This is the end. No, that’s not just a movie starring Seth Rogen, but it sadly is the reality of the Fantasy basketball season. Most leagues will have their championships decided this week. If this article applies to you, congratulations, you are (almost) a winner! Do not get cute this week. Do what you have been doing that led you to this point. No need for a lecture since you’ve come this far. On that note, here are a few changes in minutes worth noting for this incredibly important week:
Minutes on the Rise (Use):
Alec Burks, SG, Utah: Alec Burks was amidst one of the quietest scoring runs in recent memory before suffering a relatively minor ankle injury. In 20 consecutive games before the injury, Burks scored at least 10 points. After missing four games, Burks is right back to where he left off: scoring double-digits on a nightly basis. Even though he comes off the bench on a bad team, don’t sell him short. Don’t lose any sleep starting Alec Burks in the most important Fantasy matchup of the season.
Jeremy Lin, PG, Houston: As Patrick Beverley exits stage left with a torn meniscus, enter Jeremy Lin for more playing time. Although he’ll never be a per-minute monster, Lin can still be a solid second to third tier point guard when he’s feeling it. More playing time should give him plenty of time to get rolling. Supposedly, Beverley is going to try and return in a few weeks but don’t believe it until he’s back on the court. Expect just enough of a combination of points, three-pointers and assists to start him as a final guard or utility player.
Josh McRoberts, PF, Charlotte: Did you see the backwards dunk he threw down last week? If you haven’t, make sure you click here. Over the past seven days, McRoberts has gone absolutely haywire, averaging greater than his season averages in every category across the board. He has really stepped up the scoring as of late, having scored double-digits in three straight including a 24-point outburst. For a guy averaging 8.7 ppg, a trifecta of double-digits is actually a big deal. I like to refer to McRoberts as a poor man’s Nicolas Batum because of the across-the-board production but no single category dominance. Use him as such once again this week with hopes he keeps putting the ball in the basket.
Minutes on the Decline (Avoid):
Anthony Morrow, SG/SF, New Orleans: Which way did you head last week if you wanted a Fantasy victory? To Morrow. Sorry for the bad joke but the three point specialist exploded with injuries to Eric Gordon and Brian Roberts. He went back-to-back games with 20-plus points and combined for eight three pointers during a three game stretch. Unfortunately, Roberts will return this week, which will delegate Morrow back to a bench role. You can’t trust him off the bench because he usually plays less than 20 minutes. If the team suffers another guard injury in the near future, catapult Morrow back into your lineup immediately. Update: Morrow has 23 points once again tonight with less than two minutes to go. Gordon is still out so he’ll be hit or miss until Gordon returns.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee: It wouldn’t be a minutes update without a weekly sit-a-Milwaukee-Buck recommendation in this section. Even being one of the best players you can own in a dynasty league, Antetokounmpo just isn’t trustworthy in a yearly league. One game he’ll play the low 20s in minutes and the night he’ll play high 20s. Need an example of his inconsistency? Here is his scoring output in his last three games: 10 pts, 1 pt and 14 pts. Even with four games this week and a Fantasy-friendly game, lean towards a more reliable option to guide you to the Promised Land.
Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto: Okay, so you’re not benching him; let’s get that out of the way. However, Lowry has been on a minute restriction as of late. Play the players that carried you to a championship but just temper your expectations. Coach Dwayne Casey says he played Lowry just 26 minutes in the last game to limit the wear and tear on his body. Toronto is safely implanted in the playoffs and keeping an injury-prone Lowry healthy is the team’s main priority. It may have just been a one game occurrence but at the very least it was worth noting. If it continues, Lowry will be slightly less effective, which is a bummer in what is likely the final round of your Fantasy playoffs. Update: Lowry left the game tonight with a sore left knee.