The NBA has seen a long list of players entering the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the past week, resulting in significant absences and some game postponements.
MORE: Team-by-team player breakdown in COVID-19 protocols
For Fantasy Basketball, that has given him a headache trying to fill in the gaps in his lineup and offset the production of key players who are generally in his rotation.
However, that also means that new players, who are likely available on your waiver wire, have stepped up to fill roles for their NBA teams, and may do the same for their fantasy team.
Below you’ll find a pool of players to add off the waiver wire immediately if available, followed by a list of players worth adding due to a COVID outbreak on your particular team.
Note: All percentages and ownership positions are courtesy of ESPN Fantasy Basketball.
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Fantasy Basketball: Player Replacements in COVID-19 Protocols
Franz Wagner, SF / PF, Orlando Magic
Property in: 47.3% of leagues
The Magic rookie standout was already having a strong rookie season before his team’s absences from COVID-19 protocols. Over the past week, he took 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 scoring option until some players return to the lineup.
Dillon Brooks, SG / SF, Memphis Grizzlies
Property in: 40.5% of leagues
Even with the return of Ja Morant, Brooks is worth adding. The 26-year-old is off to a good start after missing the first 10 games of the season, averaging a career-high 19.7 points with 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. The fact that he is a starter every night and plays almost 30 minutes per game gives an additional boost to his fantasy value.
Brooks can help replace the scoring production of some of his marquee players who are off the charts.
Monte Morris, PG, Denver Nuggets
Property in: 26.8% of leagues
With Jamal Murray still recovering from a torn ACL last season, Morris has made the starting lineup for the Nuggets’ 29 games so far this season. It’s been a reliable streaming option all season long and now with the number of players in the protocols it’s worth a spot on the list. It also helps that Morris has been even better of late, averaging 18.0 points and 4.2 assists in his last five games, shooting down 3.2 3s and shooting 54.8 percent from the field in that stretch.
Patty Mills, PG, Brooklyn Networks
Property in: 22.9% of leagues
The Nets have 10 players in health and safety protocols, which leaves Mills as their number one scoring option. In most leagues it probably had to be faster than this to get to Mills, but if it’s still available, add it right away because it will continue to light up until Kevin Durant and James Harden are back in action. In 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 per team
All of these teams have four or more players currently in the league’s health and safety protocols as of December 20.
Celtics: Enes Freedom (C, 3.5% owned), Payton Pritchard (PG, 0.3% owned)
The Celtics’ frontcourt has been the hardest hit on the team, so Freedom has become the starting center. Pritchard has made the most of his opportunity as first baseman off the bench during this time.
Networks: 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 trusted source of points, rebounds, and defensive counting stats with an ever-growing role.
Bulls: Coby White (PG, 7.6% owned)
The Bulls are starting to win back some players from their COVID outbreak, but White is still worth a look, especially if Alex Caruso is forced to waste time with a sprained foot.
Gentlemen: Cedi Osman (SF, 2.9% owned)
The Cavaliers have been hard hit by COVID, and Osman will enter the starting lineup and play a leading role in scoring until the players return.
Lakers: Isaiah Thomas (PG, 7.8% owned)
The Lakers signed Thomas to a 10-day financial hardship contract and it looks like they plan to make the most of that deal. Thomas has averaged 16.0 points in 27.0 minutes in his first two games.
Dollars: Jordan Nwora (SF, 1.1% owned)
With Giannis Antetokounmpo off the charts and Khris Middleton dealing with a knee injury, the offense has to come from somewhere. Nwora has been that guy and will continue to be until the team recovers from its COVID woes.
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 most of the available minutes and generate solid counting stats.
Knicks: Kemba Walker (PG, 65.5% owned)
Walker is the only exception on this list, as he is the only player who belongs to more than 50% of the leagues. But the owners may have cut ties with him once he left the rotation, and now that the Knicks are short on players, Walker has assumed a spot in the starting lineup once again. If it’s available, check it out for now.
Magic: Chuma Okeke (PF, 3.7% owned)
Okeke will continue to churn out big numbers as 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 who sees more playing time due to protocol-related absences. It’s another double-double threat that could give you a boost on the boards until players get off the COVID roster.