Feb 20

16/17 Playoff Schedules

Below is fantasy basketball’s 2016-2017 playoff schedule. These schedules are based off of Yahoo’s default playoff weeks (Week 20-22). With your league’s trade deadline likely right around the corner, it’s time to start making moves to improve your playoff schedule. Quantity often trumps quality during the fantasy playoffs.

 

ATL BKN BOS CHA CHI CLE DAL DEN DET GSW HOU IND LAC LAL MEM
Week 20 3 4 3 3 4 4 4 3 4 3 3 3 4 4 4
Week 21 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 4 3 4 3 4 5 3 3
Week 22 4 4 3 4 3 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 3 4 4
Total 11 12 10 11 11 11 11 10 11 11 10 11 12 11 11
MIA MIL MIN NOR NYK OKC ORL PHI PHO POR SAC SAS TOR UTA WAS
Week 20 3 4 4 4 2 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4
Week 21 3 4 3 3 4 3 3 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 4
Week 22 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 4
Total 10 12 10 11 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 12

Teams with 12 games:

BKN, LAC, MIL, WAS

Teams with 11 games:

ATL, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DET, GSW, IND, LAL, MEM, NOR, PHI, PHO, POR, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA

Teams with 10 games:

BOS, DEN, HOU, MIA, MIN, NYK, OKC, ORL

 

Teams with two game weeks: 

NYK (Week 20)

Teams with five game weeks:

LAC (Week 21)

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Feb 15

Ibaka/Ross Trade Analysis

The Raptors and Magic made the first major trade of the season on Tuesday with Terrence Ross and a first-round pick going to Orlando and Serge Ibaka coming back to Toronto. Unlike the Mason Plumlee-Jusuf Nurkic trade, this move will have a fairly large impact on a number of players on both teams. Below is a breakdown of how these players should be valued going forward. From a non-fantasy perspective, I like the trade for both teams. The Magic were going to let Ibaka walk, and this trade allows them to somewhat salvage the awful Victor Oladipo trade. Oladipo for Ross and a pick isn’t great, but it’s certainly better than Oladipo for only one season of Ibaka. The addition of Ibaka is going to be a major shot in the arm for the Raptors. The floundering squad’s only decent option at the four was Patrick Patterson who has struggled to get over a knee injury. Ibaka is a perfect fit for the Raptors as he should help stabilize their quickly deteriorating defense while providing much better spacing than the other Raptor power forwards. If the reports about Masai Ujiri acquiring Ibaka with the intent of signing him to a long-term deal are true, then I like this trade a lot less for the Raptors. Assuming Kyle Lowry is brought back for over $30 million a year and Ibaka is re-signed for somewhere around $25 million, the Raptors will have over $80 million wrapped up in three players. A core of Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Ibaka is solid, but not a serious championship contender. Re-signing Ibaka will cripple the Raptors’ flexibility going forward, leaving the Raptors’ rabid fan base with a good, but not great, team for the next three or four years.

Serge Ibaka – Ibaka has had a bit of a bounce-back season, but much of his statistical improvement can be chalked up to an increased usage rate (21.0 USG%) that is likely to come down in Toronto. The Magic lack a true first-option and Ibaka is joining a team that has two. DeRozan and Lowry’s combined usage is almost identical to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook’s combined usage in Ibaka’s final season in Oklahoma City. The Thunder also didn’t have a third-option like Jonas Valanciunas taking up 19.7% of his team’s possessions. Expect a slight drop in Ibaka’s scoring numbers (15.1 PPG) and small dip in FG% impact due to the decrease in attempts. Pace won’t save Ibaka’s scoring numbers either as the Magic play at a slightly faster pace than the Raptors. I wouldn’t expect a major change in Ibaka’s rebounding (6.8 RPG) or block numbers (1.6 BPG). He’ll continue to see most of his playing time at the four which means he’ll be chasing the league’s stretch fours around the perimeter. Ibaka is currently posting third-round value, but owners shouldn’t expect that to continue. I’d value Serge as a fifth-round player going forward.

