Games Played for Week 18
4 Games Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Golden State, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Toronto, Washington
3 Games Brooklyn, Charlotte, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, San Antonio, Utah
2 Games Boston, Portland
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Atlanta – Josh Smith blocked just two shots last week, but it could have been much worse. Had he been traded to the Bucks, he would have lost one game and maybe more, and would have also had to learn a new system. Now Smoove will play four games in each of the next six weeks and might lead your team to a championship. Devin Harris is coming on, but is an injury risk, while Kyle Korver may still be worth a start, despite his demotion and his production tailing off in Atlanta. Obviously, Jeff Teague and Al Horford are must-starts.
Brooklyn – Joe Johnson has missed two straight and is iffy for Tuesday with his heel problem, giving owners a tough decision to make in a three-game week. Watch for more info on Monday and start him at your own risk. If he’s out, C.J. Watson should play well in his absence. Gerald Wallace doesn’t look like a great option with just three games, while Brook Lopez and Deron Williams remain must-starts.
Boston – With just two games, owners will have to think hard about whether to start Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jeff Green. I’d bench all the guards, and keep in mind Jordan Crawford failed to score in just 12 minutes on Sunday, which I don’t find all that surprising.
Charlotte – The Cats play three games this week and Byron Mullens is in a funk, hitting just 2-of-21 shots over his last two games. I think he’ll get it turned around this week, and would still lean toward playing him in most situations. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is coming on a bit so keep an eye on him, while Kemba Walker looks like a must-start. Ramon Sessions and Gerald Henderson should also be decent plays.
Chicago – Taj Gibson suffered a knee injury on Sunday night, leaving him iffy for his next game, and possibly means more minutes for Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. Here is some video of Derrick Rose dunking, and while he might make a surprise return any day now, you simply can’t use him until it happens. And yes, he could also miss the rest of the season. Kirk Hinrich was out again on Sunday with his elbow injury and he’s missed nine of his last 10 games. If he’s out, Nate Robinson should be started, but we simply need more information on Hinrich than we have right now. And with four games, Luol Deng joins Boozer and Noah as must-starts.
Cleveland – Kyrie Irving is dealing with a sore knee and while it doesn’t sound like a big deal, it’s something to definitely keep an eye on. He’s averaging just 14.5 ppg over his last two. Dion Waiters is hot and with three games, owners need to weigh options carefully. Tristan Thompson is another possible fantasy starter on this team.
Dallas – With four games Dirk Nowitzki, O.J. Mayo and Shawn Marion all look like solid plays, while Darren Collison, Vince Carter and Elton Brand are also guys I wouldn’t mind throwing into a lineup this week.
Denver – Danilo Gallinari is dealing with a thigh bruise that’s limited him for the last couple games and leaves him a little iffy for Monday against the Lakers. My guess is he’ll play, but that’s just a guess. With three games, anyone not named Gallinari, Ty Lawson and Andre Iguodala are shaky plays, although Kenneth Faried should also be in most lineups.
Detroit – Will Bynum has been suspended for a game, turning his four-game week into a three-gamer. Brandon Knight missed Saturday’s game with a knee injury, leaving him iffy for this week. If he’s out, Rodney Stuckey should be an excellent play, especially given Bynum’s suspension. Greg Monroe and Jose Calderon are the only true must-start players on this team, which is simply a fantasy mess.
Golden State – We were high on Jarrett Jack all year, and despite some struggles along the way, he’s on fire right now and is a must-own player. Andrew Bogut might be out indefinitely with a back injury, but Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee are all must-starts, while Carl Landry is worth a shot given Bogut’s injury. Start the inconsistent Harrison Barnes at your own risk, and enjoy the four-game week for the Warriors, as they have just two more after this one. I’ve pretty much bashed the idea of owning Bogut all season, and while I waivered on that last week, he now looks droppable in most leagues.
Houston – Just as fast as I picked up Thomas Robinson, I have cut him in most leagues. Weekly games played matter in most of my leagues and the Rockets’ schedule stinks. Additionally, he won’t play until he practices and we still don’t have any clue how Kevin McHale plans on using him. Meanwhile, Carlos Delfino has started at PF and played heavy minutes in his last three and I’d rather own him going forward. Just like every week from here on out, with the exception of Week 23, the Rockets play three games. James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin look like strong plays, while Delfino and Omer Asik are also worth a look.