If you are reading this, congratulations! With only three weeks left of the Fantasy season, clicking on this article probably means you’re in a serious battle for a championship. Let’s do what we can to get you past the finish line.
At this point in the season, competition increases and each edge becomes even more critical. If you’ve skipped the “schedule notes” section at the bottom before, I recommend paying a little attention now – a few extra starts can be the difference between a win and a loss.
There are many good pickups this week, but many of them should come with a caution: beware Giftedness effect. One of the most ominous forces in fantasy sports, Endowment Effect, often tricks managers into holding on to players longer than they should. Many of this week’s best supplements are unsustainably hot right now. We should not ignore the hot streaks, we must lean in and let them benefit us. We just have to stay diligent and remember – these players will cool down, and we can not afford to hang on for too long once the defection begins.
As usual, the players in this article must be listed in less than two-thirds of the CBS leagues. Players are listed in the order I recommend you add them, provided they fit your team just as well.
Adds for all leagues
Bruce Brown, Nets (48% listed)
One of my 2020-21 favorites (and 2021 draft misses) roars back with revenge. Since the trade deadline, he has soared to the top 45 in 9-cat and top-65 in 8-cat. He has started the last 15 matches and put up 14-6-4 with fantastic steals and shot splits. He is a must-put must-start in all settings. If Ben Simmons (back) starts playing, it may lower Brown’s value, but we can cross that bridge if and when we get to it.
Drew Eubanks, Trail Blazers (19% listed)
Tanktastic Blazers will appear a couple of times this week, as refueling leads to new faces getting opportunities, and some of these beginners are playing pretty well. Eubanks has stepped in as Portland’s sole approach to a true center – even though he’s only 6-foot-9, even though he’s almost 250 pounds. After taking a game to get used to his new team, Eubanks has exceeded expectations, averaging 11-9-2 with excellent shots. He has gotten even better lately, 15-10-3 during his last three matches. The blocks have not started to come yet, but he has an average of 1.9 per-36 for his career, so expect a positive regression soon. He’s a classic plug-and-play volunteer big man, except a little better because he can actually make his free throws.
Brandon Williams, Trail Blazers (26% listed)
Anfernee Simons (quad) should be gone another week, and that’s before it is reported we do not want to win matches so let’s extend this absence a little longer factor. Williams, a rookie on a two-way deal, has been shockingly good since joining the starting eleven. He has offered consistency from night to night and production in raw statistics, although his shooting percentage is disgusting. Through five starts, he has an average of 16-5-3, in addition to an impressive 1.4 3s, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks – but also shoots only 36-26-57. For some moldings, Williams should easily be the top priority pickup this week. But he probably has a limited shelf life. I’m not sure how well he’s going to keep his currently fantastic count statistics, and the shot numbers can be a painful drain. Everyone should take a look and many should add him, but he is not right for everyone.
Kevin Huerter, Hawks (44% listed)
I had been cooling off on Huerter for a while, but he’s on a hot streak right now and deserves our attention again. He has scored at least 14 points in five straight games, averaging 3.6 3s while shooting 42.9% behind the arc. As long as he can keep this hot streak up, he’s a swept version of the classic 3’s and points specialist – as Huerter also gives strong returns and decent steals.
Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland, Nuggets (18% listed)
Speaking of hot streaks. Nugget’s novice defender PG has shot 52% from the pitch and 52% from 3 in the last four matches. There is no way to maintain that burning pace, but he is a solid source of assists who can also contribute in points, 3s and rebounds. Ride him while he’s hot – just do not get so attached that you hold on for too long.
Jalen Smith, Pacers (52% listed)
If you missed Eubanks and need a traditional Fantasy stormman, Smith is your guy. He is a little less consistent than Eubanks, with fewer assists and no free throw skills, making Eubanks an easy choice if both are available. But Smith is on average close to a double-double since joining the Pacers, and he has the added benefit of just over a third per game. Isaiah Jackson (concussion) – who would also be in this column if he were healthy – will miss at least the next game, but Smith’s production has not really been affected by Jackson’s previously missed games.
Alex Caruso, Bulls (31% listed)
Before he lost two plus months to injury, I led the charge for Caruso can be played even when the Bulls are fully healthy. A lot has happened since then, including the emergence of Ayo Dosunmu as a reliable contributor and minute-eater, but I think the core premise still holds. And the Bulls are not completely healthy – Lonzo Ball (knee) remains without a timeline for return. Caruso’s first three games back have been uninspiring, but he gets 27.0 minutes per night, which is promising. At this critical time of the season, he’s just an option in deeper leagues right now, but regular league bosses should look closely and be ready to strike. His shot volume is so low that his poor FG% should not hurt, and he can provide excellent steals and solid assists and blocks.
Brook Lopez, Bucks (20% listed)
Blocks are always few, and Lopez is historically a reliable producer in that category. He has been limited to 15 minutes in each of his first two games since the injury on the first night, and so far he is unblocked. Unless you are in a particularly deep league, managers should probably wait until we hear that his minute limit has been lifted. Once we get the green light, he may be the best available option for managers fighting in blocks.
Other recommendations: Isaiah Jackson, Pacers (55% listed); Moe Wagner (12% listed); Alec Burks, Knicks (63% listed); Markelle Fultz, Magic (41% listed); Dwight Powell, Mavericks (8% listed)
Week 23 is pretty standard from a gaming perspective. There are 15 teams with four game weeks, 12 with three game weeks and three – Clippers, Kings and Spurs – who only play twice.
For the daily schedule, both Tuesday and Thursday are relatively easy records, with only four and five matches respectively. Wednesday, on the other hand, is extra hectic, with 11 matches. Monday is also on the high side (nine games), but it is low enough that it should not create problems for most managers (and since it is the first day of the week, the few who are affected will notice and adapt easily).
All managers in leagues for daily lineups should start by checking their Wednesday lineups – are they full? Is there room for a waiver collection? If you have space, you do not need to spend much time planning for Wednesday. If your starting lineup on Wednesday is already full, you should prioritize players who do not play that day – guys on the Bulls, Cavaliers, Nuggets, Clippers, Bucks, Pelicans, Raptors or Wizards. Among that group, the Bulls, Pelicans and Wizards have four weeks of play, which further strengthens their attractiveness. If your lineup is already full, then players with Wednesday games functionally have one game less in week 23, at least as far as you are concerned.
For managers with strict acquisition limits, only one team starts the week with three games in four days (Bulls), and only the Wizards finish with a 3-in-4. That said, especially since most leagues are now in the win-or-go-home playoffs, a better strategy might be to focus on teams Wednesday-Saturday 3-in-4 and save an acquisition for Sunday, with which you can target the categories needed more specifically. Several teams have Wednesday-Saturday 3-in-4: Rockets, Grizzlies, Heat and Pacers.