Norman Powell – The Raptors are now very thin on the wing and Powell should see a major boost in playing time. He’ll be the primary backup for both DeRozan and DeMarre Carroll and 25 MPG is a fair estimate going forward. That’s enough playing time to put Powell on the radar in standard leagues and makes him a strong pickup in deeper leagues. He should be a consistent source of swipes (1.5 SP36) and could average close to a three per game (1.2 3P36). He’s also a good bet to crack double-digits in the scoring column (15.1 PP36). If either DeRozan or Carroll were to miss time, Powell would become a must-own player in standard leagues. Powell has started 14 games this season and in those 14 starts he has averaged 31.9 MPG, 14.7 PPG, 1.5 3PG, and 1.0 SPG. We should see more Lowry/Cory Joseph lineups as well, but unless you’re playing a 20-team league, Joseph can be safely ignored.

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Feb 12

Week 17 Preview

We’ve made it to the most unique week of the season. Your strategy this week will depend on whether Week 17 lasts one or two weeks. If you play in a league where Week 17 last two weeks, then treat it like any other week. If you play in a league where Week 17 only runs until Thursday, then I hope you have a strong schedule. A four day week means more variance than usual and a bad day can lead to a blowout loss. If you have a short week this week, you need to be very aggressive with your streaming as even one extra game could swing multiple categories.

 

ATL BKN BOS CHA CHI CLE DAL DEN DET GSW HOU IND LAC LAL MEM
One-week Week 17 2 2 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 3 2 2 2
MIA MIL MIN NOR NYK OKC ORL PHI PHO POR SAC SAS TOR UTA WAS
One-week Week 17 2 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

 

ATL BKN BOS CHA CHI CLE DAL DEN DET GSW HOU IND LAC LAL MEM
Two-week Week 17 4 4 5 5 4 4 4 5 4 4 3 5 5 4 4
MIA MIL MIN NOR NYK OKC ORL PHI PHO POR SAC SAS TOR UTA WAS
Two-Week Week 17 4 4 4 5 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
  • Pacers and Celtics are your main targets for the first four days of Week 17. They are the only teams that play three times over the next four days. C.J. Miles needs to started in all weekly leagues and the corpse of Monta Ellis is a reasonable option for those looking for extra games. Kelly Olynyk is a strong option as well. Even Jaylen Brown and Amir Johnson are decent options this week due to Celtics’ strong schedule.
  • In weekly leagues, I would stay away from any player that is questionable to play this week. Most teams will play it safe and just rest their players through the break. That makes Avery Bradley, Thaddeus Young, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade, and Joel Embiid sits this week. Again, I want to stress how important it is to move Embiid before your league’s trade deadline. If Embiid picks up even a hangnail over the next month, the Sixers are going to shut him down. Nerlens Noel is an outstanding buy-low target. With Jahlil Okafor on his way out, there’s a very good chance that Noel, a top-15 per minute player, will be the Sixers’ starting center during the fantasy playoffs.
  • If your Week 17 is two weeks long, make sure that you save some moves for the second half of the week. The trade deadline is next Wednesday and a handful of useful players will pop up on the wire. If your team is struggling, February 23rd could provide a lifeline.

Week 17 Pickups

Cody Zeller – Zeller has missed eight of the Hornets’ last nine games and that has caused his ownership to dip below 50% on Yahoo. Far too many managers are making a major mistake as Zeller has clearly established himself as a mid-round player. He’s been a top-70 player over the last two months and is one of the better FG% anchors in the league (58.7 FG%). He also gives you enough on the defensive end (0.7 SPG, 1.1 BPG) and has improved from the line as the season has gone on (78.0 FT% over the last two months).

Kyle Korver – Korver has seen at least 25 minutes in each of the Cavaliers’ last seven games and has been a top-65 player over that span. Over those seven games, he shot an incredible (and unsustainable) 63.6% from the floor despite most of his attempts coming from behind the arc (3.3 3PG). He’s doing nothing on the defensive end this year (0.6 SPG, 0.3 BPG), but the move to Cleveland has made him one of the few three-point specialists who doesn’t come with a substantial FG% hit.

