The Playlist: Here’s fantasy basketball waivers for Week 21 and lineup advice with playoffs

By | March 19, 2024

Welcome to The Playlist: my weekly column that tells you who and what to play — when it comes to music or other things in my rotation — for the week ahead 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 the rotations), followed by the key points on the schedule.

So press play and browse the latest information for the fantasy basketball playoffs!

The playlist for the quarter-finals of the play-offs.The playlist for the quarter-finals of the play-offs.

The playlist for the quarter-finals of the play-offs.

🏀Week 20 closing:

🏆 Top performers

Nikola Jokić led the way, scoring 224.8 fantasy points in Week 20. Jokic was also the top player in nine categories and finished the week with a dominant and efficient statistical line.

🗓️Plan things you need to know

  • Power away! It’s a fairly even distribution of games throughout the week

  • Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday have the lightest slates

  • The Pelicans play on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday

  • The Mavericks and Hornets will each play two games

  • Drop the Hornets fringe players after Tuesday as they won’t play again until Saturday. You can keep fringe Mavericks players because they play on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but feel free to drop them afterward since they won’t help you this weekend.

🎧 WHO IS IN MY ROTATION: players can receive waivers who are less than 50% included in the Yahoo leagues.

Shallow league streamers for week 21:

Duncan Robinson — SG/SF, Miami Heat (53%)

Robinson, who rose above 50% overnight, has played the most games of any Heat player this season (61) and will continue to experience a lot of burnout for at least another week to two now that Herro is out is. He was a top-90 player in nine categories for much of the season and is showing more than just his shooting ability. He’s an asset for points and threes, but is quietly averaging a career-high three assists per game this season. Add him if he’s available because he has value for the rest of the fantasy playoffs.

“Shooter” — Lil Wayne featuring Robin Thicke

Caris LeVert — SG/SF, Cleveland Cavaliers (53%)

LeVert, who also topped 50% overnight, has been inconsistently out of the field lately but should still be included in all competitions. He can easily fill the box score, as evidenced by his averages of nearly eight assists, four assists and 2.5 steals in his last seven games. The Cavs will be without Donovan Mitchell on Monday in their first of four games in Week 21, so LeVert should give fantasy managers a good start to the week. Invest the FAB money because he will be worth it.

“For the love of money / living for the city” – Troop, Levert and Queen Latifah

Simone Fontecchio — SF, Detroit Pistons (49%)

Since coming over from Utah at the deadline, Fontecchio has been a reliable scorer in fantasy, putting up 15.6 points and 2.7 3s per game. It doesn’t matter if he starts or comes off the bench, as he provided a spark offensively, with an efficient 48/44/84 shooting split in 15 games with the Pistons. He has been ranked 61st in nine categories for the past 30 days, 45th for the past two weeks and should be on the list in most competitions, with his role otherwise set.

“Don’t worry about the technique” – Eric B & Rakim

Aaron Nesmith – SF/PF, Indiana Pacers – (45%)

Nesmith is averaging 13 points, four rebounds and two assists in his last four games without Bennedict Mathurin in the lineup. His minutes are safe, and while he only shot 38% from the field during that span, he was a 50% shooter all year, so that will likely improve. He’s also one of the most accurate from three-point range, so trust the process; Nesmith should be added in all formats.

Deep League streamers for week 21

TJ McConnell – PG, Indiana Pacers (22%)

McConnell is one of those guys you’ll take on at some point during the fantasy playoffs. He has been a top-85 player over the past two weeks and remains an underrated asset in the stat-counting game. The Pacers have some favorable fantasy matchups this week, so I’d pick up TJM.

GG Jackson — SF/PF, Memphis Grizzlies (34%)

The Grizzlies’ rotation is wildly inconsistent, but Jackson is emerging as a player with staying power. The rookie is currently getting plenty of playing time and over his last four games he is averaging 23.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 3s in 34.2 minutes per night. He has also blocked at least one shot in three of his last four appearances. I’d keep streaming it while it’s hot, and its usage rate is 27% over that period.

“G-d Up” – Tha Eastsidaz and Butch Cassidy

Dalano Banton — PG/SG, Portland Trailblazers (37%)

Banton will go to the ball as long as Jerami Grant wears street clothes. In the last six games without Grant in the lineup, Banton has averaged 21.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.7 dimes, 3.0 3s and 1.3 shares in 36.1 minutes per game. His usage rate in that time is also 27.1%, so he’s playing a significant role in Portland’s offense as of late. He was 72nd in the points competitions and 139th in the nine categories over the past 14 days. The inefficiency of the field brings his value down, but I would see him as a streamer with potential to stick around the longer Grant is out.

