First, remember to set your weekly Fantasy lineups early, as the lineup lock will be early this week due to the Martin Luther King Day holiday.
What the New Orleans Pelicans are dealing with at this point of the season is certainly nothing new. They’re banged up nearly halfway through the regular season, but it is typical.
Pelicans PF/C Anthony Davis (toe) missed Sunday’s game against the Toronto Raptors due to a sprained left toe. Originally, it was brushed off by the media and Fantasy writers because his first game missed was against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers, and many opposing coaches have taken the opportunity to rest stars against the Sixers while still feeling confident with their other players to be able to win. However, A.D.’s absence against the Raptors is a bit more telling, as it is a legitimate injury that has started to raise some concern with Fantasy owners.
However, head coach Monty Williams told NBA.com that Davis has “a lot better chance of playing (Monday)” at New York. Still, Fantasy owners would rather see ‘will’ play, instead of hearing about chances. The Pels face a tremendously favorable schedule, and Davis could be a monster in the upcoming week.
If you own Davis and have a shot at picking up C Alexis Ajinca, he is a good insurance policy, especially in Fantasy leagues that allow daily transactions. Ajinca threw down 16 points and 14 rebounds off the bench in 25 minutes against Philly; he also had one swat. The chances are slim to none you’ll be able to grab PF/C Ryan Andersen, but he is the one who really stands to gain more run and responsibilities. However, his start Friday was awful, as he hit just 2-of-11 from the field for eight points and eight rebounds. Still, he is the player the Pelicans will use in the starting five. C Omer Asik also came alive for 15 rebounds in 20 minutes Friday. While his rebound totals will be healthy without Davis competing for boards, don’t expect a major bump in offense even if Davis is sidelined.
Pelicans PG Jrue Holiday (ankle) missed Sunday’s game against Toronto due to inflammation in his right ankle. Originally, the team listed him as questionable, and he has now missed three straight games as a result of his ailment. Fantasy owners heading into the new week will want to play it safe and keep him reserved, as there is no definitive word on when he’ll be able to return.
With Holiday on the shelf there are plenty of minutes to be split up by starting guards Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon, who can each play point and shooting guard. Guards Jimmer Fredette and Quincy Pondexter will see more minutes, too, and perhaps newcomer G Nate Wolters will as well. If you’re a Daily Fantasy player, watch Fredette and Pondexter especially close. In Friday’s game, Fredette played 23 minutes and posted 13 points with five assists, and Pondexter played 26 minutes. Both would be dirt cheap additions in DFS with low salaries, but in weekly formats they’re not nearly as attractive.
Teams with four games (24): Atlanta, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Lakers, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, Toronto, Washington
Teams with three games (6): Brooklyn, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, Orlando, Sacramento, Utah
MON Detroit at Atlanta (2:30pm ESPN), Dallas at Memphis (5:00pm NBATV), Chicago at Cleveland (7:30pm TNT), L.A. Lakers at Phoenix (10:00pm TNT)
TUE Oklahoma City at Miami (7:30pm NBATV)
WED Oklahoma City at Washington (8:00pm ESPN), Houston at Golden State (10:30pm ESPN)
THU San Antonio at Chicago (8:00pm TNT), Brooklyn at L.A. Clippers (10:30pm TNT)
FRI Chicago at Dallas (8:00pm ESPN)
SAT Detroit at Milwaukee (7:30pm NBATV), Washington at Portland (10:00pm NBATV)
SUN Miami at Chicago (1:00pm ABC), Oklahoma City at Cleveland (3:30pm ABC), Washington at Denver (8:00pm NBATV)
* All Times Eastern (ET)
If you’re a Fantasy owner of Houston Rockets G James Harden, or many of his teammates, you’re going to love this week. While Houston has just one home game, they’ll be able to do some damage against Indiana. However, it’s the road games at Golden State, at Phoenix and at L.A. Lakers that will be particularly attractive, especially the latter two. The Suns allow 104.7 points per game, which ranks 28th in the NBA in scoring defense. The Lakers are even worse, ranking 29th in the league with 106.5 points per game allowed. F Donatas Motiejunas is another who is a strong start, as he has averaged 14.8 PPG with 7.5 RPG over his past four outings.
While they might be a little banged up, the schedule sets up as very favorable for the New Orleans Pelicans and their many Fantasy options. The Pels get the Lakers at home, as well as the Dallas Mavericks, who allowed 102.5 points per game. Road games at New York (101.7 points per game) and Minnesota (108.1 points per game) round out the schedule, and will make for a fun week for Davis and company, as long as everyone is healthy.
Poor Oklahoma City. The good news is that the Thunder have a four-game schedule, so Fantasy owners in head-to-head cumulative leagues have to like that. However, they’re face lockdown defenses in Miami (97.2 points per game allowed), Washington (97.4 points per game), Atlanta (96.6 points per game) and Cleveland (100.7 points per game). Sure, you’re going to start Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook regardless, but no one would blame you if you sent Gs Reggie Jackson and Dion Waiters to reserve if you have alternatives with a much more favorable slate of games ahead.
