Fantasy Basketball 2021: Lineup Advice for NBA Week 8

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2021

Fantasy Basketball 2021: Lineup Advice for NBA Week 8

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    Marta Lavandier/Associated Press

    The waiver wire remains a potential gold mine entering Week 8 of the 2020-21 fantasy basketball season.

    Roles and opportunities are becoming clearer. Injuries are piling up. Savvy fantasy roster managers are noting all of the above and more—such as useful statistical metrics, scheduling particulars and strengths of opposing defenses—to awaken to Week 8 sleepers before their leaguemates catch up.

    To help all you early birds pull up a stat sheet-stuffing worm and position your lineup for maximum success, we'll spotlight three targets—available in 50-plus percent of Yahoo leagues, per Fantasy Pros—worth your waiver-wire attention.

Joe Ingles, SG/SF, Utah Jazz (40 Percent Rostered)

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

    You know the cliched response whenever a player gets injured involving the "next man up" mentality? Well, it's cliched for a reason. Teams preach it, because there's no choice other than moving on from the absence and finding a player (or players) to replace the production.

    That's why the "next man up" alarm should blare every time someone goes down. Minutes, shots and usage are suddenly stripped from the rotation and must be dispersed among the healthy players.

    That's why Joe Ingles needs a long look this week. The Utah Jazz lost Mike Conley to a hamstring strain, and while they haven't indicated he'll be gone for significant time, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News noted the club felt compelled to promote two-way player Trent Forrest.

    If Conley misses more games, Ingles could snag a much greater share of the offense. He's a smooth shot-creator and a butter-soft shooter from distance. When Conley was forced to exit Saturday's game early, Ingles picked up the slack with 10 points, two triples and a season-high 11 assists. While his production fell Sunday (seven points and three assists), he still landed fourth on the team in minutes (32) and shots (10).

Kendrick Nunn, PG/SG, Miami Heat (25 Percent Rostered)

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    Marta Lavandier/Associated Press

    While Kendrick Nunn would surely prefer to have a consistent spot in Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra's rotation, the fact Nunn hasn't has forced him to master the delicate art of staying ready for whenever opportunities arise.

    That time is now. Goran Dragic is nursing an ankle injury, and Avery Bradley will lose multiple weeks to a calf strain.

    Nunn is already showing what those absences can mean for his fantasy output. On Saturday, Nunn played for the first time in four games and hit the ground sprinting with 25 points, eight rebounds and two steals. On Sunday, he popped for another 16 points (on 6-of-11 shooting, 4-of-7 from range), along with four rebounds and three assists.

    He's more of an undersized scoring guard than a floor general, so don't rely on him for distribution. But if you're targeting points, threes and a smattering of steals, Nunn is your guy.

Patrick Williams, SF/PF, Chicago Bulls (19 Percent Rostered)

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Rostering a rookie can be tricky. Their production tends to be more volatile, and you always want to make sure they're interesting for reasons other than being the fantasy realm's shiny, new object.

    In the case of Patrick Williams, he's catching our attention for all of the right reasons.

    He's been a starter since opening night, so the opportunity volume is rarely in question. His production is growing more consistent, too, as he's riding a career-best five-game streak with double-digit points, and he's perking up on the glass with seven-plus rebounds in each of his last three contests. Throw in solid (or better) shooting rates from the field (48.0) and at the stripe (81.0), and he's checking all of the necessary boxes.

    But listen closely, and you'll hear why Williams deserves a mention. Did you hear it? It was opportunity's knock. The Chicago Bulls' frontcourt is down three regulars in Wendell Carter Jr. (quad), Otto Porter Jr. (back) and Lauri Markkanen (shoulder), so the runway is cleared for Williams to log major minutes and feast on offensive chances.