One Fantasy League Winner from Every NBA Team
The NBA trade deadline is just a week away, and while we’re sure to see plenty of meaningful movement in the real world and in fantasy, it never hurts to be ahead of the curve. That’s why I’ll be taking a stab at naming one fantasy league winner from every NBA team. This isn’t a recommendation to run to the waiver wire and add these guys immediately. Instead, it’s a look at guys who have a fantasy-friendly skillset, an elite track record or both who might be an injury or two away from tipping the scales in your favor.
Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu
Okongwu is already beginning to eat into Clint Capela’s role. Over their last five games:
Okongwu: 10.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.0 block across 19.4 minutes
Capela: 8.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 block across 23.4 minutes
Boston Celtics: Payton Pritchard
One of the best players at the 2021 Summer League, Pritchard scored 92 points in a Pro-Am game in Portland last year as well. He hasn’t come remotely close to that lofty total in the NBA, but he’s still an electric scorer when he gets the hot hand.
Brooklyn Nets: Nicolas Claxton
Claxton has posted 13.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while shooting 68.3 FG% in seven games with at least 25 minutes. More consistent playing time could make him highly valuable down the stretch.
Charlotte Hornets: James Bouknight
The UConn product came into the NBA as one of the most elite scoring prospects in the draft, but he’s been buried on a talented Hornets depth chart. In five games with at least 20 minutes, however, he’s showcased his offense with 15.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.2 triples while shooting 45/46/93 splits.
Chicago Bulls: Ayo Dosunmu
Dosunmu is capable of posting all-around stat lines that fantasy managers dream about. He’s averaged 12.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.4 triples and 1.3 steals since joining the starting five in mid-January. He’s still under-rostered on Yahoo and may be available on your waiver wire.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Cedi Osman
It’s slim pickings for Cleveland outside of the usual studs, so we’ll throw it back to Cedi Osman. Osman dished a career-high 12 dimes Monday in the starting five, and he can be a reliable source of scoring, threes and dimes if given the opportunity. Isaac Okoro was in consideration here, but he’s a better real-world player than fantasy player.
Dallas Mavericks: Maxi Kleber, Reggie Bullock
Kleber has come on recently, and his per-36 minutes are solid as a three-point and blocks specialist. Bullock has averaged 17.8 points, 5.3 rebs, 1.8 steals and 4.5 triples while shooting 55% over his last four games.
Denver Nuggets: Bones Hyland
Another Summer League standout, Hyland has averaged 14.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.0 triples in 13 games with at least 21 minutes this season. If he can secure a meaningful rotational role down the stretch, his fantasy value could soar.
Detroit Pistons: Frank Jackson
Jackson has averaged 20 points and 4.2 threes in six games with at least 30 minutes this season. If either of KIllian Hayes or Cade Cunningham are forced to miss time, F-Jax could provide strong value.
Golden State Warriors: Moses Moody
I prefer Moody over Jonathan Kuminga as the Warriors’ best bet to provide league-winning value because Kuminga’s role has been on the decline lately, while Moody’s is rising. Moody started for Golden State on Monday and Tuesday and totaled 31 points, nine rebounds, two assists and nine triples.
Houston Rockets: Alperen Sengun, KJ Martin
Sengun has provided some monster games this season, despite inconsistent playing time. His per-36 minutes are juicy: 17.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.3 stocks. If Houston decides to shut down Christian Wood or Daniel Theis after the All-Star Break, Sengun would likely be the biggest winner. KJ Martin is further off the radar and makes an interesting case for Houston’s league-winner due to his excellent play to close out last season.
Indiana Pacers: Isaiah Jackson, Terry Taylor
The cat’s out of the bag with I-Jax, who went 26/10 with two blocks Monday in his first-ever start. Indiana is likely to make some meaningful moves ahead of the trade deadline, and Jackson will likely be one of the biggest beneficiaries. He turned his ankle Wednesday in his second straight start, so fantasy managers will need to keep an eye on his status moving forward. In Jackson’s absence, Indiana ran Terry Taylor at center, and TT finished with 24 points and 16 boards.
Los Angeles Clippers: Amir Coffey
Coffey has been a top-90 fantasy player over the last month after averaging 13.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.3 triples and 1.1 stocks in January while shooting 50/42/90 splits. His production looks sustainable for the rest of the season.
Los Angeles Lakers: Malik Monk
He’s already rostered in 56% of Yahoo leagues, but that number should be higher. Monk is a top-120 player on the season but a top-60 player over the last month. With news that LeBron James could miss more time moving forward, Monk has league-winning upside. After four years of running hot and cold with inconsistent minutes in Charlotte, Monk has a secure role in Los Angeles and is shooting at the most efficient clip of his career.
