5 Games: POR
4 Games: ATL, BRK, CLE, DET, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIN, NOP, NYK, OKC, PHX, SAS, TOR, UTA
3 Games: BOS, CHA, CHI, DAL, DEN, HOU, MIL, ORL, PHI, SAC, WAS
2 Games: GSW
The Blazers present a potential five-game nightmare this week, as we simply don’t know if or when LaMarcus Aldridge will play again. He’s already been ruled out for Monday, but if he plays in the other four games this week, he’s a must-start. And if that happens, Dorell Wright and Thomas Robinson become very shaky, at best, in weekly leagues. And we’re simply not likely to have enough information before lineup decisions for you to make a sound decision. Mo Williams has been a bit up and down lately, making him an interesting five-gamer, while Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez all look like must-start players. I am leaning toward telling you to start Mo-Will and Do Wright, as Aldridge just doesn’t sound like someone who is ready to come in and get big minutes this week.
I also don’t think that any Warriors are worth using in weekly leagues, outside of Stephen Curry. But even as good as he is, two games compared to five from a guy like Damian Lillard, or four from Jeff Teague, Deron Williams, Kyle Lowry, or any other number of players, probably isn’t going to stack up.
The Lakers are also a mess right now, with Mike D’Antoni switching up the starting lineup, putting Ryan Kelly on the bench for Jordan Hill, while Nick Young is suddenly relevant again. Unlike the Blazers and Warriors, I will hit some Lakers below.
I’d like to thank Mike Azotea, the manager of the Gainesville, GA Buffalo Wild Wings, for taking care of me this season. I’ve been in there a lot and spent Sunday working on Season Pass information and part of this column. I had the Braves, NCAA tourney and the Hawks/Raptors game all lined up in front of me today and my family has a blast every time we’re in there. There’s no better place to watch sports, at least in my part of the country.
As for pickups of the week, we are really getting down to true crapshoot time, as guys are missing games left and right, and usually without much notice. Here are some guys you should be thinking about.
Dion Waiters & Jarrett Jack CLE
Waiters has been on a tear, averaging 21.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.8 3-pointers over his last five games on 42 percent shooting. He’s been especially nice over his last three games, and there are no signs pointing to Kyrie Irving’s return anytime soon. I thought that Jarrett Jack was going to get the assists, but Waiters has rained on that parade.
Jack hasn’t been bad, but he also hasn’t been nearly as good as Waiters. Jack is averaging 12.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.0 3-pointers on 49 percent shooting over his last five. And again, without Irving around, both guys are going to see a ton of minutes the rest of the way.
Randy Foye DEN
Foye’s slump is over and he’s scored between 14 and 22 points in each of his last four games, knocking down five or more 3-pointers in three straight games. If you’re sitting on Courtney Lee, dump him for Foye right now.
Avery Bradley BOS
Bradley is finally healthy and has hit double figures in scoring in four straight games. He scored 28 on Friday and 23 on Wednesday, knocking down 10 3-pointers in those two games. His return has crushed Jerryd Bayless and Bradley suddenly looks like a must-own player.
Nick Young LAL
Young returned from his 11-game knee injury and hit four 3-pointers for 21 points in 29 minutes on Friday night. I’d like to see him do it again on Sunday night before declaring him a must-own player, especially with the way D’Antoni is screwing with the lineup and rotation right now. Robert Sacre and Kent Bazemore both started on Friday, but Sacre played just 18 minutes and Bazemore got 11 minutes in the loss.
In short, as of right now, Pau Gasol, Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks and Young all look like guys you want to own. Bazemore’s run could be over, Xavier Henry is out Sunday with a wrist injury, but says he’ll play this week, while Wes Johnson was out on Friday with a respiratory infection. Jordan Hill is also suddenly relevant again, while Ryan Kelly is now a big question mark. This team is going to be messy in terms of fantasy, just like it has been all season, so tread carefully.
Rodney Stuckey & Will Bynum DET
Stuckey had played very well in three straight games, scoring 19, 18 and 23 points, but fizzled on Saturday six points in 27 minutes. He doesn’t get a lot of steals or threes, limiting his value, but if you’re simply looking for a scorer, Stuckey is worth a look. He was starting for a minute, but came off the bench on Saturday.
Bynum has managed to play well despite Brandon Jennings. Jennings is completely hit-or-miss these days, but Bynum has been consistent, averaging 8.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists and nearly a 3-pointer per game over his last five. Obviously that scoring average leaves something to be desired, but if you’re trying to track a fellow owner down in assists, he might be your guy.
Giannis Antetokounmpo MIL
Nate Wolters is out for the season with a broken hand and Alphabet started at shooting guard on Sunday. He had just nine points, six rebounds, two assists and a 3-pointer in 23 minutes, but the game, as usual, was a bit of a blowout. I’m not rushing out to pick him up and his numbers haven’t been great, but if Larry Drew finally decides to turn him loose and give him 30 minutes a night, he could be fun to own as you watch him fill the stat sheet across the board.
Shelvin Mack ATL
Kyle Korver’s mysterious back injury (which absolutely ruined two of my playoff teams, by the way) is still an issue and it’s unknown when he’ll play again. Mack started on Sunday and had seven points and two steals in 29 minutes. If Korver’s going to miss time, Mack is going to be better than this on most nights.
J.J. Redick LAC
Redick could play on Monday and will then move into a timeshare with Jamal Crawford and Darren Collison. And as we’ve seen throughout the history of fantasy hoops, three-headed monsters disguised as timeshares are usually a nightmare. Oddly, I want to say all three players are worth owning at this point, but I don’t think I’d have the guts to start any of them in a weekly league.