Fantasy Basketball 2022: Pickups and NBA Waiver-Wire Adds After Jan. 12

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2022

Fantasy Basketball 2022: Pickups and NBA Waiver-Wire Adds After Jan. 12

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    Scott Audette/Associated Press

    The Orlando Magic roster has been an unexpected gold mine for finding fantasy basketball sleepers. 

    Terrence Ross started to heat up from the field just as Gary Harris' string of impressive performances came to an end. 

    Ross has been a consistent double-digit scorer off the Orlando bench all season, but his fantasy profile grew with a pair of 30-point performances in January.

    The 30-year-old's production increase is just one of a few situations fantasy basketball players can take advantage of through the waiver wire. 

    And Atlanta Hawks' Onyeka Okongwu and Dennis Smith Jr. of the Portland Trail Blazers are expected to earn more run in their lineups because of injury situations with Clint Capela and Damian Lillard, respectively. 

Terrence Ross, SG/SF, Orlando

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    Fernando Medina/Getty Images

    Terrance Ross' scoring increase in January has led to more fantasy basketball interest. 

    The veteran Magic guard produced 33 points on January 2 versus the Boston Celtics and then put up 32 points on Sunday against the Washington Wizards. 

    The 30-point performances are outliers when it comes to his overall averages, but they aren't just flash-in-the-pan outings. 

    Ross consistently finds himself in double figures because of his high shot volume as part of Orlando's second unit. He averaged 16.4 field-goal attempts per game over six January games, and his output has not been affected by Cole Anthony's return from injury. 

    The Washington product could see a small decrease when Jalen Suggs returns to the Orlando lineup, but he should be trusted as the hot hand in the offense for now. 

    Ross could be used as a backup option at either shooting guard and small forward in Yahoo fantasy basketball leagues. It is worth riding his form as long as the shot volume remains high. 

Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, Atlanta

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Onyeka Okongwu's fantasy basketball value is attached to Clint Capela's health right now. 

    The No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft has not cracked the Atlanta Hawks' starting lineup over Capela, but he has the potential to contribute more often.

    Okongwu produced six points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes on Wednesday versus the Miami Heat. 

    The 21-year-old is averaging 9.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game primarily in a bench role. Those numbers could increase in the coming weeks if he receives more playing time. 

    Okongwu was on the floor for at least 20 minutes in three of his last four appearances, which could be a promising sign for fantasy basketball players looking to buy low on his stock. 

    If Capela's injury issues linger, Okongwu could carry more fantasy value with his increased minutes, but for now, he is at best a backup fantasy center who has potential to improve as he gets more minutes.

Dennis Smith Jr., PG, Portland

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    Craig Mitchelldyer/Associated Press

    Dennis Smith Jr. has been more of an occasional fantasy pickup than a consistent contributor over the last few seasons. 

    However, the 24-year-old's role in the immediate future with the Portland Trail Blazers could lean him more toward the latter category. 

    Damian Lillard is set to undergo abdominal surgery on Thursday, per The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania, which opens a long-term hole in the Portland offense. 

    Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little have filled in admirably in the starting lineup, but the Blazers need more production off their bench from the guard position.

    Smith recently signed a guaranteed contract for the rest of the season and has the potential to add some quality off the Portland bench.

    The North Carolina State alum averaged 9.3 points per game in December and also had three double-digit performances last month. He has one 10-point outing in five January appearances.

    Smith may play a larger role on Thursday since Simons is out due to personal reasons, but he could also provide some long-term depth at point guard if he plays into a comfortable role with Portland's second unit.