Basketball Pickups: Houstan, we don't have a problem

by Zak Hanshew

Caleb Houstan (1% rostered)

Houstan finished Sunday’s win over Atlanta with 25 points, two rebounds, four assists, a steal and seven triples across 36 minutes. He fared well against Sacramento, turning in a 15/2/1 line with four steals and four triples after Franz Wagner exited early. Houstan provided only eight points, an assist and two triples Friday against Denver, but he roared back to life Sunday. Drawing his first start of the season, Houstan finished behind only Paolo Banchero (35 points) for team lead in the scoring department as he made it rain with a barrage of three-pointers. Clinging to a 102-98 lead, the Magic gave up an and-one to Dejounte Murray to make the game 102-101. Thirteen seconds later, Houstan drilled a clutch triple to give Orlando a 105-101 lead. The Hawks tied it up 45 seconds later, and Houstan missed a game-winning three at the buzzer, but the fact that he was in the position to take both of those shots is quite encouraging for his fantasy value moving forward. His 36 minutes were only bested by Banchero (45 minutes) and Chuma Okeke (38 minutes), but Okeke provided a scant 3/7/2 line in his time on the court. Franz Wagner’s absence should be beneficial for Houstan’s playing time, and Houstan is worth a look in 12-team leagues to see if he can keep it going against Minnesota on Tuesday.

Killian Hayes (6%), Alec Burks (12%), Jaden Ivey (50%)

Cade Cunningham has been an absolute beast as of late, but he left Sunday’s loss to Denver with a knee strain after only 11 minutes. Burks was on the streaming radar already due to his recent surge in points and triples, but Hayes and Ivey are now in the mix in 12-team leagues as well. Ivey started Sunday alongside Cunningham, and he finished the game with 13 points, six assists, four rebounds and a steal. Hayes started the second half and turned in two points, two rebounds, six assists and a steal, and Burks finished with 18 points and three triples. If Cunningham is forced to miss time moving forward, any of these three could step up in his place. Keep an eye on the injury report and upcoming rotations and minutes.

Duop Reath (10%)

Reath finished Sunday’s win over Brooklyn with 15 points, 13 boards, an assist, a steal, three swats and three triples across 41 minutes. He went for 16/7/2 on Friday against Dallas, and he turned his second straight start into his first career double-double and a career-best block total. There’s no timeline for Deandre Ayton’s return from a lingering knee injury, and with Moses Brown (wrist) and Jabari Walker (foot) dealing with injuries of their own. Reath has shown the most upside of any of Portland’s center options, and he’s done enough with his recent opportunities to potentially earn a larger role moving forward. He’s worth adding in all formats.

Tre Jones (52%)

Jones has started each of San Antonio’s last two games, and he’s been solid in those contests, posting averages of 18.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 triples. Jones scored exactly 18 points and logged at least 34 points in each contest. Jones was down bad early in the season while coming off the bench, but now that he’s been inserted back into the starting five, he’s back, baby! Malaki Branham’s ankle injury opened the door for Jones, but Jones remained in the starting five with Branham back in action Sunday.

Sam Merrill (2%), Caris LeVert (56%)

Merrill has scored in double figures in four straight, averaging 14.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.5 triples in that span. He’s been a solid streaming option, particularly for points and triples, and he’s available nearly everywhere.

LeVert has scored at least 21 points in three of his last four, and he’s been contributing meaningful counting stats in the process. LeVert is known to go cold on occasion, but he’s done enough as a rebounder, facilitator and defender to make up for the poor shooting nights. His roster percentage jumped by 12% over the last week, so add him while he’s still available.