We’ve already reached the Thanksgiving holiday, and with the complete day off for the National Basketball Association, there is some disparity for the upcoming schedule. As you can see below, 16 teams have a four-game schedule for the upcoming week. That’s great news for those in cumulative head-to-head Fantasy formats, but there are also four teams with only two games, and that’s rough.
Boston Celtics G Rajon Rondo and F Jeff Green should be kept active, and Fantasy owners just have to bite the bullet with the lack of a three- or four-game schedule in cumulative formats, as well as those in category leagues. Those in Rotisserie formats aren’t affected as much, as the schedule will even out over time.
The same holds true for owners of Brooklyn Nets G Deron Williams, swingman Joe Johnson and C Brook Lopez. You can’t really sit any of those guys, but if you’re an owner of F Mirza Teletovic, G Jarrett Jack or rookie sensation G Bojan Bogdanovic, you have to reserve those guys in head-to-head leagues that do not average points per game in a scoring period.
There will be tough decisions for Miami Heat owners, too. C Chris Bosh has cemented himself as a must-start, regardless of Fantasy format, but everyone else is fair game on the roster, including G Dwyane Wade. He is averaging 19.8 points per game (PPG), and his 6.4 assists per game (APG) will be tough to replace. However, he continues to deal with that hamstring injury, missing his fifth straight game Saturday. It is likely the team uses the short week to give him some extra rest. He is a high-risky Fantasy play. G Mario Chalmers remains a decent Fantasy replacement in Rotisserie leagues and average-points formats, but avoid in cumulative.
Lastly, the Oklahoma City Thunder have just two games. We’ll talk more about them in the injury section below, too. G Reggie Jackson has emerged as a must-start during the early portion of the season, but even he should be reserved in cumulative leagues. Unless you’re in a Fantasy format which averages points per game in a scoring period, all Thunder players should be on your bench.
Teams with four games (16): Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, Milwaukee, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, Toronto
Teams with three games (10): Cleveland, Denver, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Utah, Washington
Teams with two games (4): Boston, Brooklyn, Miami, Oklahoma City
TUE Golden State at Miami (7:30pm NBATV)
WED New York at Dallas (7:30pm ESPN), Memphis at L.A. Lakers (10:30pm NBATV)
FRI L.A. Clippers at Houston (8:00pm NBATV)
SAT New Orleans at Washington (7:00pm NBATV)
* All Times Eastern (ET)
We mentioned the two-game teams for the upcoming period, but what about the favorable teams?
The Golden State Warriors have a four-game schedule this week, and they’re all on the east coast. They do square off against a few of the better defenses in the East, but it will still be a very fruitful week for G Stephen Curry and company.
As far as four-game teams with poor matchups, the Sacramento Kings have a brutal schedule. They match up with the Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs this week. Those teams rank 1-2-3 in the NBA in scoring defense, so it will be a slow go for the Kings. Still, you cannot possibly think about sitting C DeMarcus Cousins, F Rudy Gay or even G Darren Collison, who has emerged as a solid Fantasy option this season.
As far as a three-game team with a favorable schedule, the Denver Nuggets fit that bill. Sure, you have to take the good with the bad sometimes. They do have a home game with the defensive-minded Chicago Bulls, but a home-and-home with the leaky defense of the Phoenix Suns will more than make up for any offensive shortcomings against Chicago.
The Philadelphia 76ers continue to give plenty of youngsters a look. F K.J. McDaniels is fourth in the league among qualified rookies with 9.1 PPG, and he checks in with a respectable 2.5 RPG. He is also second in the NBA among first-year players with a .462 field goal percentage. He has emerged as a useful option in 12-team Rotisserie leagues, at least as a plug-and-play option when your primary options have a difficult week or two-game schedule in cumulative formats.
Orlando Magic G Elfrid Payton is averaging 6.5 PPG with 3.4 RPG, and he leads all rookies with 5.0 APG. In fact, that category isn’t even close, as the nearest rookie has 2.8 APG. He also has 1.3 steals per game (SPG). Payton and Aaron Gordon give the Magic a great young nucleus going forward with G Victor Oladipo. Gordon has averaged 5.8 PPG with 3.0 RPG and a little over a half-a-block per outing. Gordon has emerged as a decent bench option in deeper Fantasy formats.
