Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: It's time to load up for the playoffs!
Week 20 of the fantasy basketball season is upon us, and, like every Monday, I'll break down several players who are less than 50% rostered in Yahoo fantasy basketball leagues. The fantasy playoffs start this week for those avoiding some late-season load management scenarios, but for everyone else, Week 20 marks the final week of the regular season for fantasy hoopers.
Here are the games played by each team in Week 20.
Four games: 13 teams (76ers, Cavaliers, Hawks, Heat, Hornets, Knicks, Nets, Nuggets, Pelicans, Pistons, Thunder, Trail Blazers and Wizards)
Three games: 12 teams (Bucks, Celtics, Grizzlies, Jazz, Kings, Lakers, Magic, Mavericks, Pacers, Raptors, Rockets and Warriors)
Two games: 5 teams (Bulls, Clippers, Spurs, Suns and Timberwolves)
Okay, now that you know which teams to target for streaming, let's get to the pickups.
Tyus Jones - PG, Memphis Grizzlies (51% rostered)
Ja Morant is out indefinitely, so it'll be the Tyus Jones show until further notice. In 38 games without Ja in the lineup prior to this season, Jones averaged 11.6 points with 6.5 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 threes and 1.3 steals with 44/36/83 shooting splits. Solid.
But he's taken it to another level in the 10 games Morant's missed this season, bumping his averages up to 19.4 points, 8.1 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 2.4 threes, 2.7 steals with 53/51/78 shooting splits when Morant is out. This includes last night's standout performance:
Tyus Jones tonight:
61.6 FPTS#BigMemphis pic.twitter.com/ugZ3KMepvm
— NBA Fantasy (@NBAFantasy) March 6, 2023
Jones is also a valuable fantasy asset because he sports the second-highest assist-to-turnover ratio in the league, at 5.1 to 1. In short, pick up Jones wherever available because he's a player who will contribute across categories and is elite for 9-cat formats whenever he gets more minutes. Those in points leagues need to add him, too.
Delon Wright - PG/SG, Washington Wizards (42% rostered)
He was 25% rostered last week, but he needs to be rostered in all leagues. Wizards starting PG Monte Morris is week-to-week, and Wright's taken full advantage. He's averaging 11.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.2 steals with 61/57/100 shooting splits in 30 minutes per night over his last five games.
He's been a top-12 player in fantasy over that span. Insane!
Week 19 was profitable for Wright too, as he dropped a career-high 11 assists with zero turnovers last Thursday. Then, he put together arguably his best performance of the season on Saturday night:
Best game of the season for Delon Wright
18 points on 82.7 TS%
6 steals! 🔒🔒🔒
Don't look now but he's almost shooting 50/40/90 with 2.4 stocks a game
48.1/38.6/91.7 on 60.5 TS% for the season
Such a Swiss army knife of a player pic.twitter.com/uTYYULGWcT
— wizzy (@youngwizzyDFS) March 5, 2023
The Wizards play on a lighter slate of games all week, so he'll be a player you can rely on for stocks and assists this week and potentially longer.
Dennis Smith Jr. PG/SG - Charlotte Hornets (35% rostered)
DSJ's usage rate is up four percent since LaMelo Ball was ruled out for the season, and he's been a solid distributor and defender. He's dished out 18 assists (with no turnovers) and 7 stocks (4 steals + 3 blocks) in his past three games. He's still coming off the bench but with an increased workload, and he'll be an excellent addition for anyone looking for assists and steals.
Tari Eason - SF/PF, Houston Rockets (41% rostered)
The Rockets are finally allowing Eason to play close to 30 minutes per night, and to no one's surprise, he's been a top-100 player over the past week in 9-cat leagues. The rookie has flashed his potential throughout the season, but it's now clear he's a two-way player who offers a ton of value for fantasy managers right in time for the playoffs.
TARI EASON POSTER!#NBA #Rockets
— NBA Highlights (@NBATransaction7) March 6, 2023
He's coming off a 17-point, 8-rebound performance on Sunday night, but he's also hit double digits in his last five games, including two double-doubles while racking up 7 steals and 5 blocks in that span as well. He's shooting 37% from three this year, but in his previous five games, he's knocked down 1.4 threes at a 50% clip.
Rockets HC Stephen Silas admitted that the energy of the second unit has been critical in their recent victories (albeit versus the Spurs), but that's exactly what will keep Eason in the rotation from now on — his defense and hustle. He sees the most minutes off the bench, and his role is finally secure enough for fantasy managers to trust him for a deep playoff run.
