Every week, we’ll look at players you should consider picking up who are rostered in four different rostership tiers.
BOS, CHI, CLE, DAL, HOU, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIN, NYK, OKC, PHX, SAC, SAS, UTA
ATL, BKN, CHA, DEN, GSW, IND, MEM, MIL, ORL, POR, TOR, WAS
DET, NOP, PHI
Rostered in 50-60% of leagues
Patty Mills (PG/SG – BKN) 59%
Mills showed out on Christmas Day to the tune of 34 points, two rebounds, seven assists, and eight (!) 3-pointers made. This season, the savvy 13-year veteran has been a key player for the Nets as Kyrie Irving continues to be Kyrie Irving. He’s been a top 40 player over the last two weeks, and while that’ll go down once the Nets get fully healthy, he’s worth starting now and rostering moving forward.
Pat Connaughton (SG/SF – MIL) 53%
The 50-60% rostership range is pretty meh right now. So instead of writing about Alperen Sengun yet again, I figured I’d mix it up by adding Connaughton. Frankly, he’s also been meh lately, scoring just 33 points in his last five games after a string of high-scoring affairs. With the Bucks back at full strength, Connaughton should return to his role as a fourth scoring option for Milwaukee, making him rosterable as a backend guy.
Rostered in 30-49% of leagues:
Max Strus (SG/SF – MIA) 44%
Miami always has someone, don’t they? They don’t get enough credit for churning players out at their rate.
The latest has been Strus, who has been good all season in real life but has stepped up for fantasy managers over the last couple of weeks.
Strus has played 34-plus minutes in four straight games – including 41 in the Heat’s most recent game – and he’s averaged 25 points and 5.25 threes per game in those contests.
Strus should be rostered and streamed for the short term, but his production has mainly come with Jimmy Butler out of the lineup. Hopefully, Strus has done enough to earn 20 minutes per night once the Heat are healthy.
Terance Mann (SG/SF – LAC) 33%
The news out of Los Angeles on Christmas wasn’t merry, as Paul George will miss at least the next 3-4 weeks with a torn ligament in his right elbow. The reports weren’t promising, as there were questions over George returning at all this season. Just brutal news. With the news, Luke Kennard gets a bump, but Mann is the big winner here if we want to call it that. He’s the pickup of the week.
Rostered in 15-29% of leagues:
Naz Reid (C – MIN) 21%
We all love Reid. He’s a fantasy darling, but knowing that he’s getting major run due to Karl-Anthony Towns being put in the league’s health and safety protocols is not how we wanted it to happen. He posted a double-double with 17 points and ten boards in his first start. He’s a top 80 player for as long as he’s in the starting lineup.
Gary Payton II (PG/SG – GSW) 15%
Earlier this year, Steve Kerr said that he wanted to keep Payton in the rotation due to his defense and earning his spot. Well, his early-season play has, indeed, kept him in the rotation, but we are seeing some scoring from him now. He’s scored in double-digits in four straight games, including a 22-point effort against the Grizzlies on Thursday. It’s worth noting that Andrew Wiggins, Damion Lee, and Jordan Poole are all out for the Warriors and that Klay Thompson is on his way back, but it looks like Payton has done enough to secure rotational minutes even with the team as full strength.
Rostered in 0-14% of leagues:
Frank Jackson (PG/SG – DET) 7%
The Pistons are a mess and desperately need bodies and scoring. Jackson had a similar run last year for the Pistons toward the end of the season, where he was useful, and we reached that point already due to the health and safety protocols. Jackson dropped 19 points in his first start and has scored in double-digits in five of his last six games. Outside of scoring, he won’t do much for you.
Jonathan Kuminga (SF/PF – GSW) 3%
We can afford to stash people right now. There are no injuries at all happening around the league. Everything is fine. If somehow you do have open roster spots, Kuminga is a great lottery ticket to take a flier on. He impressed on Christmas Day and was a mismatch on JaVale McGee. You can’t expect major contributions right away, but the talent is huge here for a mid-to-late-season breakout. He’s worth waiting on in 15-team leagues for now.