Hopefully everyone enjoyed the National Basketball Association’s All-Star break. More importantly, hopefully your ailing Fantasy options were able to get a good rest over the past week and come back better than ever for you during the stretch run. It’s time to get down to brass tacks now, as we put it in overdrive and head toward the most exciting time of the season – the Fantasy postseason and championship.
This week we have a double issue. Many leagues do not play the shortened weeks before and/or after the All-Star break, while others combine the week after the ASG with Week 18, which runs from Feb. 23-March 1. The best thing to do is provide team games, schedule information and injury news and notes for the next two scoring periods in one issue. And, as always, if you have any questions be sure to use RotoExperts.com’s E-mail advice, and you can also feel free to ping me @danieledobish on Twitter, and I’ll try my best to answer you if time permits.
To make matters worse, the NBA trade deadline is Thursday. So players could very well be moved before the lineup lock Thursday, creating havoc for a number of Fantasy owners. Many guys will be moved, and they are unlikely to suit up immediately as they must take physicals, everyone in the deal must pass their physicals, and others will be moved and then waived immediately for salary reasons, finding another team in a matter of days. It is a very tricky time for Fantasy owners trying to figure things out. We’ll help as best we can.
Charlotte Hornets PG Kemba Walker (knee) remains sidelined, but there is light at the end of the tunnel for Fantasy owners. He is reportedly targeting a return date of March 16, so that is less than a month you’ll have to wait to get him back.
Dallas Mavericks PG Rajon Rondo (face) appears to be on track to play as soon as Thursday in Oklahoma City, but he is likely to have a protective mask and have a bit of a minutes restriction as the club eases him back into the mix. PG J.J. Barea has been very good in his absence, but his time as a Fantasy must-start in all leagues has come to an end. He remains useful only in the deepest of leagues. Even in Daily Fantasy he is now overpriced because his minutes will be drastically reduced.
Los Angeles Clippers PF Blake Griffin (elbow) continues to make progress in his return after surgery for a staph infection in his elbow. The Orange County Register reports he will have his stitches removed next week. In the meantime, PF/C Spencer Hawes continues to see ample minutes in Griffin’s stead, and F Matt Barnes has also picked up the pace and been a solid Fantasy option lately.
Los Angeles Lakers C Jordan Hill (hip) was able to practice Wednesday, and that is the good news. The bad news is that the Lakers have been dangling Hill as a potential trade chip and he could be on the move. He has really stepped up his game and it would be foolish to trade a young big man, but you never know. If he remains with the team through the deadline he is a must-start Fantasy play as the team’s best legitimate scoring option these days.
Lakers swingman Nick Young (ankle) told the team’s official website that he is good to go for Friday’s game against Brooklyn. He was dinged up a week ago, but the All-Star break was good to Swaggy P. Hopefully the extra rest helps him re-gain his shot, too, as he was terrible in six games prior to the break, killing Rotisserie owners with a 29.1 field goal percentage during the ugly span.
Miami Heat PF/C Chris Bosh (illness) did not practice Wednesday, but he should be good to go by the time the Heat take to the court next. Fantasy owners will get two games from him in the shortened week.
Sticking in Miami, SG Dwyane Wade (hamstring) was able to make it through a full practice session Wednesday, and it appears he will be ready to suit up Friday against New York. For D-Wade, it might be a good idea to keep him sidelined for the shortened scoring period and monitor how he plays before plugging him back into the starting lineup. The return of the Mayor of Wade County means a minutes reduction (and Fantasy value reduction) of guys like PG Mario Chalmers, G Tyler Johnson and G Shabazz Napier.
And Heat C Hassan Whiteside (ankle) said the swelling in his ankle is completely gone and he is ready to roll for Friday’s game against the Knicks. That’s tremendous news for Fantasy owners, as he has emerged as a must-start when healthy.
New Orleans Pelicans PF/C Anthony Davis (shoulder) returned to practice Wednesday, and he is likely to be ready for Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic. With two games in the shortened period, and the chances high he will play, get him back in the active Fantasy lineup. The return of A.D. is bad news for the value of C Alexis Ajinca, who is now once again a Fantasy reserve in deeper leagues, and worth dropping in all others.
Also in NOLA, PF Ryan Anderson (elbow) old the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he is “hopeful” of playing Friday. If your lineup deadline locks Thursday, you simply cannot take the chance on hope. Keep him reserved until he officially returns and can prove his health in at least one full game.
There was also bad news for the Pels, as PG Jrue Holiday (leg) aggravated his stress reaction and his lower right leg injury will keep him sidelined for a while longer. He is scheduled to be re-evaluated in three weeks, so Fantasy owners of swingman Tyreke Evans and G Eric Gordon get a reprieve. They will continue to see ample playing time. G Toney Douglas also has surprised when given minutes and is worth an add in deeper formats.
