Fantasy Basketball Pickups: Streaming in Memphis

The 2023-24 season has been one to forget for the Memphis Grizzlies. It began with Ja Morant's 25-game suspension and then a host of injuries that led to the team starting the year with a 6-19 record. His return sparked hope that the team could turn things around, especially as formerly injured players returned to the court. Morant is done for the season with a shoulder injury, and the Grizzlies were also without Jaren Jackson Jr. and Santi Aldama for Tuesday's game in Dallas.

Begin the "tank" immediately? Never, and it's probably going to take hard work on the part of the decision-makers to get the Grizzlies to pull the plug because the players didn't appear too interested in feeling sorry for themselves during a 120-103 win over the Mavericks. The absences of Morant and Jackson left Taylor Jenkins with two voids to fill in his starting lineup, with Luke Kennard (8% rostered, Yahoo) and Vince Williams Jr. (26%) receiving the nod.

Kennard had the better night of the two, finishing with 14 points, five rebounds, four assists, one steal, and three 3-pointers in 23 minutes. But Williams logged 30, and while he didn't provide much scoring (six points on two 3-pointers), he was responsible for six rebounds, six assists, and three steals. Williams and Kennard are worth adding in the aftermath of Morant's injury, and the Grizzlies lost Marcus Smart during Tuesday's game with a dislocated finger on his right (shooting) hand. Memphis doesn't play again until Friday when the Clippers visit, but that's the first game of a back-to-back. Will Jackson and Aldama be available? And if so, will they play both games (vs. NYK on Saturday)?

Let's look at a few more of Tuesday's top pickups:

Moritz Wagner (23%)

Deciding between Wagner and Goga Bitadze as an alternative with Wendell Carter Jr. sidelined has been difficult for some fantasy managers, with the latter receiving the nod more often than not due to his being the starter. However, Wagner has provided solid value and played very well in Tuesday's loss to the Timberwolves.

Yes, Wagner was on the wrong end of a Karl-Anthony Towns poster, but he finished with 21 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one 3-pointer in 31 minutes. Bitadze, who played 17 minutes, has been the superior fantasy option primarily because of the blocks, while Wagner offers more scoring and a higher free-throw percentage. Orlando doesn't play again until Friday when it begins a road trip in Miami, and they visit Oklahoma City the following night.

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Caleb Houstan (10%)

Sticking with the Magic, Houstan's recent spike in playing time has made him worthy of consideration in deep leagues. He didn't shoot the ball well on Tuesday, going 3-of-12 from the field and scoring eight points. But he's played 31 minutes or more in three of Orlando's last four games and has hit at least two 3-pointers in five straight games. Given the need for perimeter shooting to improve the spacing, especially with Franz Wagner sidelined, Houstan's minutes should remain consistent. The consistency hasn't been there, which makes it difficult to fully trust the second-year wing, but keep an eye on him.

Alec Burks (26%)

The Pistons' first game after losing Cade Cunningham to a strained knee got off to a promising start, but then the Kings walked them down and turned a close game into a blowout during the fourth quarter. Killian Hayes played poorly as Cunningham's replacement, and rookie Marcus Sasser wasn't any better. But Burks played well, tallying 16 points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal, and three 3-pointers in just 20 minutes. The playing time is a concern regarding streaming possibilities, but Burks is eligible at point guard, shooting guard, and small forward in Yahoo leagues, and he's been a top 100 player over the past two weeks.

Xavier Tillman (5%)

Going back to the Grizzlies, Tillman remained with the bench unit for Tuesday's game in Dallas. That didn't keep him from putting forth his most productive game of the season, as he tallied 14 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks in 28 minutes. Whether or not Tillman has value moving forward will depend on the statuses of Jackson and Aldama. The 28 minutes are the most he's played in a game since October 30 (29 minutes vs. Dallas), with Tillman being a starter and Bismack Biyombo not even a team member.

Thaddeus Young (< 1%)

While fantasy managers were wrestling with whether or not they should trust Chris Boucher in the aftermath of the Jakob Poeltl ankle injury, the Raptors decided to go in a different direction to fill the void. Toronto went small, moving Young into the starting lineup, and he was very productive in a one-point loss to the Lakers. The veteran forward played 29 minutes, finishing with 10 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals, and one blocked shot. As for Boucher, he played 14 minutes off the bench, two fewer than his total in Sunday's win over Golden State (which Poeltl played 31 minutes in). If you're going to add anyone, let it be Thaddeus.