Welcome back. We've reached the home stretch. Barely a month and a half remain in the NBA season, and most head-to-head leagues begin their playoffs in just a couple of weeks. With the trade deadline in the rearview and most of the important buyouts already completed, tanking season is about to begin in earnest. There tends to be some meaningful upheaval in the Fantasy ranks over the coming seven weeks, and I'm here to (try to) guide you through it.
As always, the players in this article must be rostered in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues. Players are listed in the order that I recommend adding them, assuming they are equally good fits for your team.
Adds for all leagues
I will keep hammering Williams until he gets over that two-thirds mark. The trade deadline's biggest Fantasy winner, Williams went from playing less than 20 minutes in every game to averaging 11-8-1 in 28.0 minutes as a starter. He's primarily valuable for his defense, where he's already put up 2.3 blocks per game since the promotion, and his 0.8 steals per game are likely to increase to catch up to his previous per-minute rate. He's an all-leagues must-add.
Not much new to say after highlighting Branham here for the last two weeks. He's got a big role after the trade deadline (33.6 minutes per game), and that should maintain at least until Devin Vassell (knee) and Romeo Langford (thigh) come back. The Spurs have not deigned to grace us with a return-to-play timeline for either, despite both missing more than a month, but Branham's prominent role could continue even once that pair of wings get healthy. In their first game after the All-Star break, Branham put up 23-2-5, and he's averaging 20-4-3 since the deadline.
Okogie is rolling since the trade deadline. He's played at least 32 minutes in every game and started the last three. He's averaging a scorching 21-5-2 with 2.3 steals and 3.8 threes. The plan is for Kevin Durant (knee) to return in the middle of Week 20, which will probably decimate Okogie's value. That said, after the departures of Mikal Bridges (36.4 min/g) and Cameron Johnson (25.2), Okogie could maintain enough extra work to remain low-end rosterable. Most important, however, is that Okogie is on such a heater that he's a high-priority pickup, even if we're only going to get 2-4 more games before we have to turn around and drop him.
Karl-Anthony Towns (calf) will likely miss at least another week, if not more. Anderson doesn't score much, but every roster that can tolerate that weakness should be using him for as long as Towns is sidelined. He's averaging 10-5-5 with 1.3 steals and 0.9 blocks and solid shooting splits since Towns got hurt. If you're punting points, he's a top-50 player over that span. The decision tree here is really simple: Is Towns playing? Do you need points? If "no" to both, Anderson is a must-start.
Let's be honest; this probably won't work out. Players acquired after a buyout rarely make a Fantasy impact. Heck, most of the time, they barely make a real basketball impact. That said, Love isn't exactly your typical post-buyout acquisition. His stature in Cleveland earned him extra deference, and he was relatively effective earlier this season before an injury knocked him out of the rotation. Over the first month of the season, he averaged a respectable 11-7-3 with 2.4 threes per game in just 21.3 minutes. It's not hard to imagine him putting together a similar stretch in Miami. Depending on your situation and roster needs, he might be worth a shot.
Other recommendations: Cam Reddish, Trail Blazers (19% rostered); Daniel Gafford, Wizards (46% rostered); Jonathan Isaac, Magic (34% rostered); Gabe Vincent, Heat (19% rostered); Aaron Nesmith, Pacers (16% rostered); Josh Richardson, Spurs (27% rostered); Talen Horton-Tucker, Jazz (53% rostered); Shaedon Sharpe, Trail Blazers (32% rostered); Jaden McDaniels, Timberwolves (51% rostered); Donte DiVincenzo, Warriors (52% rostered)
Deep league special
Gabe Vincent, Heat (19% rostered)
Vincent's roster rate dropped over the All-Star break, presumably because Kyle Lowry (knee) is now on the verge of returning. However, as I detailed last week, I think Vincent's role will remain elevated, and Lowry will not approach the 35.0 minutes he was averaging before he first injured the knee in early January. In the eight games Lowry's played since then, he averaged just 25.6 minutes. Vincent played 22.4 in those games. When both players are active going forward, I expect a similar split and possibly a further shift toward Vincent. On top of that, Lowry is a lock to miss at least a handful more games, with Vincent set to see roughly 35 minutes in each.
Week 20 is on the busier side overall, though the day-to-day schedule is semi-balanced. There are 18 teams with four games, compared to just 10 with three and two (Cavaliers and Nuggets) with two. There are no overloaded days, but an unusual split of four heavy days (10, 10, 10, 9) which sets up three small slates (4, 4, 6).
Weekly lineups leagues
The teams with the best schedules in Week 20 are the Celtics, Hornets, and Thunder. The Celtics and Hornets play four games with a day off between each and three games at home. The Thunder have a back-to-back but get all four games at home.
Among teams with three-game weeks, the Pelicans and Suns stand out as having the least favorable schedules. Both teams only get one day off between their games and play mostly on the road. The Timberwolves also have a below-average schedule, with all three games on the road, including a Friday-Saturday back-to-back. Furthermore, all of their games will be challenging, as they are all against teams in the massive Western Conference playoff bubble.
Daily lineups leagues
Managers will have to start their planning by checking their lineups on Tuesday (10 games), Wednesday (9), Friday (10), and Sunday (10). Most managers will have starter spots available on all four days, but some may find their lineups full before accounting for waiver pickups. If your lineups are full on a day, remember that any pickups with games that day effectively play one less throughout the week.
With two small slates early in the week, there's an opportunity to get an early jump on building a games advantage while your opponents are likely saving some pickups for later in the week. The 76ers are the only team to play both Monday (4 games) and Thursday (4 games). Better still, they also play Wednesday, meaning they are the only team who starts the week with a 3-in-4. As a final coup de grace, they also play on Saturday's smallish six-game slate.
The Heat's schedule isn't quite as good as the 76ers, but it's close. They are the only other team to play both Monday and Saturday, and they finish their fourth game of the week on Saturday, leaving open the possibility of dropping a borderline Hot One for a week-ending streamer.
The Wizards, Warriors, Spurs, and Clippers all end the week with a 3-in-4. Among those, the Wizards and Spurs play on both Thursday's and Saturday's small slates.