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Fantasy basketball waver wire pickups for Week 5 of the NBA season

Welcome to The Playlist: my weekly column that tells you who and what to play in fantasy basketball in the coming week – whether it involves music or anything else in my rotation.

Each week you’ll see a roundup of the decisions you need to make, lineup notes (who’s in and out of rotations), followed by the must-watch games from across the league.

So press play and browse through the latest fantasy basketball information.

It’s the week of giving thanks, so thank you to everyone who tuned into Fantasy Basketball on Yahoo this season!

“Thank you” – Jay Z

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Who is in my rotation: Players can receive waivers who make up less than 50% of rosters in Yahoo leagues

A must in all leagues

Keyonte George, PG/SG, Utah Jazz (43% on roster)

Come on dude. This is not the first recommendation. How’s George? Despite it under 50%? Point guards who average over 10 points and nearly nine assists per game as starters should be used in all leagues.

Skylar Mays, SG, Portland Trail Blazers (49% in squad)

Scoot Henderson (ankle) and Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring injury) are not back yet, so Mays should be playing in all leagues by then. He averaged 12 points with three rebounds and eight assists in his last five games and has been a top-80 player in the last two weeks. He should get PG eligibility this week (believe me, I hear you).

Dyson Daniels, PG/SG, New Orleans Pelicans (45% on roster)

When I recommended him last week there were only 13% of the squad. Daniels continues to cook for the Pelicans, finishing in the top 70 in scoring leagues and category formats last week. He has provided fantasy managers with a good base of rebounds, assists and steals in the absence of CJ McCollum.

I expect him to make over 50% of the roster this week. So if he is somehow available in flat leagues, get him on your team as soon as possible.

Santi Aldama, PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies (44% on roster)

Choosing the right option upfront for the Grizzlies has been frustrating, and it gets even stranger with Memphis not playing until Wednesday. However, Aldama had some strong performances in Week 4, averaging 23.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, three triples and 2.0 blocks per game. They have a three-game week, but if Xavier Tillman Sr. is out, Aldama is worth adding.

Alex Caruso, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls (40% on roster)

Caruso is a popular name in trade rumors because he is an exceptional defensive player. And now that he’s back in the cast, his fantasy appeal increases. Aside from the ball, he plays extremely efficient basketball, shooting over 66% from the field over the last month and hitting 1.9 three-pointers per game. He is in the top 60 of the respective leagues. So if you need an efficient guard who can stock up, grab Caruso ahead of the Bulls’ four-game week.

Short-term streaming options for Week 5

Saddiq Bey, SF/PF, Atlanta Hawks (35% on roster)

Quin Snyder’s offense has made things difficult for fantasy managers, and even if Bey comes off the bench, he will be a helpful asset in Week 5. The Hawks play four games of back-to-back sets, so you can start Bey on Tuesday and Saturday – the easiest slates of the week. He was a reliable source of threes, points, rebounds and steals when minutes were needed – grab him.

Cam Reddish, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers (32% on roster)

Reddish is quietly rekindling his career as a member of the Lakers and has earned a spot in the starting lineup for the last six games. He’s also averaging 27 fantasy points per game, ranking 40th in category leagues over the last seven days.

He gave his opponents business by notching nearly three steals per contest, knocking down nearly two three-pointers and shooting 50% from the field during that span. The Lakers are 6-2 with Reddish this season, so he can stay in that role as long as the Lakers continue to put up Ws. The Lakers play three games this week, including two on Tuesday and Saturday, so you can use Reddish in your lineup on those days.

“The Bizness” (feat. Common) – De La Soul

Bilal Coulibaly, SF, Washington Wizards (25% of squad)

The 19-year-old rookie has seen his playing time increase over the last week and a half, playing over 30 minutes in four of his last six games. He’s more of a target for category leagues than point leagues, as Coulibaly shoots well from the field, giving fantasy managers nearly two stocks and two triples per contest over that span.

With the Wizards not moving quickly, expect his role to grow the more reps he gets. The Wizards have four games on the schedule this week, but if you want to wait, you could work him into your lineup for their Friday/Saturday clash.

Deep streams in week 5

Cole Anthony, PG/SG, Orlando Magic (36% on roster)

I’ve seen Anthony sit on waivers in some 12-team leagues. Even though he’s close to 40% on the roster, fantasy managers have yet to buy into it. Markelle Fultz’s knee situation is concerning and Anthony should be on the roster the longer he’s out. He averaged 11.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists in his last five games. His poor shooting from the field (33%) is somewhat offset by his exceptional free throw shooting during that span. He made 18 consecutive shots and attempted 3.6 free throws per game. The Magic also have a four-game week.

Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Orlando Magic (21% on roster)

He looks healthy, and with his minutes trending, Isaac is worth picking up if you need supplies. Over the last five games, Isaac averaged 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. In a four-game week, that’s a significant accomplishment if he continues to get 15 to 20 minutes per game.

