• Welcome to the Week Ahead, where we take a look at the upcoming schedule for the week, names to snatch up on your waiver wire and who could be hampered by injury this week.

    The calendar will flip to February this week which means the standard league has about six weeks remaining. It’s crunch time so let’s dive in and see what’s cooking in week 16.

    Games Played Breakdown

    Four Games: Blazers, Bucks, Celtics, Grizzlies, Hawks, Heat, Hornets, Knicks, Nets, Nuggets, Pacers, Raptors, Sixers, Suns, Thunder, Wolves

    Three Games: Cavs, Jazz, Kings, Lakers, Magic, Mavericks, Pelicans, Pistons, Rockets, Spurs, Warriors, Wizards

    Two Games: Bulls, Clippers

    The Bulls and Clippers are our teams to ignore this week with only two games apiece to play. If you have weekly lineups, Blake Griffin and Lou Williams still deserve your respect and an argument can be made for keeping DeAndre Jordan in your lineup as well. Beyond that though, the Clippers don’t offer much in the way of streaming this week and the Bulls don’t have anyone that warrants must-start status with only two nights on the floor.

    The Bulls and Clippers’ situations are unfortunate because this week is loaded with games. More than half the league, 16 teams to be exact, play four games this week. Thursday night is the only night this week with less than six games and even that night still has ten teams in action with five games on the docket. Heavy weeks like this make streaming difficult in the sense that you’re not picking guys up to maximize matchups. Everybody should be on an even playing field this week so what you should really be looking for in streaming potential is what teams have the most fantasy friendly schedule.

    The Toronto Raptors’ depth can be easily taken advantage of this week. Their schedule looks especially attractive and while there’s no chance of landing the obvious stars, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, unless you already roster them, every Raptor seems to be able to help in multiple areas so they’re all worth a look this week.

    With three of their four games coming at home and the Raptors already ranking as one of the best home teams in the league, even their bench ranks as a top priority on the waiver wire. Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam have often times nabbed as many minutes as starting big men Jonas Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka. In the backcourt, Delon Wright was fantastic a few weeks ago and been solid ever since. The big one is Fred VanVleet as he’s been excellent of late. In his last three games, VanVleet is averaging 15.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.0 blocks, 2.7 3-pointers while shooting 57 percent from the floor, 62 percent from deep and 100 percent from the charity stripe. He’s done all this without turning the ball over once.

    The Raps offer a lot of opportunities this week but so does the schedule of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder don’t have the bench that Toronto does but they do have an open opportunity in their starting lineup. After Andre Roberson’s unfortunate injury this past Saturday night, the Thunder have plenty of guys that can make use of the potential at the shooting guard spot. Adding Terrance Ferguson, Jerami Grant or Alex Abrines could pay huge dividends as they figure to be the guys that are afforded the most chances to fill in for Roberson on a week where the Thunder play the Wizards, Nuggets, Pelicans and Lakers.

    Wire Watch

    Ed Davis, C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Davis has stepped up in a big way for the Blazers over the last four games. In that time, he’s averaging a double-double with 10.3 points and 10.8 rebounds on 71 percent from the field. He’s also added 1.8 assists and 1.5 blocks while shooting a solid 79 percent from the line. Portland hasn’t generally had a ton of potential in their frontcourt but Davis’ dominant numbers of late show tons of promise.

    Trey Burke, PG, New York Knicks

    Just a little more than two weeks ago, Burke was brought up to the Knicks’ main roster from the G-League. Now he finds himself eating into the minutes of starting point guard Jarrett Jack and rookie Frank Ntilikina. In the last two games, Burke has played at least 17 minutes and scored 18 points in each while shooting 62 percent from the field. He’s also averaging seven dimes in the last two. The Knicks are a confusing mess and Ntilikina owners in dynasty leagues are not at all pleased but if you pickup Burke in a deep league, you could be making the most of the mayhem in Manhattan.

    Wesley Johnson, SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    As mentioned earlier, the Clippers only have a pair of games this week so their streamability is nil and most of them aren’t worth a start in weekly lineups. But if you set nightly lineups and are looking for a defensive specialist, look no further than Johnson. In the last 13 games, Johnson is averaging 27 minutes on the floor and torturing opposing offenses with 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. He’s not only doing it with consistency but also doing it with volume too. In the last three games, Johnson has a six-steal performance and a four-block performance to his name.

    Injury Report

    Chris Paul (groin) is questionable for the Rockets’ next game, Tuesday against the Magic.

    Speaking of the Rockets, Trevor Ariza (hamstring) won’t play in that game against the Magic and is not expected to travel with the team for their four-game road trip after that, keeping him out until February 9.

    John Wall (knee) is doubtful to play against the Thunder on Tuesday and his status will need to be monitored thereafter. He underwent an MRI on Monday but the results are yet to be made public.

    Joel Embiid (rest) has been cleared for back-to-backs but not quite yet. After playing against the Thunder on Sunday, Embiid will sit tonight’s game against the Bucks. His first career back-to-back is anticipated to be Friday versus the Heat and Saturday against the Pacers.

    Jabari Parker (knee) is looking to play for the first time in nearly a calendar year as he could return as soon as Friday against the Knicks.

    Elsewhere for the Bucks, Malcolm Brogdon (calf) and Thon Maker (chest) are questionable for tonight’s game against the Sixers.

    Aaron Gordon (hip) is questionable to play in tomorrow night’s game against the Rockets.

    Danilo Gallinari (glute) could come back as soon as Tuesday night when the Clippers meet the Blazers.

    Devin Booker (rib) and Marquese Chriss (ankle) are both questionable for the Suns’ meeting with the Grizzlies tonight.

    Rodney Hood (leg) is questionable to return to the Jazz in time for their game against the Warriors on Tuesday. He should, however, return this week as he has returned to portions of practice.

    Tyreke Evans (illness) is questionable to play in the Grizzlies’ game tonight against the Suns.

    Avery Bradley (groin) is questionable for tomorrow night’s game with the Cavs and may not remain a Piston for long as his name has been featured in many trade rumors in the last 24 hours.

    Willie Cauley-Stein (knee) will not play in tomorrow night’s game against the Pelicans but could see the floor when the Kings play the Warriors on Friday.

    Terry Rozier (ankle) is questionable for tonight’s game against the Nuggets.

    For Brooklyn, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (groin) and Caris LeVert (groin) will miss their second straight game in the Nets’ Tuesday night game with the Knicks.

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