NBA Fantasy Waiver Pickups & Schedule (Week 12): How to Approach Kyrie Irving’s Return, Kevin Love’s New Role, More
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets.
It’s the start of a new year and the start of a new week in NBA fantasy leagues. Change is certainly on the horizon for a few teams with stars players set to return for a couple of teams this week.
Joe Dellera and Dan Titus break down their top injury pivots, players who are rising or falling and note how to benefit on worthwhile player prop angles fantasy trends and scheduling quirks for Week 12.
Read below to see where they are finding small edges this week.
Fantasy Basketball Schedule — Week 12
- Five Games: MEM
- Four Games: ATL, BKN, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAC, MIL, MIN, NOP, ORL, POR, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS
- Three Games: BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, IND, LAL, MIA, NYK, OKC, PHI, PHX
Fantasy Friendly Teams in Week 12
- Grizzlies (@BKN, @CLE, DET, @LAC, @LAL)
- Wizards (CHA, HOU, @CHI, @ORL)
- Timberwolves (@LAC OKC, @OKC, @HOU)
- Guards: Coby White, Facu Campazzo, De’Anthony Melton, Malik Beasley, Josh Christopher, Aaron Wiggins, Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, Malik Monk, Josh Richardson, Kyle Guy
- Forwards: Hamidou Diallo, Brandon Clarke, Herb Jones, Saddiq Bey, Larry Nance Jr, Otto Porter, David Nwaba, Amir Coffey, Justise Winslow, Nic Batum
- Centers: Omer Yurtseven, Jaxon Hayes, Willy Hernangómez, Trey Lyles, Mason Plumlee, Jalen Smith, Nic Claxton
Players to Watch
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
Not technically an injury, but Kyrie Irving recently rejoined the Nets as a part-time player since at the moment he cannot play in any of the Nets’ home games due to the New York City vaccination requirements. He is expected to see the floor when the Nets play the Indiana Pacers.
— NBABet (@nbabet) January 3, 2022
Irving has not played a game since June 13 against the Milwaukee Bucks when he suffered an ankle injuring during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. He should inject instant offense to the Nets’ offense, but it’s going to be an interesting dynamic for sure.
Last season, Kyrie averaged 26.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in 34.9 minutes per game with shooting splits of 50.6%/40.2%/92.2%. The dude is a bucket. However, for fantasy league’s his role as a part time player makes things difficult. What is the value of a player that most weeks will max out at three games and could go others with just one?
My interest in Kyrie revolves around how he impacts his teammates. Some players, such as LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills have never played with Kyrie; however, Kyrie’s impact should not affect Aldridge as much as Mills. Mills’ best comparison is Joe Harris. Harris averaged 2.0 more points, 0.7 more rebounds, and 0.4 more assists per game while taking 1.7 more shots from the floor.
Aside from Mills, the two obvious players that are impacted by Kyrie’s return are Kevin Durant and James Harden. Here are their stats with Kyrie Irving last season compared to their current stats this season.
Durant: 2020-21 with Irving: 27 Games | 32.8 Minutes | 25.5 Points | 7.3 Rebounds | 5.2 Assists
Durant: 2021-22: 29 Games | 37.1 Minutes | 29.8 Points | 7.9 Rebounds | 5.7 Assists
Harden 2020-21 with Irving: 27 Games | 36.7 Minutes | 22.2 Points | 8.5 Rebounds | 10.7 Assists
Harden 2021-2022: 30 Games | 36.7 Minutes | 22.8 points | 8.3 Rebounds | 9.9 Assists
Looking at this, we may see a downturn from Durant in his scoring and Harden logs about one fewer assist per game. Keep this in mind when betting props when Kyrie bounces in and out of the lineup.
Brandon Clarke, Memphis Grizzlies
Brandon Clarke is a player to target in Week 12 because the Grizzlies play five games and Kyle Anderson entered health and safety protocols on Sunday. The Grizzlies frontcourt is thin with Xavier Tillman also in the protocols, so Clarke steps into an opportunity to get an increase in playing time.
The three-year pro was out of the rotation for 11 games due to knee soreness, but he’s been back for four games. On Friday, he delivered one of his best outings of the season dropping 17 points (8-of-11 FG, 0-1 FT) along with nine rebounds, two assists, and two blocks in 22 minutes of action. In five games this season where he’s earned at least 20 minutes, Clarke is averaging 13.2 points with 8.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 0.8 blocks while shooting 69% from the field.
Fantasy Impact: He should be a priority add this week in all H2H formats given his scheduling advantage — plus the path to getting valuable minutes for Memphis’ depleted frontcourt.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Kevin Love has been on a tear the last month as he has turned back the clock and he has logged double digit points in 13 consecutive games. He’s played incredibly well since the start of December:
16 Games | 22.3 Minutes | 18.1 Points | 7.5 Rebound | 2.3 Assists | 48.9% FG% | 49.2% 3P%
Fantasy Impact: Love has carved out a role as a sharp-shooter, which is exactly what this Cavaliers team needs with Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen in the paint and the injuries to so many Guards for the Cavaliers who helped stretch the floor.
Check out our free NBA odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.
Kevin Porter Jr., Houston Rockets
Kevin Porter Jr. and fellow Rocket Christian Wood had a dispute with the Rockets coaching staff in Saturday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets.
The incident has poured into the NBA spotlight as reports surfaced that Porter threw an object at assistant head coach John Lucas before leaving the arena during halftime of Saturday’s contest.
Sources: After Rockets assistant John Lucas called out multiple players including Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood at halftime tonight vs. Nuggets, Porter had a heated exchange with Lucas, threw an object and promptly left the arena – and Wood refused to sub into second half.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 2, 2022
He’s been suspended for one game due to “poor behavior” and he’ll miss Monday’s tip against the Philadelphia 76ers as a result. Though this incident is concerning, he’s been trending in the wrong direction for a couple months now.
Porter Jr has missed 15 games this season and finished December averaging 11.8 points with 5.0 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.0 turnovers while shooting 37.2% from the field in 24.3 minutes per contest.
Though he’s coming off a thigh injury, he simply can’t be trusted right now. Coming into Monday, KPJ ranks 307 in Yahoo 9-category H2H formats after coming into the season ranked 78th overall.
Fantasy Impact: The Rockets play four games this week but with KPJ missing Monday night, now might be a good time to float some offers to anyone that still values his potential and upside with Houston. This situation is hardly resolved and could be a headache for any managers rostering the inconsistent point guard.