NBA Fantasy Waiver Pickups & Schedule (Week 15): Anthony Edwards Injury Pivots, Ayo Dosunmu’s Passing Upside, More
Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Ayo Dosunmu #12 of the Chicago Bulls.
A number of teams with young, deep benches are suffering from injuries to their top players that range from typical to pretty serious. That means there’s some value in names most fans would ignore on a nightly basis.
Joe Dellera and Dan Titus break down their top players to watch entering the week through the lens of injuries along with some notes on how to benefit on worthwhile fantasy trends and scheduling quirks for Week 15.
Read below to see where they are finding small edges this week.
Fantasy Basketball Schedule — Week 15
- Four Games: CHA, CHI, DAL, DEN, IND, LAC, LAL, MIN, NOP, PHX, POR, SAS, UTA
- Three Games: ATL, BOS, BKN, CLE, DET, GSW, MEM, MIA, MIL, NYK, ORL, PHI, SAC, TOR
- Two Games: HOU, OKC, WAS
Fantasy Friendly Teams in Week 15
- Bulls (@OKC, TOR, @SAS, POR)
- Pacers (@NOR, CHA,@OKC, @DAL)
- Nuggets (@DET, @BKN, @NOR, @MIL)
- Lakers (@BKN, @PHI, @CHA, @ATL)
- Spurs (@HOU, MEM, CHI, @PHX)
- Guards: Chris Duarte, Ayo Dosunmu, Terence Davis, Coby White, Kevin Huerter, Patty Mills, Jaylen Nowell, Malik Beasley, Cory Joseph, De’Anthony Melton, Pat Connaughton, Gabe Vincent
- Forwards: Herb Jones, Nic Batum, Jeff Green, Cam Johnson, DeAndre Hunter, Nassir Little, Amir Coffey, Otto Porter, Trey Lyles, Garrison Mathews, Jonathan Kuminga, Caleb Martin
- Centers: Goga Bitadze, Bismack Biyombo, JaVale McGee, Onyeka Okongwu, Nerlens Noel, Mason Plumlee, Da’Ron Sharpe, Kelly Olynyk (in protocols)
Players to Watch
Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves
Edwards has been playing extremely well this season as he has built on his rookie campaign and now averages 22.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.6 assists on 44.2% shooting and 37.2% from 3-point range. He’s an offensive spark plug and is always a threat to posterize any defender.
At the end of Sunday night’s game, though, Edwards suffered what looked like a right knee injury and he did not put weight on that leg as he walked off the floor.
Chris Finch talked to Anthony Edwards after the game after the apparent injury
“He said he’ll be straight.”
— jace frederick (@JaceFrederick) January 24, 2022
In classic Edwards fashion, he indicated that he’ll be fine, but the Wolves may elect to give him Tuesday’s game off against the Blazers before a back-to-back set on Thursday and Friday against the Warriors and the Suns.
If Edwards is unable to go, D’Angelo Russell has seen an uptick in his assists numbers, dishing out 8.8 per game compared to 6.8 when Edwards is active. Malik Beasley is the biggest beneficiary in terms of scoring output, though.
He has averaged 20 points per game in 36.6 minutes in the six games he has played without Edwards this season. It may be a small window given Edwards’ comments, but Beasley could be a prime candidate for an escalator prop on Tuesday against the Blazers’ porous defense.
The Timberwolves are 3-3 without Edwards this season, but if he misses any time they certainly will miss him. When Edwards is on the floor, the Wolves score 113.0 points per 100 possessions; when he is off, the Wolves offense falters and they score just 106.3 points per 100 possessions.
It may not matter much against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday, but it certainly will against the Warriors, Suns, and Jazz in their following three games.
Fantasy Impact: We don’t know if Edwards is truly “all good” but the Timberwolves have four games this week and two of those games fall on the Tuesday and Thursday slates.
