Fantasy Basketball, Week 21
Just when you thought it was over…
by Charles Peach / @Charles_Peach
Stop with the brackets. The wild upsets will have you ripping them up by Friday anyway. Stay focused on the fantasy team you’ve been nursing all season. You’ve put in months of waiver wire work and numbers crunching for you to get distracted now. (Alright, so here’s my Final 4: Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky and Villanova. I’ll take the Jayhawks over Big Blue in the championship game. Speaking of Kentucky, if you’ve ever wondered where the John Wall Dance originated, I think it could be a spin-off of this classic from The Klumps’ dinner table. But seriously, back to fantasy.)
The playoffs begin this week in many 16-team leagues while most 12-team leagues begin next week. In an effort to maximize the number of games you play this week and help you garner as much ammunition as possible for trenches of fantasy warfare, look carefully at the number of games each team plays this week.
Most importantly, these teams play ONLY TWICE this week: Dallas, Orlando, and Portland. The Blazers have the fewest regular season games remaining in the League. Any potential ‘pickups’ on these three teams (Rodrigue Beaubois, JJ Barea, Matt Barnes, Jerryd Bayless, Rudy Fernandez, etc.) should be ignored for this week unless you are seeking help on a nightly basis.
These teams play (the maximum) FOUR GAMES this week: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, Lakers, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Utah, and Washington. You can’t go wrong from here on out with Wizards, Spurs, and Rockets as they play the maximum number of games each week until the end of the season.
The rest play THREE GAMES this week: Clippers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Sacramento, and Toronto.
PICKUPS (Everything is a ‘PICKUP’ this week, no ‘ON THE RADAR’ because the playoffs are here!)
Toney Douglas – It’s literally someone new every week for the Knicks. Last week it was Douglas who came crawling out of the woodwork. But this might be someone you can actually count on for the rest of the season, as Coach D’Antoni stated that he’d like to start Douglas at point guard for the remainder of the season. He scored 19 and 21 in back-to-back games while hitting six of his eight three-point attempts. Enjoy him for four games this week, but beware; the Knicks play only twice next week.
Terrence Williams – Kiki Vandeweghe has finally decided to let young Terrence spread his wings. He’s played between 26 and 32 minutes in seven straight games. During that stretch he averaged 14 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.9 assists. The Nets play just three games this week, but they play four in each of the next two weeks.
Julian Wright – A decent addition for deep leagues at the moment as Peja Stojakovic is scheduled to be sidelined at least two weeks. Wright was the immediate benefactor after the Peja news was released, as he went from playing six minutes per game to at least 37 minutes in each of the three games. His numbers won’t blow you away but he’s long and athletic so it won’t be surprising if he registers another game with five steals like he did against Denver on Friday night. Hornets will be safe to own until championship week when they play only four games (championship week is typically 10 days) while many other teams will play six.
Marcus Thornton – Just make sure he’s on a roster in your league. If he’s on yours, good job. It’s highly doubtful that he’s available and that’s because he’s the real deal. He puts points up in a hurry and has 14 straight games with at least one three-pointer (and he usually bangs a few more just for good measure.)
Anthony Tolliver – Golden State plays four times this week and next. Andris Biedrins is already out for the season and there is no apparent return for Ronny Turiaf in sight, leaving Tolliver to be the center for the Warriors in the immediate future. Let me use this space to rant about the Toronto Raptors. On Saturday, the Raptors lost to the Warriors 124-112. The Raptors had their usual frontline – Bosh, Bargnani, and Turkoglu going up against Tolliver, Maggette, and Morrow and somehow the Warriors out-rebounded them, including 18-7 in offensive rebounds. I have trouble taking Toronto seriously if that’s how their bigs perform in the thick of a playoff race against a tiny opponent. I mean, really. Don’t any of you remember how to box out?
Amir Johnson – If the Raptors all of a sudden decide it would be in their best interest to hit the glass, and you’re in a deep league, Johnson could be your man. He’s played 21 minutes in each of the last two games and averaged 13.5 points and 6 rebounds. He can also help you in blocks if he gets enough playing time.
Travis Outlaw – Now starting for the Clippers and is getting some serious burn. In the last two games he averaged 39 minutes, 16.5 points, 3 threes, one steal, and one block. The Clips only play three games this week and next. If you’re League does daily lineup changes, consider adding Outlaw to your roster before Sunday when they play Golden State at home. He could give you the edge to win the threes category in your head-to-head matchups this week.
Jordan Hill – Like I mentioned earlier, Rockets are great to own the rest of the way. Hill might be one to consider as Houston tries to make one last surge towards the playoffs. They lack size so Hill is one of their few options at center. He’s played over 20 minutes in each of the last three games which included a couple of solid lines; 12 points, 8 rebounds @ DET and 11 points, 8 rebounds @ WAS.
Wizards – Yes, my infatuation with Wizards continues if only because they play the maximum number of games. Let’s start with Randy Foye. It’s possible that he could lose his job in favor of Shaun Livingston aka Mr. 10-Day Contract. Livingston played 30 minutes on Saturday night and finished with 18 points on 8-11 shooting while adding 8 assists. If Livingston gets the start at point guard tonight in Utah, be ready to add him. If it has indeed been determined that Foye can not be a point guard, than the Wiz could have their answer in Livingston. Mike Miller is the other guy who might be floating around your waiver wire that should be owned for the coming weeks. He’s the League leader in three-point shooting at 49.5 percent and he’ll also help you in other categories across the board. Andray Blatche the only must-own. Al Thornton is a solid-own since he has been effectively scoring and rebounding. JaVale McGee aka The JaValevator, Nick Young, and James Singleton are all risky at this point.
James Johnson – Luol Deng will be sidelined at least a week and Johnson was productive in his place the last two games as he averaged 16.5 points, 1.5 threes, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks. The Bulls play four times this week and next.
Wesley Matthews – He broke out 6 threes and 29 points in a loss against the Thunder on Sunday. The Jazz play four games this week and next so he could be your man if you want to employ the ‘ride the hot hand’ philosophy.
Chris Andersen – The Birdman and the Nuggets will be suiting up four times this week and next. While Kenyon Martin has been out, Denver has increasingly had to rely on Birdman’s ruggedness on the defensive end. He’s responded by averaging 3.2 blocks in the last six games to go along with 7.2 rebounds.
Will Bynum – Registered a 20-assist game in a win against Washington on Friday. As long as Rodney Stuckey sits (which reportedly will be at least another two games), Bynum is going to be a solid fantasy player.
Bill Walker – Look at Walker’s point totals from the last eight games and try to predict what he will do in his next game or two: 21, 22, 8, 4, 8, 1, 21, and 23. What are you going to get from him? I have no idea. He did nail 5 threes in his last game, which is great but we can’t really expect him to do it again, can we? He’ll play four games this week, but remember to drop him at the end of the week as the Knicks play only twice next week.
Jason Maxiell – As I’ve mentioned a lot recently, I really don’t believe Ben Wallace will return this season. If he does I think it would be silly, mainly because I picked up Mad Max a couple weeks ago and I’m enjoying the fruits of his labor. His latest effort was a 19 and 12 game against the Hawks on Saturday.
FANTASY LINE OF THE WEEK
Tyreke Evans (3/14 vs MIN) He had a triple-double earlier in the week but I like this near-miss even more: 29 points, 10-19 FG, 7-7 FT, 11 assists, 9 rebounds, 2 threes, 2 steals, and only 2 turnovers.