Fantasy Basketball: Playoffs, Round 1
Why owning Houston Rockets could lead to an early exit.
by Charles Peach / @Charles_Peach
BEWARE: Owners of Kevin Love, Chris Paul, David West, Emeka Okafor, Kevin Martin, Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola, Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, and Chris Kaman – These players have the WORST schedules headed into the fantasy playoffs.
This week is round one of the playoffs in many Yahoo head-to-head leagues. The Rockets’ unfortunate schedule this week could eliminate some very good owners early. The Rockets play only TWO games this week. Repeat, TWO! Those who have been enjoying the fruits of Martin’s, Scola’s, and Pickup of the Year Lowry’s labors this season are being dealt an off suit 2-7 when it matters most. If you own these guys, I suggest that you work the waiver wire diligently this week to supplement your key players. And if you can make it through this awful two-gamer, you’ll have weathered the storm because the Rockets schedule returns to the league-norm following this week.
Looking ahead, you want teams (like the seven mentioned above) whose remaining schedules look like this: 4-4-4-2. The last two numbers are usually combined because championship week is actually a week and a half. So let’s change it to 4-4-6. The Timberwolves, Hornets, and Clippers look like this; 3-3-5. If you own studs on these teams, do your best to make helpful pickups throughout the week or you will find yourself coming up short in categories you’re accustomed to winning.
Love’s owners really have it tough right now. Not only does he have a poor schedule but he also left Sunday’s game with a groin injury. Worst-case scenario, he goes on the shelf for the rest of the season. In that case I would rush to pickup the enigma of fantasy enigmas, Anthony Randolph. I mean, if you’re hit with that kind of deflating news, you have to roll the dice with Randolph and just pray that he meets his potential. Love’s teammate, Michael Beasley is also dinged up after being assaulted by Andrew Bynum as he soared for a dunk Friday night. So, with both Love and Beasley hurting, Randolph could (possibly, maybe, conceivably) become a useful fantasy asset for the remainder of the season. Just remember, the T’Wolves schedule stinks.
ON THE WIRE
Now that we’ve identified the players that could harm you in the playoffs, let’s find some guys that can help.
Jordan Farmar – Has to be owned right now with Deron Williams’ season in the balance. Williams reportedly will not play on Monday or Wednesday this week, with a possibility of a return on Friday. However, shutting him down for the remainder of the season might be the more likely possibility. Farmar started in place of DWill on Sunday and dropped 17 assists. New Jersey plays the maximum number of games from here on out.
Tony Allen – With four games this week, you have to give Allen a long look. Actually, don’t look that long, just pick him up. He’ll singlehandedly win the steals category for you this week. He’s tallied 12 of them in the last three games. He’s been effective in other categories as well, and isn’t hurting owners in turnovers or percentages.
Channing Frye – If he was let go in your league, run out to get him. He missed five games with a dislocated shoulder but returned last week to help the Suns win consecutive games. He came back firing. In two games last week he totaled 36 points while connecting on eight threes. Phoenix has a maxed out schedule to finish the season.
Toney Douglas – The Knicks have lost five of six. The one they won was when Douglas hit nine threes. Yes, nine. If he somehow managed to remain on your wire after that performance, go get him. In his last four games he’s averaging 18.2 points, 6.7 assists, and 4.5 threes. Plus, the Knicks have a four-game schedule this week.
Nick Young – This is a tricky situation. He should be ready to return from his ‘sore’ knee. He’s missed the last three games. Then again, it’s the Wizards, who have nothing to play for and no reason to rush a young player back from injury. Since Jordan Crawford has been getting some solid time to develop his game and thriving, even if Young returns I think his minutes and numbers would drop. Washington schedule is maxed out throughout the rest of the season.
Jeff Green – Might’ve been let go after a slow start with the C’s. But now he’s finding ways to help the team and with a four-game schedule this week he’s a solid pickup if there aren’t many options in your free agent pool.
Trevor Booker – No word yet on when Andray Blatche will return. He’s missed five straight games with a sprained shoulder. Booker has started all five of those games and averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, and one block.
Shaun Livingston – Just mentioning him here so that you keep an eye on him. He’s not a pickup at the moment, as DJ Augustin is still holding down the majority of the minutes. However, Livingston outplayed him in the last game and the Bobcats schedule is very strong after this week. When he plays he is not only able to get you buckets and assists but also steals and blocks. Though he averages 16 minutes less than Augustin per game, he’s still recorded more steals than him this season (45-41).
Jason Thompson – DeMarcus Cousins went crazy again. He might be in for a one or two game suspension after pushing and shoving half of the Timberwolves roster on Sunday. Thompson isn’t an immediate pickup, even if Cousins were suspended, but since the Kings play the max amount of games to finish the season, he’s worth a look. Not to mention that there’s going to be plenty of more opportunities for Cousins to go crazy again.
Ramon Sessions – I’m not very high on him because for a guard he gives you little to nothing in threes and steals. The things he has working in his favor; 1) The Cavs maxed out schedule and, 2) Baron Davis’ fitness.
Samardo Samuels – There should be better options out there, but if there aren’t any, Samuels is a decent one to settle on. He doesn’t block and rebound as much as he should, but his scoring has been consistent. He’s averaging 13.6 points and 6.6 rebounds in his last nine games. The Cavs give you the max amount of games the rest of the way.