The Playlist: Week 20 fantasy basketball waiver pickups and lineup advice

Welcome to The Playlist: my weekly column that lets you know who and what to play — when it comes to music or other things in my rotation — for the upcoming week in fantasy basketball.

Each week, you'll see a compilation of the pickups you need to make, lineup notes (who's in and out of rotations), followed by key takeaways on the schedule.

So press play and shuffle through the latest fantasy basketball info.

🏀 Week 19 wrap up

🏆 Top performers

Domantas Sabonis scored 239.1 fantasy points in Week 19, narrowly edging out Anthony Davis by seven fantasy points to take the mantle with the most fantasy points scored in Week 19.

Luka Dončić was the top player in nine-category formats as he continues to put up a nightly 30-point triple-double.

🗓️ Schedule things you need to know

  • It's a great week for streaming, so pay attention to the injury reports and target favorable matchups

  • Wednesday and Saturday are the days with the largest slate of games (9)

  • Avoid the Lakers and Timberwolves for streaming since they only play two games

🎧 WHO'S IN MY ROTATION: players to pick up on waivers who are less than 50% rostered in Yahoo leagues.

Vasilije Micić - PG, Charlotte Hornets (26%)

Micić is ascending in fantasy hoops because Cody Martin's been out with an ankle injury. Tre Mann is also dealing with a groin injury, so Micić could see a higher usage rate than usual; he's around 22% since the trade deadline. He'll primarily contribute assists and steals while putting up double-digit points. I prefer him for category leagues, but if Mann remains out, he's in play in points leagues, too, since the Hornets play four games in Week 20.

Scoot Henderson – PG, Portland Trail Blazers (49%)

The third-overall pick of the 2023 draft is back, and he needs to be rostered in all leagues. While he came off the bench on Saturday night, that won't last much longer. He looked good in 26 minutes, recording 13 points (5-for-12 FG, 1-4 3PT) with five assists, one rebound and a steal. Malcolm Brogdon isn't ready yet, and Portland will want to see Scoot run the offense down the stretch. I like him a lot for points leagues, but I'd still give him a shot in category formats, too.

Nick Richards – C, Charlotte Hornets (48%)

Richards can be a headache, but he needs to be rostered with a four-game week ahead. He's coming off a couple of strong double-doubles, and with favorable matchups versus the Pistons, Grizzlies and Suns on streamable days, he should be in for a big week.

Brandin Podziemski – SG, Golden State Warriors (35%)

The rookie from Santa Clara will likely see 30 minutes a game until Stephen Curry is ready to return from his recent ankle sprain. Podziemski remains a good source of rebounds, assists and stocks despite being inefficient from the field on most nights. The Warriors face the Spurs, Mavs and Lakers this week — all fantasy-friendly teams that he can put up numbers against across the box score.

Simone Fontecchio – SF, Detroit Pistons (28%)

The Pistons have a nice schedule to open the week, playing against the Hornets and Raptors on Monday and Wednesday. Fontecchio is a three-point threat who's hit double-figures in nine of 12 games since joining the Pistons. Plus, he's coming off a career-high 27 points on Saturday. He's averaging 14 points with four rebounds and a steal per game over that span, and as long as Quentin Grimes remains out, Fontecchio will get burn.

Dalano Banton – PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers (34%)

Scoot Henderson's return didn't spoil Banton's recent surge, as he dropped a 25/7/4 line against Toronto after a 30/8/5 performance the night before. He's hit double-figures in six straight games while recording at least one stock in five of his last six outings. Jerami Grant (hamstring) is questionable on Monday, so his potential return, plus Henderson moving into the starting lineup, could put water on this hot streak, but it'll be hard to bench him after this strong play. In five starts this season, Banton averaged 18.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.4 threes with a healthy 25% usage rate.

Aaron Nesmith – SF/PF, Indiana Pacers (35%)

Bennedict Mathurin is done for the year so the Pacers need Nesmith to step up offensively. He did that in his first game without Mathurin, playing 37 minutes and scoring 16 points (including 4-for-6 from 3) with five boards and three stocks. His rostership is down almost 12% but I think we'll see it rise with less competition on the wing in Indy.

