Games Played for Week 21
5 Games - Portland
4 Games – Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Indiana, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, Utah, Washington
3 Games – Cleveland, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, L.A. Clippers, New Orleans, Orlando, San Antonio, Toronto
2 Games – L.A. Lakers
I got knocked out of the playoffs in a few leagues last week thanks to Carmelo Anthony, but will face NBA TV’s Rick Kamla in the League Freak playoffs this week. We tied categories at 4-4 last week and should have a nice battle, as he gets five games from Damian Lillard. I’m starting Jrue Holiday, Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, Serge Ibaka, Al Jefferson and Derrick Williams, all with four games, and benching Bradley Beal, which makes me nervous. Kamla is using Lillard with five, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph with four, and Tim Duncan, Tobias Harris and Anthony Davis with three, while benching Carmelo Anthony (for now). Hopefully my two extra games will pull me through.
Atlanta – After pimping Devin Harris in Waiver Wired he disappeared on Sunday with four points and four assists, despite getting the start for Larry Drew. He was in foul trouble, and while the occasional off night can be expected from Harris, he should be better than this on most days. Jeff Teague came off the bench and I still have no idea what Drew tries to prove by benching his starters nearly every time they come back from an injury. Teague should be in lineups this week, along with Josh Smith and Al Horford, while Harris and Kyle Korver might be worth a shot.
Boston – Kevin Garnett missed Sunday’s practice with a strained adductor and is 50-50 to play on Monday against the Heat. The Celtics also have back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday of this week, meaning KG isn’t all that likely to play four times. If he can play on Monday, don’t be surprised to see him possibly sit against the Mavericks on Friday. And any time KG is out, Jeff Green becomes a must-start player. Keep an eye out later on Monday for news on KG’s status vs. the Heat.
Brooklyn – Reggie Evans blew up on Sunday with 14 points and 22 boards against the Hawks, but I still don’t trust him. Joe Johnson played against his former team through his sore heel and scored 18, but owners have to be a little worried about his ability to play in all four games this week. The Nets play again on Monday and also have a back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday, but as of now, it appears that Johnson should try to play in all four games. Deron Williams is nursing pain in his ankles, and is another player who may not be able to make it through all four games this week, but is playing well enough that he should be in your lineup.
Charlotte – Jannero Pargo led the Cats in scoring on Saturday, which should tell you what a mess they are right now. Josh McRoberts had nine points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks in that one, and is officially the power forward of choice for Mike Dunlap right now. Feel free to grab him if you need one. Meanwhile, Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker remain must-start fantasy players.
Chicago – As usual, Derrick Rose still has no target return date in mind, but did practice on Sunday. He could play as soon as Monday, or sit out the rest of the regular season. Who knows? Any time Rose sits, Nate Robinson is worth using, and I’m fairly comfortable plugging him into weekly lineups right now. Even when Rose returns, he could see limited minutes. Taj Gibson (knee) and Kirk Hinrich (foot) are doubtful for Monday’s game, while Marco Belinelli looks like a solid fantasy starter this week for the Bulls.
Cleveland – Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Shaun Livingston are the only sure bets in Cleveland right now, which should tell you something about how bad this team is, with or without Kyrie Irving.
Dallas – Elton Brand started over Chris Kaman on Sunday, but neither player did much of anything. Brandan Wright continues to get the most minutes and production at center for the Mavs, but he is far from a must-start player. He had eight points and seven boards in 30 minutes. Mike James is starting at point guard and had 14 points and two 3-pointers, making him worth a look in some deep leagues, while Shawn Marion missed another game with his calf injury. Roddy Beaubois’ season might be over after breaking a finger on Sunday, which should help Vince Carter and Darren Collison see a few more minutes each night.
Denver – Kosta Koufos had 18 points, 16 boards and three blocks on Friday and looks like a must-start player with four games this week. I just picked him up in one league and am pretty excited to be able to put him right into my lineup.
Detroit – Brandon Knight is iffy for Monday with his sprained ankle. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him miss another game or two, but we’ll have to see how he’s feeling at game time. As long as he’s out, Rodney Stuckey looks like a must-start and Will Bynum is also going to put up decent numbers.
Golden State – These guys are healthy and Jarrett Jack is heating up again. The problem is the constant string of three-game weeks from here on out.
Houston – Donatas Motiejunas continues to be hit-or-miss, James Harden continues to be as reliable as they come (despite a sore foot) and the Rockets play three games per week in three of the next four. Omer Asik is playing through a tweaked groin.
Indiana – Roy Hibbert is finally coming on for the Pacers and is a must-start right now, along with David West, Paul George and George Hill. And owners in deep leagues can consider Lance Stephenson, who is still starting at shooting guard.
L.A. Clippers – Caron Butler returned on Sunday with 14 points, which makes Matt Barnes quite a bit less appealing, especially with three games this week. I’m benching DeAndre Jordan for Koufos, but Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are nearly must-starts, while Jamal Crawford should be a decent option.