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The Playlist: Week 21 fantasy basketball waiver pickups and lineup advice with playoffs here

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 info for the fantasy basketball playoffs!

The Playlist for the playoff quarterfinals.
The Playlist for the playoff quarterfinals.

🏀Week 20 wrap up:

  • Prayers up for RJ Barrett and his family

  • Desmond Bane is back... But why??

  • Deandre Ayton actually dominated, averaging 27 points with 14 rebounds in Week 20 (four games)

  • Tyler Herro (foot) is likely a wrap for the rest of the fantasy playoffs

  • Kyrie Irving = too much sauce

🏆 Top performers

Nikola Jokić led the way, scoring 224.8 fantasy points in Week 20. Jokic was also the top player in nine-category formats, finishing the week with a dominant and efficient stat line.

🗓️Schedule things you need to know

  • Stream away! It's a pretty 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 play two games each

  • Drop fringe Hornets players after Tuesday since they won't play again until Saturday. You can hold onto fringe Mavericks players since they'll play on Tuesday and Thursday, but feel free to drop them afterwards since they won't help you over the weekend.

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

Shallow league streamers for Week 21:

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

Robinson, who moved above 50% overnight, has played the most games of any Heat player this season (61) and he'll continue to get a ton of burn with Herro out for at least another one-to-two weeks. He's been a top-90 player in nine-category formats for much of the season and is showcasing more than just his shooting ability. He's been an asset for points and 3s but is quietly averaging a career-best 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 feat Robin Thicke

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

LeVert, who also moved above 50% overnight, has been hit-or-miss from the field recently but should still be rostered in all leagues. He can easily fill the box score, as seen by his averaging close to 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 get fantasy managers off to a good start to the week. Invest the FAB money because he'll be worth it.

"For the Love of Money/Living for the City" — Troop, Levert & 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 contest. It doesn't matter whether he's starting or coming off the bench since he's provided a spark offensively, posting an efficient 48/44/84 shooting split in 15 games with the Pistons. He's been 61st in nine-category formats over the last 30 days, 45th over the past two weeks and should be rostered in most leagues with his role locked in the rest of the way.

"Don't Sweat the Technique" — Eric B & Rakim

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

Nesmith averaged 13 points, four rebounds and two assists over his last four games without Bennedict Mathurin in the lineup. His minutes are secure, and while he's shooting only 38% from the field over that span, he's been a 50% shooter all year, so that's likely to improve. He's been one of the most accurate from 3-point range too, so trust the process; Nesmith should be added in all formats.

Deep league streamers for Week 21

T.J. McConnell — PG, Indiana Pacers (22%)

McConnell is one of those guys you'll end up rostering at some point during the fantasy playoffs. Over the past two weeks, he's been a top-85 player and continues to be an underrated asset for counting stats. 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 getting ample playing time right now, and over his last four games, he's averaging 23.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 3s in 34.2 minutes per night. He's also blocked at least one shot in three of his last four outings. I'd keep streaming him while he's hot, and his usage rate is 27% over that span.

"G'd Up" — Tha Eastsidaz & Butch Cassidy

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

Banton's going to ball for as long as Jerami Grant is in street clothes. In the last six games without Grant in the lineup, Banton averaged 21.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.7 dimes, 3.0 3s and 1.3 stocks in 36.1 minutes per game. His usage rate is 27.1% over that time, too, so he's maintaining a considerable role in Portland's offense of late. He's been 72nd in points leagues and 139th in nine-category formats in the last 14 days. The inefficiency from the field brings down his value, but I'd view him as a streamer with holding potential the longer Grant is out.

"Portland" — Drake feat. Quavo & Travis Scott

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

Martin's been closing in on 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 shooting on the perimeter. He's shooting 52% from 3-point range in March, so get him in deeper nine-category leagues if you're looking for a 3-point threat who can sprinkle in some stocks with solid shooting percentages.

"Twinz" — Big Pun & 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 Friday/Saturday back-to-back 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 played an average of 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's OK), but I project that Pritchard gets more minutes against these inferior opponents.

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

Thybulle missed Saturday's contest with soreness in his ankle, but it looks like a day-to-day injury. You'll find no one better on the wire on defense than him, as he's averaging an absurd 3.5 stocks per game over his last 10 contests. Thybulle is also knocking down 48% of his shots and nearly a 40% clip from 3-point range over that span so there's not much he won't do for you in category leagues — he's 66th over the past 30 days.

Other streaming options in Week 21:

  • Sam Hauser — SF/PF, Boston Celtics (13%)

  • Georges Niang — PF, Cleveland Cavaliers (11%)

  • Trayce Jackson-Davis — PF/C, Golden State Warriors (24%)

  • Naji Marshall - SG/SF, New Orleans Hornets (2%)

  • Taylor Hendricks — PF, Utah Jazz (17%)

  • Isaac Okoro — SG/SF, Cleveland Cavaliers (22%)

  • Jaimie Jaquez Jr. — SG/SF, Miami Heat (41%)

Watchlist, possible pickups in Week 21:

  • Justin Champagnie — SG/SF, Washington Wizards (2%)

  • Jordan Nwora — SF/PF, Toronto Raptors (6%)

  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker — SG/SF, Minnesota Timberwolves (13%)

🚑 Injury news:

Lakers F/C Anthony Davis (eye) is questionable ahead of Monday's game

The play: Should AD miss any time, I'd expect Rui Hachimura to see the biggest boost in opportunity outside of the usual starters. Jaxson Hayes could start in AD's place, but he's not a viable option.

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

The play: Caris LeVert and Isaac Okoro are the two players to stream for as long as 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 play: Duncan Robinson and Jaime Jaquez Jr. are the most notable players who you may find on waivers to fill in for Herro. If you miss out on them, Caleb Martin is a decent consolation and can be streamed this week.

Blazers F Jerami Grant (hamstring) is doubtful for Monday's contest

The play: As previously stated, it's wheels up for Dalano Banton. Matisse Thybulle has been upgraded to questionable, so if he plays, he'll be a solid defense-streaming option.

Bulls G Coby White (hip) is doubtful for Monday

The play: Hopefully, Alex Caruso is well enough to play, but there's no add here. I'd anticipate Ayo Dosunmu picking up most of the slack (outside of DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic), and he's 65% rostered.

Jazz F Lauri Markkanen (quad) is listed as questionable ahead of Monday's tilt

The play: Taylor Hendricks would get downgraded if Markkanen returns, but wait until the final injury report is released, considering that Markkanen missed six consecutive games.

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

The play: Paul Reed and Mo Bamba will continue filling in for Embiid, but Reed is the preferred fantasy option. This update is more about how far Embiid appears to be from returning. He can be dropped if your playoffs are underway.


Schedule breakdown:

Daily Games Played:

  • Monday: 8

  • Tuesday: 5

  • Wednesday: 8

  • Thursday: 7

  • Friday: 8

  • Saturday: 8

  • Sunday: 6

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

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

Teams playing 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