C.J. Miles – Thad Young is likely out through the All-Star Break and until he returns, Miles is a must-own and a must-start player. He’s hit the 20 point mark in two of the Pacers’ last three games and is averaging 4.3 triples in those three contests. Once Thad returns, he’ll go back to only being a streaming option.

Malcolm Brogdon – Jabari Parker’s season-ending ACL tear makes Brogdon a lock to provide owners with at least low-end value for the rest of the season. In the two games that the Bucks have played without Parker, Brogdon’s usage has been in the mid-20s which is significantly higher than his season-long usage rate of 18.0%. Khris Middleton will eventually take Brogdon’s spot as the Bucks’ secondary creator, but until then, Brogdon should post some very useful lines.

Moe Harkless – After an extremely hot start to the season, Harkless lost his starting his starting spot and in turn, his standard-league viability. Evan Turner’s injury gives Harkless a second chance. He’ll start while Turner is out of the lineup and should see close to 30 MPG. When Harkless was seeing that much run earlier in the year he was a top-80 player. I wouldn’t expect that level of production as Harkless’ per minute numbers have fallen off, but he should be useful from deep (1.0 3PG) and on the defensive end (1.1 SPG, 0.9 BPG).

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Feb 05

Week 16 Preview

The trade deadline is less than three weeks away and managers should start looking for ways to free up a roster spot. It’s always a good idea to have an open roster spot for streaming purposes, but it becomes even more essential around the trade deadline. It’s extremely likely that multiple top-100 players emerge due to trades made over the next three weeks and you don’t want to be hesitating when you are racing your leaguemates to the wire. Try to open up a spot through a 2-for-1 trade where you are receiving the better player. There’s still plenty of time to find a mid-round player off the wire to make up for any depth lost in a trade.

 

ATL BKN BOS CHA CHI CLE DAL DEN DET GSW HOU IND LAC LAL MEM
Week 16 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 4 3 3 3
MIA MIL MIN NOR NYK OKC ORL PHI PHO POR SAC SAS TOR UTA WAS
Week 16 4 3 4 4 4 3 3 4 4 2 4 4 3 4 3
  • The Blazers have their second two-game week of the season and that makes Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum weak starts in Week 16. Starting either player in a weekly league isn’t a death sentence, but the two-game week does it make it unlikely that either player will produce more than top-100 value this week. Two-game weeks are extremely hard to overcome. Moe Harkless is droppable at this point. Not only is he not seeing the minutes that he did earlier in the season, his play has dropped off as well. Harkless hasn’t been a top-200 per minute player over the last month.
  • The Heat have this week’s easiest schedule. Dion Waiters is red hot and is a must-start until he cools down. Tyler Johnson is healthy again and needs to be started in all weekly leagues as well. I’d stay away from Wayne Ellington as he’s only played 20 minutes in one of the Heat’s last three games. Hassan Whiteside is a tricky player to value going forward. The Heat are the league’s hottest team and are somehow only two games out of a playoff spot. If they can keep this up, it’s unlikely that we see Whiteside shutdown until very late in the season. I still think he’s someone you want to sell, but it’s no longer essential that you move the big man. He’s finished the last two seasons extremely hot so owners who hold tight could be rewarded handsomely.
  • Joel Embiid, Avery Bradley, and Thaddeus Young are questionable to play this week and all three need to be sat in weekly leagues. Bradley looks like the most likely to return, but with the Celtics having a back-to-back set in the middle of the week, it’s likely that the shooting guard only plays two games this week. Embiid is someone you should be looking to move. The Sixers are going to continue to be extremely careful with their franchise player and we won’t see much of Embiid down the stretch. Due to the Sixers having two back-to-back sets during the fantasy playoffs, Embiid will play a maximum of nine times during the season’s most important weeks. Mid-round players like Jabari Parker who have 12 playoff games are a lock to outperform Embiid during the fantasy playoffs. Young is dealing with what seems like a fairly serious wrist sprain. It’s possible we don’t see him at all this week.

Week 16 Pickups

Willy Hernangomez – Joakim Noah will miss time with a hamstring injury and that solidifies Hernangomez’ spot in the rotation. He’ll come off the bench behind Kyle O’Quinn, but he should see enough playing time to be useful. The rookie is one of the best rebounders in the league and is doing much more on the offensive end these days. Hernangomez has scored at least 15 points in his last three games and has hit 54.2% of his shots this season. He’s a very good fit for punt blocks teams in need of rebounding and FG% impact (0.5 BPG).

