The NBA has seen a long list of players enter the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the last week, resulting in significant absences and some game postponements.
For Fantasy Basketball, that has caused a headache trying to fill holes in your lineup and make up for the production of key players who are usually in your rotation.
However, that also means new players – who are likely available on your waiver wire – have stepped up to fill roles for their NBA teams, and they can do the same for your fantasy team.
Below, you’ll find a group of players to add off of the waiver wire immediately if they are available, followed by a list of players who are worth adding because of a COVID outbreak on their particular team.
Note: All owned percentages and positions are courtesy of ESPN Fantasy Basketball.
Fantasy Basketball: Replacements for players in COVID-19 protocols
Franz Wagner, SF/PF, Orlando Magic
Owned in: 47.3% of leagues
The Magic’s standout rookie was already having himself a strong rookie season before his team’s absences to the COVID-19 protocols. Over the past week, he has taken advantage of a bigger opportunity, averaging 18.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. He should continue to put up solid numbers as Orlando’s go-to scoring option until some players return to the lineup.
Dillon Brooks, SG/SF, Memphis Grizzlies
Owned in: 40.5% of leagues
Even with Ja Morant making his return, Brooks is still worth adding. The 26-year-old is off to a hot start after missing the first 10 games of the season, averaging a career-high 19.7 points to go with 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. The fact that he’s an every-night starter and plays almost 30 minutes per game gives an added boost to his fantasy value.
Brooks can help replace the scoring production of some of your marquee players who are out in protocols.
Monte Morris, PG, Denver Nuggets
Owned in: 26.8% of leagues
With Jamal Murray still out recovering from a torn ACL last season, Morris has slotted into the starting lineup for all 29 of the Nuggets’ games so far this season. He’s been a reliable streaming option all season and now, with the number of players in protocols, he’s worth a roster spot. It also helps that Morris has been even better as of late, averaging 18.0 points and 4.2 assists over his last five games, knocking down 3.2 3-pointers while shooting 54.8 percent from the field over that stretch.
Patty Mills, PG, Brooklyn Nets
Owned in: 22.9% of leagues
The Nets have 10 players in health and safety protocols, leaving Mills as their No. 1 scoring option. In most leagues, you probably had to be quicker than this to get to Mills, but if he is still available, add him immediately because he will continue to light it up until Kevin Durant and James Harden return to action. Over his last three games – since the team’s COVID outbreak began – Mills is averaging 22.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 4.3 3-pointers per game.
Replacements to add by team
These teams all have four or more players currently in the league’s health and safety protocols as of Dec. 20.
Celtics: Enes Freedom (C, 3.5% owned), Payton Pritchard (PG, 0.3% owned)
The Celtics’ frontcourt has been hit the hardest on the team, so Freedom has become the starting center. Pritchard has made the most of his opportunity as the first guard off the bench during this time.
Nets: Cameron Thomas (SG, 1.5% owned), David Duke Jr. (SG, 1.0% owned)
Thomas can score at will, and the Nets will need more of that with Durant and Harden out. Duke has been a reliable source of points, rebounds and defensive counting stats with an increased role.
Bulls: Coby White (PG, 7.6% owned)
The Bulls are starting to get some players back from their COVID outbreak but White is still worth a look, especially if Alex Caruso is forced to miss time with a foot sprain.
Cavaliers: Cedi Osman (SF, 2.9% owned)
The Cavaliers have been hit hard by COVID, and Osman will step into the starting lineup and a lead scoring role until players return.
Lakers: Isaiah Thomas (PG, 7.8% owned)
The Lakers signed Thomas to a 10-day hardship contract and it appears they plan on getting the most out of that deal. Thomas has averaged 16.0 points in 27.0 minutes over his first two games.
Bucks: Jordan Nwora (SF, 1.1% owned)
With Giannis Antetokounmpo out in protocols and Khris Middleton dealing with a knee injury, offense has to come from somewhere. Nwora has been that guy and will continue to be until the team recovers from its COVID issues.
Timberwolves: Malik Beasley (SG/SF, 35.9% owned)
The Timberwolves saw a couple of players enter protocols to start the week, so Beasley should see the bulk of available minutes and put up strong counting stats.
Knicks: Kemba Walker (PG, 65.5% owned)
Walker is the one exception on this list as the only player who is owned in more than 50.0% of leagues. But owners may have cut ties with him once he fell out of the rotation, and now that the Knicks are limited on players, Walker has assumed a spot in the starting lineup once again. If he’s available, give him a look for the time being.
Magic: Chuma Okeke (PF, 3.7% owned)
Okeke will continue to put up big numbers while the Magic recover from their COVID outbreak. He’s a double-double threat and adds defensive counting stats.
Kings: Chimezie Metu (C, 2.6% owned)
Metu is another player seeing extra playing time due to protocol-related absences. He is another double-double threat who could give you a boost on the boards until players make their way off the COVID list.