Week 5 NBA Waiver Wire: Top Fantasy Basketball Pickups

Last Updated: Jan 15, 2021

Kev Mahserejian offers advice on the Week 5 NBA Waiver Wire and the Top Fantasy Basketball Week 5 Pickups.

(Note: Roster % is as listed for Yahoo! leagues. FAAB bid range is based on a percentage of a fantasy basketball player’s remaining budget.)

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Week 5 Top NBA Pickups

Top Fantasy Basketball Players To Add

Enes Kanter, C, Portland Trail Blazers (55%)

With Jusuf Nurkic out for at least the next month with a fractured wrist, Enes Kanter will step in as the primary option at center for the Portland Trail Blazers. While Kanter may be limited as a player due to his lack of shooting range and poor rim protection, he is an extremely effective rebounder and scorer around the basket. In just 18.7 minutes per game this year, Kanter is averaging 10 points, 8.9 rebounds, and one stock per game on incredible efficiency from the floor (64.1%) and free throw (80%).

Although plenty of time will open up due to Nurkic’s absence, Kanter cannot be expected to take on much more than a low-end starter’s minutes. He will be subbed off of the floor against teams that opt to go small or have “unicorn" type bigs that stretch the floor from the center position. Robert Covington should be expected to take on a much larger role across the front-court as a result.

The Blazers could bring in a big off of the free-agent market or trade for an underutilized player elsewhere but that is likely dependent upon exactly how much time Nurkic is expected to miss. As things stand, Kanter should see minutes in the mid-to-high-20s as he did in the past with Portland until Nurkic’s return.

After Nurkic’s leg injury in the 2018-2019 regular season, Kanter averaged 29.3 minutes, 18.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, 0.9 steals, and 0.6 blocks per game from the first game he started to the last. He then proceeded to play heavy minutes and contribute throughout the first two playoff series until he was phased out versus the traditionally small Warriors.

Enes Kanter FAAB bid range: 35-40%

Shake Milton, PG/SG, Philadelphia 76ers (36%)

Shake Milton missed three games prior to Thursday due to health protocols but came back STRONG on a near full-strength Sixers team. Milton dropped 31 points, 7 assists, 3 threes, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block on good shooting efficiency in just 27 minutes. While the opponent was a B-level Miami team, this scoring outburst by Milton is not unexpected. He has been averaging nearly 15 points per game coming in and was fresh off of a 24 point performance against Brooklyn prior to his COVID-related absence.

Milton is assuredly going to take a hit with how well Tyrese Maxey is playing and when Seth Curry returns to action, but even with minutes in the low-to-mid-20s, he can be a productive fantasy player. He provides stats across the board aside from blocks, rarely turns the ball over, and is great for both field goal and free throw percentages. Milton’s a skilled scorer whose ceiling is waiting to be unlocked when his three-point shooting becomes more consistent. If something were to happen to Ben Simmons, Milton would undoubtedly become a top-60 fantasy asset.

Shake Milton FAAB bid range: 15-20%

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Obi Toppin, PF, New York Knicks (33%)

With how well Julius Randle has played this season, it is hard to buy into a player who positionally overlaps with him, especially on a team coached by Tom Thibodeau. Thibs is notoriously stingy with rookie playing time, but Toppin may be an exception given how poor the Knicks roster is as a whole and organizational pressure to look at the team’s recent top-10 draft pick.

New York’s frontcourt is fairly packed at the moment with not only Randle but also Mitchell Robinson, Nerlens Noel, and Kevin Knox, who is surprisingly playing well.

Toppin is an exceptional scorer who may not have a true position in the league due to his size and inability to defend yet he should be fantasy-viable at least when getting minutes. Toppin can be a contributor in points, rebounds, threes, and maybe even stocks? He has incredible hops and could rack up blocks here. He averaged about one block and steal per game in college and could muster up one full stock per game in reasonable minutes as a role player this year.

For real fantasy production though, Julius Randle will either have to get hurt or traded for Toppin to ascend to “must-own" status. He is merely a speculative addition for now to see his role in the coming week and whether it grows.

Obi Toppin FAAB bid range: 3-8%

Delon Wright, PG/SG, Detroit Pistons (33%)

No player in more minutes has been as frustrating as Delon Wright. Everything has broken his way to be a productive fantasy player yet he simply refuses outside of the occasional stuffed stat-sheet. Rookie Killian Hayes is missing most of this season due to a labrum injury, Derrick Rose is oft-injured, and the team is bad enough to play Wright in a massive role. Over his past three games, he is averaging 8.3 points, 6 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block in 34 minutes per game. That may look fine and dandy, especially with just 1 turnover over that span but when he’s shooting 33% from the field on 10 shots per game, it is hard to swallow unless you are already punting field goal.

Wright has never been much of a scorer, but his efficiency is down DRAMATICALLY this season. His career FG is 45% and this year it is 37.8%. One aspect may be the team he is on. The Pistons are arguably the worst team in the league and this is the first time Wright has played for a non-playoff contender. If you want to bank on Wright’s shot to regress back to the 40% range, go ahead, it would not be the craziest occurrence.

Delon Wright FAAB bid range: 2-5%

Sleeper NBA Waiver-Wire Add

Taurean Prince, SF/PF, Cleveland Cavaliers (4%)

Lost in the James Harden trade saga and hoopla is Taurean Prince, who has been left in Cleveland after an extended stay in Brooklyn. Plenty was made of Jarrett Allen landing in Cleveland out of the blue, but along with him is a guy who used to be drafted in fantasy’s top 100 and is looking to play for a team in need of his services.

The Cavaliers do not have many true wings on the roster. Isaac Okoro is swinging between guard and forward, while Cedi Osman is the only real overlap for Prince. Osman’s been playing far too much, and the Cavs know it. Prince may not hit 30 minutes per game as he did in the past with Atlanta and Brooklyn but 25 or so is in the cards.

Prince will hurt your field goal percentage, but the boost in free throw is enough to balance it out. He will provide points, rebounds, threes, and about a steal per game with low turnovers. He is the ideal back-end-of-the-roster guy you can drop if necessary without sweating it.

Taurean Prince FAAB bid range: 1-5%

Prepare for Week 5 basketball action

After gathering your list of adds for the Week 5 NBA Waiver Wire and your Top Fantasy Basketball Week 5 Pickups, read our full NBA coverage for fantasy basketball and basketball betting tips.


Kev Mahserejian

Kev Mahserejian is an NFL/NBA/MLB analyst at The Game Day, residing in Los Angeles, CA. He graduated from the University of Southern California in 2017 and began creating sports content soon after. Kev currently writes fantasy and betting pieces while also hosting his podcast The Operating Room with various guests from the sports industry to discuss topics primarily regarding fantasy. He also writes for RotoBaller and is quite active on his Twitter @RotoSurgeon.

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