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The Week Ahead

The Week Ahead: Week 23

by Jonas Nader
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Week 23 Schedule: Games Played





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Streaming Schedule:


Monday (8 games): MIL @ CLE, LAL @ IND, CHA @ PHI, MEM @ BKN, DEN @ MIA, CHI @ NYK, GSW @ SAS, DET @ SAC


Tuesday (7 games): TOR @ ORL, OKC @ BOS, LAC @ MIN, DAL @ NOP, ATL @ UTA, DET @ PHX, HOU @ POR


Wednesday (8 games): TOR @ CLE, MEM @ PHI, CHA @ BKN, NYK @ MIA, IND @ NOP, DEN @ CHI, LAC @ MIL, WAS @ SAS


Thursday (6 games): MEM @ CHA, PHI @ ORL, DET @ HOU, LAL @ NOP, UTA @ DAL, ATL @ SAC


Friday (10 games): LAC @ IND, DEN @ WAS, PHX @ CLE, MIN @ NYK, BKN @ TOR, MIL @ CHI, MIA @ OKC, UTA @ SAS, BOS @ POR, ATL @ GSW


Saturday (6 games): MIN @ PHI, CHI @ DET, PHX @ ORL, NOP @ HOU, LAL @ MEM, CHA @ DAL


Sunday (9 games): CLE @ BKN, SAS @ MIL, MIA @ IND, LAC @ TOR, NYK @ WAS, BOS @ SAC, POR @ OKC, ATL @ HOU, UTA @ GSW



Teams with Back-to-Backs


Monday-Tuesday: Pistons


Tuesday-Wednesday: Clippers, Pelicans, Raptors


Wednesday-Thursday: Pelicans, Hornets, Grizzlies, 76ers


Thursday-Friday: Hawks, Jazz


Friday-Saturday: Bulls, Wolves, Suns


Saturday-Sunday: Rockets


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Schedule Notes:


-The Hawks, Rockets, Clippers, Pelicans, Raptors and Jazz all have 4-game weeks that don’t begin until Tuesday.


-The Celtics, Mavericks, Wolves, Thunder, Magic, Suns and Blazers all have 3-game weeks beginning on Tuesday. 


-The Wizards are the only team that doesn’t play on Monday or Tuesday, so dropping a low-end asset like a Kelly Oubre or a Markieff Morris for a streaming spot to begin the week makes sense. 


-The Hornets, Pistons, Grizzlies, Pelicans, 76ers all have three games from Monday-Thursday if you want to stack your schedule early with pickups from these teams. 


-On the other hand, the Hawks, Rockets and Jazz are the only teams with three games from Thursday-Sunday. You can load up on pickups from these teams during the middle of the week. 


-The following teams play three games in the span of four nights at some point this week: Hawks (twice), Hornets (twice), Bulls, Pistons, Rockets, Clippers, Grizzlies (twice), Pelicans, 76ers (twice), Raptors, Jazz (twice). Adding a player right before their team plays three games in four nights could give your team a huge advantage.


-The Pelicans and Pacers are both making up a rescheduled game this week (this was due to a rook leak back in February). Both teams now have four games instead of three. The Pelicans also have the first back-to-back-to-back of the season, playing games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. They also play on Saturday, giving them four games in five nights. 


-There are three quality streaming days this week, or days with fewer than eight games on the schedule. Those days are Tuesday (7 games), Thursday (6 games) and Saturday (6 games). If you pick up a player on any other day, there’s a good chance they won’t fit into your lineup. 


-The following teams have the most “quality streaming days” this week: Pistons (3), Mavericks (3), Rockets (3), Pelicans (3) and Magic (3). 


-The 76ers (2), Hawks (2), Hornets (2), Lakers (2), Grizzlies (2), Wolves (2), Suns (2), Jazz (2) have the next most quality streaming days. 