Yogi Ferrell – Every year a player comes out of nowhere and swings championships. This year it may be an undrafted rookie named Yogi. Ferrell’s first four games with the Mavericks could not have gone any better. He’s been a top-25 player since joining the Mavericks and is averaging 17.8 PPG, 3.3 3PG, 5.0 APG, and 1.8 SPG while shooting 44.4% from the floor and 90.9% from the line. Deron Williams has been sideline during Yogi’s hot stretch so it’s very unlikely that the rookie continues to post such impressive numbers. However, there’s plenty of talk of Williams being moved and if the veteran is, Yogi could be a difference maker down the stretch.

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Jan 30

Week 15 Preview

After a quick break for the holidays and a rankings update, the weekly previews are back. Most leagues only have five or six weeks left in the regular season and if you are currently sitting outside of the playoffs, now is not the time to stash. Nailing a stash won’t mean much if you are on the consolation side of the bracket. Do what you need to survive and figure out what to do in the playoffs once you get there.

ATL BKN BOS CHA CHI CLE DAL DEN DET GSW HOU IND LAC LAL MEM
Week 15 3 4 4 3 2 3 3 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 4
MIA MIL MIN NOR NYK OKC ORL PHI PHO POR SAC SAS TOR UTA WAS
Week 15 3 3 4 3 3 4 4 4 4 3 4 3 4 2 3
  • The Bulls will have plenty of time to sit around and talk about their issues as they are one of two teams that only play two games in Week 15. The only player on the Bulls worth considering in weekly leagues is Jimmy Butler and even he comes with some risk. Butler is only a game removed from his worst performance of the season and any player who only plays two games in a week needs to have two big games to justify their starting spot in weekly leagues. Dwyane Wade is having a surprisingly strong year, but is an easy sit with his schedule being so light.
  • The Jazz also only play two games this week and no one on the roster is a must-start. Rudy Gobert may be tempting due to his blocks, but even a low-end player with four games will likely give you more than the 25 points, 25 rebounds, and 5 blocks that Gobert will provide owners with this week. Gordon Hayward is in the same boat and is only a desperation play in weekly leagues.
  • Joel Embiid is going to miss at least the first two games of the week and should be sat in weekly leagues. I wouldn’t start Jahlil Okafor as he’ll get two DNP-CDs if Embiid does return later in the week. Nerlens Noel is an excellent start this week and should see plenty of run with Embiid out of the lineup. Noel has been a top-10 per minute player this season and is somehow ranked within the top-80 on a per game basis despite only averaging 17.6 MPG. He should be owned in all leagues.
  • The Raptors have this week’s easiest schedule and it’s not particularly close. They have three cupcake matchups on the docket and an Atlantic Division showdown with the Celtics. Toronto’s All-Star backcourt is likely to have a big week and Patrick Patterson, DeMarre Carroll, and Terrence Ross are all decent streaming options in weekly leagues. Lucas Nogueira is an excellent option for those in need of FG% impact and defensive stats. Jared Sullinger is still not in game shape and while he’ll likely eventually take some of Bebe’s minutes, that won’t happen this week.

Week 15 Pickups

Kent Bazemore – Bazemore looks like the biggest winner of the Kyle Korver trade. The swingman has been a top-75 player over the last two weeks and has averaged 15.4 PPG, 2.0 3PG, 0.9 SPG, and 0.7 BPG over that span. Bazemore has been disappointing this season, but his counting stats have remained strong. He has the ability to put up one three (1.3 SPG), one steal (1.2 SPG), and one block (0.6 BPG) every night. His current mark from the field (39.4 FG%) is by far the lowest of his career, but that is primarily due to his horrendous start to the season. The Hawk has hit 45.3% of his shots in January.

