Fantasy Basketball owners were dealt a huge blow this week with one injury, and some were given a huge reprieve.
First, with the bad news. Detroit Pistons G Brandon Jennings (Achilles’) has been lost for the season due to a ruptured Achilles’ tendon suffered over the weekend in Milwaukee. It is a crushing blow for a Pistons team which was starting to play a lot better lately. His scoring was slightly down this season at 15.4 points per game (PPG), but he was chipping in with 6.6 assists per game (APG), 1.1 steals per game (SPG), and he was also on pace for more than 150 3-pointers for the third consecutive season.
With Jennings on the mend until at least the holidays next season, the point guard duties will now fall to D.J. Augustin. So far, so good in the Augustin era. He hit 12 of his 20 field goal attempts in 37 minutes in his first start in Toronto Sunday, going for a career-high 35 points. He also posted eight assists and four rebounds while turning it over just twice and hitting five 3-pointers. If Sunday is any indication, Fantasy owners quick to the table for Augustin’s services will be rewarded nicely.
On a lesser note, rookie Spencer Dinwiddie is likely to see an increase in minutes, and he played 11 in Sunday’s game against the Raptors. However, he was not nearly as prolific, grabbing three quick fouls while finishing with just one bucket and three missed field goals. Over the next couple of weeks Dinwiddie is worth keeping an eye on, but in Fantasy leagues of 12 or fewer teams he is still only worth a look as a reserve if you have the roster flexibility.
Now for the good news. Portland Trail Blazers PF/C LaMarcus Aldridge (thumb) was expected to miss at least six weeks due to a thumb injury. He has a torn ligament, and surgery was recommended. However, he is electing to play through the ailment, and looked good in doing so in his initial game back Saturday against Washington. He exploded for 26 points with nine rebounds, three assists and two steals in 36 minutes. It remains in the realm of possibility that he could still elect surgery at some point if the pain gets to be too much, but a specialist told The Oregonian that Aldridge risks no further damage with his injury by playing. However, it is possibility he needs a longer recovery time when he does go for surgery.
Teams with four games (12): Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, Minnesota, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Sacramento, Toronto
Teams with three games (16): Atlanta, Brooklyn, Chicago, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Lakers, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Phoenix, Utah, Washington
Teams with two games (2): Charlotte, San Antonio
MON Portland at Brooklyn (7:30pm NBATV)
TUE Cleveland at Detroit (7:30pm NBATV), Chicago at Golden State (10:30pm NBATV)
WED Brooklyn at Atlanta (8:00pm ESPN), Washington at Phoenix (10:30pm ESPN)
THU Denver at Memphis (8:00pm TNT), Chicago at L.A. Lakers (10:30pm TNT)
FRI Dallas at Miami (8:00pm ESPN), Chicago at Phoenix (10:30pm ESPN)
SAT L.A. Clippers at San Antonio (9:00pm ESPN)
* All Times Eastern (ET)
The Charlotte Hornets have just two games in the upcoming scoring period, which is obviously bad news for Fantasy owners which have Charlotte players in cumulative formats. However, even in leagues which average points per game, the Hornets are poor plays. The San Antonio Spurs own the best defense in the Western Conference, allowing just 97.4 points per game. It will be a slow go for all Hornets in all Fantasy formats.
Among the three-game teams, the Chicago Bulls have the most favorable setup. They’ll have a high-profile game against the Golden State Warriors, but they’re the best defense Chicago will see all week. The Warriors allow 99.3 points per game, while the Los Angeles Lakers allow 106.1 points per game, 29th in the NBA. The Phoenix Suns allow 105.3 points per game, which ranks 28th. It will be a great week for the likes of PG Derrick Rose, swingman Jimmy Butler, PF Pau Gasol, etc.
A four-game team with a less than favorable schedule will be the Dallas Mavericks. Only one team they face, the Orlando Magic, allow more than 99.0 points per game. The Mavs meet the Heat, co-owners of the league’s best scoring defense, while also facing the Memphis Grizzlies, who are tied for seventh in scoring defense, and just 1.2 points behind for the NBA lead. PF Dirk Nowitzki and PG Rajon Rondo remain must-starts, but others are questionable plays. Watch out for C Tyson Chandler (knee), too. He left Sunday’s game, and his status for the week is less than certain.
While the New York Knicks might be a complete mess, Fantasy owners are going to love their schedule this week. Look for SF Carmelo Anthony to go off, especially in three home games against defensively-challenged teams from the Western Conference.
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
Aaron Brooks, PG, Chicago (11.3 PPG past 12 games)
Wayne Ellington, SG, L.A. Lakers (10.4 PPG past nine games)
Patty Mills, PG, San Antonio (10.2 PPG past 11 games)
Nate Robinson, PG, Boston (10.0 PPG past three games)
C.J. Watson, PG, Indiana (9.9 PPG past 11 games)
REBOUNDS PER GAME
Bismack Biyombo, C, Charlotte (8.9 RPG past 10 games)
Jason Thompson, PF, Sacramento (7.1 RPG past nine games)
Ian Mahinmi, C, Indiana (6.8 RPG past eight games)
Patrick Patterson, PF, Toronto (6.6 RPG past 10 games)
Chris Andersen, PF, Miami (6.4 RPG past eight games)
ASSISTS PER GAME
Nate Robinson, PG, Boston (6.7 APG past three games)
Ronnie Price, PG, L.A. Lakers (4.5 APG past eight games)
Larry Drew II, PG, Philadelphia (4.3 APG past six games)
Joe Ingles, SF, Utah (4.2 APG past 10 games)
Donald Sloan, PG, Indiana (3.9 APG past 10 games)
STEALS PER GAME
Marvin Williams, PF, Charlotte (1.5 SPG past 10 games)
P.J. Tucker, SF, Phoenix (1.5 SPG past 10 games)
Shane Larkin, PG, New York (1.4 SPG past nine games)
Joe Ingles, SF, Utah (1.4 SPG past 10 games)
Justin Holiday, SG, Golden State (1.4 SPG past 11 games)
BLOCKED SHOTS PER GAME
Bismack Biyombo, C, Charlotte (1.6 BPG past 10 games)
Lou Amundson, PF, New York (1.6 BPG past five games)
Jerami Grant, SF, Philadelphia (1.6 BPG past 12 games)
Jason Smith, C, New York (1.4 BPG past nine games)
Chris Andersen, PF, Miami (1.3 BPG past eight games)
3-POINTERS MADE PER GAME
Aaron Brooks, PG, Chicago (23 3PT past 12 games)
Patty Mills, PG, San Antonio (22 3PT past 11 games)
Jason Terry, SG, Houston (18 3PT past 11 games)
Anthony Tolliver, PF, Detroit (15 3PT past 12 games)
(statistics through Jan. 24, 2015)