Fantasy Basketball 2020: NBA Pickups to Watch After League Resumes
National NBA Featured Columnist March 19, 2020 Comments Comment Bubble Icon
Fantasy basketball titles are secured or squandered on the waiver wire.
That’s been true as long as fantasy leagues have allowed in-season additions, and it will remain that way whenever the hoops hiatus lifts.
Since we’re all jonesing for NBA action, let’s look ahead to the league’s glorious return and identify which players—available in 50-plus percent of Yahoo leagues, per FantasyPros—you’ll want to target when that day comes.
P.J. Washington, F, Charlotte Hornets (49 Percent Owned)
Oftentimes, fantasy owners will hit the waiver wire with a specific stat target in mind. That can lead to the player pool being filtered into specialist suppliers of boards, triples or whatever your roster requires.
It’s not a bad way of doing business, but it can let across-the-board contributors like P.J. Washington slip through the cracks.
No single area of his stat line stands out. He might occasionally sniff 20 points or double-digit rebounds, but these outbursts are few and far between. What he’ll do, though, is leave his fingerprints on basically all areas of the box score.
He might not carry you in points (12.2) or boards (5.4), but he’ll help in both. His 2.1 assists and 1.5 triples are solid for the forward spot, and he’ll chip in 1.7 combined steals and blocks. Tack on a sturdy 45.5 field-goal percentage, and you’re talking about a player who can strengthen most fantasy rosters.
Damion Lee, G, Golden State Warriors (34 Percent Owned)
With no Stephen Curry for a big chunk of this season and no Klay Thompson for any of it, the Golden State Warriors have been freed to veer into experimentation mode. Namely, they’ve been allowed to explore the possibility of finding long-term contributors among the remnants of this roster, and Damion Lee has played his way into that conversation.
The 6’5″ scoring guard already had his two-way contract converted into a three-year pact. After scuffling just to find a rotation role in the NBA, he’s now a full-time starter for the Warriors and one of their key contributors.
“He’s had to bounce around and fight for everything,” head coach Steve Kerr told reporters. “It’s great to see him play so well and really solidify his future.”
Prior to the hiatus, Lee was zipping through a heater. Over his last 16 outings, his notable contributions had climbed to 15.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.8 threes. He was making 44.2 percent of his field goals and 87.9 percent of his foul shots. Those are all helpful stats, and they could continue climbing if he finds his footing again.
Jusuf Nurkic, C, Portland Trail Blazers (44 Percent Owned)
Want to get a leg up on your leaguemates? Open another tab, head over to your league page and put in a waiver claim for Jusuf Nurkic right now.
The Blazers big man was days away from returning from a fractured leg before the season was suspended. Some fantasy owners already pounced, but when he’s available in more than half of all Yahoo leagues, there’s an obvious buying opportunity here.
If Nurkic is fully unleashed—if he was already nearing 100 percent, just imagine how he could feel in a few months—he’s a fantasy asset in multiple categories. Last season, he was one of only eight players to average 15 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. The others were all first- and second-round fantasy draft picks.
The Bosnian might give you nothing in threes, but a lot of centers are like that. And most of those non-shooting bigs won’t give you a 77.3 free-throw percentage like Nurkic did last season. If you can add him now, you’ll be starting him whenever play resumes.