Waiver Wire Options:


Nerlens Noel- The Mavericks only play three times this week, but they are one of just five teams with three quality streaming days. The Mavs don’t have a back-to-back set during the week which means Noel won’t have to rest, and we’re starting to see his minutes slowly trend up. In fact, he actually matched his season-high in minutes played (27) on Friday vs. the Raptors, scoring six points with six rebounds, three assists, five steals and three blocks before fouling out. There is some risk here, but it’s hard to find a player with Noel’s upside on the wire — he has career per-36 minute averages of 13.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.9 blocks. If he hits, he could be a matchup winner. "Nerlens is doing better and better," coach Rick Carlisle said. "He's simplifying things out there. It's pretty clear he's getting some rhythm back and he's getting some familiarity with the guys he's playing with.”


Nick Young (21%)- The Warriors are currently missing three of their four All-Stars with two of them about a couple weeks away from a return. Young made 5-of-15 from the field for 16 points with two rebounds, one assist and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes against the Kings on Friday, so we know the workload and the touches are going to be there. When Durant, Curry and Thompson are all off the floor, Young’s usage rate climbs all the way up to 27.5, so even though the Warriors don’t have a great schedule this week, Young is worth a look if you can live with a volatile field goal percentage. 


Cameron Payne (2%)- Just like we’re seeing with Lauri Markkanen (back), the Bulls are likely going to be very cautious with Kris Dunn’s toe injury. They have always talked about giving Payne an extended look, so I expect them to take advantage of this opportunity. Payne doesn’t get a lot of love, but we have to remember that he was actually pretty good as a rookie before he had all those injuries and he’s having a decent season in Chicago so far, averaging 8.1 points, 3.2 assists, 2.1 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.1 triples. If we expand that over 36 minutes per game (very possible he reaches that while Dunn is out), Payne would be averaging 15.2 points, 6.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 2.6 steals, 0.7 blocks and 2.0 triples. I’ll be watching him very closely on Saturday night vs. Cleveland. 


E’Twaun Moore (32%)- This one is pretty straightforward. If you pick up Moore right before the Pelicans play four games in five nights, that will give your fantasy team a huge boost even though Moore isn’t the most exciting asset with March averages of 10.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.7 triples. Ian Clark could be sneaky in deeper leagues with 12.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.8 triples over his last five games, Darius Miller could give you a boost in 3-pointers (1.8 per game) and Emeka Okafor is blocking 1.4 shots in just 16.7 minutes. 


Andre Iguodala (17%)- I like him for all the same reasons mentioned in Nick Young’s blurb. Iguodala has more upside than Young in assists and defensive stats, but his free throw shooting is a concern. He started and played 31 minutes on Friday, scoring 11 points with four rebounds, two assists, one steal and one triple. Just keep in mind that the Warriors don’t have any quality streaming days.


Caris LeVert (40%)- March has been his strongest month by far with averages of 14.6 points, 4.6 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.6 triples on 45.8% shooting. However, he tweaked his knee at the end of Friday’s game, putting his status in doubt for Saturday’s game. "We’ll have it reevaluated tomorrow morning,” LeVert said. “Hopefully it doesn’t swell up too much. But I’m walking so it’s not too serious.” Even if LeVert sits on Saturday, it sounds like there’s a good chance he’ll be ready for Brooklyn’s 4-game week.


Jarrett Allen (22%)- He returned from his foot injury on Friday, held his own against Joel Embiid and played 23 minutes with six points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Allen has been a hit-or-miss fantasy option, but I’m willing to roll the dice on him in a four-game week. If there’s one concern, it’s that the Nets don’t have any quality streaming days. 


Denzel Valentine (17%) and David Nwaba (10%)- Both players are looking at heavy workloads going forward, especially with Kris Dunn suffering a toe injury and Zach LaVine dealing with knee soreness. Valentine is worth picking up if you’re targeting assists, steals and 3-pointers, as he’s averaging 3.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.7 triples in 24 minutes per game in March. As for Nwaba, his upside isn’t quite as high as Valentine’s, but he’ll probably play more and will be a solid source of hustle stats. In seven March games, he’s averaging 9.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals. 


