If you're reading this, congratulations! With only three weeks left in the Fantasy season, clicking this article probably means you're in serious contention for a championship. Let's do what we can to get you past the finish line.
At this point in the season, the competition is picking up, and every edge becomes even more critical. If you've been skipping over the "schedule notes" section at the bottom in the past, I recommend giving it some attention now – a few extra starts could be the difference between victory and defeat.
There are a lot of great pickups this week, but many of them should come with a note of caution: beware the Endowment Effect. One of the most sinister forces in Fantasy sports, the Endowment Effect frequently tricks managers into holding onto players longer than they should. Many of this week's top adds are running unsustainably hot right now. We shouldn't ignore those hot streaks, we need to lean in and let them benefit us. We just also have to remain diligent and remember – these players will cool off, and we can't afford to hang on too long once that drop-off starts.
As usual, the players in this article must be rostered in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues. Players are listed in the order that I recommend adding them, assuming they are equally good fits for your team.
One of my 2020-21 favorites (and 2021 draft misses) is roaring back with a vengeance. Since the trade deadline, he's skyrocketed into the top-45 in 9-cat and top-65 in 8-cat. He's started the last 15 games and put up 14-6-4 with great steals and shooting splits. He's a must-add must-start in all settings. If Ben Simmons (back) starts playing, that could depress some of Brown's value, but we can cross that bridge if and when we get to it.
The tanktastic Blazers are going to show up a couple of times this week, as tanking leads to new faces getting opportunities, and some of those newbies are playing quite well. Eubanks has stepped in as Portland's lone approximation of a true center – even though he is just 6-foot-9, though he's nearly 250 pounds. After taking a game to get acclimated to his new team, Eubanks has exceeded expectations, averaging 11-9-2 with excellent shooting splits. He's gotten even better recently, putting up 15-10-3 over his last three games. The blocks haven't started coming yet, but he averages a healthy 1.9 per-36 for his career, so expect some positive regression soon. He's a classic plug-and-play waiver wire big man, except even a little better since he can actually make his free throws.
Anfernee Simons (quad) should be out another week, and that's before accounting for the we don't want to win games so let's extend this absence a little longer factor. Williams, a rookie on a two-way deal, has been shockingly good since entering the starting lineup. He's offered night-to-night consistency and production in raw stats, though his shooting percentages are atrocious. Through five starts, he's averaging 16-5-3, on top of an impressive 1.4 3s, 1.2 steals, and 1.0 blocks – but also shooting just 36-26-57. For some roster constructions, Williams should easily be the top priority pickup this week. But he's probably got a limited shelf life. I'm not sure how well he'll maintain his currently-awesome counting stats, and the shooting numbers can be a painful drain. Everyone should take a look and many should add him, but he's not right for everyone.
I'd cooled on Huerter for a while, but he's on a hot streak right now and once again deserves our attention. He's scored at least 14 points in five straight games, averaging 3.6 3s while shooting 42.9% from behind the arc. As long as he can keep this hot streak up, he's a souped-up version of the classic 3s-and-points specialist – because Huerter also provides strong rebounds and decent steals.
Speaking of hot streaks. The Nuggets' rookie backup PG is shooting 52% from the field and 52% from 3 over the past four games. There is no possible way he maintains that scorching pace, but he's a solid source of assists who can also contribute in points, 3s, and rebounds. Ride him while he's hot – just don't get so attached that you hold on too long.
If you missed out on Eubanks and need a traditional Fantasy big man, Smith is your guy. He's a little less consistent than Eubanks, with fewer assists and without the free throw competency, which makes Eubanks an easy choice if both are available. But Smith is averaging close to a double-double since joining the Pacers, and he has the added benefit of just over one three per game. Isaiah Jackson (concussion) – who would also be featured in this column if he were healthy – is set to miss at least the next game, but Smith's production hasn't really been impacted by Jackson's previous missed games.
Before he lost two-plus months to injury, I was leading the charge for Caruso is rosterable even when the Bulls are fully healthy. A lot has happened since then, including the emergence of Ayo Dosunmu as a reliable contributor and minutes-eater, but I think the core premise still holds. And the Bulls aren't fully healthy – Lonzo Ball (knee) remains without a timeline for return. Caruso's first three games back have been uninspiring, but he's getting 27.0 minutes per night, which is promising. At this critical juncture of the season, he's only an option in deeper leagues right now, but standard league managers should watch closely and be ready to pounce. His shot volume is so low that his poor FG% shouldn't hurt, and he can provide excellent steals and solid assists and blocks.
Blocks are always scarce, and Lopez is historically a reliable producer in that category. He's been limited to 15 minutes in each of his first two games since his opening night injury, and so far he's block-less. Unless you're in a particularly deep league, managers should probably hold off until we hear that his minutes restriction has been lifted. Once we get that green light, he might be the best available option for managers struggling in blocks.
Other recommendations: Isaiah Jackson, Pacers (55% rostered); Moe Wagner (12% rostered); Alec Burks, Knicks (63% rostered); Markelle Fultz, Magic (41% rostered); Dwight Powell, Mavericks (8% rostered)
Week 23 is pretty standard from a total games perspective. There are 15 teams with four-game weeks, 12 with three-game weeks, and three – the Clippers, Kings, and Spurs – who play just twice.
For the daily schedule, both Tuesday and Thursday are relatively light slates, with just four and five games, respectively. Wednesday, on the other hand, is extra busy, with 11 games. Monday is also on the high side (nine games), but that's low enough that it shouldn't create a problem for most managers (and, because it's the first day of the week, the few who are impacted will notice and adapt easily).
All managers in daily lineups leagues should start by checking their Wednesday lineups – are they full? Is there room for a waiver pickup? If you have room, then you don't need to spend much time planning for Wednesday. If your Wednesday starting lineup is already full, then you should prioritize players who don't play that day – guys on the Bulls, Cavaliers, Nuggets, Clippers, Bucks, Pelicans, Raptors or Wizards. Among that group, the Bulls, Pelicans and Wizards have four-game weeks, further enhancing their appeal. If your lineup is already full, then players with Wednesday games have functionally one fewer Week 23 game, at least as far as you are concerned.
For managers with strict acquisition limits, only one team starts the week with three games in four day (Bulls), and only the Wizards end with a 3-in-4. That said, especially as most leagues are now in the win-or-go-home playoffs, a better strategy might be to focus on teams with a Wednesday-Saturday 3-in-4 and save one acquisition for Sunday, with which you can target needed categories more specifically. Several teams have that Wednesday-Saturday 3-in-4: Rockets, Grizzlies, Heat, and Pacers.