NBA Fantasy Waiver Pickups & Schedule (Week 19): Chris Paul & James Harden Impact, Streamers, More
Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Alec Burks #18 of the New York Knicks.
Fantasy basketball is hitting the home stretch, with just over two months left in the NBA regular season.
Here are the teams and players to target for Week 19, beginning Feb. 28.
Fantasy Basketball Schedule, Week 19
- 5 Games – TOR
- 4 Games – BKN, CLE, HOU, IND, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, OKC, ORL, SAC
- 3 Games – ATL, BOS, CHA, CHI, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, LAC, LAL, NOP, NYK, PHI, PHX, SAS, UTA, WAS
- 2 Games – POR
Fantasy Friendly Teams in Week 19
- Raptors (@BKN, BKN, DET, ORL, @CLE)
- Grizzlies (SAS, @BOS, ORL,@HOU)
- Pacers (@ORL, @ORL, @DET, @WAS)
- Thunder (SAC, @DEN, MIN, UTA)
- Timberwolves (@CLE, GSW, @OKC, POR)
- Guards – Brandon Goodwin, Tre Mann, Alec Burks, De’Anthony Melton, Garrison Mathews, Gabe Vincent, Javonte Green, Eric Gordon, Pat Beverely
- Forwards – Terance Mann, Darius Bazley, Chuma Okeke, Isaiah Jackson, Bruce Brown, James Johnson, Jeremy Lamb, Oshae Brissett, Cedi Osman, Jaden McDaniels, Cody Martin, Thaddeus Young
- Center – Alperen Sengun, Chris Boucher, Precious Achiuwa, Jaxson Hayes, Drew Eubanks, Jalen Smith
Players to Watch
Chris Paul, Suns
Chris Paul suffered an avulsion fracture to his hand and will miss the next few weeks and definitely the remainder of the fantasy basketball season.
Paul is obviously an integral part of this team, he’s their leader and his impact on a nightly basis cannot be understated. The Suns are 8 points better per 100 possessions with Paul on the floor and he improves both their offense and defense.
Additionally, late in games, due to Paul’s truly elite court vision and midrange game, he can complement Devin Booker perfectly as they tend to eviscerate anyone in the clutch. Without Paul, this becomes more difficult to do as defenses can key in on Booker.
I expect the Suns to falter down the stretch, especially considering their six-game lead over the Warriors gives them little incentive to push themselves — this is a prime team to fade against the spread.
In Paul’s absence, the majority of the usage will fall into Booker’s lap. In four games without Paul since the start of last season, Booker averages 30.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 8.0 assists in 37.4 minutes per game while taking an incredible 22.8 shots per game.
Fantasy Impact: The next natural outlet for usage will be Cameron Payne once he returns from injury, but in the meantime Aaron Holiday should be a solid short term streaming option.
James Harden, 76ers
James Harden has lit Philadelphia’s offense on fire. In his two starts he is averaging 28.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 14.0 assists on 57.7% shooting.
His gravity is significant. Opponents are forced to account for and double team him which opens up room for Joel Embiid to operate, but also for the secondary scoring options on the 76ers to get better looks as their opponents sag off of them to account for the superstar tandem that is Harden and Embiid.
It’s only 53 possessions — so small sample size alert — but, the 76ers are +47.1 points per 100 with Harden and Embiid on the floor, scoring 141.5 points per 100 possessions and allowing just 94.4 points. The thing that’s even more preposterous is their Free Throw Rate of 38.6 (if they maintained this rate, it would be the second highest Free Throw Rate of all lineups in the NBA with at least 100 possessions played, per Cleaning the Glass). Considering Harden and Embiid are third (8.0) and first (11.6) in free throw attempts per game, this is likely sustainable and means foul trouble for their opponents and lengthy games for their fans.
Tobias Harris has struggled to acclimate to live with Harden; however, I expect Harden to bring him into the fold. It’s not surprising that his attempts are down, but Harris is a strong shooter, and he should find plenty of opportunity as defenses cannot key in on him. In other words, I expect his efficiency and percentages to improve. If someone is selling low on Harris right before your trade deadlines, I’d consider buying.
Fantasy Impact: Finally, Tyrese Maxey. Things are about to open up for him in a big way. Maxey can facilitate, but he’s an excellent scoring option as well. It’s a small sample size, but Maxey has been able to effectively complement Harden, while also providing a stopgap when Harden and/or Embiid is off the floor.
It is only two games, but Maxey is scoring 24.5 points with Harden, and his assists are down to just 2.5 from 4.6. I don’t expect Maxey to see much of a downturn with Harden who seems to get the most of his teammates so long as he is engaged.
Tre Mann, Thunder
Tre Mann has quietly filled the voids in these depleted Thunder lineups and is worthy of a roster spot. On the season his averages are 9.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.4 3s, and 0.8 steals.
However, over the past month, those numbers have improved dramatically.
In February, Mann is seeing averages of 29.9 minutes, 14.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.2 steals, and 2.4 3s (37.9%). He has filled in for SGA, Lu Dort, and Josh Giddey and played well in an expanded role.
Considering the Thunder are just gearing up for next season, Mann is someone to target as a streamer with upside down the stretch.
Brandon Goodwin, Cavs
Brandon Goodwin is only 5% rostered in Yahoo leagues but that’ll change pretty quickly now that All-Star PG Darius Garland (back), Caris LeVert (foot), and Rajon Rondo (toe) have been ruled out ahead of Monday night’s contest. Goodwin saw a season-high 38 minutes in a 92-86 win over the Wizards on Saturday and chipped in eight points (2-11 FG), along with five rebounds, six assists, and a steal.
Garland is now IL-eligible after missing his second consecutive game so it looks like Goodwin will have some staying power with the Cavs playing four games in Week 19. He sported a 19.3% usage rate on Saturday and with minutes in the upper-30s, he could be a sneaky pickup this week and potentially longer.
Alec Burks, Knicks
Kemba Walker has been shut down for the remainder of the season and Derrick Rose has reportedly suffered a setback in his return from an ankle injury. Journeyman Alec Burks earned the start on Sunday versus the Sixers and it looks like he’ll hold onto the job for the foreseeable future.
Immanuel Quickley is someone to watch but it’s clear Tom Thibodeau trusts Burks to run the offense right now. In 23 games without Kemba Walker in the lineup this season, Burks is averaging 11.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, with 1.4 steals, and 1.5 3PM in 33.2 minutes per contest. As a starter, his stats are pretty similar — Burks is posting a 12.8/5.4/3.5 line with 1.3 steals and 1.8 triples per game.
If you can withstand some inconsistent shooting, Burks can fill up the stat sheet and is worth scooping up being only 36% rostered in Yahoo leagues.
Check out our free NBA odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.
Justise Winslow, Blazers
Justise Winslow is a drop at the moment after missing Sunday’s contest against the Nuggets with soreness in his right achilles. Portland only plays two games in Week 19 so now is a good time to cut bait for a better pickup. He’s revived his career in Portland, delivering averages of 13.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists with 1.6 steals, on 46% shooting in 31.5 minutes per game over his last five contests.
However, it’ll be hard to hold onto Winslow beyond Week 19 given his storied injury history and lack of games played as we inch closer to the fantasy playoffs.