Nicolas Batum, SF/PF, Philadelphia 76ers (5% of squad)

Joel Embiid had some Good things to say about Batum After Sunday’s win over the Nets and with Kelly Oubre Jr. recovering from a car accident, Batum will start and be a weak contributor in the three-pointers, rebounds, assists and stocks category formats. The Sixers have a favorable streaming schedule with two games this week falling on Tuesday and Saturday.

More streaming options in week 5

  • Coby White, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls (46% on roster)

  • Bismack Biyombo, C, Memphis Grizzlies (39% on roster)

  • Grayson Allen, SG/SF, Phoenix Suns (31% in squad)

  • Eric Gordon, SG/SF, Phoenix Suns (29% in squad)

  • Moritz Wagner, C, Orlando Magic (24% in the squad)

  • Jonathan Kuminga, PF, Golden State Warriors (24% on roster)

  • Talen Horton-Tucker, PG/SG, Utah Jazz (21% on roster)

  • Donte DiVincenzo, SG/SF, New York Knicks (15% of squad)

  • Craig Porter, Jr., PG/SG, Cleveland Cavaliers (1% on roster)

Notes on rotation

The game: Grayson Allen and Eric Gordon’s minutes will increase, but the bulk of the usage will be split between Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. However, both are useful for three-pointers, steals, and low-end assists.


The game: Bane’s usage rate is over 30%, and while Jacob Gilyard at PG seems like a good position to replace him, the Grizzlies have opted for a larger lineup. Keep him on the watch list as the rookie is still part of the rotation.


The game: Jonathan Kuminga and Dario Saric continue to represent Green while he is suspended for the remainder of week five.


The game: Murray is about to return to the field, so Reggie Jackson’s time as a starter is quickly coming to an end.


The game: Stream Nic Batum or Robert Covington in the short term, but keep Oubre in IL/IL+ if you can.


Appointment notes

The best streaming days are Tuesday and Saturday in Week 5

  • Thanksgiving is Thursday, so no problem!

  • The teams playing on Tuesday and Saturday are the Sixers, Cavs, Hawks, Lakers and Jazz

  • Remove fringe players on the Mavs and Thunder as they won’t be playable until Saturday

  • Release the Pistons off waivers after Monday, as they won’t play again until Friday, and the roster is well-stocked

Games played daily

  • Monday: 8

  • Tuesday: 5

  • Wednesday: 14

  • Thursday: 0

  • Friday: 10

  • Saturday: 6

  • Sunday: 8

15 teams play four games: Bucks, Bulls, Cavaliers, Celtics, Clippers, Hawks, Heat, Magic, Nuggets, Pelicans, Raptors, Spurs, Suns, Timberwolves, Wizards

12 teams play three games: 76ers, Grizzlies, Hornets, Jazz, Kings, Knicks, Lakers, Nets, Pacers, Rockets, Trail Blazers and Warriors

Three teams play two games: Mavericks, Pistons and Thunder

Teams back to back

  • Tuesday/Wednesday: Sixers, Cavaliers, Hawks, Jazz, Lakers, Magic, Pacers, Raptors, Suns and Trail Blazers

  • Friday/Saturday: Clippers, Heat, Pelicans and Wizards

  • Saturday/Sunday: Cavaliers, Hawks and Nets,

  • Sunday/(following) Monday: Nuggets and Trail Blazers

Favorite games of the week: for fantasy and just ones you want to see as a fan

Monday: New York Knicks at Minnesota Timberwolves (8:00 p.m. ET)

Knicks HC Tom Thibodeau is 11-4 (7-1 away) against his former team, and with the Timberwolves having the best record in the West, this game should be a chess match. New York has the big men to take on the Twin Towers of Minnesota. But who can check Anthony Edwards? Quentin Grimes is injured, but it will be an outstanding defensive game where the stars should shine.

Tuesday (season tournament): Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks (7:30 p.m. ET)

This colorway for this court will soon be louder than Khalifa Kush. There’s no chance either team will slow down on pace, as both rank in the top three in pace per game this season. Dynamic guards Tyrese Haliburton and Trae Young lead the way in an entertaining game with plenty of fantasy influences.

“Cool down the Pace” – Gregory Isaacs

Wednesday: Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET)

The last time Damian Lillard faced the Celtics he dropped 41 points in a loss, but this time he will have Giannis Antetokounmpo by his side to try and defeat the current top seed in the East. Neither team is in a back-to-back tournament, and it will be broadcast on ESPN, so be sure to tune in for a star-studded event. This is just the beginning of what is sure to be an exciting race at the top of the Eastern Conference.

“The Race” – Wiz Khalifa

Thursday: No games. Happy Turkey Day!

Friday (season tournament): Sacramento Kings at Minnesota Timberwolves (8:00 p.m. ET)

The Kings and Timberwolves are tied at the top of West Group C, so there is a lot at stake in this matchup. De’Aaron Fox is unconscious while Domantas Sabonis is second on NBA.com’s in-season tournament MVP rankings. Karl-Anthony Towns is fourth in the MVP rankings, averaging 31.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game in the tournament. There will be a lot of basketball played, but this game will be a track and field competition with plenty of fantasy production.

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