The Playlist: Week 16 fantasy basketball waiver wire pickups and lineup advice ahead of NBA trade deadline

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 15 wrap up:

  • Joel Embiid's season is in jeopardy

  • Onyeka Okongwu is on the come up

  • In random trade news, the Houston Rockets acquired Steven Adams from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Victor Oladipo and three second round picks (zero impact for fantasy basketball this season)

  • Steph Curry netted 60 points in an overtime loss to the Hawks on Saturday night. It was the second 60-point performance of his Hall-of-Fame career.

🏆 Top performer

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the top performer of Week 15, amassing 253.2 Yahoo fantasy points across four games. He also ranked first on a per-game basis in nine-category formats.

He closed the week tying his career-high with 14 assists in a win over the Toronto Raptors.

Killer Mike took home three Grammy Awards for Michael. This is one of the rare times when the Grammys got it right. The album is 🔥 all the way through.

Michael - Killer Mike

🗣️The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m. ET

No trades are imminent — only rumors, but I'll use this time to say that you should save at least a couple of waiver moves for the latter part of the week if something goes down by the NBA trade deadline this Thursday.

You don't want to exhaust all of your waiver transactions by Wednesday and have no room to add any players who should happen to benefit from trade activity.

🗓️ Schedule things you need to know

  • Thursday and Saturday are the only days with large slates (9+ games), so it's a very streamable week to hit the wire. Though, I'd still be stingy with the waiver transactions this week.

  • Avoid streaming from the Jazz, Nuggets, Timberwolves and Trail Blazers this week. They only play two games.

  • The Nuggets and Trail Blazers are off until Thursday, while the Jazz and Timberwolves play on Tuesday and Thursday.

  • If you wait until the weekend for your streams, I'd look for players on the Celtics and Kings because they play on Friday and Sunday. Sunday only has two games on the slate, so it'll be extremely slim pickings to close out Week 16.

🎧 WHO'S IN MY ROTATION: players to pick up on waivers who are less than 50% rostered in Yahoo leagues. Editor's note: Paul Reed was rostered in under 50% of leagues before publishing.

Top shallow league streams for Week 16

Paul Reed - PF/C, Philadelphia 76ers (53%)

If you think he's overrated, that's fine — you don't have to pick him up, but the fact remains his outlook is trending up, way up. Based on the reports on Embiid, it doesn't look like he'll be returning anytime soon, meaning Reed will see 25+ minutes a night going forward.

He was limited on Friday night with an illness, so I'd consider that game an outlier relative to his performances of late. He won't score consistently, but the rebounds and stocks should be mainstays for fantasy managers. I prefer to add him in category leagues, but he's worth an add in 12-team points leagues, too.

Ayo Dosunmu - SG, Chicago Bulls (41%)

Pick up Ayo in all points and category formats. Over the past two weeks, he ranks 59th in per-game value in nine-category formats and 89th in points leagues, averaging 30 fantasy points per game.

Hopefully, you grabbed him in deep leagues before news dropped that Bulls guard Zach LaVine will undergo surgery on his foot and miss the rest of the season. Patrick Williams will also be out for a while, so Dosunmu's minutes are as secure as they've ever been.

His success has come primarily from his contributions on the defensive end, as he has racked up at least two stocks in six of his last seven games. He's been knocking down threes and providing fantasy managers with a pleasant mix of efficiency and counting stats, so he's one of my priority adds this week.

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

Saddiq Bey - SF/PF, Atlanta Hawks (49%)

I'd still hold Bey in all leagues, even though he recently fell under 50% rostered. He's only missed one game all season, and considering how much load management and injuries are running rampant in the league, availability matters.

He's questionable ahead of Monday's contest against the Clippers as he deals with an ankle injury, but with Atlanta playing four games in Week 16, I'd pick him up if he's on waivers.

He's started 80% of the Hawks games this season while playing 30+ minutes in 71% of them, so Bey continues to be a crucial part of Atlanta's rotation. He's struggled with his efficiency over the past couple of weeks, but he's still producing enough points, rebounds and threes to keep him on your team.

Additional shallow league streaming options in Week 16:

  • Trey Murphy III - SF/PF, New Orleans Pelicans (50%)

  • Caris LeVert - SG/SF, Cleveland Cavaliers (45%)

  • Norman Powell - SG/SF, Los Angeles Clippers (44%)

  • Ausar Thompson - SG/SF/PF, Detroit Pistons (43%)

Deep league streams for Week 16:

Brandin Podziemski - SG, Golden State Warriors (40%)

Well, that rookie wall didn't last long. Podz came alive in Week 15, averaging 13/8/7 while shooting 52% from the field with over a stock per game. His free-throw shooting is an issue, but with the Warriors having no choice but to play their younger guys because of injuries and poor performance, Podziemski is here to stay.

The Warriors are a team to watch as the deadline approaches. With rumors circulating around Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson, the rookie out of Santa Clara could potentially have more opportunities ahead.

Precious Achiuwa - PF/C, New York Knicks (31%)

Since Julius Randle went down four games ago, Achiuwa has stepped up for the Knicks, playing a heavy dose of minutes and becoming the de-facto starting power forward. Over that span of games, he's averaging a noteworthy 12.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.

