Fantasy Basketball 2022: Deep NBA Sleepers After January 3

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2022

Fantasy Basketball 2022: Deep NBA Sleepers After January 3

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    Nikki Boertman/Associated Press

    The Memphis Grizzlies embark on the busiest week of play left on the NBA schedule over the next seven days.

    Memphis is slated for a rare five-game week that includes four road trips across the United States. The Grizzlies open with back-to-back road games against the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers. Then they head home for a clash with the Detroit Pistons on Thursday before returning to the road for a two-game jaunt to Los Angeles.

    The Grizzlies need to rely on their depth to get through the brutal week, which makes their reserve players intriguing additions from the fantasy basketball waiver wire.

    Tyus Jones and Brandon Clarke could feature in larger roles at stretches of the five-game run or they may produce their regular workload at a higher weekly rate.

    Other deep fantasy sleepers come from rosters that are still depleted by COVID-19-related issues. The Oklahoma City Thunder might be the best target for those types of players because of the exposure to younger players added by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's absence.

Brandon Clarke, SF/PF, Memphis

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    Nikki Boertman/Associated Press

    Brandon Clarke enters the Grizzlies' grueling five-game stretch off one of his best performances of the season.

    Clarke produced 17 points and nine rebounds against the San Antonio Spurs on New Year's Eve, marking just the fourth time this season he had 15 or more points.

    He is expected to play a larger role in the Memphis offense over the next week because of the tough schedule and the absences of Kyle Anderson and Dillon Brooks, who are in the health and safety protocols. The former only recently entered, so Clarke could be in line for a production increase over the entire week.

    Clarke played 23 minutes versus San Antonio. That was his longest spell on the hardwood in over a month.

    The 25-year-old is widely available in Yahoo fantasy basketball leagues, and his eligibility at both forward positions make him an intriguing pickup.

Tyus Jones, PG, Memphis

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    Nikki Boertman/Associated Press

    Tyus Jones filled up the stat sheet in Friday's win over the Spurs.

    Memphis' backup point guard produced 18 points, four rebounds and four assists in his best game since Ja Morant returned to the Grizzlies lineup.

    Jones was relegated to the second unit when Morant returned from his injury, but he will provide fantasy value over the next week.

    The 25-year-old is the No. 2 ball-handler on Memphis' roster, and he could receive an uptick in minutes in certain spots during the five-game stretch. Jones would receive extra playing time if the Grizzlies want to rest Morant or if they are involved in a few blowouts. The latter situation is most likely for Thursday's game versus the Detroit Pistons since they have a depleted roster.

    Jones should be added as a backup point guard in fantasy rosters regardless of the single-game situations because of how much time he will have on the court compared to other waiver-wire prospects.

Aaron Wiggins, SG/SF, Oklahoma City

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Aaron Wiggins produced five consecutive double-digit performances in his increased role for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    The 23-year-old started to receive more minutes as the Thunder began to lose players to health and safety protocols.

    Wiggins will not put up 20 points on a regular basis, but he can still add to a few stat columns while the Thunder are without Gilgeous-Alexander, who was placed in health and safety protocols Saturday.

    And he should still receive plenty of open looks with Josh Giddey in the lineup as the team's main distributor. Giddey recorded his first-career triple-double Sunday.

    Wiggins will provide depth to fantasy rosters in points and three-point shooting. He knocked down multiple three-pointers in three of his past five games.

    Oklahoma City plays back-to-back games against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday and Friday. Those should be favorable matchups for Wiggins against a defense that gives up 109.1 points per contest.