Lakers SG Kobe Bryant (rest) will head out with the team for their three-game road trip to Phoenix, New Orleans and San Antonio this weekend, but unless you are a die-hard gambler, there is no way you can trust the Black Mamba in weekly Fantasy leagues, unless it is a format that averages points per game played in a scoring period. Daily Fantasy owners are the biggest beneficiaries when Kobe is sidelined, as Wayne Ellington can be valuable, as well as Wesley Johnson. Nick Young, a.k.a. Swaggy P, rises to become one of the top scoring options, too, and he is also a nice DFS value and weekly play.
Magic F Tobias Harris (ankle) is making progress with his sprained ankle, head coach Jacque Vaughn told The Orlando Sentinel Sunday. However, while he is making that progress by taking shots and doing individual workouts on the court, by no means should you plug him back into the starting lineup. Wait to see him officially return and play at least one full game without any setbacks before pulling that trigger.
Rockets F Terrence Jones (leg) is said to be rounding the corner in his rehab from a leg injury, but his timetable still remains rather unclear. When he does come back, he’ll find a brand new landscape in H-Town. Jones did not have to contend with Josh Smith previously, and Donatas Motiejunas has emerged as a must-start Fantasy option with big scoring and rebound numbers. Jones was a top-flight Fantasy option before, but now he looks to be well down the totem pole and will need an injury or two to work his way back up.
Those Timberwolves continue to be the talk of the injury report, and none of the talk is good for weekly owners. SG Kevin Martin (wrist) is listed as questionable to play Monday against the Hornets, although he is getting really, really close. Still, you cannot role the dice and hope for the best. Wait to see him officially return and knock off that rust. C Nikola Pekovic (ankle) is considered doubtful, and when he does get back in there he will have to contend with C Gorgui Dieng, as well as F Shabazz Muhammad for minutes. Meanwhile, PG Ricky Rubio (ankle) has officially been ruled OUT for Monday’s game, as G Mo Williams‘ resurgence means Rubio can take a little extra time to get back to 100 percent.
Speaking of Charlotte, PG Kemba Walker (knee) is not expected to play Monday against Minnesota due to a knee injury, reportedly a cyst in his knee. He did not practice Sunday, and should be kept sidelined. G Brian Roberts benefits the most, while DFS owners will want to keep a close eye on Gs Gary Neal and Lance Stephenson for value.
Lastly, Cleveland PF Kevin Love (back) is listed as questionable for Monday’s til against Chicago due to a back injury. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports Love was able to practice Sunday, so that’s a good thing. However, he’ll be re-evaluated after the team’s morning shootaround, so there is a really, really tight window between when you have to make a decision and when the information of his status is better known. For now, he is worth starting, but know he could miss a game, or at least be limited.
If you need help in specific categories in Rotisserie Fantasy Hoops 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.
POINTS PER GAME
Mo Williams, PG, Minnesota (19.8 PPG past nine games)
Jodie Meeks, SG, Detroit (13.4 PPG past 12 games)
Patty Mills, PG, San Antonio (11.5 PPG past 10 games)
Zaza Pachulia, C, Milwaukee (10.7 PPG past nine games)
Donald Sloan, PG, Indiana (10.2 PPG past nine games)
REBOUNDS PER GAME
Zaza Pachulia, C, Milwaukee (9.7 RPG past nine games)
Bismack Biyombo, C, Charlotte (8.6 RPG past 10 games)
Jason Thompson, PF, Sacramento (7.6 RPG past nine games)
Marvin Williams, PF, Charlotte (6.5 RPG past 10 games)
Kevin Garnett, C, Brooklyn (6.4 RPG past eight games)
ASSISTS PER GAME
Mo Williams, PG, Minnesota (6.6 APG past nine games)
Larry Drew II, PG, Philadelphia (5.0 APG past two games)
Donald Sloan, PG, Indiana (4.7 APG past nine games)
Nate Robinson, PG, Denver/Boston (4.4 APG past seven games)
Matthew Dellavedova, SG, Cleveland (4.1 APG past 12 games)
STEALS PER GAME
Shane Larkin, PG, New York (2.1 SPG past nine games)
Thabo Sefolosha, SG, Atlanta (1.8 SPG past 11 games)
Marvin Williams, PF, Charlotte (1.7 SPG past 10 games)
Justin Holiday, SG, Golden State (1.6 SPG past nine games)
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, SF, Philadelphia (1.5 SPG past eight games)
BLOCKED SHOTS PER GAME
Bismack Biyombo, C, Charlotte (1.8 BPG past 10 games)
Kevin Seraphin, PF, Washington (1.2 BPG past 12 games)
Jason Maxiell, PF, Charlotte (1.0 BPG past nine games
Cody Zeller, C, Charlotte (1.0 BPG past nine games)
Jerami Grant, SF, Philadelphia (1.0 BPG past 11 games)
3-POINTERS MADE PER GAME
Mo Williams, PG, Minnesota (26 3PT past nine games)
Jodie Meeks, SG, Detroit (23 3PT past 12 games)
Aaron Brooks, PG, Chicago (20 3PT past 12 games)
Matthew Dellavedova, SG, Cleveland (17 3PT past 12 games)
Patty Mills, PG, San Antonio (17 3PT past 10 games)
(statistics through Jan. 17, 2015)