Fantasy Hoops: Portland Has Five Games, So Blaze On In Week 22
We’re heading down the final stretch of games in the regular season, and as usual there are plenty of players nursing injuries at this point.
Cleveland Cavaliers swingman C.J. Miles (ankle) was back out of the lineup Saturday after a brief return Tuesday. It’s uncertain if or when he’ll be able to return, so Fantasy owners should keep him reserved or even drop him if you need the roster spot. Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving (biceps) will be sidelined at least another seven to 10 days before he is re-evaluated. The good news is that he does not require surgery, but Fantasy owners have made it this far with him, and now might need to go the rest of the regular season without him. PG Matthew Dellavedova is a nice stopgap Fantasy owners if you need a quick replacement. He has been chipping in with a handful of points, assists, rebounds and steals lately.
Dallas Mavericks PG Jose Calderon took an elbow to the face in Sunday’s game against Brooklyn, and he is considered day to day. With the Mavericks scheduled for just three games in the upcoming week, it’s a good idea to reserve Calderon in all Fantasy leagues if you have healthier alternatives.
Denver Nuggets PF/C J.J. Hickson (knee) suffered a torn right anterior cruciate ligament, and he is obviously done for the season. C Timofey Mozgov will remain in the starting lineup, but he will likely see more responsibilities and minutes. SF Jan Vesely (ribs) is also expected to see a bigger role down the stretch, but he suffered an injury to his ribs over the weekend. Vesely is a player Fantasy owners might want to take a flier on in leagues of 12 or more teams when healthy. PF Darrell Arthur is also expected to see extra minutes down the stretch, making him a nice target in deeper formats.
Golden State Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala continues to deal with a knee injury, and head coach Mark Jackson told Yahoo! Sports that the team will not rush Iggy back. It is possible Iguodala might return Friday, but Fantasy owners need to keep him reserved until he can officially make it back and prove his health in one full game without any setbacks.
Houston Rockets C Dwight Howard missed the past three games due to his ankle injury, and the team won each of the outings while averaging 123.7 points per game. It’s not to say the Rockets are better off without Howard, because that is certainly not the case. However, it does mean the team will not rush him back until he is truly 100 percent. They have just three games in the upcoming week, and he is no certainty to play Monday. If you have healthier alternatives, it is a good idea to use them. As long as Howard is sidelined, C Omer Asik will fill in and be a decent No. 3 or 4 Fantasy center.
Los Angeles Lakers PF/C Pau Gasol (illness) was forced out of Sunday’s game due to dizziness and nausea, and ESPN Los Angeles reports that he spent the night in the hospital for a precautionary evaluation. According to a source, he received three liters of intravenous fluid. The Lakers have four games in the upcoming week, but with Gasol not a certainty Tuesday, he is a very risky play. … Swingman Xavier Henry is also back on the shelf due to a torn ligament in his left wrist. While the Los Angeles Times reports that Henry is hopeful of playing Tuesday, it is hard to believe he’ll be available. SG Kent Bazemore continues to benefit from the injuries around him.
Milwaukee Bucks PG Nate Wolters suffered a fractured left hand, and he will be sidelined for the rest of the season. Fantasy owners will want to drop him in all but the deepest of formats. It’s great news for owners of PG Ramon Sessions, who will do the heavy lifting at the point for the remainder of the season. … C Larry Sanders will not return this season after suffered a fractured orbital bone. There is no reason to rush him back, so Fantasy owners in re-draft leagues can safely drop him. … Bucks PF Ersan Ilyasova has been battling a nagging ankle injury, and the team plans to rest him in back-to-back situations. Since he played Sunday, he is expected to be on the Injured List Monday. With the Bucks slated for just three games, most Fantasy owners will want to keep him reserved.
Minnesota Timberwolves C Nikola Pekovic was out of the lineup Sunday due to his ankle injury, and he is a very questionable play for Fantasy owners in the upcoming week despite having four games on tap. There is just no sign that he will play Monday in Memphis, and the uncertainty means he is a reserve candidate. Rookie C Gorgui Dieng has filled in admirably, and is a nice start in deeper leagues.
New Orleans Pelicans G Eric Gordon is back on the mend due to tendinitis in his left knee. It isn’t the same knee which forced him to the sidelined previously, but it is a concern going into the new week. Fantasy owners, you know the drill.
