Games Played for Week 24
Four games: Hawks, Nets, Pistons, Rockets, Heat, Wolves, Thunder, Kings
Three games: Celtics, Bobcats, Bulls, Cavs, Mavs, Nuggets, Warriors, Pacers, Lakers, Grizzlies, Bucks, Pelicans, Magic, Sixers, Suns, Blazers, Spurs, Raptors, Jazz, Wizards
Two games: Clippers, Knicks
Next Week (Week 25)
Two games: Hawks, Nets, Celtics, Bobcats, Bulls, Nuggets, Warriors, Rockets, Clippers, Lakers, Grizzlies, Heat, Wolves, Bucks, Pelicans, Knicks, Thunder, Magic, Sixers, Suns, Spurs, Raptors, Jazz, Wizards
One game: Cavs, Mavs, Pistons, Pacers, Blazers, Kings
A championship of any kind can come on all luck, all skill, but 99 times out of 100 it’s both. Fantasy basketball championships will fall in that 99 percent every time. You can’t draft four superstars to carry you like in fantasy football and there are not going to be 100 players going on the DL like in baseball. Plus, savvy fantasy basketball owners can really use the schedule to their advantage.
Well, it’s championship week and if you’re reading this, things are likely going well. Unlike last week, it is not a level playing field as far as the schedule goes. Only six teams last week had three games, but that’s not the case this week at all.
As usual, the NBA takes a night off on Monday when the Kentucky Wildcats will play the Connecticut Huskies for 2014 NCAA championship. Consequently, there are going to be a lot of teams with three games in the six-day week and the Clippers and Knicks have just two games. The eight teams above with four games get a huge bump and will have double the action of the Clips and Knicks. Additionally, the Hawks, Nets, Rockets, Heat, Wolves and Thunder follow up with a two-game week next week, so they have six games for those in a two-week championship. You’ll see a handful of guys on those teams in this edition.
On the downside, the Cavs, Mavs, Blazers, Knicks and Clippers get just four games in the next two weeks. The tough part about that is there are a heck of a lot of studs on those five teams. Plus, potential pickups like J.J. Redick won’t be on this week’s Waiver Wired because they’re only going to get 66.7 percent of the games the rest of the way.
For the second week in a row, the Mavericks have a favorable schedule in daily leagues. They play on a six-game Tuesday, a two-game Thursday and an eight-game Saturday. Outside of that light Thursday, the rest of the week is fairly busy with at least six games per night. Fantasy owners will want to see how their roster shakes out and look which players might be on their bench for a 12-game Wednesday and 13-game Friday.
One last thing owners will want to keep tabs on is possible shut down guys. Here is a list of players who are candidates:
Probable shutdown (cut these guys): Pau Gasol (illness), Steve Nash (old), Wilson Chandler (groin), Jamal Crawford (calf), Danny Granger (hamstring), O.J. Mayo (ankle, conditioning), Eric Gordon (knee), Patrick Beverley (knee)
Questionable shutdown (Not worth starting in weekly): Isaiah Thomas (quad), Dwyane Wade (hamstring), Dwight Howard (ankle) Josh McRoberts (ankle), Avery Bradley (Achilles)
We had a good week on pickups last week and called Greivis Vasquez’s big week even before the Kyle Lowry (knee) injury, so let’s keep the party going.
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Reggie Jackson OKC
He’s an obvious must-own player for a few reasons. Russell Westbrook is going to sit out at least two of his remaining six games, his shooting percentage issue from about a month ago has been fixed and he’s been much better at stealing the ball. When taking into account how he and the Thunder may have the best schedule the rest of the way, Jackson is looking at a huge finish.
Ray McCallum SAC
We still don’t exactly know what’s wrong with Isaiah Thomas, but we do know that McCallum has been outstanding in the starting lineup. Coach Mike Malone hasn’t even used a team approach in losing IT2 and McCallum is all the way up to a ridiculous 45.4 minutes per game over his last five. In that span, he averaged 16.4 points, 3.2 boards, 7.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 triples.
On the downside, he did shoot just 40.9 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from the line in his coming-out party. He’s actually been aggressive and taking good shots, which wasn’t really his calling card back when he had his last chance to shine in Las Vegas Summer League. He’s a must-own player until further notice and has five games the rest of the way.
Aaron Brooks DEN
For whatever reason, Brooks’ ownership didn’t really jump up much and it’s too bad because he’s been putting up top-50 value over the past week. There is still no sign of Wilson Chandler (groin) and the Nuggets could be without Ty Lawson (ankle). He should be owned everywhere, especially after he posted another monster line on Sunday night.
Jordan Farmar LAL
Kendall Marshall has really turned it around after falling off, but he’ll likely see a hit upon Farmar’s return, which could come as soon as Tuesday. To be clear, Marshall is probably the better player to own as far as risk goes, while Steve Nash is likely out for the season. The Lakers might also be losing Kent Bazemore for the season due to a right foot sprain. There are really no other point guards on the roster, so Farmar could get thrown into the fire quickly. He hit 3.0 triples per game in his last nine games before his groin injury, so he has a very real chance to put up this kind of average line: 14 points, three boards, five assists, one steal and two triples. That would be near must-start territory, but again there is some risk here. I still would add him almost anywhere.