NBA Fantasy Waiver Pickups & Schedule (Week 20): Kristaps Porzingis’ Immediate Value, Injury Pivots, Playoff Tips, More
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the Washington Wizards.
This is a very critical point in the NBA season, especially in fantasy, so we’re digging even deeper with tips on how to get geared up for the playoff stretch.
Joe Dellera and Dan Titus break down how they are viewing the top players to watch and note how to benefit on worthwhile player prop angles fantasy trends and scheduling quirks for Week 20.
Read below to see where they are finding small edges this week.
Fantasy Basketball Schedule — Week 20
- Four Games: ATL, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIN, NOP, NYK, ORL, PHX, SAS, UTA
- Three Games: BOS, BKN, CHA, CHI, CLE, IND, MEM, MIL, OKC, PHI, POR, SAC, TOR, WAS
Fantasy Friendly Teams in Week 20
- Pelicans (@MEM, ORL, CHA, HOU)
- Timberwolves (POR, OKC, ORL,@MIA)
- Jazz (@DAL, POR, @SAS, SAC)
- Mavericks (UTA, NYK, @HOU, @BOS)
- Lakers (@SAS, @HOU, WAS, @PHX)
Number of Games per Day
- Monday: Eight games
- Tuesday: Six games
- Wednesday: 12 games
- Thursday: Two games
- Friday: 10 games
- Saturday: Seven games
- Sunday: Eight games
The Fantasy playoffs are fast approaching and we went into great detail about how to approach them on the Buckets podcast this week.
If the playoffs have started in your league or you’re currently battling for a playoff spot, try to break up your waiver adds between early and late week pickups.
Analyze your opponent and focus on the categories you typically win and dig into those. For example, don’t worry about picking up an assists guy if after two nights you’re down by 50 assists. Remember, you only have to win 5-4, so hone in on the winnable categories!
If you are in the playoffs but can’t move up to earn a bye week, set your team up for success at the front end of Week 21. The Clippers play a Sunday-Monday back-to-back set in Week 21 (perhaps target Terance Mann or Isaiah Hartenstein if available) while the Heat play just two games in Week 21.
Check the teams that play two games in three nights or three games in four nights early in Week 21, and use your transactions at the end of Week 20 to get a head start in Week 21.
If you’re on track to earn a bye week, start looking ahead to Week 22 where you’ll want to avoid teams like the Clippers, Kings, and Spurs because they only play two games that week.
Early Week Streaming Teams
- Warriors play Mon/Tues back-to-back set and three games in four nights. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins have been ruled out Monday so Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, Kevon Looney, and Moses Moody are all streamable options to start the week.
- Hornets, Bucks, Thunder, Bulls, Trail Blazers, Kings all play two games in first three nights of the week (Monday – Wednesday).
Late Week Streaming Teams
- Nuggets play on the two-game Thursday slate and avoid the 10-game Friday slate.
- Pacers and Grizzlies both play two games the last three nights (Friday – Sunday).
- Guards: Cameron Payne, Monte Morris, Bones Hyland, Gabe Vincent, Tre Mann, Immanuel Quickley, Alec Burks, Moses Moody, Grayson Allen, De’Anthony Melton, Brandon Williams, Austin Reaves, Malik Beasley, Donte DiVincenzo, Ish Smith, Malik Monk
- Forwards: Jae Crowder, De’Andre Hunter, Cameron Johnson, Jonathan Kuminga, Aleksej Pokusevski, Jaden McDaniels, Cody Martin, Kevin Love, Terance Mann, Darius Bazley, Chuma Okeke, Isaiah Jackson, Bruce Brown, Oshae Brissett, Cedi Osman, Max Strus
- Centers: Jarred Vanderbilt, Isaiah Roby, Jaxson Hayes, Isaiah Hartenstein, Marvin Bagley, DeMarcus Cousins, Drew Eubanks, Jalen Smith, Chris Boucher
Players to Watch
Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors
Fred VanVleet continues to miss time with right knee soreness and has now missed five games in a row. Nick Nurse has kept the Raptors’ injury report close to the chest and it’s unclear when exactly we can expect VanVleet to return.
At the time of this writing, the two players who have taken charge the most in his absence are Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes. While this is to be expected considering OG Anunoby is also out, many would have expected Gary Trent Jr. to have picked up a larger role.
Barnes is averaging a double double across these four games (prior to Sunday) with 19.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists and Siakam is averaging 22.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists. They’re in an excellent spot to continue this considering Nurse typically only runs a rotation that is about eight players deep.
Fantasy Impact: Trent Jr. is someone to buy low on — he’s only averaging 13.5 points per game, but he’s taking 9.5 3s per game. That volume is invaluable.
On the season, Trent averages 7.4 3PAs with FVV, while he sees a significant uptick to 10.6 without him. If he struggled again against the Cavaliers, which wouldn’t be a surprise considering their defense, he has an excellent Pace-up spot on Wednesday against the Spurs to bet his 3-point props.
Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana Pacers
Malcolm Brogdon has returned from injury and he’s had a fairly significant impact on the Pacers. The player he most overlaps with from a fantasy and props perspective is the newly acquired Tyrese Haliburton.
Haliburton has now played five games without Brogdon and five games with him, and the splits are notable:
- With Brogdon: 38.1 Minutes | 16.0 Points | 5.4 Rebounds | 8.8 Assists | 2.0/5.8 3PM/3PA
- Without Brogdon: 37.7 Minutes | 21.2 Points | 4.6 Rebounds | 10.2 Assists | 3.4/7.6 3PM/3PA
He’s clearly taking a bit of a usage hit with Brogdon, and while he’s still effective, the ceiling is not there in the same way.
On the flip side, Brogdon has thrived alongside Haliburton. He’s averaging 23.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.0/4.8 3PM/3PA in 34.5 minutes per game.
His role looks safe, and here are his most recent prop lines for your reference: 20.5 points (-110), 5.5 rebounds (+105), 5.5 assists (-110), 30.5 PRA (-130), 1.5 3s (-155)
Here is his success rate for each of these over his last five games: Points 3/5 (three straight), Rebounds 2/5, Assists 2/5, PRA 3/5 (3 straight), 3PMs 4/5
He’s very close to his averages, but if the books continue to hang 30.5 PRA then that’s something to continue looking at moving forward.
Check out our free NBA odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.
Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards
The start of the Kristaps Porzingis era in Washington began Sunday night and he played very well in just 21 minutes.
In his debut he dropped 25 points, collected five rebounds, and had two blocks. He should thrive in the District as the primary offensive weapon and this will absolutely torch any value Thomas Bryant (DNP-CD) and Daniel Gafford (17 minutes) have down the stretch.
One thing to be concerned about is his availability in back-to-back sets, of which the Wizards have a few: March 11-12, March 18-19, March 24-25, March 29-30, April 5-6. It would not be surprising to see Porzingis sit in these sets.
Fantasy Impact: The one player who should remain a key piece of the rotation is Kyle Kuzma. Alongside Porzingis, Kuzma recorded 23 points, five rebounds, and eight assists. Having an effective finisher at the rim and on the perimeter should actually help Kuzma with his assist totals.