Sunday night was tough for me. You guys know I play in Rick Kamla’s old league, League Freak, and I got knocked out of the playoffs by three rebounds, as Pau Gasol dominated and Mike Conley didn’t do much of anything. I had the games played and schedule all worked out for the rest of the playoffs, but didn’t get it done. In happier news, I made the playoffs in all of my leagues and will face Mr. Kamla in the Finals of our 30-team league, which is a three-week, best-of-3 bonanza. The League Freak paycheck is a nice one, and that’s what hurts. Oh well.
Atlanta – The Hawks got four overtimes on Sunday night and held onto beat the Jazz as Josh Smith and Joe Johnson wrapped up monster weeks for their fantasy owners. Jeff Teague, Zaza Pachulia and Kirk Hinrich all played a ton of minutes and put up some monster numbers, while Marvin Williams was actually relevant in the win. With four games again this week, the core of the team (minus Williams) should be in starting lineups again.
Boston – Avery Bradley scored a career-best 23 points on Sunday, filling in for Ray Allen, who was out with a sprained ankle. Allen is out Monday and iffy for the week, making Bradley worth a look in many leagues. The Celtics finish 4-4-5-3-2. Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass all should be good starts this week.
Charlotte – D.J. Augustin failed to score in 21 minutes on Friday, while Kemba Walker had 13 points and seven assists in 25 minutes that night. Corey Maggette scored 10 in his return from a back injury in that one, but I don’t trust him. Bismack Biyombo is playing heavy minutes, but isn’t a great option either, unless you’re thin at center. Gerald Henderson backed up his 29 points with seven on Saturday. This team is a mess, and while everyone from Walker to Byron Mullens deserves a look in fantasy, I’m not sure any of them are must-start players. The Cats finish 4-4-5-4-3.
Chicago – Joakim Noah was ejected Saturday for throwing the ball in the direction of an official, but it sounds like he avoided a suspension. C.J. Watson is rolling along in place of Derrick Rose, who remains out with a groin injury. We don’t know at this point when Rose, who has missed six straight games, will be back. Richard Hamilton is nearing a return, but is very risky, while Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer should be good to go. The Bulls have four games this week, but then finish 3-3-4-2, which is not good.
Cleveland – The Cavs go 4-4-5-4-3 to finish, and Kyrie Irving is rolling. Irving, Antawn Jamison and Alonzo Gee are all looking like must-starts at this point, while Tristan Thompson is also worth a look. And you should keep an eye on Daniel Gibson, who has been out with an ankle injury. Anderson Varejao is expected to play again this season, but also doesn’t sound close to a return from his wrist injury.
Dallas – The Mavs have just three games this week, but Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry are still solid options. I’d try to bench Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion and Brendan Haywood if you have options. Delonte West is possibly due back from his finger injury on Tuesday, but he won’t do more than slow down Roddy Beaubois a little bit. Lamar Odom and Vince Carter shouldn’t be in fantasy lineups right now. The Mavs finish 3-4-4-4-1.
Denver – Arron Afflalo was suspended for Sunday, but will be back on Monday for the Nuggets' four-game week. They finish 4-3-4-4-2. Afflalo, JaVale McGee, Ty Lawson, Wilson Chandler and Al Harrington are all solid options, while Andre Miller and Kenneth Faried are decent options. Rudy Fernandez is done for the year due to back surgery.
Detroit – Rodney Stuckey is still dealing with his toe injury but is expected back on Monday, if all goes according to plan. Tayshaun Prince has struggled for a couple, but might still be worth a start, and Ben Gordon had 20 points and four 3-pointeers on Saturday after scoring 10 on Friday and 45 on Wednesday. I’m going to play him. Greg Monroe is a must-start, while Brandon Knight should be a decent point guard option. The Pistons finish 4-4-4-4-2.
Golden State – Nate Robinson was out again on Sunday with his hamstring injury but it sounds like he could play on Tuesday against the Lakers. Klay Thompson and David Lee are must-starts, while Robinson, Brandon Rush and Richard Jefferson all deserve a look. I’d bench Dorell Wright, after he played just 13 minutes on Sunday. If Robinson is out, Charles Jenkins deserves a look after going off for 27 points and six dimes on Sunday. Stephen Curry hasn’t yet been ruled out for the season, but I’m treating him as if he has been. The Warriors finish 4-4-4-5-2. Charles Jenkins blew up for 27 points filling in for Robinson, but it would have to be a pretty deep league to trust him.
Houston – Kyle Lowry is due for another series of tests on his bacterial infection in about a week, and I’m treating him as if he’s out for at least another 10 days or so. Goran Dragic is a must-start player, while Luis Scola, Chandler Parsons, Courtney Lee, Samuel Dalembert, Marcus Camby and Chase Budinger are all worth a close look, as the Rockets finish 4-3-4-5-1. Kevin Martin remains out indefinitely with his shoulder injury.
Indiana – The Pacers have five games this week, making Danny Granger, Paul George and Roy Hibbert must-starts. David West, Darren Collison, George Hill (season-high 24 Saturday) and Tyler Hansbrough (cheek) are all relatively healthy, and also deserve a look depending on your options. Dahntay Jones is also a possibility in very deep leagues. They finish 5-4-4-4-2.
Clippers – Mo Williams was out on Saturday with a toe injury, but it doesn’t sound too serious. Randy Foye is playing well, but will take a hit when Mo is back. With four games, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are must-starts, while Williams, DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler, Nick Young and Foye all deserve a look.
Lakers – The Lakers finish 4-4-4-4-1 making Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Ramon Sessions must-starts until further notice. Matt Barnes is also hot, and is worth a look in many leagues, averaging nine points, six boards, three assists, a block and a 3-pointer per over his last five games.
Memphis – The Grizzlies play just three times this week, but don’t cut any of them, as they go 5-5-4-2 to finish up. Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph are playable with three games, but weigh options carefully. But with five games in each of the following two weeks, you can throw O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen into the must-own category, while Marreese Speights and Hamed Haddadi might be worth a deep-league look.
Miami – The Heat were rolled by the Thunder on Sunday, but have four games this week. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are all must-starts, as usual, while Mario Chalmers is struggling enough to be benched in most leagues. He had just three points and two assists on Sunday. The Heat finish up 4-4-4-5-2.