The dust has finally settled from one of the wildest NBA trade deadlines in recent memory, and this week’s fantasy waiver column places heavy emphasis on players that are trending up due to all the roster reshuffling from this past week. The fantasy playoffs are only a couple of weeks away in most standard leagues, so like every Monday, I’ll break down several players who are less than 50% rostered in Yahoo fantasy basketball leagues.
Let’s get to the schedule and waivers for this week:
Remember, because it’s All-Star week, Week 18 spans two weeks from February 13-26. There are no games from Friday, February 17 through Wednesday, February 22.
Part 1 of Week 18 Fantasy Schedule:
Three games: 2 teams (Bulls and Wizards)
Two games: 24 teams (76ers, Bucks, Cavaliers, Celtics, Clippers, Hawks, Heat, Hornets, Jazz, Knicks, Lakers, Magic, Mavericks, Nets, Nuggets, Pacers, Pelicans, Rockets, Suns, Spurs, Timberwolves, Trail Blazers, Thunder and Warriors
One game: 4 teams (Grizzlies, Kings, Pistons and Raptors)
Okay, now that you know which teams to target for streaming, let’s get to the pickups.
Priority Adds in Shallow leagues (10 teams or less):
Zach Collins, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs (50% rostered)
The Spurs moved C Jakob Poeltl to the Toronto Raptors at the deadline, which vaulted Collins to the starting unit for the rest of the season. His first two starts without Poeltl were productive — going off for a career-high 29 points with 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and one triple in 35 minutes of action in a double overtime loss to the Pistons on Friday. He followed that up on Saturday night with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 stocks and 5 turnovers across 23 minutes, but it was a blowout that didn’t afford him or the Spurs starters much playing time. He’ll likely have some inconsistent moments, but he has a chance to be a good source of rebounds, points and FG percentage with an increased role in the offense.
His per-36 numbers are encouraging this season, and he carries a 20% usage rate despite playing limited minutes for much of the season.
Also, Collins has little competition for minutes. Gorgui Dieng played eight minutes in Saturday’s game, and Charles Bassey is injured and still in the G-League. Collins is capable of notching a nightly double-double as the starting center Collins and should be rostered in more than half of leagues.
Daniel Gafford, C, Washington Wizards (50% rostered)
Gafford continues to start for the Wizards and is blocking shots at a high rate — swatting three or more in three straight games and hitting double figures with at least five rebounds in five consecutive contests. He’s ranked 58th in per-game value over the past 14 days and is 63rd over the past month. Make sure he’s not floating around on waivers because he’s seeing 27 minutes a night in February, a trend that likely will stay the same with the Wizards still in the hunt for the play-in tournament.
Kenyon Martin Jr., SF/PF, Houston Rockets (46% rostered)
Finally, the fantasy gods came through by sending former Rockets SF Eric Gordon to the Clippers last Thursday, paving the way for Martin to see starter’s minutes for the rest of the season. Martin has been a top 60 player over the past 14 days after shooting an amazing 66% from the field, averaging 15.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 threes, 0.5 steals and 1.0 blocks across 34 minutes per contest.
Impressively, Martin ranks second in 2-point FG% this season and is the only non-power forward or center that ranks within the top 10. He’s been exceptional for H2H leagues lately, but he’s also worth grabbing in points leagues. The beauty of Martin’s situation is that even when Kevin Porter Jr. (foot) is ready to make his way back to the court, Martin’s role is secure because Martin’s playing a majority of his minutes (84%) at small forward. He may have some off nights at the free-throw line. Still, he has a unique ability to be an effective screen setter, rim runner and cutter (all 85th percentile and higher, per Shot Quality); despite his limited size, that is impactful for fantasy purposes.
If he’s available, scoop him up immediately because he’ll continue to be a valuable source of points, rebounds and stocks, plus shoot a high percentage as an undersized forward.
Chris Boucher, PF/C, Toronto Raptors (41% rostered)
The Raptors’ frontcourt is getting crowded now that Jakob Poeltl arrived, but Boucher should be able to remain in the rotation as one of their most versatile players off the bench. OG Anunoby remains out with a wrist injury, and now, Gary Trent Jr. is day-to-day with a calf strain — which leaves Boucher in a good position to log minutes at multiple positions. Per Basketball Reference, Boucher’s been logging his most minutes at SF (60%), followed by SG (21%) and PF (16%). He’s ranked 68th over the past month, but that’s improved lately, ranking 56th over the past two weeks and finishing 44th in Week 17. He’s one of the best defenders available on waivers, so if you need stocks, Boucher will be a worthwhile add.