David Lee – The Spurs’ system has made useful fantasy assets out of worse players than Lee. Since Pau Gasol broke his hand in warm ups, Lee has been a top-60 player and an elite source of FG% impact. In the six games he’s played without Gasol, Lee has shot 64.8% from the floor and that absurd efficiency has come on a fair amount of attempts (9.0 FGA). Those punting blocks who just lost Enes Kanter to a fight with a chair should pay especially close attention to Lee (0.8 BP36).

Iman Shumpert – Shumpert has never been a reliable fantasy option so don’t get too excited. However, when a player has averaged 3.2 3PG and 1.7 SPG over his last six games, he needs to picked up and held until he cools off. Shumpert is going to see plenty of run over the next two months. J.R. Smith is not a lock to return during the regular season and Shumpert should be useful during the fantasy playoffs. Don’t expect anything outside of threes and steals. The shooting guard doesn’t hit the boards (2.8 RPG) and isn’t asked to create (1.6 APG).

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Jan 28

January Rankings: #101-150

101) Pau Gasol

102) Marvin Williams

103) Jon Leuer

104) Devin Booker – Booker posts some flashy scoring numbers, but until the rest of his game catches up to his scoring ability, he’s no more than a low-end asset. Over the last two weeks, he’s averaging 25.9 PPG and 2.4 3PG, but due to his inability to contribute anything on the defensive end, he’s only been a top-75 player over that stretch.

105) JaMychal Green

106) Tyson Chandler

107) Taj Gibson

108) Khris Middleton – Middleton is targeting a return around the All-Star Break and that makes him a must-stash player in most leagues. The Bucks have a 12-game playoff schedule and Middleton will have around a month to get up to full speed before the fantasy playoffs begin. Don’t expect early-round production, but top-75 per game production is possible.

109) Marcus Smart

110) Julius Randle

111) Ersan Ilyasova

112) Garrett Temple

113) Lucas Nogueira

114) Andrew Wiggins – If you ignore Wiggins’ scoring, he’s one of the least useful rotation players in the league. Wiggins is currently only producing above-average production in one category (22.0 PPG) and is arguably this season’s biggest (and most predictable) bust. His scoring comes on below-average efficiency (44.9 FG%, 73.9 FT%) and despite his physical gifts, he doesn’t contribute on the defensive end (0.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG). Making matters worse is the Wolves’ playoff schedule. Minnesota only plays 10 games during the fantasy playoffs. If you own Wiggins, you should be looking to move him.

115) Danny Green

116) Chandler Parsons – Parsons is no more than a stash at this point. The Grizzlies’ insistence on keeping him on a minute limit this late into the season is extremely worrisome. What worries me, even more than the minutes limit, is that Parsons has been absolutely awful when he has been on the court. The swingman hasn’t even been a top-200 per minute player and his play has not improved as he gotten healthier. Unless you are locked into a playoff spot, stay away from Parsons.

117) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

118) Derrick Favors – Favors is another player who just can’t get it going. Favors has been healthy for over a month, but is still ranked outside of the top-200 on a per game basis. The big man has been a major drag on Jazz’ offense when he’s been on the court so don’t expect a major increase in playing time (25.8 MPG over the last month). He’s another former stud who is not a must-own player.

119) Nick Young

120) Elfrid Payton

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Jan 20

January Rankings: #51-100

51) Joel Embiid – The Process would be much higher on this list if the Sixers upped his minutes cap and played him on both ends of back-to-back sets. The minutes cap isn’t a major issue due to Embiid’s top-25 per minute production, but Embiid not yet playing in back-to-back games makes him a risky play down the stretch of the season. The Sixers have two back-to-back sets during the fantasy playoffs so it’s very possible that Embiid ends up with a 9-game playoff schedule.

52) Zach LaVine

53) Nikola Vucevic

54) Thaddeus Young

55) Bradley Beal – So far so good for Beal. Beal has only missed four games this season and is on pace to play over 70 games for only the second time in his career. He’s still very hard to trust, but his per game production and 12-game playoff schedule makes him a strong hold. Beal still doesn’t provide owners with much outside of the scoring categories (2.7 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.0 SPG), but he’s improved his efficiency enough (45.4 FG%, 81.3 FT%) to finally be more than a top-100 player.

