Oklahoma City Thunder PG Russell Westbrook is enjoying a run of historic proportions, and he is carrying plenty of Fantasy owners on his back.
With SF Kevin Durant (foot) sidelined indefinitely, the Thunder have watched their team’s second-best player rise to Jordanesque levels with five triple-doubles over his past six games. Over his past three games he is averaging a ridiculous 40.7 points per game (PPG), and he is averaging 36.8 PPG, 12.0 rebounds per game (RPG) and 11.0 assists per game (APG) during the impressive six-game span. Toss in the fact he is averaging 3.0 steals per game in three March games and he is single-handedly responsible for wins and losses in Fantasy Basketball. If you went up against him in the last two scoring periods, my condolences.
While it wasn’t Westbrook-y (yeah, that’s a new word I made up), Orlando Magic big man Dewayne Dedmon continues to make a Fantasy name for himself. He posted career-highs with 11 points and 16 rebounds against the Boston Celtics, and he clearly is the better option over PF Channing Frye. He is a solid rebounder and he will post a handful of swats to help owners in Rotisserie leagues, too. If he is still available, grab him immediately.
Another guy gaining Fantasy traction is Dallas Mavericks SF Al-Farouq Aminu. He made the most of his playing time Sunday at Los Angeles Lakers, going for 13 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots in 20 minutes off the pine. But it was his career-high six steals which really made Fantasy owners smile. Don’t get too terribly excited about this one performance, as it was against the defensively-challenged Lakers. However, know that over his past 13 games he is averaging 5.9 RPG. He also has 19 total steals over his past five games, and that is the type of production which will get Rotisserie owners to look his way. It will also likely buy him a few more minutes with the Mavs.
Patient Fantasy owners might get a shot in the arm pretty soon. Charlotte Hornets PG Kemba Walker (knee) has been targeting a return to the lineup March 11. While there is no way you can start him in the upcoming week, if he can officially return and prove his health in at least one game before next weekend, it will be safe to plug him back into the starting lineup. Just be careful, as he could face a potential minutes restriction and/or be rested in back-to-back situations.
Lastly, Los Angeles Lakers swingman Wayne Ellington made a lot of people happy — and angered many more — in Sunday’s game against Dallas. Fantasy owners were mostly pleased with his 13 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal. It was his 12th and 13th points which were most important to some. He had a layup at the buzzer to make the final score Mavericks 100, Lakers 93. It was a meaningless basket in terms of the result of the game, but with the Mavericks favored by seven-and-a-half points, it certainly was one of the most costly baskets in quite some time. Wouldn’t you have liked to be a fly on the wall at any of the Vegas sportsbooks when that basketball tickled the twine?
Team with five games (1): New York
Teams with four games (13): Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Orlando, Phoenix, Sacramento
Teams with three games (15): Brooklyn, Charlotte, Cleveland, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Lakers, Miami, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Portland, San Antonio, Toronto, Utah, Washington
Team with two games (1): Dallas
The Knicks have obviously struggled this season, and they haven’t many Fantasy options since SF Carmelo Anthony (knee) shut it down for the season. However, with a five-game schedule in the upcoming week, the Knicks are front and center for Fantasy owners. C Andrea Bargnani has re-emerged as a must-start Fantasy option lately, posting 18.6 PPG with 4.8 RPG and 2.4 APG over the past five outings. He also has racked up five blocked shots during the span, and will step out for an occasional triple. While G Tim Hardaway Jr. has struggled with his shot, hitting just 35.5 percent of his field goal attempts over the past five games, he is averaging 12.2 PPG during the span. However, you can expect many ups and down, as is evidence by his 0-for-9 shooting night Saturday against Indiana. Rotisserie owners have a love-hate relationship with THJ, as he can help for 3-pointers and points, but oh that woeful shooting percentage.