“Portland” — Drake feat. Quavo and Travis Scott

Caleb Martin — SG/SF, Miami Heat (28%)

Martin has moved closer to top 100 status over the past two weeks, and the longer Tyler Herro is out, the more Martin and Duncan Robinson will be decent streaming options. The Heat have some tough opponents this week, and after going 1-4 in their last five games, they’ll need Martin’s defense and perimeter shooting. He’s shooting 52% from 3-point range in March, so slot him into deeper nine-category leagues if you’re looking for a 3-point threat who can pepper some stocks with solid shooting percentages.

“Twinz” – Big pun and fat Joe

Payton Pritchard — PG/SG, Boston Celtics (9%)

Pritchard is in a good spot for streaming this week, with the Celtics playing three of their four games against the Pistons (twice) and Bulls. Boston plays the Pistons and Bulls on a back-to-back Friday/Saturday set, which opens the door for Boston’s role players. The Celtics beat the Bulls by an average of 22 points in two games this year, and while they were competitive against the Pistons, Pritchard averaged 22 minutes in those games. Across those games, he averaged 10 points with four rebounds, two assists, two 3s and 0.7 steals. I’d also add Sam Hauser (if his ankle is fine), but I expect Pritchard to get more minutes against these inferior opponents.

Matisse Thybulle — SG/SF, Portland Trailblazers (19%)

Thybulle missed Saturday’s game with ankle soreness, but it appears to be an everyday injury. You won’t find anyone better on defense than him, as he is averaging an absurd 3.5 shares per game over his last 10 games. Thybulle is also knocking down 48% of his shots and at a nearly 40% clip from 3-point range over that span, so there’s not much he won’t do for you in category competitions – he’s 66th over the last 30 days.

Other streaming options in week 21:

Watchlist, possible collections in week 21:

🚑 Injury news:

Lakers F/C Anthony Davis (eye) is questionable heading into Monday’s game

The piece: If AD misses out, I expect Rui Hachimura to see the biggest opportunity boost outside of the usual starters. Jaxson Hayes could start in place of AD, but he isn’t a viable option.

Cavaliers G Donovan Mitchell (nasal fracture) is out on Monday

The piece: Caris LeVert and Isaac Okoro are the two players who will be streaming while Mitchell is out of the lineup. Georges Niang is also an option.

Heat G Tyler Herro (foot) received a PRP injection and will be evaluated in 1-2 weeks

The piece: Duncan Robinson and Jaime Jaquez Jr. are the most notable players you can encounter based on waivers to fill in for Herro. In case you miss them, Caleb Martin is quite a consolation and can be streamed this week.

Blazers F Jerami Grant (hamstring) is questionable for Monday’s game

The piece: As previously mentioned, Dalano Banton is doing well. Matisse Thybulle has been upgraded to questionable, so if he plays he will be a solid defensive streamer.

Bulls G Coby White (hip) is questionable for Monday

The piece: Hopefully Alex Caruso is good enough to play, but there’s no guarantee of that. I expect Ayo Dosunmu to pick up most of the slack (outside of DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic), and he’s 65% on the roster.

Jazz F Lauri Markkanen (quad) is considered doubtful ahead of Monday’s tilt

The piece: Taylor Hendricks would be demoted if Markkanen returns, but wait until the final injury report is released as Markkanen has missed six consecutive games.

76ers C Joel Embiid (knee) without a timetable for his return

The piece: Paul Reed and Mo Bamba continue to fill in for Embiid, but Reed is favored for fantasy. This update is more about how far Embiid appears to be from returning. He could be cut if your playoffs are underway.

Schedule breakdown:

Games played daily:

  • Monday: 8

  • Tuesday: 5

  • Wednesday: 8

  • Thursday: 7

  • Friday: 8

  • Saturday: 8

  • Sunday: 6

Teams play four games: BOS, CLE, DET, GSW, IND, MIA, MIN, NOR, PHI, POR, SAC, UTA

Teams play three games: ATL, BKN, CHI, DEN, HOU, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIL, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHO, SAS, TOR, WAS

Teams play two games: CHA, DAL

Teams with back-to-backs:

  • Monday/Tuesday: Timberwolves

  • Tuesday/Wednesday: None

  • Wednesday/Thursday: Bucks, Jazz, Kings and Suns

  • Thursday/Friday: Pelicans

  • Friday/Saturday: Celtics, Raptors, Spurs and Trail Blazers

  • Saturday/Sunday: None

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