Fantasy Basketball, Week 22
Hard to argue with Toney Douglas’ results.
by Charles Peach / @Charles_Peach
If you’re still reading the column this late into the season it’s probably because you made the playoffs in your league (or you’re my mom.) For those of you who haven’t surpassed the maximum number of moves; get ready to go streamin’!
Playoffs usually follow the ‘No Holds Barred’ format. The waiver wire is ablaze. Seldom used fantasy players could end up determining the league champion. So, be on your toes and pick them up before your opponents.
Before we get into the playoffs advice, I want to acknowledge this year’s Fantasy MVP. To nobody’s surprise – it’s LeBron. Somehow, he took it up another notch this season averaging 29.7 points, 8.5 assists, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 threes, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks while shooting 50.1 percent from the field. If your fantasy team was blessed by his services this season you should feel very lucky that; A) you had the 1st pick or B) you had the 2nd pick and the genius in front of you took Chris Paul (ahem). If he’s not on your team, may you be so lucky as to avoid him in the playoffs. The LeBron Effect will be somewhat neutralized during the fantasy playoffs, though. The Cavs, Hornets, and Blazers have fewer games remaining than the rest of the League.
- Speaking of Chris Paul, if you held on to him and still made it to the playoffs it might just pay-off. Reports say he could return as early as Monday or, quite possibly, Wednesday. The Hornets are cooked as far as the Playoffs go, but Paul must play in a high-stakes fantasy league because that’s the only way this return makes sense. But if you drafted CP3 ahead of LeBron (ahem) and desperately need him back, you shouldn’t be complaining.
- Joakim Noah declared that he wants to play the entire game on Monday because his foot is ‘almost 100 percent.’ This is great news for his owners, who just couldn’t come to terms with dropping such a stud rebounder and shot-blocker. He played only 9 minutes in his last game, so we’ll see exactly how much they allow Noah to play on Monday considering the Bulls playoff hopes could be classified as Slim Charles.
- A dagger to Andrew Bynum owners, as it seems that he’ll miss, at least, a week of play as he nurses a strained Achilles tendon. A positive sign is that he’ll travel with the team for the upcoming five-game road trip, but it hasn’t been decided if he’ll play.
- News on Tyreke Evans, Wilson Chandler, Luol Deng, Marc Gasol, Jermaine O’Neal, Thaddeus Young, Ben Wallace, and Shane Battier to follow.
NOTE: Basketball Monster has the weekly team schedules laid out superbly. Most teams play four times this week, some play three, and the Knicks play twice. Looking at the chart you’ll notice that if you carefully manage your team this week, you can get six or seven games from each of your interchangeable roster spots by only making a couple of moves. For example, say you have Grant Hill playing Monday night against Golden State. You drop him for Chris Andersen who plays Tuesday (@NYK) and Wednesday (@BOS). Then you drop Birdman on Wednesday and pickup Quentin Richardson, who plays Thursday (@CHI) and Friday (@MIL). On Friday you drop Q and pickup Anthony Morrow, who plays Saturday (DAL) and Sunday (@LAC). So instead of letting Grant Hill sit on your roster, you can be proactive and get four more games out of that roster position for the week.
Here are some of the unique team schedules this week to help you scheme your way to a playoff victory:
- Portland plays only three games this week but they are clumped together (Thursday vs DAL, Saturday @ NO, and Sunday @ OKC).
- Chicago and Miami are the only teams, other than Portland, who play Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.
- Along with the three aforementioned teams, Golden State plays on Saturday and Sunday.
- Charlotte, Denver, and Washington are the only teams that play Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Houston is the only team that plays Wednesday and Thursday.
- The Lakers, Utah and Washington are the only teams that play Friday and Saturday.
- Miami is the only team who plays Thursday and Friday.
- Charlotte and Philadelphia are off on Saturday and Sunday. If you own a borderline player on either of these squads it could be in your best interest to drop them Friday for someone on Chicago, Golden State, Miami, or Portland.
The previous strategies will be helpful for those trying to preserve the number of moves they make during the playoffs. If your league has no limit on moves, then you can swap players in and out every night. The PICKUPS this week include some players who might just be solid acquisitions for one day because of a favorable matchup:
Toney Douglas – This guy should be owned, without a doubt, because he’s been named the starter for the rest of the season. Last week he totaled 79 points on 50 percent shooting, 13 threes, and 10 steals.
Jason Maxiell – People continue to sleep on Max. Ben Wallace tried returning from an eight-game absence, only to be re-injured and miss the next game. Max is the man now, and I bet he will be for the rest of the season. In the nine games Big Ben has missed, Maxiell averaged 10.3 points and 11 rebounds.
Bill Walker – Wilson Chandler is scheduled to miss the next 7-10 days but some believe he’ll miss the rest of the season. Walker has scored more than 20 points in four games since joining the Knicks last month, including one in which he knocked down five triples. WARNING: The Knicks only play twice this week! That’s less than every other team. But they play their two games on Tuesday and Friday meaning you can drop him Friday and pickup a player from one of the teams that play on Saturday and Sunday.