Priority Adds in Deep Leagues (12+):
Josh Green, SG/SF, Dallas Mavericks (38% rostered)
Green finished 39th in per-game value last week and has been top 70 over the past two weeks, thanks to Luka Doncic’s absence and some roster turnover. However, his minutes appear safe in the rotation right now, as he played 40 minutes in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Kings despite Kyrie Irving and Luka returning.
I love coach speak, and here’s Jason Kidd raving about his improvement this season as a ball-handler, his teammates trusting him to run the offense and not being afraid of the moment:
He’s started the previous five games, playing almost 38 minutes each and is averaging 19.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.2 triples and 0.8 steals with 58/42/78 shooting splits over that span. He’s also already shown some chemistry with Kyrie Irving, being on the receiving end of four of his assists since joining the Mavs, which is tied for second on the team behind Dwight Powell (5). As long as he’s starting and producing as he has over the past couple of weeks, he should be picked up in more fantasy leagues.
Jeremy Sochan, PF, San Antonio Spurs (40% rostered)
I still see Sochan on waivers in some 12-team Yahoo public leagues, which needs to change. He returned from a five-game absence on Saturday and finished with 18 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists with one steal and a block in 21 minutes. He was on a minute restriction, but that clearly didn’t affect his production.
The rookie out of Baylor was rolling before his injury, averaging 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.6 threes and 51/52/84 shooting splits during a seven-game stretch in January. Sochan is arguably the second or third option in the Spurs’ offense, and with Josh Richardson gone, he’s in line to do some more playmaking.
The Spurs are steadily increasing Sochan’s workload after being primarily known for his defense earlier in the season, and it’s translating to fantasy. The Spurs have lost 10 straight games, but on the bright side, Sochan isn’t going anywhere and will continue to play a prominent role down the stretch for the tanking Spurs.
Malaki Branham, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs (17% rostered)
Yep, another Spur. Branham started the previous five games for the Spurs and will continue to do so with Devin Vassell (foot) out and Josh Richardson getting traded to the Pelicans. He should be in for a good game on Monday with Tre Jones (foot) out of the lineup, but temper expectations as he’s been a bit erratic from the field over the few games — scoring 10 or fewer points in two of his last three games while shooting below 30%.
However, the young guard has shown a knack for scoring lately.
At only 17% rostered, he’s worth streaming on Monday as he’s likely to play a lot of minutes and he has a good matchup versus the Hornets on Wednesday. If he struggles, feel free to drop him for a better-preferred waiver add, but I think he’ll be a hold for the time being given the Spurs record and opportunity for consistent minutes in the future.
Talen Horton-Tucker, SG/SF, Utah Jazz (21% rostered)
Collin Sexton was one of the higher-profile winners at the deadline after Mike Conley, Malik Beasley and Nickeil Alexander-Walker were traded, but THT is another player that’s been noticeably thriving. Since Conley, Beasley and NAW left three games ago, he’s been averaging 15.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.3 blocks while shooting 49% from the field.
Russell Westbrook will likely be bought out by the Jazz, leaving the Jazz with a few combo guards to cover their point guard duties. Jordan Clarkson and Sexton are more effective off-ball, leaving THT in a favorable position to get minutes and rack up assists, too. He’s played at least 24 minutes in his last three games and is the primary scorer of the second unit, attempting at least 11 shots per game over that span.
He finished 112th in Week 17, but he’s worth streaming for any fantasy manager that needs points, assists and the occasional block from the guard position.
Short-term but worth a look:
Josh Okogie, SG/SF, Phoenix Suns (12% rostered)
The Suns had to offload a significant amount of depth to acquire Kevin Durant last week, and it left a void in the small forward spot that Okogie has filled quite nicely. He’s delivered at least 17 points, three triples and three steals in consecutive games while shooting over 50%. The reinforcements aren’t ready yet (Terrence Ross plans to sign with the Suns once his buyout is complete with the Magic), so Okogie still has life. He’s a deeper league streaming option, but the Suns play on lighter slates in the first part of Week 18 with games on Tuesday and Thursday, so there shouldn’t be an issue deploying him.
Suns HC Monty Williams praised his ability as a cutter, rebounder and range on the perimeter and said that he “could be an asset” in the future. KD is still on the shelf, so Okogie is in a good spot to get minutes, while Darius Bazley and Terrence Ross plan to join the team within the coming days.
Others to consider by my rankings:
Immanuel Quickley, PG/SG, New York Knicks (48%)
Larry Nance Jr., PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans (30%)
Jalen Suggs, PG/SG, Orlando Magic (24%)
Reggie Bullock, SF/PF, Dallas Mavericks (13%)
Drew Eubanks, PF/C, Portland Trail Blazers (13%)