He's not an efficient shooter for a big man, but he makes up for it by rarely turning over the ball. Achiuwa should be rostered in far more leagues and has value in any format because of his double-double potential with some stocks.

Cam Whitmore - SF, Houston Rockets (34%)

The steal of the 2023 NBA Draft is putting on right now. At only 19 years old, he's displaying an uncanny ability to score at all three levels. He's setting records in the process, and it'll be increasingly hard to bench him at this point. My guy is making highlight-reel plays like a young Miles Bridges.

Since the turn of the new year, the former Wildcat is averaging 13 points with five boards and two threes per contest. He's improved his numbers month over month and is seeing a 27% usage over his last 10 games. He's been efficient and though it'd be nice to see more from him defensively, he's putting numbers on the board and his elite shooting from three (41% over the last 10 games) will keep him rolling as an offensive spark off the bench.

Lonnie Walker IV - SG/SF, Brooklyn Nets (23%)

Walker was a lightning rod off the bench for the Nets in Week 15, posting a solid 19.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 3.3 threes and 1.7 steals across his last three contests. The Nets play four games in Week 16, including a few favorable matchups against the Warriors, Mavericks and Spurs. Ben Simmons has already been ruled out before Monday's contest, so Walker should be in for another 20+% usage to start the week.

Deep league streaming options in Week 16:

  • Malik Beasley - SG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks (31%)

  • Amen Thompson - SG/SF, Houston Rockets (23%)

  • Keyonte George - PG/SG, Utah Jazz (18%)

  • Jalen Smith - PF/C, Indiana Pacers (15%)

  • Patrick Beverley - PG, Philadelphia 76ers (9%)

Rotation news:

76ers C Joel Embiid to have surgery on meniscus, no timetable for return

The play: It's not looking good for the reigning MVP so I'm pushing my chips in on Paul Reed. As someone who has Embiid on a couple of teams, this hurts. Embiid is truly a rare breed so to lose him at this stage of the season is brutal in real-life and fantasy hoops. Kelly Oubre Jr. is another player who stands to benefit, and he is available in about 50% of leagues.

Bulls G Zach LaVine (foot) undergoing surgery, out 4-6 months

The play: Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu will see a ton of minutes and opportunity from here on out and should be rostered in all leagues. Coby White was already eating, and Patrick Williams (foot) also stands to benefit if/when he returns.

Hawks C Clint Capela (adductor) to miss 7-10 days

The play: Onyeka Okongwu is available in 30% of leagues, so get him now if he's out there. Capela's injury certainly matters but with so many contending teams in need of a big man, there's a non-zero chance Capela could be traded. Either way, Atlanta plays four games this week and Okongwu is about to get busy.

Lakers F Jarred Vanderbilt is out for several weeks with a 'significant' foot injury

The play: Another tough excuse — I mean injury, for the Lakers. Vando only appeared in 29 games this year, and he'll be missed as the Lakeshow needs his defense on the wing. Rui Hachimura and Taurean Prince will get more playing time, with Vando potentially looking at a season-ending injury.

Mavericks G Kyrie Irving upgraded to probable for Monday

The play: Big news for fantasy managers as Uncle Drew missed his last six contests with a thumb sprain. His return deadens the likelihood of Jaden Hardy playing meaningful minutes for fantasy purposes.

76ers G De'Anthony Melton is progressing but has been downgraded to out on Monday

The play: Patrick Beverley is a streamable option in deep leagues for as long as Melton is out. He's been quietly putting together a decent stat line over the past couple of weeks, averaging over 10 points, three rebounds and six assists with a three per game.

The Memphis Grizzlies are the most frustrating team to stream

The play: Good luck trying to decipher when to confidently start Luke Kennard, John Konchar, Santi Aldama, Jacob Gilyard or Scottie Pippen Jr. I'd feel better about using them in DFS than in redraft leagues, because there's been no consistency to their playing time (and health) recently.

Schedule breakdown:

Daily Games Played:

  • Monday: 6

  • Tuesday: 7

  • Wednesday: 7

  • Thursday: 9

  • Friday: 6

  • Saturday: 11

  • Sunday: 2

10 teams play four games - 76ers, Cavaliers, Hawks, Hornets, Kings, Mavericks, Nets, Pelicans, Raptors, and Warriors

16 teams play three games - Bucks, Bulls, Celtics, Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Knicks, Lakers, Magic, Pacers, Pistons, Rockets, Spurs, Suns, Thunder and Wizards

Four teams with two games - Jazz, Nuggets, Timberwolves and Trail Blazers

Teams with back-to-backs:

  • Monday/Tuesday: Mavericks and Nets

  • Tuesday/Wednesday: Heat

  • Wednesday/Thursday: Cavaliers, Pistons, Spurs and Warriors

  • Thursday/Friday: Bucks, Lakers and Nuggets

  • Friday/Saturday: 76ers, Hawks, Hornets, Pelicans, Raptors, Rockets and Wizards

  • Saturday/Sunday: Thunder