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Rotoballer's Weekly NBA Fantasy Watch List

While playing daily fantasy sports is a quick way to make a buck, many still appreciate the long grind of season-long fantasy leagues. The waiver wire can make or break your fantasy team during the season. At times, a player seems like the right fit for your roster, but little did you know that player benefitted from playing a tanking team or just had a lucky night.

While utilizing Rotoballer's weekly NBA watch list, you won't find yourself blindly filling your roster. In deep leagues, wasting a pickup on a flash-in-the-pan player is costly. Each week Rotoballer will provide you with three players worthy of monitoring. With advanced stats and attention to detail, you'll avoid playing the risky guessing game.

This holiday week, there are a few notable players that don't exactly have the stat-stuffing nutrients of your favorite Thanksgiving dish but have the possibility of providing end-of-the-plate relief on your roster.

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Royce O'Neale, Brooklyn Nets

35.5% rostered

The Brooklyn Nets don't have much to be thankful for this season, but one saving grace to an otherwise disastrous start comes from Royce O'Neale. During the 2022 postseason, O'Neale was as cooked as a holiday turkey. However, in a bizarre turn of events, the former Utah Jazz role player is having a fantastic stretch of fantasy basketball. O'Neale averaged 41.5 fantasy points in his last four performances, notching a triple-double in one of those games.

Although Brooklyn has the superstar production in Kevin Durant, it sorely lacks a support group. However, starved of production but not lacking the opportunity, O'Neale has since taken advantage of the situation. 50.9 percent of his offense comes off catch-and-shoot sequences. Durant creates open looks from opposing defenses, daring the Nets' role players to shoot the ball. The court's left and right wing seem to be O'Neale's preferred spot currently.

Despite his surprisingly positive fantasy production, most don't stem from scoring situations. O'Neal averaged 6.5 rebounds and eight assists in the Nets' last four games. For an end-of-the-roster pickup, those are solid numbers. Aside from Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets lack playmakers, making O'Neale's recent stretch an eye-opener for a team desperate for help.

When looking at those aforementioned numbers, one doesn't require advanced stats to see the benefits of adding O'Neale. However, before wasting your spot on the waiver-wire list, perhaps wait for the holiday hangover to see if the shocking play is sustainable.

 

Aaron Gordon, Denver Nuggets

56.7 % rostered

Once a fantasy darling as a second option for the Orlando Magic, Gordon now exists as a solid role player for the Denver Nuggets, capitalizing on Nikola Jokic's otherworldly dimes. Although Gordon no longer holds the secondary scorer title, Jamal Murray's ramp-up to a full recovery and Michael Porter Jr.'s seemingly chronic back issues provide the former Magic a temporary shot at the No. 2 option.

In the Nuggets' last two outings, Gordon averaged 43.5 fantasy points. Once upon a time, Gordon was a showstopper in the NBA dunk contest. While his stardom hasn't reached the same level in-game, his choice of weapon remains the slam dunk. The Nuggets' forward is most dangerous in transition or as the cutter. Jokic is the Nuggets' gravitational pull, throwing off the opposition's equilibrium and providing teammates with open looks.

Such an opportunity arose for Gordon in the possession posted below.

Gordon scored 30 points versus the hungry-for-wins Oklahoma City Thunder. Again, the production seems excellent, but you must look under the hood of the Nuggets' engine before driving off the lot. As everyone knows, the value depreciates once the tires hit the road.

Pressing the button for such numbers seems like a bright idea. However, Gordon missed three games prior, and the Nuggets' roster is currently going through a revolving door of injuries and health and safety protocols. While not quite the risk compared to acquiring O'Neale, as Gordon's track record errs on the Nuggets' forward side, waiting for more roster balance isn't a bad idea.

 

Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings

53.9 % rostered

The Sacramento Kings don't suck. It's a rare, and nearly unfathomable sentence to type. With that said, DeAaron Fox's massive improvement, Domantis Sabonis's all-around production, and rookie Keegan Murray's emergence have a lot to do with the Kings' 10-17 record. Under all of the feel-good stories is the understated Harrison Barnes.

Never a flashy player, but typically a sound producer. Averaging 32 fantasy points in the Kings' last five outings, Barnes deserves a chance at helping you win your fantasy league. In his role as the elder statesman of the young and hot Kings, the former North Carolina Tarheel plays an ode to the old-school ways of the NBA. Barnes attempts his looks typically in the 12.2 feet range.

While Barnes' scoring average is at its lowest point in two seasons, the accuracy is there. Despite the lower scoring average, unlike his past seasons, free throws don't evade the 11-year professional. Barnes' free throw rate is a career-high 58 percent, 11 percent higher than last season.

Not only is he excelling in getting easy points, but it's resulting in winning, something Barnes hasn't helped produce since his time with the Golden State Warriors. Posting a +4.2 on-court production, his highest input since the 2015-2016 season, Barnes' winning ways means he's worthy of starting and finishing games, which means more chances to score fantasy points.

All the good praise must come with a hook; you're probably thinking. You're somewhat warm to the conclusion. However, Barnes is the safest choice, as he can create for himself more than the other players on this list. While patience is a virtue, perhaps a day or so more is enough to keep him in free agency.

 

All stats appear courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com.



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