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Memphis Grizzlies: John Konchar, Brandon Clarke
In nine games with at least 25 minutes, 15.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks while shooting better than 70% from the floor. Clarke has flashed his tremendous upside in spurts throughout his brief career, but unfortunately, the playing time just hasn’t been there.
Miami Heat: Gabe Vincent, Omer Yurtseven
Vincent has a reliable floor of top-100 production, but Yurt is the guy who could win your league. He double-doubled in eight of his 10 starts and pulled down double-digit boards in every game while averaging 13.6 points, 13.9 boards, 3.0 dimes and 1.0 steal.
Milwaukee Bucks: Jordan Nwora
Currently in the G League, Nwora flashed over the summer for Team Nigeria, and he’s been big for Milwaukee this season when called upon. In nine starts, he averaged 14.6 points, 6.8 boards, 1.2 steals and 2.7 triples across 33 minutes per game. All he needs is another injury or two up the depth chart to get back on the fantasy map.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Jaylen Nowell
Father Christmas has stuck behind Patrick Beverley and D’Angelo Russell all season, but when given extended playing time, he’s produced. Nowell’s per-36 minutes are the best of his career: 19.6 points, 5.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 triples and 1.3 steals.
New Orleans Pelicans: Jose Alvarado, Jaxson Hayes
Alvo has come on strong recently, averaging 8.6 points, 3.1 assists, 2.0 rebounds, 1.9 steals, 1.0 threes and just 0.1 turnovers over his last seven games while playing 19.6 minutes per contest. Hayes is averaging 18 points, nine rebounds and 1.5 blocks per-36 minutes and has started the Pelicans’ last two games alongside Jonas Valanciunas in a jumbo lineup.
New York Knicks: Obi Toppin
Toppin hasn’t gotten a ton of run for New York this season (15.8 MPG), but his per-36 averages are encouraging at 17.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. Neither of Nerlens Noel nor Mitchell Robinson has proven to be durable over their careers, and New York looks like a lottery-bound team anyway. There’s a chance Toppin gets some extra run to close out the season, making him an intriguing option.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Tre Mann
I was originally going to roll with Aleksej Pokusevski here, but then Mann went off for 29 points and six triples Wednesday. In that one, he logged a game-high 41 minutes while setting new career-highs in scoring and made threes. He’s an established part of the rotation (18.2 MPG) and has started each of the Thunder’s last three games. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander out until at least the All-Star Break, Mann has a chance to step up in a big way.
Orlando Magic: R.J. Hampton
Hampton closed out his rookie season by averaging 15.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists across the final nine games of the campaign. He’s got stat-stuffing upside that could be unleashed for a Magic team that’s going nowhere fast.
Philadelphia 76ers: Paul Reed
It’ll be a long shot for him to get more minutes, but B-Ball Paul has all of the tools to be a productive fantasy contributor. The 2021 G-League MVP averaged 22.3 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.7 stocks with the Delaware Blue Coats last season.
Phoenix Suns: Bismack Biyombo
Biyombo has seen at least 20 minutes in eight games with Phoenix. In that span, he’s double-doubled five times and averaged 14.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.0 stocks.
Portland Trail Blazers: Dennis Smith Jr.
DSJ has started four games this season and averaged 15.8 points, 6.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in the process. If he’s elevated to the starting lineup due to injury or the team being out of playoff contention, he could make some major noise for fantasy managers.
Sacramento Kings: Davion Mitchell
Mitchell has averaged 16.5 points, 5.5 assists, 2.5 triples and 2.0 rebounds in starts this season. The real-world defense from “Off Night” has been much better than the fantasy contributions in that department, but this is a guy who can provide tremendous value if he sticks in the starting five. He might have a chance to do so if Sacramento trades De’Aaron Fox in the next week.
San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell
Rostered in just 33% of Yahoo leagues, Vassell has plenty of upside should he get additional minutes to end the season. He’s logging 25.4 minutes per night in a productive sophomore campaign, but in games with over 30 minutes, he’s averaged 16.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.0 triples and 1.6 stocks while shooting efficiently.
Toronto Raptors: Malachi Flynn
In 14 games with at least 30 minutes last season, Flynn provided 16.1 points, 5.9 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals. It’ll take a lot of injuries ahead of him on the depth chart, but if given the opportunity, Flynn can ball.
Utah Jazz: Jared Butler
Butler has only played 15 or more minutes in three games this season, but in those contests, he’s averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 assists, 2.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 2.3 triples. With Joe Ingles done for the season, Butler could see some extended run to close out the season.
Washington Wizards: Daniel Gafford
Gafford played most of the season as Washington’s starter, but in two games prior to Wednesday, he played six minutes and got a DNP-CD. Thomas Bryant injured his ankle Tuesday which could open up some additional minutes for Gafford. The talent has always been there, but the opportunity and consistency have not. Gafford started Wednesday against the Sixers and went 9/7/2 with a block while committing four fouls.
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