The Chicago Bulls are now a week removed from losing G Derrick Rose (knee) to what is a season-ending injury. The Bulls have lost four of the past five games since that injury, including to the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday night.
If there is any hope for Fantasy owners of Rose, and fans of the Bulls, it is the stat line on the other side Saturday. Cavs C Andrew Bynum (knee), like Rose, missed the 2012-13 season after knee surgery. However, he is gradually re-emerging as a Fantasy force. He posted 20 point with 10 rebounds and five blocked shots in 30 minutes, hitting eight of his 14 field goal attempts. That double-double came out of nowhere, but could be a sign of things to come. It was just his fourth double-digit point total of the season, and his first time playing more than 23 minutes this season. If he can duplicate anything close to this type of stat line on a regular basis from here on out, he will be a Fantasy must-start once again.
Another big man who is still in the infancy stages of his career might be ready to make a giant impact. Fantasy owners certainly took notice of Milwaukee Bucks F John Henson after Saturday’s win against the Boston Celtics. He posted 13 points with 13 rips and three swats in 34 minutes, making his first start at the center position. Fantasy owners of C Larry Sanders (thumb), C Zaza Pachulia, etc. might not see their guys start in the middle again this season in Cream City.
Another big to keep an eye on in Milwaukee is rookie F Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was an efficient 4-of-6 from the floor with 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a steal Saturday night. The teenage import played a career-high 28 minutes, and his boards and assists were also career bests. He is still more of a long-term Fantasy option in keeper formats, but he is starting to gain some value in deeper re-draft leagues. If you have the roster flexibility, it might not be a bad idea to stash him. Still, he needs to add to his frame, and head coach Larry Drew is mixing and matching, trying to find the right combination to win more than three times in 16 games. Nothing is engraved in stone in Milwaukee.
Teams with four games (10): Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indiana, Miami, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Portland, Utah
Teams with three games (16): Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Golden State, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto
Teams with two games (1): Charlotte, L.A. Lakers, Minnesota, Washington
TV TIME (national broadcasts in the upcoming week)
MON Orlando-Washington (7:00pm NBATV)
WED San Antonio-Minnesota (9:30pm NBATV)
THU New York-Brooklyn (7:00pm TNT), Miami at Chicago (9:30pm TNT)
FRI Denver-Boston (7:30pm ESPN)
SAT L.A. Clippers-Cleveland (7:30pm NBATV), Dallas-Portland (10:00pm NBATV)
* All Times Eastern (ET)
This week’s NBA schedule is tricky for Fantasy owners. There are four teams with just two games on the schedule this week, and that’s terrible news for those owners in cumulative formats. Avoid all Charlotte Bobcats, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Washington Wizards in the upcoming week in cumulative leagues. Those in formats which average points per game in a scoring period can use players from those four teams as you normally would.
The Denver Nuggets have four games on the schedule, but all of the games are on the road. That might look like a bit of a deterrent despite the four-game schedule. However, they’ll face several teams which struggle defensively, including the Brooklyn Nets (102.4 ppg), Cleveland Cavaliers (100.8 ppg) and Philadelphia 76ers (109.8 ppg). It should be a strong week for Denver.
The Portland Trail Blazers also have four games in the upcoming week, and they’ll all be at home. However, a game against the Indiana Pacers will start the week off on a slow note The Pacers rank No. 1 in the NBA in scoring defense. Don’t let that dissuade you from using all of your Blazers, however. With games later in the week against Oklahoma City, Utah and Dallas, the Blazers will pile up plenty of statistics.
Atlanta Hawks G Jeff Teague (ribs) left Saturday’s game after a shot to the mid-section, but he was able to return in the second half. He is dealing with bruised ribs, but it looks like it won’t be a concern going forward.
Hawks swingman Kyle Korver (ribs) is dealing with a more serious injury to his ribs, and he has been sidelined for the past three games. G Cartier Martin continues to start in his absence, and is a nice short-term addition for Fantasy owners.
Lastly, Hawks G Lou Williams (knee) has been resting for one end of home-and-home situations, but that won’t affect Fantasy owners this week. The team has a Monday-Wednesday-Friday setup this week, so Williams ‘should’ play in all three games.
Chicago Bulls G/F Jimmy Butler (toe) was able to travel with the team to Cleveland Saturday, although he did not play. Still, he continues to rehab his turf toe injury, and appears to be getting closer to a return. Fantasy owners will want to keep him reserved for now, but it might not be a surprise to see him return to game action before the holidays. G Tony Snell continues to surprise for Fantasy owners, and is worth a look in leagues of 12 or more teams.
Dallas Mavericks G Jose Calderon (ankle) missed Saturday’s loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves, allowing for G Gal Mekel to slide into a starting role. Mekel hit three of his 12 field goal attempts, going for six points, seven rebounds and a blocked shot in 26 minutes. Mekel is worth a look in daily Fantasy leagues if he starts again, but Calderon’s injury doesn’t sound like it will be something that keeps him sidelined for long period.
Speaking of the Mavs, G Monta Ellis (ankle) has been playing through a nagging ankle injury. He is not missing time, so Fantasy owners need to keep starting him. However, don’t be surprised if during a back-to-back situation, if the injury flares up on him, to see him see less minutes or even miss a game just to get right.
San Antonio Spurs G Tony Parker (ankle) looked good in his return to the lineup Saturday, and he should be good to go for the upcoming week. He posted a season-high 27 points with eight assists and six rebounds against Houston, so Fantasy owners should feel more at ease. In the upcoming week, the Spurs are set for three games – a Monday-Wednesday-Saturday situation, so no back-to-backs likely mean Parker will see action in each game.
If you need help in specific categories in Rotisserie Fantasy 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.
Michael Beasley, PF, Miami (11.2 ppg over past nine games)
Richard Jefferson, SF, Utah (11.2 ppg over past 11 games)
Khris Middleton, SF, Milwaukee (11.2 ppg over past 11 games)
Marcus Morris, PF, Phoenix (11.2 ppg over past 11 games)
Marco Belinelli, SG, San Antonio (10.8 ppg over past 11 games)
Reggie Evans, PF, Brooklyn (5.8 rpg over the past nine games)
Patrick Patterson, PF, Sacramento (5.7 rpg over the past seven games)
Kenyon Martin, PF, New York (5.4 rpg over the past nine games)
Brandon Knight, PG, Milwaukee (5.3 apg over the past six games)
Norris Cole, PG, Miami (3.7 apg over the past nine games)
Shaun Livingston, PG, Brooklyn (3.6 apg over the past 11 games)
Rashard Lewis, PF, Miami (1.4 spg over the past nine games)
Shane Larkin, PG, Dallas (1.4 spg over the past eight games)
Andrew Bynum, C, Cleveland (1.5 bpg over the past eight games)
Chris Andersen, PF, Miami (1.2 bpg over the past nine games)
Shawne Williams, SF, L.A. Lakers (1.2 bpg over the past 10 games)
Marco Belinelli, SG, San Antonio (21 3-pointers over the past 11 games)
Randy Foye, SG, Denver (20 3-pointers over the past 10 games)
Richard Jefferson, SF, Utah (18 3-pointers over the past 11 games)
Cartier Martin, PF, Atlanta (18 3-pointers over the past 12 games)