Oklahoma City Thunder PG Russell Westbrook (knee) told The Oklahoman that he suffered a “light sprain” in the game Friday. He is expected to sit at least one of the next two games, likely Monday, so Fantasy owners can expect a total of just three games maximum, as he continues to rest in back-to-back situations.
Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown told The Philadelphia Inquirer that PG Tony Wroten (ankle) will miss the “whole trip,”, which means he will be out until at least Saturday against Detroit. Keep him reserved in all deeper Fantasy formats until he can return and play one full game to prove his health.
Portland Trail Blazers PF/C LaMarcus Aldridge (back) has been ruled out for Monday’s game, and the team wants to see him practice before he can play. With another game scheduled for Tuesday, he is likely to see a maximum of just three games in the upcoming week. And that is no certainty.
Team with five games (1): Portland
Teams with four games (17): Atlanta, Brooklyn, Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, San Antonio, Toronto, Utah
Teams with three games (11): Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Milwaukee, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Washington
Team with two games (1): Golden State
MON Portland at Miami (7:30pm NBATV)
TUE Oklahoma City at Dallas (8:00pm TNT), New York at L.A. Lakers (10:30pm TNT)
WED Miami at Indiana (8:00pm ESPN), Memphis at Utah (10:30pm ESPN)
SAT L.A. Clippers at Houston (8:00pm NBATV)
SUN Memphis at Portland (9:00pm NBATV)
* All Times Eastern (ET)
The last few weeks have seen teams with a five-game schedule, and this week the big winner will be the Portland Trail Blazers and their Fantasy owners. Even though a couple of the games are not necessarily favorable, like a trip to Miami and a home game against Memphis, they’ll more than make up for it with road games at Atlanta (102.3 points per game allowed) and Orlando (102.2 points per game allowed). Expect big weeks from PG Damian Lillard and swingman Nicolas Batum, especially with Aldridge dinged up.
The New York Knicks have a four-game west coast road trip against four defensively challenged teams. They’ll travel to L.A. Lakers (108.6 ppg), Sacramento (103.6 ppg), Phoenix (102.9 ppg) and Golden State (98.9 ppg), making it feel like a five-game week for Fantasy owners.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Golden State Warriors have a two-game week, and really the only players Fantasy owners need to start are PG Stephen Curry and PF David Lee. All other Warriors should be shuffled to the bench.
If you need help in specific categories in Rotisserie Fantasy play, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these guys, who should be available in your league, to help out in certain areas:
Darren Collison, PG, L.A. Clippers (15.7 ppg over the past seven games)
Ray Allen, SG, Miami (12.7 ppg over the past 12 games)
Rodney Stuckey, SG, Detroit (11.8 ppg over the past 10 games)
Richard Jefferson, SF, Utah (11.1 ppg over the past 11 games)
Reggie Evans, PF, Sacramento (7.7 rpg over the past 11 games)
Kyle O’Quinn, PF, Orlando (7.1 rpg over the past nine games)
Tiago Splitter, PF, San Antonio (6.9 rpg over the past 10 games)
Miles Plumlee, PF, Phoenix (6.7 rpg over the past nine games)
Will Bynum, PG, Detroit (5.4 apg over the past 10 games)
Devin Harris, PG, Dallas (4.5 apg over the past 10 games)
Nick Calathes, PG, Memphis (4.3 apg over the past 11 games)
Matthew Dellavedova, PG, Cleveland (4.0 apg over the past 10 games)
Darren Collison, PG, L.A. Clippers (2.0 spg over the past seven games)
Tony Allen, SG, Memphis (1.3 spg over the past 11 games)
Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Charlotte (1.3 spg over the past 11 games)
Derek Fisher, PG, Oklahoma City (1.2 spg over the past nine games)
Kyle O’Quinn, PF, Orlando (2.0 bpg over the past nine games)
Rudy Gobert, C, Utah (1.4 bpg over the past five games)
Greg Stiemsma, C, New Orleans (1.1 bpg over the past nine games)
Jeff Withey, C, New Orleans (1.0 bpg over the past 10 games)
Ray Allen, SG, Miami (27 3-pointers over the past 12 games)
Richard Jefferson, SF, Utah (21 3-pointers over the past 11 games)
Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Charlotte (19 3-pointers over the past 11 games)
Patty Mills, PG, San Antonio (18 3-pointers over the past 10 games)