At this time of the regular season, it has become a trend where coaches will rest their key players in pre-determined situations to get their players ready for the postseason.
We’ve seen this in San Antonio in recent years. Head coach Gregg Popovich is certainly not a friend to Fantasy owners. This season, his older players have not been getting the frequent rests we have seen in past years, but don’t be surprised if down the stretch guys like PF Tim Duncan, PG Tony Parker, etc. start to see more time off, especially in back-to-back situations, as they get ready for a lengthy postseason run. The Spurs sit atop the Western Conference standings with a two-game lead. If they should push that out to four or five games over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers, look for Pop to revert to his old tricks, which makes Fantasy owners pull their hair out.
Head coach Scott Brooks is also taking a page out of Popovich’s book, resting PG Russell Westbrook (knee) in back-to-back situations. He sat Sunday, and will play Monday. In an interview over the weekend, Brooks was rather vague when touching on the subject, only to say Westbrook might see rest during some back-to-back situations. The team has six more back-to-backs this season, so Fantasy owners could conceivably see Westbrook play just 10 of the team’s final 16 regular season contests.
Teams with four games (13): Atlanta, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Indian, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Toronto, Washington
Teams with three games (16): Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Utah
Team with two games (1): L.A. Clippers
MON Oklahoma City at Chicago (8:00pm ESPN), L.A. Clippers at Denver (10:30pm NBATV)
TUE Toronto at Atlanta (7:30pm NBATV)
WED Indiana at New York (8:00pm ESPN), San Antonio at L.A. Lakers (10:30pm ESPN)
SAT San Antonio at Golden State (10:30pm NBATV)
* All Times Eastern (ET)
The Chicago Bulls and their Fantasy owners are going to have a great time this week. Yes, they have an unfavorable matchup in Indiana against the league’s best scoring defense, as the Pacers allow just 92.2 points per game. But that will be more than offset by the fact that the Bulls have a home-and-home with the Philadelphia 76ers, a team which allows 110.8 points per game, by far the worst mark in the NBA. C Joakim Noah should especially be huge, as he will meet very little resistance in the middle from any of his opponents. SG Jimmy Butler, PF Taj Gibson, PG D.J. Augustin and PF Carlos Boozer will also be strong plays, and swingman Mike Dunleavy and PG Kirk Hinrich could also surprise in leagues of 12 or more teams.
It will also be an especially fruitful week for the Washington Wizards, who have all four of their games on the road, but against poor defenses. Sacramento (103.5 ppg), Portland (103.1 ppg), L.A. Lakers (108.4 ppg) and Denver (105.6 ppg) are each very giving defenses, so if you’re a Fantasy owners of PG John Wall, enjoy! SF Trevor Ariza should also be in line for a very good week, as will the ‘Polish Hammer’, C Marcin Gortat.
On the flip side, if things weren’t bad enough for the Philadelphia 76ers, they have a brutal schedule. The 76ers face a home-and-home with the Bulls, who allow just 92.2 points per game (tied for best in the NBA), and then one game on the road against Indiana, who also allow 92.2 points per game. In their fourth game, they face New York, but the Knicks have actually been pretty hot lately, so even that is a difficult matchup.
Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving (biceps) suffered an injury to his left upper arm/biceps area Sunday, and he will have an MRI Monday to determine the severity of the ailment. It’s uncertain how long, if at all, he will be sidelined. However, the fact he left the arena with his arm in a sling is a bit alarming. SG Dion Waiters might be huge if Irving is out for an extended period.
Los Angeles Clippers PG Darren Collison (stomach) was sidelined Sunday due to a stomach virus, but it isn’t the kind of thing that is expected to linger more than another day or two. However, with just two games in the upcoming scoring period, reserve Collision and go another way just to be on the safe side.
Oklahoma City Thunder PG Russell Westbrook (rest) was rested in the front end of a back-to-back situation as a precaution. He will return Monday, but he faces another back-to-back situation Thursday and Friday. Head coach Scott Brooks said Westbrook will be resting during some back-to-backs, so it’s likely Westbrook sees just two games in the upcoming Fantasy week. If you have alternatives with four matchups, it might be a good idea to play them instead.
Portland Trail Blazers PF/C LaMarcus Aldridge (back) suffered a back contusion Wednesday, and he missed the final two games of last week’s scoring period. He is expected to be re-evaluated early this week, although there is no exact timetable at this point. The Blazers do not play until Tuesday at 10pm ET, and he could be a game-time decision for that game. If so, it is too far after lineups lock, making him a tremendously risky Fantasy play. Since the Blazers have just three games on tap, it is a good idea to reserve him if you have healthier and comparable Fantasy options.
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.
Gary Neal, PG Charlotte (13.3 ppg over the past nine games)
Kelly Olynyk, C, Boston (11.9 ppg over the past eight games)
Will Bynum, PG, Detroit (11.7 ppg over the past 10 games)
Rodney Stuckey, SG, Detroit (11.6 ppg over the past 10 games)
Kyle O’Quinn, PF, Orlando (7.8 rpg over the past nine games)
Reggie Evans, PF, Sacramento (7.6 ppg over the past 11 games)
Miles Plumlee, PF, Phoenix (6.7 ppg over the past nine games)
Chris Andersen, PF, Miami (6.4 rpg over the past 10 games)
Nick Calathes, PG, Memphis (4.6 apg over the past 11 games)
Will Bynum, PG, Detroit (4.3 apg over the past 10 games)
Devin Harris, PG, Dallas (4.2 apg over the past 10 games)
J.J. Barea, PG, Minnesota (4.0 apg over the past nine games)
Draymond Green, SF, Golden State (1.7 spg over the past 12 games)
Ronnie Price, PG, Orlando (1.7 spg over the past three games)
Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Charlotte (1.4 spg over the past nine games)
Derek Fisher, PG, Oklahoma City (1.3 spg over the past nine games)
Chris Andersen, PF, Miami (2.3 bpg over the past 10 games)
Kyle O’Quinn, PF, Orlando (2.1 bpg over the past nine games)
Elton Brand, PF, Atlanta (1.7 bpg over the past nine games)
Ray Allen, SG, Miami (22 3-pointers over the past 10 games)
Richard Jefferson, SF, Utah (11 3-pointers over the past 12 games)
Patty Mills, PG, San Antonio (19 3-pointers over the past 10 games)
Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Charlotte (17 3-pointers over the past nine games)