Everything You Could Possibly Want To Know For The Upcoming Week Of Fantasy Basketball
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So much for my previous FAAB strategy of picking up an injured Orlando Magic PF/C Glen Davis and stashing him away. Big Baby had returned from his previous sprained left shoulder, and he was playing pretty well. However, he suffered a broken left foot in Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks and he has returned to Orlando for further tests. It’s uncertain how long he’ll be sidelined, but obviously this is a long-term injury. Fantasy owners will want to drop him immediately.
With Davis on the shelf again, the biggest beneficiary might be rookie F Andrew Nicholson, who has shown well in the past during spurts. Nicholson is certainly worth adding in deeper leagues if you need an immediate replacement for Davis, and/or if you’re just a little thin in the frontcourt. Moe Harkless and DeQuan Jones might also see additional responsibilities, but take a wait-and-see approach with those two, as they don’t warrant any fantasy consideration just yet.
In Boston, the big news was the loss of Celtics PG Rajon Rondo (knee) to a torn anterior cruciate ligament over the weekend. It’s a huge blow to the playoff chances of the Celtics, and to fantasy owners. We’ll focus on the latter, obviously. Head coach Doc Rivers has mixed and match so far, trying to find a solution on the fly. G Courtney Lee has moved into the starting five, and G Avery Bradley will also see a bigger role. G Leandro Barbosa will also scoot up one spot in the rotation and should see plenty of minutes. Barbosa could work his way into a more prominent role with some consistency, and we’ve obviously seen him do well at times for fantasy owners in past stops with the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors.
Let’s focus on Lee, though, who seems to be getting the biggest chance. He has played exactly 26 minutes in each of his past three outings with mixed results. He posted 16 points with seven rebounds, four assists and two steals Friday at Atlanta, but that game also went to double-overtime. Over the past two games, he has still averaged just 6.5 ppg with 2.5 apg and no rebounds. While he might be plugged into the starting five, those are hardly numbers to make fantasy owners smile. Bradley might be the better option. Over his past three games, he is averaging 11.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg and 2.0 spg. Remember, he is just 22 years old and this could be a golden opportunity for Bradley to shine. He is finally starting to look like himself after having both of his shoulders surgically repaired. While that will be a concern for the immediate future, and his workload might still be given a ceiling as a result, Bradley might be the one you’ll want to target if you’re trying to decide between the triumvirate of Celtics guards.
There was also a decent sized trade this past week with fantasy implications. The Detroit Pistons, Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors agreed to a three-team deal which shakes things up a little bit. The biggest news is that PG Jose Calderon finds a new home, although the situation might not be as good as you would think. Calderon was shipped to Memphis, and then flipped to Detroit, where he is expected to remain in a backup role behind second-year man Brandon Knight. It was hoped by fantasy owners that Calderon would move to a situation, perhaps Boston, where he would get a chance to serve as the starting point guard, gobbling up plenty of minutes. In the D, that might not be the case, although he certainly has a much better chance to leapfrog Knight than Kyle Lowry in Toronto.
PF/C Ed Davis moved on from Toronto to Memphis where he will be behind PF Zach Randolph on the depth chart. The early indications are that the Grizzlies are very excited about the future prospects of Davis, and that might very well signal the end of Z-Bo along the shores of the Mississippi River. Davis posted 14.2 ppg with 7.8 rpg in his final five games for the Raps, but his production will likely be tamped down with his new team. However, he could re-emerge as a Top 20 option at his position if Randolph goes down to injury.
As for the rest of the deal, SF Rudy Gay moves on from Memphis to Toronto, where he is expected to see a bump in scoring totals. In fact, he might be the only guy in this deal who sees an immediate and pronounced jump in fantasy value. He was already a must-start. F Tayshaun Prince moves on from the only NBA team he has known, and he is expected to replace Gay in the starting five at small forward. Prince, now 32, is getting up there in age a little bit. He was once a solid fantasy option, but is now more of a fringe option in leagues of 12 or more teams. However, on a better team with more attention being paid to better players, Prince could see a slight bump in value simply because he finds himself with a few more open looks. Still, don’t get too crazy spending on him. F Austin Daye moves from Detroit to Memphis, and C Hamed Haddadi goes from Memphis to Toronto, but the fantasy value for each remains negligible.
Here is the breakdown, team-by-team, for the upcoming week:
Teams with four games (18): Brooklyn, Charlotte, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana,
L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Phoenix,
Teams with three games (12): Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Milwaukee, New Orleans,
Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto, Washington
TV time: national broadcasts in the upcoming week.
