• 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.

Fantasy News

  • Mikal Bridges
    SF, Phoenix Suns

    Mikal Bridges led all Suns reserves in minutes (36) on Thursday and put up 14 points on 3-of-7 shooting, to go with six rebounds, three assists and three steals.

    He's simply outplaying Dario Saric (five points, five rebounds, one trey, one steal, 16 minutes) right now and the extra run on the floor is paying off dividends for managers who held onto Bridges during those lean games. Pick him up if he's been dropped in your league.

  • Devin Booker
    SG, Phoenix Suns

    Devin Booker was relatively quiet on Thursday, recording 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting with five rebounds, seven assists, two treys and six turnovers in 37 minutes.

    The turnovers were a stinger for his owners in 9-cat leagues and you can credit the Pelicans' feisty defense for more than a few of those. Count it as an off-night for Booker and move on. He should bounce-back to his top-30 form in no time.

  • Tyler Johnson
    PG-SG, Phoenix Suns

    Tyler Johnson started for Ricky Rubio (back) on Thursday and chipped in across the board with six points, five rebounds, four dimes, one trey, two steals and two blocks.

    It was a DFS gem coming from the low-end veteran guard. He is worth streaming while Rubio remains out, but that's the ceiling of his upside in fantasy at this stage of his career.

  • Kelly Oubre Jr.
    SF, Phoenix Suns

    Kelly Oubre Jr. produced a team-high 25 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the field and 9-of-9 shooting from the line with six boards, two 3s and four assists in Thursday's loss to the Pelicans.

    Oubre is holding steady as a top-70 play in 9-cat so far this season. His ceiling is somewhere within top-50 value, but as a hot commodity, may cost you an arm and a foot for his services.

  • Jrue Holiday
    PG, New Orleans Pelicans

    Jrue Holiday was one assist shy of a double-double on Thursday as he tallied 23 points (10-of-19 shooting), four rebounds, nine assists, one 3-pointer, three steals and one block.

    His ability to stuff the stat sheet is at the core of Holiday's fantasy appeal. It appears he's turned the corner from a slow start. Both he and Brandon Ingram are playing well right now, but Zion Williamson could throw a wrench into the vibe once he's back on the court. Now would be an ideal time to sell-high on Holiday if you want to exit your position.

  • E'Twaun Moore
    SG, New Orleans Pelicans

    E'Twaun Moore chipped in 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting with five rebounds, three 3s and two assists in 26 minutes in Thursday's win over the Suns.

    Moore has been on the radar in 14-team leagues or deeper for his scoring and 3-point shooting as of late. He will fade as the Pelicans get healthier, but feel free to ride out his run while it lasts.

  • JJ Redick
    SG, New Orleans Pelicans

    J.J. Redick caught fire in Thursday's win over the Suns, knocking down 5-of-8 shots from deep en route to his 26 points (10-of-14 shooting) with five rebounds, two assists and one steal.

    Redick definitely has some gas left in his tank, scoring 20 points or more in four of his last five games. He's been a top-120 play in 9-cat over the season, so consider selling high now.

  • Brandon Ingram
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Brandon Ingram shook off a slow start in Thursday's 124-121 win over the Suns to finish with 28 points (9-of-19 shooting), eight rebounds, five assists, three 3s, one steal and two blocks in 33 minutes.

    Ingram is back to his early-season form and delivering across the board in impressive fashion. He appears on track to sustain his production, as is, but a returning Zion Williamson could muddle things for sure.

  • Lonzo Ball
    PG, New Orleans Pelicans

    Lonzo Ball (right adductor strain) played 19 minutes off the bench in his return to action on Thursday, posting eight points on 3-of-9 shooting with two 3s, one rebound and five assists.

    Considering it was Ball's first game back in over two weeks, it was not a bad showing. He should eventually return to the starting lineup and see his minutes restriction eased and then later lifted as he gets his legs back. For now, you can bench him until he's back at full strength. Good news is the wait might not be too long.

  • Skal Labissiere
    PF, Portland Trail Blazers

    Skal Labissiere had a huge night on Thursday with a season-high 22 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and five blocks as the Blazers lost 137-129 against the Bucks.

    Labissiere was huge partially due to Hassan Whiteside's absence, but we have to give him a lot of credit. Not only was it a season high in points for Skal, but also in rebounds and blocks. Additionally, he hit his first two 3-pointers of the season. It was an all-around gem from him and he should really be on radars going forward because of the lack of depth up front for the Blazers even when Whiteside is healthy.