Amen Thompson - PG/SG/SF, Houston Rockets (39%)

Thompson is doing things that only MJ has done in his rookie campaign. While his minutes have been fluctuating lately, the Rockets are approaching the point of their season where it makes sense to give their younger core more runs. If you have a bye week, Thompson is a great player to stash if you need some defensive stats. Once he starts seeing a consistent 25-29 minutes, he'll be a must-roster rather than a streamer.

Cam Whitmore SF/PF, Houston Rockets (15%)

I'm anticipating the Rockets playing more small-ball lineups with Şengün likely out for a while, which benefits Whitmore. He's been a reliable bucket off the bench, seeing a ridiculous 28% usage rate as a reserve this season, so any additional minutes will help his production. His efficiency has been dipping since February, but I'm more than comfortable rostering him for his scoring, 3s and rising rebound rate. Like his teammate Thompson, he'll be a player you'll want on your roster beyond Week 20.

Malaki Branham – PG/SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs (24%)

Branham's been a bucket for the Spurs, dropping 18, 20, 23 and 20 points over his previous four contests. More importantly, he's been efficient, shooting 53% on 13 attempts per game over that span. Victor Wembanyama and Devin Vassell are slated to return on Monday, but Branham is still effective at around 25 minutes a night. Keep streaming him until he cools off.

Other streaming options in Week 20

🚑 Injury news

Timberwolves F/C Karl-Anthony Towns to undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee

The play: Naz Reid is going nuclear, so he's a must-add everywhere. Kyle Anderson is dealing with a shoulder injury, so he's not useful in fantasy at the moment.

Warriors G Stephen Curry to be re-evaluated in Week 20

The play: Chris Paul will start in place of Curry, while Brandin Podziemski will see an uptick in minutes with Curry off the floor.

Pacers F Bennedict Mathurin will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder

The play: Aaron Nesmith will benefit, while Andrew Nembhard and Ben Sheppard will see more minutes. Also, keep an eye on Obi Toppin.

Jazz F Lauri Markkanen remains day-to-day with a quad injury

The play: The Jazz have a challenging week ahead, and with no update on Markkanen, fantasy managers should look elsewhere for fantasy production.

Knicks F OG Anunoby (elbow) is progressing and is expected to travel with the team on the upcoming road trip

The play: The Knicks have such a tight rotation no one available on waivers will help. Anunoby's return will likely hurt Precious Achiuwa's value in the future.

Cavaliers G Donovan Mitchell (knee) unlikely to play on Monday

The play: Caris LeVert and Georges Niang are the two players to stream if Mitchell continues to miss time as he recovers from his bone bruise injury.

Hawks F Jalen Johnson remains out after suffering an ankle sprain on March 6

The play: Saddiq Bey was set to ball out but hyperextended his knee on Saturday night. Look to De'Andre Hunter and Vít Krejčí to take on more minutes in the absence of Johnson and Bey.

76ers G Tyrese Maxey is out with a concussion

The play: Kyle Lowry is the safest start with Maxey out of the lineup.

Bucks F Khris Middleton (ankle) is ramping up but is not ready to return

The play: Keep him stashed on IL if you can afford to. Otherwise, drop him because he'll likely return with a minutes restriction.

Schedule breakdown

Daily Games Played:

  • Monday: 6

  • Tuesday: 7

  • Wednesday: 9

  • Thursday: 6

  • Friday: 6

  • Saturday: 9

  • Sunday: 7

12 teams play four games: Bulls, Celtics, Clippers, Hornets, Mavericks, Nuggets, Pistons, Raptors, Spurs, Suns, Trail Blazers and Wizards

[Join or create a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league for the 2024 MLB season]

16 teams play three games: 76ers, Bucks, Cavaliers, Grizzlies, Hawks, Heat, Jazz, Kings, Knicks, Magic, Nets, Pacers, Pelicans, Rockets, Thunder and Warriors

Two teams play two games: Lakers and Timberwolves

Teams with back-to-backs

  • Monday/Tuesday: Celtics

  • Tuesday/Wednesday: Grizzlies, Kings and Pacers

  • Wednesday/Thursday: Mavericks and Trail Blazers

  • Thursday/Friday: Clippers and Suns

  • Friday/Saturday: Hornets, Jazz and Pelicans

  • Saturday/Sunday: Nets and Wizards