Games Played Week 21
4 Games: ATL, BRK, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, IND, MIA, ORL, PHI, PHX, TOR, WAS
3 Games: BOS, CHA, DET, GSW, HOU, LAL, MEM, MIL, MIN, NOP, NYK, OKC, POR, SAC, SAN, UTA
2 Games: LAC
In case you missed Sunday night’s Waiver Wired column, it includes a breakdown of each team’s weekly games-played schedule for the rest of the season, as well as a look at each team’s back-to-back schedule, which is important for the owners of guys like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, and others.
Davis Downs Celtics
Anthony Davis destroyed the Celtics for the biggest game of his career on Sunday, hitting 14-of-22 field goals and 12-of-12 free throws on his way to 40 points, 21 rebounds and three blocks in the 121-120 overtime win. Brow is absolutely cooking right now, averaging 33.6 points, 14.8 rebounds and 3.0 blocks over his last four games. He also set a bunch of franchise records with the performance and is the first player to rack up a 40-20 game with just one turnover in the modern era. How high do you take him next year? He’s worth a Top 3 pick, although there are some injury concerns with him. I own Brow, Jeff Green, DeMarcus Cousins and Russell Westbrook in League Freak. Despite the latter two sitting out last night, I went from down 2-6 to up 6-2 because of Green and Davis, securing the No. 4 seed for our playoffs.
Green went nuts last night as well, hitting 12-of-23 shots and four 3-pointers for 39 points and six rebounds. The guy is simply hit-or-miss, but can put an entire fantasy team on his back when things are going well. Over his last five games, Green has hit the following percentages from the field: 57.9 (27 points), 18.8 (12), 47.6 (27), 14.3 (9) and 52.2 (39). The Celtics only have three games this week, and I’m going to have to decide whether I want to roll him out there for the week, or go with an equally unpredictable Jimmy Butler with four games. Kris Humphries stayed hot with a crazy shot to send the game to overtime and finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds, a steal and three blocks, and looks like the center to own for Boston, although Jared Sullinger also played well for the Celtics with 14 points, nine boards and a bunch of goodies. And without a back-to-back this week, Rajon Rondo, who hit just 3-of-14 shots on Sunday, looks like a safe play.
The Westbrook and Cousins Conundrum
As for Westbrook, the Thunder have more back-to-backs left on their schedule than any other team, and while he’s going to play on Monday, Thursday at Cleveland and Friday at Toronto are up in the air. And with just three games, I don’t think you can trust him in a weekly league. In fact, you may not be able to put him into a weekly lineup the rest of the way, which is just sad.
Cousins is another roll of the dice this week. He sat out Sunday with some knee tendinitis that came out of nowhere and the Kings have just three games this week. The good news is he was held out for precautionary reasons and there are no back-to-backs for the Kings this week. Cousins will have until Tuesday to get ready for a home game against the Wizards, and the Kings host the defensive-minded Spurs on Friday and the Bucks on Sunday. I’ll probably go ahead and start Cousins, simply because I don’t have a better option, and cross my fingers that he’ll play in all three games this week.
Buh, Bye Kyrie Irving
Someone who probably won’t be playing in any games this week is Kyrie Irving. He suffered a left bicep injury and from everything I’ve seen and heard, it sounds like his season is over. I said on Twitter last night to pick up Jarrett Jack, and nothing has changed. If he’s available in your league, you’ll be glad you own him if Irving’s season is truly over. Dion Waiters will also see a boost and an increase in minutes at shooting guard, and had 15 points, five dimes and three 3-pointers last night. Both Jack and Waiters are worth a pickup in most leagues with the bad news on Irving.
David Lee Benched, Stephen Curry Takes Over In 4th
David Lee was on the bench for much of last night’s game, but isn’t injured. Lee’s defense was a problem last night, but I don’t expect to see him on the bench much going forward. Stephen Curry got hot in the second half and went off for 37 points, four rebounds, five assists, a steal and six 3-pointers, as the Warriors held on for an exciting 113-112 win over the Blazers. Nicolas Batum, who is as hot as almost any player in the league, missed a game-tying free throw at the end that allowed the Dubs to escape with the victory. Klay Thompson was back in action after missing a game due to his grandfather’s funeral and had 27 points, three 3-pointers, a steal and two blocks, and his stellar defense had a lot to do with the Warriors getting the win. Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green both played meaningful minutes and scored five points a piece off the bench, but with Thompson back, neither are worth using in most leagues.