Ersan Ilyasova – The 76ers play some of the lousiest defense in the League (which is totally unacceptable considering they have a very good shot-blocker in Dalembert, athletic small forwards with size like Iguodala and Thaddeus Young, and quick young guards who can step into passing lanes like Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams. With just an ounce of effort, heart, or leadership they could be one of the best, hard-nosed defensive teams in the League. Great work this season, Eddie Jordan. Sorry for the rant, but the Sixers fraudulent play this season really has gotten under my skin.). They allow opponents to shoot 39.6 percent from three-point land, by far the worst in the League. So where does Ilyasova fall into all of this? The Bucks host the Sixers on Wednesday and I like the matchup for Ersan. He double-double’d in each of the last two games.
Tyson Chandler – Need some help this week in boards and blocks? Chandler, who’s been a bust all season long, could make his impact when it matters most to fantasy owners. In Charlotte’s last game he tallied 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. The Bobcats play against the Wizards on Tuesday, Timberwolves on Wednesday, and the Wizards again on Friday. If he gets minutes like he did in Miami on Saturday (33) he shouldn’t have any problems accumulating similar numbers against those weak squads.
Chris Andersen – Sticking with the rebounds and blocks theme, the Birdman was all over the glass in the last two games. He snagged 13 against New Orleans, then 12 against Milwaukee. He also blocked four shots in the Bucks game. Denver plays the Knicks in MSG on Tuesday. They also play Wednesday (@BOS) if you want to keep him around for an extra game.
Hasheem Thabeet – After a short stint in the D-League with the Dakota Wizards, Thabeet is not only back with the Grizzlies, but in the starting lineup. Marc Gasol missed the last three games because of a neck injury and no timetable has been announced regarding his return. He’s listed as day-to-day. While he’s been out, Thabeet is averaging 7.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks.
Reggie Williams – Speaking of the D-League, it must’ve worked pretty well for Williams. In his last three games he averaged 17.3 points on 54.1 percent shooting, adding 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 threes. As mentioned earlier, the Warriors are one of four teams that play both Saturday and Sunday.
Yi Jianlian – He returned Saturday from a two-week hiatus caused by an ankle sprain. He played 38 minutes and scored 9 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. The Nets play three of their four games this week at home, where Yi plays considerably better.
Francisco Garcia – Tyreke Evans missed Sunday’s game because he sustained a mild concussion on Friday. The Kings are, understandably, taking the cautious approach with the situation so the rook could miss some more games. Sacramento hosts the Grizzlies on Monday and Garcia would probably start again if Evans sits out. Garcia had a solid line when he replaced Evans in the lineup on Sunday; 16 points, 7-13 FG, 2 threes, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block. Stay tuned to this situation. After the Memphis game, the Kings depart on a five-game road trip. In all likelihood, Evans will be fine and travel with the team. IF he doesn’t, Garcia would be a must-own.
Beno Udrih – The Beno Ship has probably sailed in most cases but if some owners gave up on him after poor back-to-back showings last week, he could still be available. He’s been great in the last two games for the Kings. He had 26 points, 9 assists, and 4 steals against Milwaukee on Friday, and then on Sunday, without Tyreke, he put up 20 points and 17 assists.
James Johnson – Luol Deng will probably miss at least the next two weeks and Johnson has replaced him in the starting lineup. Everything has fallen apart for the Bulls as they were on a 10-game slide until they traveled to Philadelphia and beat the butter-soft Sixers. While Deng has missed the last six games, Johnson has averaged 11.3 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks.
Jordan Hill – Houston can still make a little push toward the Playoffs, as they trail the current eighth-place Blazers by 4.5 games. The rookie Hill brings the Rockets some much needed size and they’ve been utilizing him more in the last few games. In the last seven games he averaged 9.4 points and 6.6 rebounds. He also blocked five shots against Boston on Friday. The Rockets play at Oklahoma City on Wednesday and host the Clippers on Thursday.
Joel Anthony – Jermaine O’Neal’s ankle injury, although no timetable has been given yet, has the aroma of something in the two-week neighborhood. Anthony was O’Neal’s replacement in the starting lineup on Saturday and he finished with 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
Marreese Speights – He could be worth owning at some point down the stretch. It’s a risky addition considering the lack of rhyme to Eddie Jordan’s reason, but he played 29 minutes on Saturday. That was the most burn Speights has seen since December 19, as he finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The absence of Thaddeus Young, who has a fractured right thumb and will likely miss at least a week, opens up an opportunity for Speights to come in and produce.
Chase Budinger – Due to a hyperextended left knee suffered by Shane Battier on Sunday, the rookie saw some extra playing time and also saw three of his seven three-point attempts find the bottom of the net. He finished with 18 points and 5 rebounds in 27 minutes. Battier is listed as day-to-day and will undergo an MRI on Monday.
FANTASY LINE OF THE WEEK
In an intentional effort to find someone other than LeBron, I’m going with Dwyane Wade (3/18 vs ORL) 36 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 threes, 9-10 FT