56) Carmelo Anthony

57) Gorgui Dieng

58) Tobias Harris

59) Marcin Gortat

60) George Hill

61) Harrison Barnes

62) Jonas Valanciunas

63) Patrick Beverley

64) Ricky Rubio – Rubio has been rolling after getting off to a very slow start. Over the last month, Rubio has been a top-50 player and has dominated the two categories that made the Spaniard so tempting on draft day. The point guard is averaging 9.4 APG and 2.3 SPG over his last 16 contests. Rubio’s name continues to pop up in trade rumors, but he should be fairly valuable regardless of where he ends the season. It’s unlikely that a team would trade for Rubio and not play him heavy minutes. Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Zach LaVine are all currently sporting fairly high usage rates, so a trade could actually boost Rubio’s value.

65) Goran Dragic

66) Tyler Johnson – This may seem high, but Johnson’s play justifies this ranking. He’s been a top-65 player on the year and is locked into a 30 MPG role. He’s one of the few guards who are currently averaging close to one three (1.4 3PG), one steal (1.2 SPG), and one block (0.8 BPG) each night. The next step for Johnson will be to improve his efficiency. He’s a drag on both efficiency categories (43.1 FG%, 74.5 FT%) although his lack of turnovers (1.0 TOPG) somewhat makes up for the poor shooting. He is one of the best point guard options for those punting assists.

67) Steven Adams

68) Enes Kanter – Billy Donovan is starting to trust Kanter more, and that has led to more playing time for the defensive-challenged big man. He’s averaging 26.6 MPG over the last month and should continue to see more playing time as the Thunder’s defense has actually been very solid when both Kanter and Steven Adams have been on the floor. In January, the Thunder have a excellent defensive rating of 91.7 with both big men on the court. Assuming Kanter continues to see minutes in the mid-20s, 18 points and 8 rebounds a night to go along with elite percentages is a reasonable expectation going forward.

69) Ryan Anderson

70) Eric Gordon

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Jan 16

January Rankings: Top 50

We’ve now reached the mid-point of the season and are now more than halfway through the fantasy schedule. If you’re cruising toward a bye, now would be a good time to start considering stashing players who may be underachieving, but who have the potential to be difference makers come playoff time. Regardless of where you are in the standings, you should start thinking about ways to improve your odds in the playoffs. Quantity can often trump quality during the fantasy playoffs. I prefer making moves now, instead of closer to the trade deadline, as the further away we are from the fantasy playoffs, the less value other managers place on playoff schedule. It will be easier to trade for a player with a perfect playoff schedule now than it will be in a month.

The below rankings are for 9-cat H2H leagues. Team build can drastically change player value, but these rankings are meant to give you an idea of how players should valued in trades. I’ll be back later this week with players #51-100 and #100-150.

1) Kevin Durant – Other players may post flashier counting stats, but no player provides the mix of dominant counting numbers and elite percentages impact that Durant does. He’s been dominant since the season opener and looks like next year’s top pick. The only category that he is currently having a negative impact on is turnovers (2.3 TOPG), but given his 27.6% usage rate, that’s actually a very impressive number.

2) Giannis Antetokounmpo – Giannis’ late first-round draft position and 12-game playoff schedule make it extremely likely that he’s going to be on a ton of championship teams this season. He’s providing historic defensive numbers (1.8 SPG, 2.0 BPG) and has managed to develop a three ball (0.7 3PG) without hurting his FG% (53.5 FG%). As an added bonus, Giannis is the least likely of the elite first-round players to be rested down the stretch of the season.

3) Anthony Davis – As long as the Pelicans remain in the playoff hunt, owners should feel comfortable keeping Davis through the trade deadline. It will be tempting to sell him given his history, but with the Pelicans only 1.5 games out of a playoff spot, it’s unlikely that Davis will be shutdown.

4) James Harden

5) Russell Westbrook – The walking triple-double requires some creative team building, but if you’re punting turnovers and FG%, he’s the second-best option in fantasy after James Harden. I do still worry about his body breaking down as the season goes on. We’re in uncharted territory as far as usage goes. His current 41.7% usage rate is by far the highest rate in NBA history.