New York Knicks SF Carmelo Anthony (knee) will be sidelined for the season after he has a left knee tendon debridement and repair sometime this week. The team confirmed to NBA.com that ‘Melo is done for the year, and it is a huge blow to Fantasy owners, although the writing has been on the wall for a while. Guys like Cleanthony Early, Langston Galloway and Tim Hardaway Jr. will see regular playing time whether they’re ready for it or not. They’re each solid Fantasy options in head-to-head formats, although in Rotisserie formats they’re not as useful.
Week 17 (Feb. 19-22)
Teams with three games (2): Dallas, Oklahoma City
Teams with two games (24): Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto, Washington
Teams with one game (4): Brooklyn, Memphis, Minnesota, Utah
TV SCHEDULE (Feb. 19-22)
THU Dallas at Oklahoma City (8:00pm TNT), San Antonio at L.A. Clippers (10:30pm TNT)
FRI Cleveland at Washington (8:00pm ESPN), San Antonio at Golden State (10:30pm ESPN)
SAT Phoenix at Chicago (8:00pm WGN, NBATV)
SUN Denver at Oklahoma City (7:00pm NBATV), Boston at L.A. Lakers (9:30pm NBATV)
* All Times Eastern (ET)
Week 18 (Feb. 23-March 1)
Teams with four games (20): Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Golden State, Houston, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, Toronto, Utah, Washington
Teams with three games (10): Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Indiana, L.A. Lakers, New York, Orlando, Portland, Sacramento
TV SCHEDULE (Feb. 23-March 1)
MON Toronto at New Orleans (8:00pm NBATV)
WED L.A. Clippers at Houston (8:00pm ESPN), San Antonio at Portland (10:30pm ESPN)
THU Golden State at Cleveland (8:00pm TNT), Oklahoma City at Phoenix (10:30pm TNT)
FRI Miami at New Orleans (8:00pm ESPN), Oklahoma City at Portland (10:30pm TNT)
SAT San Antonio at Phoenix (9:00pm NBATV)
SUN L.A. Clippers at Chicago (1:00 pm ABC), Cleveland at Houston (3:30pm ABC), Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers (6:30pm ESPN)
* All Times Eastern (ET)
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
Wayne Ellington, SG, L.A. Lakers (15.4 PPG past 11 games)
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, SF, Philadelphia (12.3 PPG past 11 games)
Tony Snell, SG, Chicago (12.2 PPG past 10 games)
Jared Dudley, SF, Milwaukee (12.1 PPG past 12 games)
Ben McLemore, SG, Sacramento (11.4 PPG past 11 games)
REBOUNDS PER GAME
P.J. Tucker, SF, Phoenix (6.6 RPG past 11 games)
Ian Mahinmi, C, Indiana (6.6 RPG past eight games)
Patrick Patterson, PF, Toronto (6.6 RPG past 12 games)
Lou Amundson, PF, New York (6.3 RPG past 11 games)
Kosta Koufos, C, Memphis (6.2 RPG past 12 games)
ASSISTS PER GAME
Dennis Schroder, PG, Atlanta (4.3 APG past 12 games)
John Lucas, PG, Detroit (4.2 APG past six games)
J.J. Barea, PG, Dallas (4.2 APG past 13 games)
Toney Douglas, PG, New Orleans (4.0 APG past three games)
C.J. Watson, PG, Indiana (4.0 APG past 11 games)
STEALS PER GAME
P.J. Tucker, SF, Phoenix (1.7 SPG past 11 games)
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Dallas (1.6 SPG past 12 games)
Chris Johnson, SF, Utah (1.5 SPG past two games)
Toney Douglas, PG, New Orleans (1.3 SPG past three games)
Patrick Patterson, PF, Toronto (1.3 SPG past 12 games)
Iman Shumpert, SG, Cleveland (1.3 SPG past 12 games)
Garrett Temple, SG, Washington (1.3 SPG past 10 games)
Elijah Millsap, SG, Utah (1.3 SPG past 12 games)
BLOCKED SHOTS PER GAME
DeWayne Dedmon, C, Orlando (1.9 BPG past seven games)
Jason Maxiell, PF, Charlotte (1.7 BPG past nine games)
Alexis Ajinca, C, New Orleans (1.6 BPG past 10 games)
Jerami Grant, SF, Philadelphia (1.6 BPG past 12 games)
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Dallas (1.5 BPG past 12 games)
3-POINTERS MADE PER GAME
Jared Dudley, SF, Milwaukee (26 3PT past 12 games)
Ben McLemore, SG, Sacramento (25 3PT past 11 games)
Marcus Thornton, PG, Boston (24 3PT past 12 games)
Wayne Ellington, SG, L.A. Lakers (22 3PT past 11 games)
Channing Frye, PF, Orlando (21 3PT past 12 games)
(statistics through Feb. 18, 2015)