MON: Sacramento at Utah (NBATV, 9:00pm ET)
WED: San Antonio at Minnesota (ESPN, 9:00pm ET)
THU: L.A. Lakers at Boston (TNT, 8:00pm ET), Chicago at Denver (TNT, 10:30pm ET)
FRI: L.A. Clippers at Miami (ESPN, 8:00pm ET), Chicago at Utah (ESPN, 10:30pm ET)
SAT: Utah at Sacramento (NBATV, 10:00pm ET)
SUN: L.A. Clippers at New York (ABC, 1:00pm ET), L.A. Lakers at Miami (ABC, 3:30pm ET), San
Antonio at Brooklyn (ESPN, 8:00pm ET)
Usually when you see the Charlotte Bobcats and Houston Rockets on the upcoming schedule for your fantasy players, it is going to be a good week. And the Miami Heat’s schedule feature both. The Bobcats and Rockets are among the worst defensive teams in the NBA statistically, so F LeBron James, G Dwyane Wade and company will be in for a big week. Things might slow a bit against the L.A. Clippers, but what looked to be a marquee game Sunday could turn into a laugher against the L.A. Lakers.
The Atlanta Hawks just came off a two-game week, killing fantasy owners in cumulative leagues. Now, they face a three-game week featuring the top two scoring defenses in the NBA (Indiana, Memphis). Things will improve soon for the Hawks, but it’s again a week to reserve most all of your Hawks except for PF/C Josh Smith.
Golden State Warriors rookie F Harrison Barnes (calf, knee) had an MRI on his lower leg Wednesday, and the results were favorable. However, there is no timetable on how long he will be on the shelf after suffering an injury Monday night. He has been decent in deeper fantasy play, and is a must-have in long-term keeper formats, but those in weekly re-draft leagues with 12 or fewer teams need to pay him no mind.
Los Angeles Lakers PF/C Dwight Howard (shoulder) is playing through shoulder pain, and will be a question mark for the remainder of the season. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him sitting in the second halves of back-to-back situations unless he shows significant improvement. There is no official word that will happen, but he has certainly been nicked up in his first season with the Lakers, and he won’t get better until he gets some semblance of rest.
New York Knicks PG Jason Kidd (back) missed the second half of Sunday’s game with Atlanta due to a sore lower back, and he was on the sidelines Wednesday as well. Kidd has been in and out of the lineup due to a bevy of ailments, and the veteran is a question mark heading into the weekend. Even when he does return, G Raymond Felton (finger) is now back from a finger injury and Kidd’s minutes will be reduced slightly since he won’t have to shoulder as much of the load. Less minutes, of course, means less fantasy value.
Orlando Magic SG Arron Afflalo (calf) has missed two straight games due to a strained left calf, so monitor his status closely over the weekend before pulling the trigger on him. Make sure he can return and play one full game without any setbacks before plugging him back into the active lineup.
The players listed below are likely available in a majority of fantasy leagues. If you need help in specific
categories in Rotisserie formats, these guys might be able to give you a nice boost:
Assists: Beno Udrih, PG, MIL (5.5 apg over his past 10 games)
Blocks: Samuel Dalembert, C, MIL (1.9 bpg over his past seven games)
Points: Jimmy Butler, SF, CHI (11.8 ppg over his past 12 games)
Steals: Avery Bradley, SG, BOS (1.3 spg over his past nine games)
Rebounds: Kendrick Perkins, C, OKC (7.0 rpg over his past 10 games)
3-pointers: Keith Bogans, SG, BRK (16 3-pointers made over his past 11 games)
Note: all statistics through 01/30/13
Los Angeles Clippers PF Blake Griffin (ankle) woke up Wednesday with swelling in his left ankle, according to The Orange County Register. While he did not miss Wednesday’s game at Minnesota, and he posted 26 points (11-of-17 FG) with 13 rebounds and three steals in 36 minutes, he was playing with a noticeable limp. Griffin said afterward that “it’s a pain management thing” and that “it’s really not that bad.” That’s good news for fantasy owners, who should start him as usual. … Golden State Warriors C Andrew Bogut (ankle) was able to make a surprising return over the weekend. He is still reportedly not quite 100 percent, and the team will have him playing under a 25-minute restriction, as they slowly ease him into the lineup. As such, he is only worth activating in the deepest of fantasy leagues until such point as he gets starter’s minutes. There is no word on when that might be. … Atlanta Hawks PF/C Al Horford (hamstring) has been dealing with a minor hamstring issue, but it isn’t enough to keep him sidelined. He posted 22 points with 10 boards and no turnovers Wednesday, so he remains an obvious must-start unless he suffers some type of setback.
Photos via Getty