5. James Wiseman – C (DET)
The former no. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft is finally seeing some run as a starter in the NBA with the lowly Pistons. Now, tanking teams might not be the most fun to watch for a typical basketball fan, but for fantasy basketball enthusiasts they provide the bread and butter for playoff depth. Who could forget the year Kelly Olynk was traded to the Rockets in the aftermath of the James Harden trade a few years back. Olynk evolved from forgettable bench player, to fantasy basketball star in the blink of an eye.
Now that Wiseman is on the Pistons, his numbers have not been incredible, but he has been putting up double-doubles and even finished with 23 points and seven boards against the Hornets a few games ago. With Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart injured, Wiseman is a solid injury fill-in for the time being at a position of value.
4. Mattisse Thybulle – SF, SG (POR)
Sixers fans are probably rolling their eyes at the stellar shooting streak that Thybulle has been on since he joined the Blazers, considering he was not very well known for his offensive abilities in Philadelphia. However, with Thybulle scoring the way that he is, and contributing those juicy steals and blocks that fantasy basketball managers always covet, he is a worthy pickup. His minutes have ballooned in Portland, and Anfernee Simons is struggling to find his way back to the court with a pesky ankle issue, so he could continue to see between 28-30 minutes per game.
3. Tari Eason – SF (HOU)
I’m sure Rockets fans have not been thrilled with the production they have seen from in rookie Jabari Smith Jr., especially considering most pre-draft mocks had them landing rookie sensation Paolo Banchero. However, in the world of fantasy basketball, there is a simpler solution to the Jabari Smith problem. Simply cut him loose, and sign his rookie teammate Tari Eason. Eason has scored in double figures in four of his last five games, on much better efficiency than Jabari Smith typically goes for. Eason might not see the minutes that offer a safe floor for fantasy basketball, but with Smith Jr. still owned in over a third of leagues, I think Eason could be an easy replacement.
2. Jeremy Sochan – PF, PG (SAS)
Who is this Dennis Rodman impersonator I see before my very eyes? On a more positive note for rookie lottery picks, Sochan has been quietly impressive for the San Antonio Spurs lately. The kaleidoscope of colors on his head may distract you, but Sochan is actually becoming a versatile and skilled two-way threat in the NBA. In his last 10 games, Sochan has averaged 15 points, six rebounds, and three assists per game, not too shabby for a person whose head looks like it was used as a kid’s menu at Applebee’s. Sochan recently put up 22 points and 13 boards on the Pacers, and attempted 26 (!!!) shots from the floor. With the lowly Spurs losing Jakob Poeltl and Josh Richardson at the trade deadline, and Devin Vassell still injured, Sochan should continue to see plenty of work in the Spurs’ offense.
1. Delon Wright – SG, PG, PF (WAS)
I love this man. This man is beautiful. This man blessed my fantasy team, right when I needed some juice. Delon Wright is listed as a point guard, shooting guard, and power forward, which means you can plug him in almost anywhere in your lineup. I like to think that injecting Delon Wright into your lineup is the closest thing a fantasy basketball junkie can experience to a heroin rush (seriously, just try it I’m telling you it feels amazing).
You may be asking yourself, “How valuable can a backup point guard on the Washington Wizards possibly be?” Would the answer, “Prime Gary Payton” surprise you? Wright has averaged 2.0 steals per game this year, and his recent bump to the top of the Wizards rotation has only made him more valuable in that department.
On March 2nd, 1962 Wilt Chamberlain posted 100 points in a single game for the Philadelphia Warriors, the most in NBA history. Exactly 61 years (and two days) later, Delon Wright commemorated Wilt’s record with a historic fantasy basketball performance of his own. Wright posted 18 points, seven assists, six rebounds, and SIX steals, in 40 whole minutes of play in an OT loss to the Raptors. He even threw in a block for fun, the absolute lunatic. With Monte Morris considered week-to-week, Wright should continue to prove why he is the golden free agent of the fantasy basketball playoffs. He will bless your team with assists, steals, and that charming smile of his. Currently owned in just 13.1% of ESPN leagues, 86.9% of fantasy basketball players must be severely brain-damaged because this man needs to be rostered in all leagues and formats. Like now. I am dead serious go pick him up right now.