This week you can thank that other league with the oblong brown ball made out of pigskin for the shortened schedule. Only 11 of the NBA’s 30 teams face a four-game schedule, and there are five teams with just two games, meaning those in head-to-head Fantasy formats will have some difficult decisions. Toss in the fact that some of the three-game teams have back-to-back situations, which could cause coaches to sit those returning from injury, and it will be an interesting week.
Believe it or not, there might be winter travel problems mid-week in New Orleans and Houston of all places, and while some ice and possibly a few inches of snow might not seem like much to those in the northeast, that kind of weather can be crippling in the south. That’s also something to monitor before setting your lineup on Monday. It wouldn’t be shocking to see a cancellation if the weather makes it unsafe for fans to get to the arena, or impossible for the visiting team to arrive.
Teams with four games (11): Atlanta, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, Toronto.
Teams with three games (14): Boston, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, New Orleans, New York, San Antonio, Utah, Washington.
Teams with two games (5): Dallas, Denver, L.A. Lakers, Miami, Portland.
MON: Minnesota at Chicago (8:00pm NBATV)
TUE: San Antonio at Houston (8:00pm NBATV)
WED: Oklahoma City at Miami (7:00pm ESPN), Chicago at San Antonio (9:30pm ESPN)
THU: Cleveland at New York (8:00pm TNT), L.A. Clippers at Golden State (10:30pm TNT)
FRI: Oklahoma City at Brooklyn (8:00pm ESPN), Golden State at Utah (10:30pm ESPN)
SAT: Chicago at New Orleans (8:00pm WGN), Miami at New York (8:30pm ESPN)
* All Times Eastern (ET)
The Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers face a two-game schedule in the upcoming week. While this doesn’t affect those in Rotisserie formats much, if at all, those in head-to-head leagues and points-based scoring systems will have some tough decisions.
Starting Heat SF LeBron James is a good idea, even if he has a one-game week on the schedule. But SG Dwayne Wade (knee), who just returned Sunday, is someone you’ll want reserved. F/C Chris Bosh is a borderline play this week, as he has been hot, but a two-game week doesn’t do his Fantasy value any favors. If you’re deciding between Bosh and a four-game option, that’s an obvious choice.
For the Mavericks, PF Dirk Nowitzki is an obvious play, but G Monta Ellis is coming off a lousy game against Detroit Sunday, and he isn’t the must-start you’d think for this week. G Devin Harris pumped it up for 14 points and seven assists in 24 minutes against the Pistons, but he hasn’t played his way to Fantasy must-start status as yet.
In Rip City, the Blazers have PF LaMarcus Aldridge as a must-start. However, SF Nicolas Batum (foot) will have a MRI Monday for an injury suffered a couple of weeks ago. It’s a good idea to plan to be without him in the upcoming week in all leagues.
For the Nuggets and Lakers, there is no one Fantasy owners in cumulative leagues should be starting in a two-game week except for perhaps PG Ty Lawson and PF/C Pau Gasol.
Atlanta Hawks PG Jeff Teague (ankle) has been ruled OUT for Monday’s game in Oklahoma City, so PG Shelvin Mack is expected to draw another start. Teague might still see three games in the upcoming week, but that’s a big ‘if’. The team has yet to give a definitive timetable for Teague’s return from what is believed to be a severe sprain, so Fantasy owners will want to play it safe and reserve him.
Boston Celtics PG Rajon Rondo (knee) recently sat out one game of a back-to-back situation, and he’ll face another B2B Tuesday and Wednesday. Not that it matters much for Fantasy owners, but expect him to play in a more important road game Tuesday in New York, and perhaps rest Wednesday at home against Philadelphia. That’s simply conjecture, but head coach Brad Stevens might figure Rondo is needed in the more competitive game. Either way, Rondo is likely looking at just two games for the upcoming week.
Cleveland Cavaliers C Anderson Varejao suffered a hyperextended left knee in Sunday’s loss against the Phoenix Suns. The bad news is that he was forced out of action for a while, but the good news is that he was able to return to the floor. Still, he is a risky play going forward given his uncertain status for Tuesday in New Orleans, and the fact his team has just three games. If he misses even one game, he will hurt Fantasy teams more than help.
