Fantasy Basketball 2022: NBA Pickups to Watch After Jan. 26

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2022

Fantasy Basketball 2022: NBA Pickups to Watch After Jan. 26

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    Derick Hingle/Associated Press

    The injury issues across the Indiana Pacers roster have opened up opportunities for players who began the NBA regular season in lesser roles. 

    And Chris Duarte has taken advantage of the chance to score at a higher rate throughout his rookie season.

    The 24-year-old is Indiana's No. 2 scorer at the moment behind Caris LeVert, and he should have ample chances to score in double figures while Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner are sidelined.

    Duarte is one of a few players thriving in an extended scoring role across the league right now.

    Bismack Biyombo has emerged as a decent paint threat off the bench for the Phoenix Suns, and Reggie Bullock could be in for additional scoring while Tim Hardaway Jr. is on the Dallas Mavericks' injury list. 

Chris Duarte, SG/SF, Indiana

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    Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

    Chris Duarte has scored in double figures in his last six trips to the hardwood for the Indiana Pacers. 

    The Oregon alum has been asked to do more in the scoring department lately because the team is without three of its top scorers due to injuries. 

    Malcolm Brogdon's absence directly impacted Duarte's playing time in the backcourt, and the shooting guard has also taken advantage of injuries to Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. 

    Sabonis and Brogdon accounted for 37.5 points per game, and Turner contributed 12.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game before he got hurt.

    Duarte attempted 11.5 field goals per game in January, which is an increase of one shot per contest from December. That may not seem like a lot, but it's a significant increase for a rookie who was expected to play a bench role for most of the season.

    The No. 13 pick in the 2021 NBA draft is the best fantasy basketball waiver-wire option from the Pacers right now because of that production and Caris LeVert's high roster percentage. 

    You could try to land Goga Bitadze, Justin Holiday or other role players, but Duarte has been the most consistent player outside of LeVert and is available in a good amount of Yahoo leagues. 

Bismack Biyombo, C, Phoenix

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Bismack Biyombo has become one of the most unlikely fantasy basketball pickups of the season.

    The 29-year-old signed a deal with the Phoenix Suns a few weeks ago, and he has been fantastic in a reserve role while Deandre Ayton is out injured. 

    Biyombo has three straight double-digit performances and 10 or more points in four of his last five appearances. He also has 13 or 14 rebounds in three of his last five contests. All of those numbers have occurred in a reserve role. 

    A case could be made that the Congolese player should be Phoenix's first center off the bench over JaVale McGee when Ayton returns. 

    For now, Biyombo is a must-add as a backup center in fantasy basketball circles because of his consistent points and rebound production. 

Reggie Bullock, SG/SF, Dallas

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Reggie Bullock should see a production increase over the next few games. 

    The 30-year-old scored 15 points on Wednesday night in the Dallas Mavericks' first game without Tim Hardaway Jr., who suffered a fracture in his foot on Tuesday.

    Bullock has spent plenty of time on the court this season, but his scoring role has come into question because of Dallas' backcourt depth.

    The North Carolina product has a defined role while Hardaway is out as the primary perimeter scorer off the Dallas bench. That should boost his fantasy stock over the next few weeks. 

    Bullock played the most minutes and attempted the highest total of shots among Dallas' bench players in Portland on Wednesday. 

    If that trend keeps up, the Baltimore native should be a nice depth piece behind starting guards in fantasy leagues.