The Playlist: Week 18 fantasy basketball waiver pickups and lineup advice


Victor Wembanyama #1 of the San Antonio Spurs
Victor Wembanyama was an absolute fantasy force in Week 17. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Welcome to The Playlist: my weekly column that lets you know who and what to play — when it comes to music or other things in my rotation — for the upcoming week in fantasy basketball.

Each week, you’ll see a compilation of the pickups you need to make, lineup notes (who’s in and out of rotations), followed by key takeaways on the schedule.

So press play and shuffle through the latest fantasy basketball info.

🏀 Week 17 wrap up:

🏆 Top performers

Victor Wembanyama was the best fantasy player in Week 17. The rookie phenom amassed 334.2 fantasy points across the two-week scoring period in points leagues while also claiming the top spot in nine-category formats.

His first week atop the fantasy ranks might’ve accelerated his pace into the top-five all-time fantasy seasons for a rookie.

🗣️The fantasy basketball trade deadline is approaching

The fantasy basketball trade deadline is March 7 for standard leagues. It’s time to make moves!

🗓️ Schedule things you need to know

  • The best streaming days are Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

  • 12 teams play four games this week and 18 teams play three games.

  • The Grizzlies are the only team to play on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

  • The Kings, Pacers and Raptors play on Monday and Wednesday, making them good teams to stream at the beginning of the week.

🎧 WHO’S IN MY ROTATION: players to pick up on waivers who are less than 50% rostered in Yahoo leagues.

NOTE: There are no tracks this week because I’m running through Schoolboy Q’s catalog in anticipation of his latest album, BLUE LIPS, dropping this Friday.

Top shallow league streams for Week 18

Keyonte George – PG/SG – Utah Jazz (46%)

Now that George has been named the starter for the foreseeable future, his stock is rising to league-winning proportions. I know he’s been inefficient this season but he’s turning the corner as he gets more consistent minutes. In February, he averaged 16 points with three rebounds, five assists, two threes and a steal with 47/42/74 shooting splits in 30 minutes per night. He should be well over 50% rostered at this point.

Marvin Bagley III – PF/C, Washington Wizards (50%)

Since joining the Wizards, Bagley’s had a double-double in 7 of 13 appearances and at least one stock in 9 of 13 games. He’s averaging close to 14 points with nine rebounds in only 23 minutes of play, so it’s clear he can produce in limited minutes. Of course, fantasy managers would like a boost there, but he should be rostered in all leagues, considering the Wizard’s lack of depth in the frontcourt.

Tre Mann – PG/SG, Charlotte Hornets (47%)

LaMelo Ball has yet to return, which means it’s time to Mann up. Since joining the Hornets at the deadline, Mann’s filling up the stat sheet, posting a solid 13/6/5 line with over a steal per game and two threes per contest. He’s a must-add in all formats, with four games on tap in Week 18.

Jeremy Sochan – PG/PF, San Antonio Spurs (45%)

The Spurs are using Sochan more in the dunker’s spot (think Aaron Gordon), and it’s helped him become a more consistent scorer and rebounder. He still gets the assists too, but it’s great to see he’s been on the receiving end of most of Victor Wembanyama’s assists this year — especially as he continues to see more minutes on the back half of the season.

Sochan has been a top 80 player in points formats over the past two weeks. He’s also on the cusp of being a top 100 player in nine-category leagues over that span. He’s worth adding.

De’Andre Hunter – SF/PF, Atlanta Hawks (40%)

With news of Trae Young missing at least four weeks, Hunter is the most attainable option for fantasy managers to pick up. Hunter won’t do much outside of scoring, which makes him more attractive for points leagues. Still, his efficiency from the field and free-throw line makes him appealing to nine-category leagues as well.

Additional shallow league streaming options in Week 18

Deep-league streams for Week 18

Grant Williams – PF/C, Charlotte Hornets (36%)

For as much hate as Williams has been getting, he’s been an asset in real life and fantasy. The Hornets won five of their last six games, and fantasy managers have enjoyed Williams being a top 70 player in nine-category formats over the past two weeks. He also gained center eligibility, so if you’re looking for an efficient big who can shoot threes, Williams is a good choice with the Hornets playing four games this week.

