 and 17 points, respectively. He’s attacking the rim, and while the Pistons have lost 15 straight games, Ivey is one of the few bright spots for them.
Rostered in 30-49% of Leagues
You can argue that Jaime Jaquez Jr. has been a top-three rookie so far this season. I’d put him behind Ausar Thompson in Detroit, but it’s been remarkable. Yes, he was NBA-ready, but what he’s doing so far has been sensational. Jaquez Jr. has been putting up top-95 numbers over the month of November. He’s been in and out of the starting lineup, but even off the bench, he’s been playing near-starter minutes and has had the production to warrant still a higher rostership number than he has now.
The Jalen Johnson injury was brutal. He’s been one of the biggest early breakouts for fantasy, but we’ll be without him for the next three to four weeks. With Johnson out, Saddiq Bey is the target for fantasy managers. In his two starts without Johnson, Bey has averaged 30.5 minutes – which is right around the mark he’s been playing even with Johnson healthy. The numbers haven’t yet elevated for Bey, but I expect a higher usage rate as he gels with the first unit.
Rostered in 15-29% of Leagues
Amen Thompson is practicing after being sidelined since Nov. 1 with an ankle injury. In dynasty leagues, I’m absolutely looking to try to acquire him in a trade since his manager may be annoyed that they drafted the “wrong” Thompson brother, given Ausar Thompson‘s start. But this is redraft-focused, and he’s available in more than 80% of leagues. Amen Thompson still has massive upside for the upstart Rockets this season, even if the situation is a little crowded. He’s worth grabbing before he’s cleared in the next week or so for the upside alone.
Xavier Tillman has missed six straight games with a knee injury, but there’s a chance that he will return within the next week for Memphis. Bismack Biyombo has done a fine job replacing him, but the Grizzlies need Tillman’s toughness down low. The points will be up and down with him, but we could see those go up with Ja Morant due back within the next month from his 25-game suspension. He’s the best option they have at center, and with Morant back, it will allow for the proper spacing that the Grizzlies need, freeing up Tillman for the clean-up duty down low.
Rostered in 0-14% of Leagues
The rookie is traveling with the Pacers after the injury to Jalen Smith. While the Pacers are always deep with bigs (free Isaiah Jackson, remember that?), we should hopefully see Rick Carlisle give the rookie some of the minutes that Smith was getting to see what he can do at the highest level. Oscar Tshiebwe was averaging – yes, averaging – 18.5 rebounds per game in the G-League. He’s an absolute monster on the boards and has intriguing upside.
Steve Kerr is a big fan of Brandin Podziemski. After the Warriors’ loss to Minnesota a few weeks ago, he said, “He’s going to play. He’s going to play every night. He’s earned that.” Well, since that happened, his high-water mark for minutes has been 25 minutes, and he was a DNP in the Warriors’ last game against the Kings.
Kerr is under scrutiny for how he’s handled his young players compared to the veterans, specifically how he benched a red-hot Moses Moody for a struggling Andrew Wiggins down the stretch in Golden State’s collapse against Sacramento. But there’s renewed hope for Podz, as Chris Paul is dealing with a left leg nerve contusion and could miss some time. Cory Joseph will see an uptick in playing time, but “Podz” will, too, and he’s by far the more intriguing option for fantasy production.