Matisse Thybulle - SG/SF, Portland Trail Blazers (37% rostered)
Thybulle being top 10 in steals since the trade deadline makes sense, given he's seeing close to 31 minutes per night. However, I'm more impressed with his confidence from three-point range. He's attempted 4.6 per game since joining the Blazers, hitting at a 46% rate.
Sixty-seven percent of his shots have come from beyond the arc, up nearly 12% since the trade. I mean, who is this guy:
Matisse Thybulle is now 12/22 from 3 with Portland
To that end, one of the more difficult 3’s to hit IS the wide open one when a player “has time”/is being challenged psychologically
Nothing is mechanically “different”
*Ball dips & fluid total body rhythm @bballbreakdown pic.twitter.com/aiSE6tEnDU
— BBiomechanics (@BBiomechanics) March 1, 2023
He was a career 33% shooter in Philly but is quickly expanding his game into a legit three-point threat. Defense is his forte, but he's offering far more in Portland, averaging almost 9 points and 5 rebounds with barely any turnovers while shooting 47% from the field.
Kris Dunn - PG/SG, Utah Jazz (18% rostered)
Collin Sexton has yet to recover from his hamstring injury. Talen Horton-Turnover, I mean Tucker, has been reckless with his ball control. But most importantly, Dunn's been providing sixth-round value for fantasy managers over his last five outings.
He's on his second 10-day contract with the Jazz and he's delivering, averaging 13.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.6 blocks with 55/42/60 shooting splits across 23 minutes per night. Not to keep hating on Horton-Tucker, but the man's averaging five turnovers per game in his last five compared to only 1.2 for Dunn.
Here are several highlights from his efficient 17-point performance in last night's loss to the Thunder:
Kris Dunn vs Oklahoma City Thunder
+6 in 27 minutes.#Jazz #TakeNote #NBA pic.twitter.com/vMmXVEqAXO
— A Walking Highlight (@11AWH) March 6, 2023
He's shooting the ball confidently from deep while also getting downhill and finishing in traffic. Plus, he's locking up on defense, swiping at least two steals in three of his last five games. He's worth scooping up for as long as Sexton is out.
Austin Reaves - SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers (18% rostered)
I'd love to know who came up with Reaves' "Hillbilly Kobe" nickname on Basketball Reference, but the kid is a-hooping. He was the 73rd-ranked player over the past week, and in his last five games, he's sporting a strong 54/50/86 shooting split with 14 points, 5 assists and 2 threes per game.
He plays in crunch time, and without LeBron James, he'll continue playing at least 25 minutes as the Lakers battle it out in the playoff hunt.
Hamidou Diallo - SG/SF - Detroit Pistons (19% rostered)
The Pistons start the week with a back-to-back set on Monday and Tuesday and play Charlotte and Indiana to close out a four-game schedule. Diallo is in line to continue to see minutes with the Pistons being cautious with Bojan Bogdanovic (sore Achilles) and you know, uh, tanking.
Diallo's been shooting the ball well all season long (over 50%) and recently, he's upped his scoring to averaging nearly 16 points with 4 rebounds and 2 steals in his past five outings. I recommended him last week at 5%, but under 20% still feels low considering his production recently (outside of the poor FT%). He's a guy I'd hold through Week 21 because the Pistons also have another four-game week next week.
Xavier Tillman - PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies (24% rostered)
The Grizzlies are going through it — Ja Morant is out indefinitely, Dillon Brooks is the first player to get suspended for technical fouls this season, and they also lost Brandon Clarke for the season after tearing his Achilles on March 3. Steven Adams (knee) is doing 5-on-5 drills but is still without a firm return date, leaving Tillman to get plenty of minutes in the frontcourt.
He'll be helpful for anyone seeking the upside of a lower-end double-double with a few assists. Tillman's playing close to 30 minutes over his last five and finished Week 19 65th in per-game value.
He has staying power, so give Tillman a shot if you need a big man.
Others to consider by categories:
Charles Bassey - PF/C, San Antonio Spurs (Pts, Reb, Blks)
Jalen Suggs - PG/SG - Orlando Magic (Pts, Stls)
Trey Lyles - PF/C - Sacramento Kings (Pts, Reb, 3PM, Blks)
Naz Reid - PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves (FG%,Pts, Rebs, 3PM)
Alec Burks - PG/SG/SF, Detroit Pistons (Pts, 3PM, Asts)
Jordan Nwora - SF/PF, Indiana Pacers (Pts, Stls, 3PM)
Jalen McDaniels - SF/PF, Philadelphia 76ers (Rebs, Stls)
Gabe Vincent - PG/SG, Miami Heat (Stls, 3PM)