On the flip side, the Dallas Mavericks have just two games on the upcoming schedule. Those in cumulative Fantasy formats will certainly want to steer clear of all Mavs not named Dirk Nowitzki. However, those in leagues which average points per game in a scoring period, it is business as usual. In fact, with potential shootouts against the Cavaliers and Clippers, it could be a very fruitful week for the Mavericks.
For four-game teams, the Detroit Pistons are awfully attractive this week. They’ll face the defensively-challenged Los Angeles Lakers in the first game of the week, and then they will face decent matchups on the road against the Warriors, Trail Blazers and Jazz. PG Reggie Jackson has fit in nicely, and he’ll face familiar foes from his days out west. He enters play Sunday with at least seven assists in four of his past five games. Jackson, C Andre Drummond and PF Greg Monroe are Fantasy studs.
MON Memphis at Chicago (8:00pm NBATV)
TUE Cleveland at Dallas (8:30pm NBATV)
WED L.A. Clippers at Oklahoma City (8:00pm ESPN), Houston at Portland (10:30pm ESPN)
THU Memphis at Washington (7:00pm TNT), Cleveland at San Antonio (9:30pm TNT)
FRI L.A. Clippers at Dallas (8:30pm NBATV)
SAT Sacramento at Washington (7:00pm NBATV)
SUN Chicago at Oklahoma City (1:00 pm ABC), Houston at L.A. Clippers (3:30pm ABC), Cleveland at Orlando (6:00pm NBATV)
* 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
Gary Neal, PG, Minnesota (13.9 PPG past seven games)
Ben McLemore, SG, Sacramento (13.0 PPG past nine games)
Dennis Schroder, PG, Atlanta (12.9 PPG past eight games)
Wayne Ellington, SG, L.A. Lakers (11.4 PPG past eight games)
Tyler Johnson, SG, Miami (11.1 PPG past seven games)
Ray McCallum Jr., PG, Sacramento (11.1 PPG past nine games)
REBOUNDS PER GAME
Thomas Robinson, PF, Philadelphia (7.4 RPG past seven games)
Jason Thompson, PF, Sacramento (7.0 RPG past nine games)
Ian Mahinmi, C, Indiana (6.9 RPG past eight games)
Alexis Ajinca, C, New Orleans (6.3 RPG past 10 games)
Trevor Booker, PF, Utah (6.1 RPG past eight games)
ASSISTS PER GAME
Dennis Schroder, PG, Atlanta (6.5 APG past eight games)
Tim Frazier, PG, Philadelphia (5.7 APG past three games)
Andre Miller, PG, Sacramento (5.6 APG past nine games)
Ish Smith, PG, Philadelphia (5.5 APG past eight games)
Spencer Dinwiddie, PG, Detroit (4.7 APG past six games)
Ray McCallum Jr., PG, Sacramento (4.1 APG past nine games)
STEALS PER GAME
Nick Calathes, PG, Memphis (2.4 SPG past nine games)
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Dallas (1.8 SPG past nine games)
Kent Bazemore, SF, Atlanta (1.6 SPG past eight games)
Elijah Millsap, SG, Utah (1.5 SPG past eight games)
Markel Brown, SG, Brooklyn (1.3 SPG past eight games)
BLOCKED SHOTS PER GAME
Mike Muscala, C, Atlanta (1.3 BPG past four games)
Alexis Ajinca, C, New Orleans (1.2 BPG past 10 games)
Miles Plumlee, C, Milwaukee (1.2 BPG past five games)
Cole Aldrich, C, New York (1.1 BPG past seven games)
Chris Andersen, PF, Miami (1.1 BPG past nine games)
3-POINTERS MADE PER GAME
Randy Foye, SG, Denver (19 3PT past 10 games)
James Jones, SF, Cleveland (19 3PT past 10 games)
Hollis Thompson, SF, Philadelphia (18 3PT past 10 games)
Henry Walker, SG, Miami (16 3PT past eight games)
(statistics through March 7, 2015)