Fantasy Basketball, Week 18
Josh Howard down. Al Thornton up.
The number of games played per week is really noticeable at this point in the fantasy season. Being aware of how many games your players have in the coming weeks will give you an edge in your weekly matchup.
It can also give you some ideas for trades. For instance, I’m considering proposing Kevin Love for Andray Blatche. Blatche could play a maximum of 29 games whereas Love and the Timberwolves only have 25 games remaining. The Wizards have the most games remaining in the League. The Blazers, with only 24, have the least.
Less than eight weeks remain in most leagues. Only four weeks left in the regular season (Weeks 18-21) and three and a half weeks designated for the playoffs (Weeks 22-25). For those fighting to make the playoffs, you want to maximize the number of games your team plays in the next four weeks. Here is the breakdown of the number of games teams play in Weeks 18-21:
|15||ATL, BOS, CHA, DET, IND, LAC, MEM, NO, PHI, UTA, WAS|
|14||CHI, CLE, DEN, GS, LAL, MIL, OKC, SAC, SA|
|13||DAL, HOU, MIA, MIN, NJ, ORL, PHX, POR, TOR|
- Suns and Mavericks could really hurt you in Weeks 20 and 21 because they both play a total of five games in those two weeks. Eight teams (BOS, CHA, NO, NYK, PHI, SA, UTA, WAS) play eight games during that same two-week stretch. So keep that in mind if you’re battling to make the playoffs.
- The Bucks play an astonishing five games this week. BUT, they only play nine games in the next three weeks combined. While your Milwaukee players are only giving you nine games in the stretch between Weeks 19-21, four teams (BOS, CHA, NYK, PHI) are playing 12 games.
This is the breakdown of the games played during the fantasy playoffs, Weeks 22-25:
|14||HOU, MIL, OKC, SA, TOR, WAS|
|13||ATL, BOS, CHA, CHI, DAL, GS, NJ|
|12||DEN, DET, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIN, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHX, SAC, UTA|
|11||CLE, NO, POR|
- For those of you lucky enough to start thinking about the championship, consider the Hornets only have 4 games during championship week (Week 24, which is extended into Week 25 because the season ends on a Wednesday). All other teams play either 5 or 6 games during the championship week.
- In the first week of the playoffs (Week 22) the Knicks are only going to play twice. Most of the league (19 teams) play 4 games that week so guys like Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, and Al Harrington, who are normally solid players, could really hurt you when it matters most.
CJ Watson – Likely that he was scooped immediately after his 40-point game. If he’s still available though, pick him up because it seems he’s earned himself the right to play big minutes for the rest of the season, in our eyes anyway. There’s no telling what’s going on in Don Nelson’s head. In his last five games he’s averaging 21.6 points, 5 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 1 three per game while shooting 60.3 percent from the field and 80.8 percent from the line. The cherry on top – he only turned it over 4 times combined in those 5 games.
Al Thornton – In his first three games with the Wizards he averaged 30 minutes, 16 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks, plus he shot 52.6 percent from the field. He’s been coming off of the bench but that could change with Josh Howard’s ACL tear. Howard had to leave the game early last night and will miss the rest of the season.
George Hill – Tony Parker has a hip flexor and plantar fasciitis. If he is able to play through both of these injuries consistently, it’d be shocking. Hill is already playing consistently when Parker is in the lineup and would become really valuable down the stretch if Parker misses a chunk of games. Plus, the Spurs play the maximum number of games from Week 20 through the finish of the fantasy playoffs.
Nate Robinson – Scheduled to make his debut tonight against the Knicks. The Celtics are in desperate need of athleticism and energy, both of which Nate can supply. He could be a solid pickup going down the stretch because he’s capable of dropping 30 or 40 on any given night.
Eddie House – He has played over 30 minutes in both of his games with the Knicks. If he’s going to be playing that much he should be owned. In his debut he scored 24 points, sinking 4 threes. Expect more of this if the playing time stays the same.
Lou Williams – He came close to being dropped in both of my leagues, so he may or may not be available. But the news that Allen Iverson could be shut down for the rest of the season is music to Williams’ ears. Nothing personal, of course, but hopefully this means Lou sees the floor much more consistently to finish the season. Before he suffered the broken jaw in late November, he was clocking close to 40 minutes per game. Lately he’s been coming off of the bench and playing around 25 minutes per game. In a win against the Spurs last weekend he had a nice game; 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. The Sixers play in Golden State tonight, a game perfectly tailored for Williams to explode.
ON THE RADAR
Chase Budinger – Has scored in double figures in his last five games. He had a nice line Sunday against New Orleans; 18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 threes, 2 blocks, and a steal.
Marcus Thornton – Seems to be healthy once again and will be relied on in the coming weeks to score, score, and score. New Orleans trails Portland by only one game for the eighth seed in the West. He can be a nice temporary acquisition if you’re in need of points and threes, and can afford to take a hit in field goal percentage. He’s already had three games this season in which he’s hit 5 threes, but he’s shooting 36 percent in his last three games.
Darko Milicic – I know. I’m reaching. But I did want to acknowledge his decent game on Sunday against the Thunder. He scored 8 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in 19 minutes. I think there’s a possibility he starts over Ryan Hollins. It doesn’t appear that the TWolves are going to be able to start Al Jefferson and Kevin Love together in the future because of defensive inefficiencies. That’s why Hollins has been the starter for the last 10 games. I’d expect Darko to get about the same amount of playing time per game to finish the season. If he stays healthy and continues to produce like he did in his first game in Minnesota, he could become helpful.
Beno Udrih – The Kings rotation is becoming as confusing as any in the League. Udrih saw 24 minutes against Phoenix on Sunday and registered 17 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 threes. Since Kevin Martin was traded he should get more opportunity to perform like this. During November and December he was a solid player to own.
Taj Gibson – I’m not sure what the Bulls are doing with Joakim Noah. I thought the best thing to do with his kind of injury (plantar fasciitis) is to rest. But it seems they are working him back slowly. In the past two games he has played a total of 19 minutes. Noah believes he’ll have to play through pain the rest of the season, which is not a great sign. With Tyrus Thomas gone, the Bulls will rely on Gibson’s athleticism and will really need him to rebound consistently.
Nicolas Batum – He was fun to watch Sunday night against Utah. He finished the game with 14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 threes, and a block. Nate McMillan has been playing him very inconsistently lately, but his value was exemplified as he made several athletic plays on both ends of the floor against the Jazz.
FANTASY LINE OF THE WEEK
LeBron James (2/18 vs DEN) 43 points, 15 assists, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals