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.
Amir Johnson TOR
I have been hyping Johnson for a few weeks now and he came through with 25 points, 12 boards and five blocks against the Thunder on Friday. He had six points, eight boards, three steals and a block on Sunday against the Hawks, but also dinged his knee up in that one. He played through it, so he should be good to go for another four-game week. We still don’t know when Patrick Patterson is going to return from his elbow injury, so just keep running Amir out there.
Danny Green SAS
While it might feel like Green is good to go these days, his game log tells a different tale. He’s scored 18, 3, 16, 5, 15, 14, 0, 12, 6, 24 & 5 points in each of his March games. The minutes fluctuate as wildly as his points do and it’s not surprise that his good lines come when his minutes are over 20, and the bad ones come when he doesn’t get enough play. He’s still one of the youngest Spurs and is fully healthy, meaning if anyone should be safe from getting randomly ‘Popped,” it’s Green. Whether you use him or not, Green should be owned in all leagues.
Terrence Jones & Omer Asik HOU
Jones has been hot again for four straight games, two of which didn’t include Dwight Howard due to an ankle injury. Howard has been practicing and it sounds like he’s going to play this week, but we just don’t know. He averaged 12.0 points, 6.0 rebound and 2.5 blocks in the two games Howard missed last week, and 21.0 points, 4.5 boards and 2.0 blocks in the two games he shared the court with Dwight.
Asik is also worth a look, but is a much better option if Howard is out. Over his last five he’s averaging 8.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks, but over his last two without Howard, those numbers jump to 10.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks.
Jordan Hill LAL
Hill finally moved back into the rotation on Friday and had nine points, 14 rebounds and four blocks against the Wizards. He’s expected to start on Sunday night and if things go well, it’s time to think about grabbing Hill. Ryan Kelly moved to the bench on Friday and will be there again on Sunday, meaning D’Antoni is apparently moving on. Kelly could easily rise from the ashes at some point soon, but if you feel like cutting him, it makes sense.
Drew Gooden WAS
Gooden came out of nowhere on March 5, played well and then briefly disappeared, and then came back for a five-game tear that started on March 15 and still hasn’t ended. Over his last five games, Gooden is averaging 16.6 points and 7.6 rebounds in 23 minutes a game. He’s also hit three 3-pointers, racked up four steals and blocked a shot during that stretch. This could end just as quickly as it started, but Gooden is officially worth grabbing, even though he’s averaging just 18.5 minutes over his last two games.
Jonas Jerebko DET
Jerebko came out of nowhere for 22 points, nine rebounds, two steals and five 3-pointers on 8-of-12 shooting Saturday. I have no idea if he’s going to do it again, but if you’re in a very deep league and are desperate for a warm body, his certainly qualifies. And in regards to Jerebko, I got this Tweet on Sunday.
@docktora Omg. I picked up Jerebko last night in one of my deep leagues and had him in my lineup today hahaha.
It doesn’t happen often, but when you make a call like that, there are not many better feelings in fantasyland.
Gorgui Dieng MIN
Nikola Pekovic was out again on Sunday and I’m not even sure we’ll see him next week. We just don’t know, but Pekovic hasn’t been close to playing since he went down with his latest ankle problem. I’m not saying Dieng is an automatic start in weekly leagues, but given the fact that we still don’t know when Pekovic is going to play, he’s a very smart add. And there’s not much risk involved, as Dieng is averaging 10.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.0 steal and 1.2 blocks over his last five games.
Henry Sims PHI
Not much is going right in Philly, as they’ve lost 24 games in a row, but Sims is hot, averaging 17.0 points, 14.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks over his last two games. Both of those were legit, as one came against Tyson Chandler and the other against Joakim Noah. There’s a decent chance he’ll fall flat at some point soon, but there’s just as good a chance that he’ll keep it rolling. If you need a center, Sims is not a bad option right now.
Timofey Mozgov DEN
J.J. Hickson is done for the rest of the season due to knee surgery, clearing the way for Mozgov to get more minutes. Kenneth Faried might be the biggest beneficiary to the loss of Hickson, but Mozzy should get a boost as well. He had just five points, six rebounds and a block on 2-of-7 shooting Sunday, but played 24 minutes. And that was the most time he’s spent on the court since March 7, when he played 26 minutes. I suspect he’ll be better on most nights than he was on Sunday against the Marcin Gortat and the Wizards.
Zaza Pachulia MIL
Pachulia had just eight points and three rebounds on Sunday against the Kings, but also had five fouls, ruining his night. He also had a pretty bad game on Thursday against the Warriors, when he had six points, two rebounds and four assists. But he was playing well prior to those two and is still starting in the middle for the hapless Bucks. He doesn’t block shots, but he’s averaging 8.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.8 assist and 1.8 steals over his last five games, which might be useful to owners scrubbing the wire for a center.