6) Stephen Curry

7) Chris Paul

8) Kawhi Leonard

9) Jimmy Butler

10) DeMarcus Cousins

11) Kyle Lowry – Yes, Lowry has struggled with injuries down the stretch of the past two seasons, but owners can take solace in the fact that last season’s decline was not due to an overuse injury. If you look at Lowry’s numbers over the second half of the 2015-2016 season, the only major area of decline was his FT% and that was due to elbow bursitis. He’s currently leading the league in minutes, and while you’ll hear a lot of talk from Dwane Casey about trying to decrease Lowry’s minutes, that usually ends up being nothing but talk. The Raptors continue to struggle mightily when Lowry is off the court, and with the Celtics nipping at their heals, any rest is likely to come very late in the season.

12) Karl-Anthony Towns – Towns likely won’t end up justifying his lofty draft position, the sophomore is trending up. The biggest issue with Towns early in the season was his drop in efficiency. The big man only shot 47.7% over the first two months of the season. He’s been much better at putting the ball in hoop lately and has hit 51.4% of his shots over the last month. He’s also been much more active on the defensive end as of late. His steal rate has been disappointing (0.6 SPG), but he has averaged 0.9 swipes over the past two weeks. He’s also averaging 1.9 BPG over that span and has at least two blocks in seven of his last eleven games.

13) Draymond Green

14) John Wall

15) LeBron James

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Dec 19

Week 9 Preview

The big news of the week was the announcement that Blake Griffin will undergo what is being described as a minor “clean up” surgery that will put him on the shelf for three-to-six weeks. We’ve seen this movie before. The Clippers have barely missed a beat when Griffin has gone down in the past and there’s no reason to expect anything different this time around. From a fantasy standpoint, the biggest winners are Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan. Last season, Blake was out from Christmas to the last day of March. Over that span, Paul was a top-3 fantasy asset and Jordan was the second-ranked player in the punt FT% build. If you own either player, you are in for a treat. I won’t be posting a preview next week due to the holidays, but I’ll be back the first week of January with a fresh Top 150. Enjoy the holidays everyone.

 

ATL BKN BOS CHA CHI CLE DAL DEN DET GSW HOU IND LAC LAL MEM
Week 9 3 3 4 2 4 4 3 3 3 4 3 3 4 4 3
MIA MIL MIN NOR NYK OKC ORL PHI PHO POR SAC SAS TOR UTA WAS
Week 9 3 3 4 3 3 4 3 2 3 3 3 4 2 3 3
  • There are only six days of basketball this week as no games are played on Christmas Eve. Streaming is going to be tricky this week with Tuesday and Friday being extremely busy days. Targeting players who play on both Thursday and Christmas is a great way to sneak in some extra games this week. The five teams that play on both of those days are the Spurs, Clippers, Warriors, Lakers, and Celtics.
  • The Hornets, Raptors, and Sixers all play two games this week. Making matters worse, each team plays on both Tuesday and Friday, the busiest days of the week. If you’re overloaded on Tuesday or Friday it may make sense to sit Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Kemba Walker, or Joel Embiid. I wouldn’t consider starting anyone else on the three teams with two games. One positive that comes with the Sixers’ light schedule is that it makes it easier to hold Nerlens Noel. The Sixers have hinted that they are planning to trade Noel and if he lands in the right spot, he could be an early-round player. Whether or not you can take the short-term hit depends on your roster and where you are in the standings. Players like Noel can win you your league, but we’re almost halfway through the fantasy regular season and managers can’t afford to fall too far behind in the standings. If you’re currently out of the playoff picture, I would stay away from Noel.
  • With only nine teams playing four games this week, those players with four games hold extra value. Of those nine teams, the Cavaliers, Timberwolves, and Thunder have the easiest schedules. Kevin Love is expected to rest Tuesday, which makes Channing Fyre an interesting option for weekly league managers who need threes. The Wolves don’t have much of a bench right now, but owners should expect some nice lines from the Wolves’ starters. The Thunder’s easy schedule makes Enes Kanter and Andre Roberson strong plays in Week 9. I would stay away from starting Victor Oladipo. It doesn’t appear that he is close to returning.

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