Indiana Pacers C Roy Hibbert (ankle) is rather questionable for Monday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, so Fantasy owners have a hard decision for the upcoming week. He is a risky play, but he has a four-game schedule, too. If you have healthier alternatives, use them. If not, Hibbert might not miss any time at all, or just one game. His injury isn’t believed to be serious, just know he isn’t 100 percent to play all four.
Houston Rockets F/C Dwight Howard (knee) was unable to practice Sunday, and he is uncertain to face the New York Knicks Monday. Like Hibbert above, the Rockets have four games on tap in the upcoming scoring period. Teammate G Patrick Beverley (hamstring) might be more of a concern, as he deals with a hamstring. He was out of practice Sunday, and that might make G Isaiah Canaan a solid option for the upcoming scoring period. In particular, Canaan could be a nice sleeper Monday for Fantasy owners who play Daily Fantasy.
And as usual, Chicago Bulls G Derrick Rose (hamstring) makes the list. He was expected to practice Sunday, but he remains a game-time decision for Monday’s game against the Utah Jazz. G Kirk Hinrich (chest) is also dealing with an injury, and he too will be a game-time call. If neither of those guys can go, keep an eye on G Aaron Brooks. He would be worth scooping up in deeper leagues, and he would be a tremendous Daily Fantasy call.
Detroit Pistons G Brandon Jennings (thumb) has X-rays on his thumb, and they were negative. That is outstanding news, but it kept him from practicing Sunday. That makes him a question mark for Tuesday’s game and beyond, however. With a four-game slate, it is tough to bench Jennings, but waiting until Tuesday just to find out he will not play is risky business. G D.J. Augustin is worth adding in all deeper Fantasy leagues, especially in those which allow daily transactions.
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
Lou Williams SG, Toronto (13.4 PPG past 13 games)
Gary Neal, PG, Charlotte (12.6 PPG past 11 games)
A.J. Price, PG, Indiana (11.4 PPG past eight games)
Aaron Brooks, PG, Chicago (10.6 PPG past 13 games)
REBOUNDS PER GAME
Kevin Garnett, C, Brooklyn (8.3 RPG past 12 games)
Jason Thompson, PF, Sacramento (5.9 RPG past 13 games)
Quincy Acy, SF, New York (5.8 RPG pst 11 games)
Reggie Evans, PF, Sacramento (5.8 RPG past nine games)
Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Houston (5.6 RPG past 13 games)
ASSISTS PER GAME
J.J. Bares, PG, Dallas (4.4 APG past 13 games)
Steve Blake, PG, Portland (4.1 APG past 12 games)
Ronnie Price, PG, L.A. Lakers (4.1 APG past 12 games)
Aaron Brooks, PG, Chicago (3.4 APG past 13 games)
Alexey Shved, PG, Philadelphia (3.2 APG past 10 games)
STEALS PER GAME
Gary Harris, SG, Denver (2.0 SPG past two games)
Garrett Temple, SG, Washington (1.5 SPG past 12 games)
Ronnie Price, PG, L.A. Lakers (1.3 SPG past 12 games)
Shane Larkin, PG, New York (1.3 SPG past 13 games)
Lou Williams, SG, Toronto (1.3 SPG past 13 games)
BLOCKED SHOTS PER GAME
Bismack Biyombo, C, Charlotte (1.8 BPG past six games)
Mike Muscala, C, Atlanta (1.7 BPG over past three games)
Samuel Dalembert, C, Philadelphia (1.4 BPG over past 14 games)
Andre Roberson, SG, Oklahoma City (1.2 BPG over past six games)
3-POINTERS MADE PER GAME
Jason Terry, SG, Houston (24 3PT over past 13 games)
Lou Williams, SG, Toronto (19 3PT over past 13 games)
Isaiah Canaan, PG, Houston (18 3PT over past 11 games)
Kostas Papanikolaou, SF, Houston (18 3PT over past 13 games)
Aaron Brooks, PG, Chicago (18 3PT over past 13 games)
Caron Butler, SF, Detroit (18 3PT over past 13 games)