Golden State Warriors PF David Lee (shoulder) was in obvious pain Sunday while beating and banging with Aldridge of the Blazers. While he played through the pain thanks to the help of anti-inflammatory medication, he is a bit of a risky play for Fantasy owners. The good news is that Lee does not face any back-to-back situations, and Tuesday’s game against Washington won’t be nearly as physical as Sunday’s battle.
Sacramento Kings C DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) has already been ruled OUT for Monday, leaving him with a three-game schedule max. He is too risky a play for Fantasy owners except for those in Rotisserie formats. The same holds true for SF Rudy Gay (Achilles’). While Gay is traveling with the club, he is anything but a sure thing to face the Utah Jazz Monday. He’ll likely be a game-time decision, and if your lineup locks at 7pm ET with the first tip, you’ll be risking it big time by activating Gay, who will not play until 9 p.m. ET in SLC.
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.
Rodney Stuckey, SG, Detroit (15.0 ppg over the past nine games)
Richard Jefferson, SF, Utah (10.4 ppg over the past eight games)
Evan Fournier, PG, Denver (10.1 ppg over the past 10 games)
Norris Cole, PG, Miami (10.1 ppg over the past 10 games)
Chris Johnson, SF, Boston (10.0 ppg over the past four games)
Jason Thompson, PF, Sacramento (8.5 rpg over the past 11 games)
Kendrick Perkins, C, Oklahoma City (6.5 rpg over the past 11 games)
Chuck Hayes, PF, Toronto (6.1 rpg over the past 11 games)
Luis Scola, PF, Indiana (5.9 rpg over the past 10 games)
Luke Ridnour, PG, Milwaukee (4.8 apg over the past 10 games)
Norris Cole, PG, Miami (4.3 apg over the past 10 games)
Phil Pressey, PG, Boston (4.2 apg over the past 11 games)
Shelvin Mack, PG, Atlanta (3.4 apg over the past nine games)
Khris Middleton, SF, Milwaukee (1.7 spg over the past 10 games)
Shaun Livingston, PG, Brooklyn (1.6 spg over the past nine games)
Jae Crowder, SF, Dallas (1.5 spg over the past 12 games)
Gerald Wallace, SF, Boston (1.4 spg over past 12 games)
Elton Brand, PF/C, Atlanta (1.8 bpg over the past nine games)
Kyle O’Quinn, C, Orlando (1.2 bpg over the past 11 games)
Lavoy Allen, C, Philadelphia (1.1 bpg over the past seven games)
Chris Andersen, PF, Miami (1.1 bpg over the past seven games)
Bismack Biyombo, C, Charlotte (1.1 bpg over the past 10 games)
Ian Mahinmi, C, Indiana (1.1 bpg over the past 10 games)
Patty Mills, PG, San Antonio (21 3-pointers over the past 10 games)
Anthony Tolliver, PF, Charlotte (19 3-pointers over the past 11 games)
Tony Snell, SF, Chicago (17 3-pointers over the past 11 games)
Evan Fournier, SG, Denver (17 3-pointers over the past 10 games)
Alan Anderson, SF, Brooklyn (16 3-pointers over the past nine games)
Atlanta Hawks PF Mike Scott has quietly had a giant January, taking advantage of several frontcourt injuries. He is averaging 21.5 minutes per game in 11 games since the calendar turned to 2014, and he is averaging 12.7 PPG with 3.6 RPG and 1.2 APG. That will make Fantasy owners in leagues of 12 or more teams take notice. … Check out Minnesota Timberwolves SG Corey Brewer if you’re looking for help in the points category. Over the past three games, he has gotten loose for double-digit point totals in each game, averaging 15.0 PPG during the span. … What got into Los Angeles Lakers PG Manny Harris Sunday in New York? He hit six of his nine field goal attempts, including a pair of 3-pointers, going for 18 points in 19 minutes off the pine. That’s pretty good production from a guy on a 10-day contract. He likely secured a second 10-day deal with the team, and if he keeps up this type of scoring, he might secure a few spots on Fantasy rosters, too.
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