Batum kept up his rebounding pace with 14 of them, and also added 23 points, five dimes, three steals, a block and five 3-pointers. Dorell Wright is filling in nicely for LaMarcus Aldridge and had 13 points, four rebounds, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers, but played just 17 minutes. Mo Williams returned from a hip injury and had 12 points, four assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes, and I liked Wright a lot more when Williams was out. If Aldridge comes back from his back injury soon, Wright won’t be worth using. But for now, I’d recommend holding both Wright and Williams in preparation for Week 22, when the Blazers go five times. Thomas Robinson played just nine minutes and it looks like it’s safe to drop him.
Ramon Sessions Playing Well For Bucks
Ramon Sessions stayed hot off the Bucks bench, hitting 7-of-14 shots and a 3-pointer for 18 points and six assists, and is a player worth adding if you need a point guard. Despite his bench role for the eclectic Bucks, Sessions is averaging 13.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists over his last five games. Khris Middleton hit just 3-of-12 shots for eight points, but played 32 minutes in the loss to Charlotte. Ersan Ilyasova took the day off with a lingering ankle issue. He’s been a nice player when healthy recently, but the surprise DNP didn’t do much to instill confidence in his owners. He’s been a headache to own again this season and we’ll have to wait and see if he’s ready to go on Tuesday at Portland.
Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker played well in the win over Milwaukee, while Gary Neal scored 18 off the bench. Neal is starting to play well for the Bobcats, making him worth a deep-league look, but I worry about inconsistency with him.
Gerald Green Leads Suns Over Raps
Gerald Green came off the bench to hit 9-of-18 shots and five 3-pointers for 28 points and five rebounds in the Suns win over the Raptors. He’s going to be hit-or-miss with Eric Bledsoe back in action, but is still worth owning in all leagues. Markieff Morris had a nice game with 16 points and 14 rebounds, and remains a must-own player for the Suns.
Amir Johnson hit 9-of-12 shots for 20 points, and despite just two rebounds and a block, is a guy I want to own in all leagues right now. Especially with Toronto’s 4-4-4-4 schedule the rest of the way. Terrence Ross had 22 points and four 3-pointers, Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points, five boards, two steals and a block, Kyle Lowry had another big game with 28 points, five rebounds, 13 assists, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers, and DeMar DeRozan had 17 points, seven dimes and four steals in the loss. All of the Raptors starters look like safe plays right now, although you can expect inconsistency from JV and Ross from night to night.
Wade Plays Well As Heat Beat Rockets
Dwyane Wade hit 10-of-15 shots for 24 points, seven assists, two steals and a block, and is playing at a high level for the Heat. They play four times this week, but go back-to-back on Tuesday and Wednesday, and again on Friday and Saturday. That could mean four games for Wade, or just two, and you’re rolling the dice if you want to use him. I say go ahead and play with fire, and hope you get three solid games from him this week. Ray Allen went off for 25 points and scored 14 in the fourth quarter in the win. He had 22 points in his previous game, meaning he’s heating up. He could dry up as quickly as he got hot though, and had scored just 1, 13 and 7 points in his previous three games. Use him at your own risk, although he could continue to keep it going if Wade sits out half of his upcoming back-to-backs.
James Harden had 30 points and five 3-pointers in a loss to the Heat, while Patrick Beverley hit 5-of-14 shots and a 3-pointer for 15 points, five assists, four steals and a block. I don’t trust him enough to put him in weekly lineups, but he’s at least worth consideration with three games this week. Terrence Jones continued to baffle us with 12 points and four rebounds, and is another player who is completely hit or miss right now.
Derrick Williams, Gorgui Dieng Unlikely Heroes
Derrick Williams helped fill in for Cousins and got loose for 26 points, 11 rebounds and two 3-pointers, but remains a pretty risky fantasy play – especially if Cousins is back this week. Gorgui Dieng could be the starting center for the Timberwolves the rest of the way as Nikola Pekovic deals with ankle bursitis. Dieng got hot late and finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and five blocks in a win over the Kings, and enjoyed the absence of Cousins as much as anyone. If you need a center and are holding Samuel Dalembert or Kelly Olynyk, I’m down with making the switch for Dieng. Kevin Martin had 31 points and hit 14-of-14 free throws in the win.
Thunder Popped By Mavericks
Reggie Jackson started for Westbrook and had 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes, and is a strong play any time Westbrook is sitting out, which could be often with five sets of back-to-backs remaining for OKC. Kevin Durant scored 30 on Sunday, but the Thunder were blown out by the well-balanced Mavericks.
Jazz Thump Spurs
Derrick Favors is heating up at the right time and had a career-high 28 points and 10 boards on Sunday, while Enes Kanter struggled to hit 3-of-11 shots for eight points and 11 rebounds in a start over Marvin Williams. If Kanter sticks in the starting five, you’ll be glad you own him. Danny Green played just 19 minutes and had five points, and will have an MRI on his sore wrist on Monday. He's been inconsistent all season and is a very risky play until we find out the status of his wrist. Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 21 points in the blowout loss.