The big story in Fantasy Basketball heading into Week 7 is the injury or wellness situations of several bigs.
USA Today reports Sacramento Kings C DeMarcus Cousins (illness) is battling spiral meningitis, and he continues to recover slowly, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. Cousins has already missed five games, and he is expected to be sidelined at least seven to 10 more days due to the situation. He might be able to resume basketball activities sometime later this week, but Fantasy owners obviously need to reserve him probably for the next two scoring periods. And if you’re unfamiliar with meningitis, it is inflammation of the tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord.
With Cousins on the shelf, PF Jason Thompson has stepped up his play. He bagged 18 points with nine rebounds and four assists in Saturday’s game against Orlando, and is a great replacement for Fantasy owners of Cousins, and a solid addition in Rotisserie formats if you need help in the rebounding category. Overall in 20 games, Thompson is averaging 6.4 rebounds per game (RPG) this season, and he has hit 41.7 percent of his shots from the field while chipping in with an occasional assist, block and steal.
Kings PF Reggie Evans has also stepped up, although his production has been a bit sporadic. He blew up for 17 points, 20 rebounds and a blocked shot Nov. 30 against Memphis, and people flew to the waiver wire to grab him. He had a respectable 10 points and seven boards Tuesday against Toronto, but he has a total of three points and 11 rebounds in 36 minutes over the past two games. Evans is still worth grabbing if you need boards in deeper Rotisserie formats, but if you have to choose between Evans and Thompson, it’s Thompson every time. C Ryan Hollins is averaging 6.0 points per game (PPG) with 2.4 RPG over the past five games while averaging about 18 minutes, and he is worth a look in the deepest of leagues.
The Brooklyn Nets said Sunday that C Brook Lopez (back) will be sidelined at least the next week, so Fantasy owners will obviously want him reserved. Keep him reserved until he can officially return and prove his health in one full game without any setbacks. In the meantime, PF Mirza Teletovic should see more of a role in the offense. He is already averaging 10.7 PPG with 5.4 RPG and 1.5 APG in 18 games (two starts). C Mason Plumlee should also see a significant bump in minutes, and he is worth a look as a No. 3 center in leagues of 12 or more teams.
Teams with four games (19): Atlanta, Brooklyn, Cleveland, Denver, Golden State, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, Miami, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto, Utah, Washington
Teams with three games (10): Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Orlando, Philadelphia
Team with two games (1): Milwaukee
MON Denver at Toronto (7:30pm NBATV)
TUE Dallas at Memphis (8:00pm NBATV), Sacramento at L.A. Lakers (10:30pm NBATV)
WED New Orleans at Dallas (8:00pm ESPN), Miami at Denver (10:30pm ESPN)
THU Cleveland at Oklahoma City (8:00pm TNT), Houston at Sacramento (10:30pm TNT)
FRI Portland at Chicago (7:00pm ESPN), L.A. Lakers at San Antonio (9:30pm ESPN)
SUN Chicago at Miami (6:00pm WGN)
* All Times Eastern (ET)
The Brooklyn Nets have a favorable four-game schedule, including a home game against the defensively challenged Philadelphia 76ers, and a road game against the Boston Celtics, who rank last in the Eastern Conference and 28th in the NBA in scoring defense. It will be an especially good Fantasy week for PG Deron Williams, as well as SF Joe Johnson and Teletovic. SG Bojan Bogdanovic is also worth a look, as the Nets try to pick up the slack with Lopez sidelined.
The Atlanta Hawks enter the new week with a six-game winning streak, and the good times should continue. The Hawks have a favorable home game against the 76ers, as well as a home-and-home with the Orlando Magic, who average 100.1 points per game (PPG). A trip to Indiana isn’t nearly as daunting as years past, too, although they’re the best defensive team Atlanta will see this week. It will be a very good week for Fantasy owners of PG Jeff Teague, PF Paul Millsap and swingman Kyle Korver, who should see plenty of open spaces for long distance shooting. C Al Horford also remains a must-start. A sleeper heading into the new week is PG Dennis Schroeder, who has posted double-digit point totals in six of his past seven games. F DeMarre Carroll can also be a good source of rebounds in the new scoring period.
On the flip side, the Milwaukee Bucks have just two games in the new week. With head coach Jason Kidd’s rotation changing all of the time, we won’t even try and figure out who will be in the starting five from night to night. Fantasy owners should keep all Bucks players reserved.
Minnesota Timberwolves PG Zach LaVine has stepped up his play over the past two games, averaging 19.5 PPG with 6.0 APG and 4.5 RPG. He has played a total of 77 minutes during the span, and is worth an add if he is available in your Fantasy league. LaVine has been leaned up more with G Mo Williams (back) dealing with an injury.
Normally we feature rookies who are trending upward, but Chicago Bulls PF Nikola Mirotic is back to only worth keeping in deeper Fantasy leagues and long-term keeper leagues. With PF Taj Gibson (ankle) back Saturday against Golden State, Mirotic was scoreless in just eight minutes off the bench. He was such a solid performer with Gibson sidelined, so if you have the roster flexibility, keep him around. If an injury opens up a more prominent role again, Fantasy owners can be confident in his abilities.
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
Shabazz Muhammad, SF, Minnesota (13.5 PPG past 10 games)
Rasual Butler, SG, Washington (12.3 PPG past 10 games)
Jon Leuer, PF, Memphis (11.1 PPG past eight games)
Gerald Henderson, SG, Charlotte (10.9 PPG past 10 games)
Kyle O’Quinn, PF, Orlando (10.4 PPG past seven games)
REBOUNDS PER GAME
Reggie Evans, PF, Sacramento (9.5 RPG past four games)
Kris Humprhies, C, Washington (8.7 RPG past 10 games)
Kevin Garnett, C, Brooklyn (8.3 RPG past seven games)
Tarik Black, F, Houston (7.3 RPG past 10 games)
J.J. Hickson, PF, Denver (7.1 RPG past eight games)
ASSISTS PER GAME
Steve Blake, PG, Portland (5.1 APG past 10 games)
Gal Mekel, PG, New Orleans (5.0 APG past two games)
C.J. Watson, PG, Indiana (4.0 APG past five games)
Beno Udrih, PG, Memphis (3.9 APG past nine games)
Andre Miller, PG, Washington (3.7 APG past 10 games)
STEALS PER GAME
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, SF, Philadelphia (1.6 SPG past 11 games)
Kevin Garnett, C, Brooklyn (1.4 SPG past seven games)
Shannon Brown, SG, Miami (1.3 SPG past three games)
Kirk Hinrich, PG, Chicago (1.3 SPG past eight games)
Dion Waiters, SG, Cleveland (1.2 SPG past 10 games)
BLOCKED SHOTS PER GAME
Bismack Biyombo, C, Charlotte (1.7 BPG past 10 games)
Samuel Dalembert, C, New York (1.4 BPG past 11 games)
Kosta Koufos, C, Memphis (1.3 BPG past nine games)
Jeff Adrien, SF, Minnesota (1.3 BPG past three games)
Steven Adams, C, Oklahoma City (1.2 BPG past nine games)
3-POINTERS MADE PER GAME
Rasual Butler, SG, Washington (23 3PT past 10 games)
Jason Terry, SG, Houston (20 3PT past 10 games)
Kirk Hinrich, PG, Chicago (15 3PT past eight games)
Pablo Prigioni, PG, New York (15 3PT past 11 games)
Matt Bonner, C, San Antonio (14 3PT past eight games)