If you’re looking for a quick production grab, Jaylen Nowell and Malik Beasley are the one’s likely to step in if Edwards misses any time. Prioritize Nowell over Beasley since he’s been averaging 14/3/3 on 55% shooting over his last five games compared to Beasley 9/2/1 on 38% shooting in his last five games.
The Pacers are an absolute dumpster fire. They are 17-30, sitting in 13th place in the East and they are decimated with injuries. Malcolm Brogdon was shut down for 10 days on Saturday, Domantas Sabonis is expected to miss the next two games, Myles Turner has a stress fracture in his left foot and is about a week away from a re-evaluation.
Plus, Caris LeVert (calf) is a game time decision for Monday’s game against the Pelicans. Besides the injuries, nearly all of these players are involved in trade rumors, so while we grab some short term value we should also keep in mind that these could be long term holds.
Over the past two games, the Pacers have leaned on rookie Chris Duarte for scoring. Duarte recorded lines of 17 points (3-of-6 on 3s), four rebounds, and four assists on Saturday and 27 points (2-of-3 on 3s), seven rebounds, and three assists on Thursday. He is a clear beneficiary of the increased usage at guard.
Without Turner and Sabonis, Goga Bitadze has been a hot pickup and is playing 33.2 minutes per game over these last two with averages of 14.5 points, 10 rebounds, and 3.5 assists, and 1 blocks. However, Isaiah Jackson may be the better add.
Over these two games, across just 15.8 minutes, Jackson is averaging 10.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.0 steals, and 2.0 blocks. With more minutes, Jackson could contribute more stocks and I’ll keep an eye on his steals+blocks lines moving forward. If Sabonis and Turner are on the move, whichever player truly emerges could be in for extended minutes the rest of the season.
Fantasy Impact: Run, don’t walk, to pick up Bitadze. The Pacers have one of the best fantasy schedules this week facing the Pelicans, Hornets, Thunder, and Mavs. This Pacers front court has been decimated by injury, leaving Bitadze to get extended minutes into the mid-30’s.
His per-36 numbers this season translate to 14.1 points, 10 rebounds, 1.6 assists, with 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals. That will certainly help your fantasy teams and there’s a strong chance he holds onto this job for a while with Turner expected to be out until the All-Star Break and Sabonis dealing with an ankle injury.
Duarte is rostered in about 60% of Yahoo leagues, so he is also worth picking up in all formats with Brogdon slated to miss the next 10 games and Caris LeVert battling a calf injury.
Check out our free NBA odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.
Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls
Dosunmu has been crushing his props lately. We have seen both his rebound and assist lines rise from 3.5 to 5.5 in two games and his Rebounds + Assists line jump all the way to 9.5 (+100) from 6.5 (-110) earlier in the week.
Before Sunday’s dud of zero assists, Dosunmu had recorded at least six assists in the four games prior and Monday’s contest against the Bulls is absolutely a buy-low spot. If his assists prop is set at 4.5, that’s absolutely a bet and I’d consider escalating him to eight assists as well.
Over the prior four games Dosunmu had recorded, six, eight, six, and 10 assists. This is no fluke either, over the last five games (including this zero assist performance), Dosunmu has averaged 7.5 assists and an absurd 14.8 potential assists per game.
Fantasy Impact: Dosunmu has already earned the trust of Billy Donovan as he’s averaged 39.5 minutes per game in his last five contests. He’s been stellar over that span, delivering 13.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.6 3PM and 1.6 steals with 60/50/80 shooting splits.
With Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso expected to miss 6-8 weeks respectively, Dosunmu should be rostered in all formats as the new starting point guard for the Bulls.
Bismack Biyombo, Phoenix Suns
Biyombo emerged as one of the top front court pickups last week after putting up 15.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists with 2.0 stocks in 27.4 minutes per game in his last three contests, despite splitting time with JaVale McGee.
Fantasy Impact: With four games this week, Biyombo and McGee are both streamable options in 12-team leagues as long as Deandre Ayton continues to miss time with an ankle injury. However, Biyombo gets the slight edge as he’s been more productive over the past week.