Jeff Green (6%)- The Cavaliers are very thin up front with Larry Nance (hamstring), Kevin Love (hand) and Tristan Thompson (ankle) all on the sidelines. Green is one of the last men standing in Cleveland’s frontcourt, and it’s not like you can trust Ante Zizic. Green has put together two strong games in a row, averaging 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.5 blocks and 1.0 triples in 30.5 minutes. Not bad, not bad at all. 


Reggie Bullock (35%)- He’s still not getting enough love this season. The Pistons play four times in Week 23 including three quality streaming days, and there’s a good chance that he was dropped in your league when he missed a game with back spasms. He’s easily the most reliable wing in Detroit and has run circles around Stanley Johnson, averaging 17.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.5 steals and 2.8 triples in March. 


Quinn Cook (3%)- Stephen Curry (ankle) will miss at least one of Golden State’s three games this week, so Cook is guaranteed at least one start. He scored a career-high 25 points with four rebounds, three assists, three steals and five 3-pointers in 40 minutes against the Kings on Friday, and while those aren’t fair expectations going forward, he’s worth a long look if you need a streamer on Monday and maybe longer depending on Curry’s health. “This didn’t surprise me,” Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr said. “I knew he was about to break out.”


James Johnson (48%)- His ownership has plummeted, but due to injuries to Dwyane Wade (hamstring) and Hassan Whiteside (hip), Johnson is trending up again and is averaging 12.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.4 triples over his last five games. He was one of the best waiver-wire pickups of the 2016-17 season, so we’ll see if he can keep it going for Miami’s 4-game week. Kelly Olynyk (47%) is also worth owning and is averaging 10.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.4 triples in March. 


Nemanja Bjelica (44%)- He has been one of the hottest pickups in fantasy basketball in recent weeks and is helping the Wolves stay afloat while Jimmy Butler (knee) is on the shelf. As a fill-in starter this season, Bjelica is averaging 13.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.1 triples. He’s in the midst of his best stretch of the season and recently dropped a career-high 30 points vs. the Celtics. 


Michael Beasley (41%)- After stumbling out of the gate right after the All-Star break, Beasley is hot again, playing 30+ minutes in three straight games with averages of 18.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 turnovers. He’s the ultimate boom-or-bust option, but I’m willing to roll with him in a 4-game week. If you need blocks and want to take advantage of New York’s four games, Kyle O’Quinn is blocking 2.0 shots per game in March with supporting stats of 8.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals. 



Additional Notes


The Thunder have a terrible fantasy playoff schedule with three games in each of the next two weeks, but Corey Brewer’s play has been hard to ignore. He just scored a season-high 22 points on Friday with six steals, and he’s averaging 14.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 blocks, 2.6 steals and 1.3 triples. I don't think it's sustainable, but I was wrong about him before.


Aaron Gordon can’t seem to clear the final test of the concussion protocol, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking about streaming Mario Hezonja or Jonathan Isaac since the Magic have three quality streaming days. 


Al Jefferson scored a season-high 20 points with 12 rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and no turnovers in 25 minutes in his last game, making him an interesting player to watch if Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis both miss time in Week 23. 


Josh Jackson is back from his knee injury and is averaging 18.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 triples in his last two games. The Suns only play three times this week, but do play four times next week and I’m expecting big things down the stretch for one of the most improved players in the NBA since opening night. 


Skal Labissiere returned to action on Friday and looked awesome with 15 points, five rebounds, three assists, one block and three triples, and while I think he should be owned, the fantasy playoff schedule isn’t kind to him this week with just one quality streaming day (Thursday). 


Delon Wright scored 15 points with five rebounds, six assists, two steals, one block and three 3-pointers in a start for Kyle Lowry (rest) on Friday, and with Toronto having another back-to-back on the schedule in Week 23, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lowry or DeMar DeRozan rested in one of those since the No. 1 seed is basically theirs. Wright will be an excellent streaming option if that's the case.