The fantasy basketball playoffs start next week — Week 22 — in most leagues.
So which players on the waiver wire should playoff-bound fantasy managers target or avoid based on their Week 22 schedule?
Here are André Snellings, Eric Karabell, Jim McCormick, Eric Moody and Steve Alexander to explain.
Take advantage of the Pelicans’ soft schedule
The New Orleans Pelicans are not one of the teams playing four games, but two of the three games they do get to play are in Houston against the terrible Rockets, a team that does not give defense much of any thought. Still without Zion Williamson, the Pelicans give big minutes and opportunity to SF/PF Herbert Jones and SG/SF Trey Murphy III, and each has responded with better play lately. Jones had 48 fantasy points on Monday. Murphy had 49. Keep these fellows around when you win your playoff week, for their Week 23 starts with the Spurs! — Karabell
Avoid Charlotte, New York and Utah
The Hornets, Knicks and Jazz only have two games in the upcoming week in fantasy hoops. And if the number of games played matter in your league, dropping some players from those teams is almost a must. Especially when 15 teams (half the league) play four times. Charlotte and New York only have one four-game week left on the schedule, but the Jazz finish up 4-4-4 after the two-game week, making Utah players a little easier to keep around if you’re torn about who to drop. Teams who finish 4-4-4 after next week: Bulls, Grizzlies, Sixers, Kings, Jazz. — Alexander
Look to Jones, Smith and Wright
Tyus Jones is a player fantasy managers should target now that Morant is out indefinitely. In the 10 games Morant has missed, Jones has averaged 19.4 points and 8.1 assists. Dennis Smith Jr. is another to target especially with LaMelo Ball ruled out for the season. He’s great for assists and steals. Delon Wright also benefits from Monte Morris‘ absence. In the last five games, he has averaged 11.6 points and 5.4 assists. — Moody
Bagley and McDaniels are two others to add
Two key names emerged for me; Detroit seems pot-committed to getting every chance to get Marvin Bagley III untracked. Gobs of minutes and four games played in Week 22 signals upside. Meanwhile, Jaden McDaniels is still doing his two-way thing for Minnesota amid a busy four-game slate. With Minnesota in the thick of the Western Conference race, McDaniels is likely to play heavy minutes while providing a rare blend of two-way results. — McCormick
Olynyk’s upside won’t appear until Week 23
Kelly Olynyk (available in 69.7% of leagues) has been a strong streaming option since moving into the starting lineup for the Jazz, averaging 14.0 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 3.2 APG and 1.3 3PG in his last 12 outings. He currently resides in the starting power forward slot, with Lauri Markkanen at small forward and Walker Kessler at center. But, the Jazz only have two games in Week 22, at the Miami Heat and home against the Boston Celtics. Both teams have been tough on opposing power forward this season, with the Heat allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points and the Celtics the fewest fantasy points to the position. Only two games, both against tough defenses, brings Olynyk’s streamer value down for Week 22. — Snellings