Hello and welcome back to the Week Ahead! If your fantasy league is still going, you should seriously consider ending your league a couple weeks earlier next season because the NBA in April can get weird. With players getting shut down left and right, teams tanking and veterans resting, there is some value on the waiver wire and hopefully I’ll help you find it. But first, let’s take a quick look at the schedule:
Please note that this does not include games on Apr. 8 (Sunday)
Week 25 Schedule
1 Game: MEM, NYK, PHO, TOR
2 Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOR, OKC, ORL, PHI, POR, SAC, SAS, UTA, WAS
As for the Knicks, do you really think Carmelo Anthony is going to play in a meaningless game? I don’t either…
The Suns have shut down too many players already, so their young studs Tyler Ulis, Marquese Chriss and Alan Williams should play. I’m a little worried that they might rest Devin Booker and T.J. Warren, though.
The Raptors are actually still fighting for playoff seeding, but I would still expect Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan to sit in the regular-season finale.
Week 25 Streaming Options
Boban Marjanovic- He’s easily my favorite streaming option of the week. I’m not sure why the Pistons waited so long to unleash him because Andre Drummond looks like he wants to be anywhere else and Aron Baynes is going to walk as a free agent. Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy confirmed that we can expect 20-24 minutes a night from Boban in the final three games of the season, but with Drummond in foul trouble on Friday, Boban went off for a career-high 27 points with 12 rebounds and two assists on 12-of-18 shooting in 28 minutes.
The Rockets were throwing 2-3 players at him every time he touched the ball, but it didn’t matter because the giant could get a shot off any time he wanted. Sure he looked a little winded at times which means his minutes may be closer to 24 next game, but that’s still enough to call him a must-start player in the final week of the season. He’s the definition of a per-minute monster in fantasy. The legend grows…
Jordan Crawford- The Pelicans have started to rest their studs as Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are both sitting out on Saturday as I write this. E’Twaun Moore’s season is also likely over due to a sprained ankle. Crawford is a high-usage scorer who should be a strong play this week, and he’s coming off a 20-point game in 30 minutes on Friday. Since joining the Pelicans, Crawford has scored in double digits in 14 out of 16 games, and with a back-to-back set on Tuesday and Wednesday, he should be able to eat in both games as he’s likely looking at 30+ minutes. It’s also possible that Jrue Holiday sits out a game.
Taurean Prince- After scoring a career-high 20 points in 41 minutes vs. the Celtics on Thursday, Prince flopped on Friday vs. the Cavs with five points in 25 minutes. However, he’s still getting a lot of burn on the Hawks and his team could rest several players in the final two games of the season, so the rookie should see a significant workload and is worth deploying if you’re targeting triples, steals and blocks.
Jamal Murray- Jameer Nelson is still banged up, so Murray started at PG on Friday night vs. the Pelicans and helped his team live another day as they pursue the No. 8 seed. The rookie went off for 30 points on 10-of-14 shooting, racking up five assists, four rebounds, two steals and two treys in 38 minutes. He’s hard to trust when Nelson is active, but if the veteran PG sits again this week, Murray will be worth deploying. He’s going to be a sneaky pick in fantasy next season.
Lance Stephenson-His minutes are expected to rise and he’s a completely different player when he puts on that Indiana uniform. Stephenson is averaging 8.3 points, 3.7 assists, 2.0 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 1.0 triples in 22.0 minutes through his first three games with the Pacers, but he could realistically flirt with 30 minutes in the final two games of the season.
Larry Nance- He has a great skill set for fantasy and has looked solid in the first unit, averaging 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 blocks, 1.5 steals and 0.5 triples in four starts. It’s rare to find players off the wire who don’t hurt you in any category, but Nance is one of them as he’s shooting 53.2 percent from the field and 73.1 percent from the line on the season.
Josh Richardson- He’s been a headache to own for most of the season, but he finally appears to be 100 percent and is averaging 12.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.6 blocks, 1.6 steals and 2.4 triples over his last five games. Those are early-round numbers, but he does need to work on his shot selection this offseason — he’s shooting 38.7 percent from the field on the season.
Justin Anderson- The second-year wing hasn’t taken off like I hoped he would, but he’s still been solid over his last five games with averages of 11.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.6 steals and 1.8 triples in 28.6 minutes. He’s shooting 51.3 percent from the field in that span which isn’t sustainable based on how many triples he shoots, but he should be able to keep his value up by providing a couple blocks — he hasn’t blocked many shots in Philly, but he averages nearly a block per 36 minutes in his two-year career. Timothe Luwawu could also have some sneaky value this week for Philly.
Skal Labissiere- The Kings are resting anywhere from 3-5 veterans a night these days, so Labissiere is getting all the minutes he can handle. He hasn’t broke out yet with averages of 11.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 0.8 blocks and 0.8 steals over his last five games, but he dropped 19 points vs. the Lakers on Friday and he gets three great matchups in the final three games of the season vs. the Rockets on Sunday, the Suns on Tuesday and the Clippers on Wednesday — the Clippers will more than likely rest their studs.
My NBA Awards:
Rookie of the Year: Dario Saric, but Joel Embiid would’ve won if he played in just a few more games.
Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams. Eric Gordon was in the conversation, but James Johnson also deserves some love.
Most Improved Player: Nikola Jokic looks like a future Hall of Famer.
Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert is my choice, but Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard were right behind him.
Coach of the Year: Mike D’Antoni of the Rockets.
NBA MVP: Russell Westbrook. Triple-doubles are a bit overrated, but not when you’re about to beat Oscar Robertson’s single-season record.