December 4, 2023, 1:59 pm
Hope everyone out there enjoyed a quiet Sunday in the NBA, as we had precious little to think about as the league gears up for its In-Season Tournament knockout games. There were no games on Sunday and aside from injury news for those IST clashes, fantasy GMs got to put their feet up and relax for once. While you can still make some hay while the sun shines and plan out some streaming scenarios, there won’t be a ton to gain. Everyone is only getting two games that count for fantasy next week, and there will be 11 games on Wednesday and 13 on Friday, so you probably won’t have any lineup spaces to fill on those days — and you won’t even know who’s playing on Thursday until Monday’s and Tuesday’s games finish. It’s a week to take a breath and play the long game, to an extent. You can just add the best players available and go from there.
Trey Murphy, F, New Orleans Pelicans
The top pickup this week is none other than Trey Murphy, who was a solid middle-round value last season as a key player for the Pelicans. He made his season debut this week after offseason surgery to address a slight tear of his left meniscus and his skills are sorely needed on this roster. Fantasy managers may have to put up with some limited minutes in the early going but Murphy’s stat set is built to pump out value. Exactly how much of last season’s value came from long-term absences for Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson is up in the air, but we’re betting that Murphy does enough to warrant a roster spot in all 12-team leagues either way. Guys who shoot that efficiently are good to go as long as they’re getting legitimate usage, which shouldn’t be a problem.
Saddiq Bey, F, Atlanta Hawks
We highlighted Bey last week and he delivered top-60 value in his four games, averaging nearly 33 minutes per contest along the way. And yet, he’s still available in about half of all leagues on Yahoo and in the vast majority of leagues on ESPN. We generally don’t like to repeat players but sometimes it bears repeating.
Bojan Bogdanovic, F, Detroit Pistons
Another player who made his long-awaited debut this week, Bogdanovic is instant offense for the Pistons and while he may not get the unfettered usage he did last season as the last scorer standing on a dreadful team, Detroit is going to need him on the floor. Their league-worst spacing is hindering the development of their youngsters, and Bogdanovic is a necessary component if the Pistons are trying to build a functional offense. He’s a hollow fantasy producer but if you need points and 3-pointers, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Malik Monk, G, Sacramento Kings
Monk had a big week, including a circus game-winner against the Warriors, but that highlight dominates what was otherwise a very productive run of games. The rest of his numbers leave something to be desired, but Monk shot it well from the field and any combination of efficiency and volume scoring is going to help. All in, it’s a late-round package, but if you can put up with that floor and reap the benefits of Monk’s hot streaks, then you’re cruising.
Obi Toppin, F, Indiana Pacers
Toppin is available in over half of all leagues after a sluggish start to his Pacers career. That might be a thing of the past, however, as he popped off last week for 18.7 points per game. He’s an efficient scorer and generally struggles to contribute too much else, but the Pacers have him back in the starting lineup and he’s got great points upside. Last week’s top-55 finish was inflated by an uncharacteristic 2.0 blocks per game, but even without that Toppin is worth your time while he’s playing well.
Jaime Jaquez Jr., F, Miami Heat
Another week, another batch of games with big minutes for Jaquez. Injuries opened the door for him but he’s stepped right through and has made himself an indispensable part of Miami’s rotation. The rookie is knocking down his corner triples and continues to play good, heady defense. It’s a good mix of attributes and he’s been a perfect culture fit in Miami so far. Things might change if the Heat ever get fully healthy for long, but that seems a long way off for now and at the moment Jaquez’s versatility has him as the next man up at a few different spots. He was right around the top-100 last week and needs to be rostered more widely than he is.
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