Games Played for Week 16 (All-Star break)
3 Games – L.A. Clippers
2 Games – Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Lakers, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto, Utah, Washington
1 Game – Golden State, Memphis, New York, Orlando, Phoenix
ESPN Leagues (combine Week 16 & 17)
6 Games – Boston, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, New Orleans, San Antonio
5 Games - Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, Toronto, Washington
4 Games – New York, Utah
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Atlanta – The Hawks play twice this week so Josh Smith, Al Horford, Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver are must-starts. Outside of those four, I’d be hesitant to start any Hawks. And owners of Smith have to hope he doesn’t get traded while he’s stuck in your lineup.
Boston – Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have been hot since Rajon Rondo went down, while Jeff Green is a nice sleeper. Avery Bradley, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee are all worth a look, along with Brandon Bass, but none of them have been very consistent. Pierce went off on Sunday with 27 points, 14 boards and 14 dimes for a massive triple-double. While I don't believe the Celtics are better without Rondo, they've somehow won seven straight games, as Pierce and KG are going off.
Brooklyn – Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez are must-starts with two games, while Reggie Evans can be used if you are desperate for boards and don’t care about points. Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries have been walking disasters and while I still think there’s a chance Wallace will figure it out, he shouldn’t be in lineups when you can help it. At least he’s getting minutes, unlike Humps.
Charlotte – Kemba Walker was awful on Sunday but I’d still plan on using him this week, along with Byron Mullens, Ramon Sessions and Gerald Henderson. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is back from his concussion, but is far too inconsistent for my taste, along with Bismack Biyombo.
Chicago – Nate Robinson is on fire and should be starting until further notice, as it could take Derrick Rose a few games to get back into game shape once he returns after the break, while Joakim Noah is playing through his sore feet. I’d start Robinson, Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng this week, and give consideration to Marco Belinelli and Taj Gibson in deeper leagues. Gibson played well on Friday, despite coming off the bench. I love Jimmy Butler’s game, but it looks like Belinelli and Richard Hamilton are squeezing him out of the rotation.
Cleveland – As usual, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson are your must-starts, while Dion Waiters (who was awful on Saturday) and Alonzo Gee (who was great on Saturday) are also worth a look. Marreese Speights hit just 1-of-10 shots for five points on Saturday, but is still getting enough minutes and playing well enough to also be given serious fantasy consideration.
Dallas – Dirk Nowitzki, O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison and Shawn Marion are your must-starts for Dallas, while Elton Brand is worth a look with Chris Kaman still sitting with a concussion. Vince Carter is also a decent play, now that his illness is behind him. Marion seems to be playing at a different level while trying to convince the Mavs not to trade him.
Denver – Andre Iguodala suffered a neck injury on Sunday night but it doesn’t sound too serious and he is planning on playing Tuesday against the Raptors. Watch for news. Ty Lawson went off on Sunday, while Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried are also hot. Andre Miller, JaVale McGee, Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer are all interesting options, but chances are you have a safer option on your team.
Detroit – Greg Monroe, Jose Calderon, Brandon Knight (24 points Friday) and Charlie Villanueva (19.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.5 3-pointers over his last two) all look like strong plays this week, while Jason Maxiell and Kyle Singler are worth a look in deeper leagues. Andre Drummond will miss four to six weeks with a fractured vertebra in his back, which is the reason for the rise of Villanueva. Guard Will Bynum is also someone worth a look in deeper leagues, along with a struggling Rodney Stuckey, who has actually played well in his last two.
Golden State – The Warriors play just one game this week, leaving owners of Stephen Curry and David Lee with a tough decision. Jarrett Jack is dealing with a shoulder injury and sat out on Saturday, while Andrew Bogut also missed that one, as he’s still not playing in back-to-backs. I’d lean toward playing Curry and Lee, but the rest of the Warriors, including Carl Landry, aren’t worth using with just one game.
Houston – James Harden is the next best thing not named LeBron James, and is as must-start as they come these days. Jeremy Lin, Patrick Patterson, Chandler Parsons (awful Sunday) and Omer Asik are all strong plays this week. Carlos Delfino might be worth a look now that his shoulder injury is behind him, but I’m not comfortable with starting him right now (although he played well on Sunday). Harden appeared to hurt his leg on Sunday night, but played through it.
Indiana – Danny Granger could make his season debut on Wednesday, but could also wait until after the break to come back for the Pacers. He will be rusty and I wouldn’t risk playing him at this point. Paul George, David West, George Hill and Roy Hibbert are all strong plays, but I wouldn’t mess with Lance Stephenson, especially with Granger possibly ready to return.
L.A. Clippers – The Clips are the only team to play three games this week, meaning Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford are all must-starts, while DeAndre Jordan, who was hot coming into Sunday, all but disappeared in that one, and Matt Barnes are also worth a close look. Eric Bledsoe played well on Sunday, but I don’t really trust him with CP3 healthy, and Caron Butler left Sunday with a back injury, meaning he’s too risky to start. If he’s out, Barnes looks like a safe play.
L.A. Lakers – Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace and Earl Clark are your must-starts for the Lakers, although starting MWP could do serious damage to your field goal percentage. Steve Nash is also a pretty solid play, even though he’s looking like a 40-year-old, defenseless point guard instead of vintage Nash. Jodie Meeks is also worth a look in deeper leagues, as is Antawn Jamison. However, Jamison has struggled to produce and get minutes over his last three games, making him a pretty risky play. I still think Jamison will bounce back soon, as he’s going to have to see minutes with Pau Gasol out indefinitely.
Memphis – The Grizzlies play just one game this week, so owners of Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol have tough decisions to make. Tayshaun Prince, Jerryd Bayless, Austin Daye and Tony Allen may all be worth owning in fantasy leagues, but I wouldn’t plan on starting any of them this week. I probably should have included Daye in Waiver Wired, as he’s averaging 14 points, four rebounds and 2.5 3-pointers over his last two games.