Andrew Nembhard – PG/SG, Indiana Pacers (18%)

Nembhard’s role in the Pacers offense is set, as he’s started the previous nine games for Indiana. After the Buddy Hield trade, I was initially in on Bennedict Mathurin, but it’s actually Nembhard who’s been the preferred option. Nembhard won’t light up the scoreboard but he’s a decent option in Week 18 if you’re looking for an efficient player who can get assists and steals. The Pacers also have a four-game week.

Cam Whitmore – SF/PF, Houston Rockets (16%)

The Rockets lost seven of their last 10 games and are falling out of contention in the Play-In Tournament. With Houston 12th in the Western Conference and Tari Eason not close to returning, Whitmore’s outlook looks promising for the rest of the year. He’s still only helping fantasy managers in mostly scoring, threes and FG percentage, but his minutes are climbing month over month, as well as his production.

Gary Trent Jr. – PG/SG, Toronto Raptors (34%)

Trent Jr. is a player you’ll want to stream early in the week since the Raptors play on two lighter slates on Monday and Wednesday. He’s good for points, threes and steals and has played at least 30 minutes in the last three games.

Simone Fontecchio – SF/PF, Detroit Pistons (23%)

The former Jazz forward has been a consistent scoring threat on the perimeter since joining the Pistons, averaging 15 points and two threes per night. He’s also started in the last four games and with four games on deck in Week 18, he makes for a decent streaming option if you need points and threes.

Additional deep-league streaming options in Week 18:

Watchlist for Week 18:

Rotation news

Hawks G Trae Young (finger) will have surgery and will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

The play: Young’s season is in jeopardy, while the rest of the starting cast should benefit (mainly Dejounte Murray), considering how much of the Hawks offense flowed through Trae. As previously stated, De’Andre Hunter is likely the most available player who can produce in Young’s absence.

Suns G Bradley Beal (hamstring) day-to-day

The play: Eric Gordon is also day-to-day, leaving the door open for Royce O’Neale to continue getting a boost in minutes heading into Week 18. He’s a stat stuffer, so if either Beal or Gordon misses time, he’s a player worth streaming — also, Bol Bol.

Sixers are “hopeful” C Joel Embiid can return before the playoffs begin

The play: Sixers HC Nick Nurse notes that Embiid is still a couple of weeks away from an evaluation so I’m still under the impression that he will not help fantasy managers for the rest of the season. If that’s the case, Paul Reed has top-70 upside.

Pelicans G CJ McCollum (ankle) day-to-day

The play: Jose Alvarado is suspended for three games, which leaves Zion Williamson as the starting point guard until McCollum is ready to return. Lets go!

Warriors G Chris Paul expected to return during upcoming four-game road trip

The play: Paul will come off the bench and likely play in the neighborhood of 25 minutes which should be enough to keep him rostered in all leagues. He may be a shell of his former self but he’s still capable of providing plenty of assists, steals and efficiency for fantasy.

Heat G Terry Rozier (knee) upgraded to questionable on Monday

The play: He appears to have beaten his initial timeline and was seen on Friday moving well in pre-game warmups, so a return this week looks promising. Don’t take him out of IL yet, but this is great news if you have him rostered.


Schedule breakdown

Daily Games Played:

  • Monday: 4

  • Tuesday:11

  • Wednesday: 6

  • Thursday: 8

  • Friday: 9

  • Saturday: 5

  • Sunday: 8

12 teams play four games: Cavaliers, Grizzlies, Heat, Hornets, Mavericks, Knicks, Nets, Pacers, Pistons, Raptors, Timberwolves and Warriors

[Join or create a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league for the 2024 MLB season]

18 teams play three games: 76ers, Bucks, Bulls, Celtics, Clippers, Hawks, Jazz, Kings, Lakers, Magic, Nuggets, Pelicans, Rockets, Spurs, Suns, Thunder, Trail Blazers and Wizards

Teams with back-to-backs:

  • Monday/Tuesday: Heat, Knicks, Nets and Pistons

  • Tuesday/Wednesday: Bulls, Cavaliers, Mavericks, Pelicans and Timberwolves

  • Wednesday/Thursday: Lakers and Nuggets

  • Thursday/Friday: Bucks, Hornets, Warriors and Wizards

  • Friday/Saturday: Grizzlies and Trail Blazers

  • Saturday-Sunday: Suns



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