As always, the players in this article must be rostered in less than two-thirds of CBS leagues. Players are listed in the order that I recommend adding them, assuming they are equally good fits for your team.
Adds for all leagues
T.J. Warren, Nets (31% rostered)
Long, long ago (roughly 2.5 years), in a galaxy far, far away (Orlando), a hero named Bubble Warren put up 35-7-2 with 3.0 stocks and 4.0 3s across a five-game stretch. That hero was injured in the next game and played just four NBA games over the following 27 months.
Warren finally returned to action at the beginning of December, and his workload and production are improving. Though his last game was a dud, it followed his best game so far, a 23-8-2 effort in 27 minutes. He'll never recreate the absurd highs he reached during those five games in The Bubble, but Warren was a highly valuable Fantasy producer for years. It's entirely plausible that he could return to reliable Fantasy viability.
Mark Williams, Hornets (11% rostered)
I like Williams as an NBA prospect, and I love him as a Fantasy prospect. Unfortunately, he plays for one of the more rookie-averse coaches in the league. That's why, despite mid-first-round draft capital and one of the weakest center depth charts in the association (sorry to Mason Plumlee and his family), Williams has played in just six games. But he appears to have taken over the backup center job, playing 16, 18, and 21 minutes over the last three games. Despite the limited minutes, his defensive production has been excellent, with five steals and four blocks total. If he can hold onto 20 minutes per game, he's rosterable in all leagues. If he can get more, he becomes a high-priority pickup. Those are big "if"s, given the coaching staff, but he's worth adding now if you can, and he's already a priority in deep leagues or keeper formats.
Cameron Johnson, Suns (56% rostered)
Look, you know I'm going to mention him. He's getting close to returning. He's traveling with the team on their current road trip. And he takes on added relevance after the news that Devin Booker (groin) is out for at least a month and possibly more. Other Suns like Cameron Payne also benefit from Booker's injury and are listed below, but Johnson would be my top Phoenix pickup.
Recommendations from last week who would get a blurb except about whom I have nothing new to say: Quentin Grimes, Knicks; Onyeka Okongwu, Hawks; Donte DiVincenzo, Warriors
Other recommendations: Jeremy Sochan, Spurs; Jaden McDaniels, Timberwolves; Cameron Payne, Suns; Landry Shamet, Suns; Jalen Williams, Thunder; Naz Reid, Timberwolves; Moe Wagner, Magic; Brandon Clarke, Grizzlies
Miles Bridges, Hornets (39% rostered)
Perhaps in your holiday preparations you missed one of the shadiest Friday news dumps in recent memory. Mere hours before Christmas Eve, the Hornets and Miles Bridges let it be known that they have made progress in negotiations on a new contract. Bridges is a restricted free agent who remains unsigned after gruesome domestic violence accusations last summer (he pleaded no contest to a felony charge in the case). If he does sign, he will face a suspension from the NBA (he cannot be suspended right now as he is currently not an NBA player).
The precedents here imply a suspension in the neighborhood of 25 games. If the forward signs shortly and the suspension is on the lower end, he could play 15 to 20 games this season – possibly more, though that seems unlikely. It is, of course, also possible that the contract's timing and the suspension keep him out for the entirety of 2022-23.
Look, play Fantasy how you want to play. This is supposed to be fun. For me, rooting for Bridges every night doesn't sound fun. But I get it – losing also isn't fun. Adding Bridges comes with baggage, and your league-mates will all get that automated alert that includes your name and his. But if he plays this season, he will probably be the best or second-best per-game Fantasy producer anyone picked up all season. He was a top-35 player last year.
Schedule notes for daily lineup leagues
Week 12 is busy in the NBA, with all 21 teams playing four times. Only one team, the Wizards, plays two games, while the remaining eight play three.
Once again, the daily schedule is lopsided, with Monday, Wednesday, and Friday boasting stuffed slates of 11, 12, and 11, while the following days sport just three, four, and five games.
For managers with weekly lineups, the busy schedule is all that matters. Avoid the Wizards, and try to minimize your exposure to players with three games.
For managers with daily lineups, however, a busy week and a lopsided schedule make things interesting and open many opportunities for advantages.
For example, though the Wizards play just twice, one of their games is on Tuesday, the lightest day of the week. Many managers will not have space in their starting lineups on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. That makes a Wizard pickup more valuable than a Knick, whose three games are on those busy days.
There is an important group of 16 teams in Week 12 who play three of their four games on the busy days (Hawks, Nets, Hornets, Bulls, Cavaliers, Pistons, Pacers, Lakers, Heat, Timberwolves, Pelicans, 76ers, Suns, Trail Blazers, Spurs, Raptors). Two more, the Bucks* and Warriors, have three-game weeks, including two on busy days. Generally speaking, these 18 teams, plus the aforementioned Knicks, are the ones daily lineups managers need to be wary of.
For many managers, the Wizards' two-game week is actually more valuable than all* of those teams. Those teams are likely to add only one start to your weekly total, yet the Wizards' added start comes on a day when that is more valuable.
(*The Bucks also play Tuesday and so are equally valuable to the Wizards, but attempts to work that information in earlier made the last two paragraphs much harder to read)
The best schedule of Week 12 belongs to the Jazz, closely followed by the Celtics. They are the only two teams to play on all three of the week's light days, and the Jazz add on a game on Sunday's modest nine-game slate as a bonus.
The Mavericks, Kings, and Magic are the only teams with two games on the small slates. The Mavericks have four games, while the Kings and Magic have three.
The Thunder, Rockets, Clippers, and Grizzlies have one game on a small slate and one on Sunday's medium-sized slate. The Grizzlies have three games overall, while the others have four.
Regarding three-games-in-four-nights sets (3-in-4s), the most important ones are among the teams already mentioned as having a good schedule. The Rockets are the only team to start the week with a 3-in-4. The Mavericks, Jazz, and Clippers end the week with a 3-in-4.