March 5, 2018, 3:44 pm
There’s only a little over a month remaining in the NBA regular season and teams have 20 games or less left to play. Some fantasy leagues are finding themselves in the final week of their regular season. No matter what format you’re in, time is ticking and if you’re not dominating your league, you’ve got to make your move now.
Unless you play roto, you’re on the verge of playoff time – let’s take a look at this week’s schedule, some names to watch and injuries to be aware of to give you the edge you need.
Games Played Breakdown
Four Games: Bulls, Cavs, Grizzlies, Heat, Jazz, Lakers, Magic, Nuggets, Pacers, Pelicans, Raptors, Rockets, Warriors
Three Games: Blazers, Bucks, Celtics, Clippers, Hawks, Hornets, Kings, Knicks, Mavericks, Nets, Pistons, Sixers, Spurs, Suns, Thunder, Wizards
Two Games: Wolves
With a ton of games this week, 29 of the 30 teams in the league are playing three of four games. Only the Wolves play two – leaving only Karl-Anthony Towns as a must-play for Minnesota this week.
The Rockets and Warriors each have four games this week and with those historically great offenses, role players from those teams will be nice adds for this home-stretch.
Beyond them though, the Denver Nuggets have an excellent schedule and the benefit of some depth. The Nuggets travel to tanking Dallas tomorrow night and follow that up with three home games against bad defensive teams – the Cavs on Wednesday, the Lakers on Friday and the Kings on Sunday. This is a great situation for a team that has been awesome at home this season. Denver has the fourth-most efficient offense at home, trailing only Golden State, Houston and Minnesota. Keep an eye out for Wilson Chandler, Trey Lyles or Mason Plumlee as they could be available and have nice weeks ahead of them.
While they don’t have superstars or a ton of fantasy potential, this is a good week to get on board with the Miami Heat for volume and streamability. Thursday and Saturday each have five games on the schedule, the least we’ll see this week. The Heat are the only team with four games this week including games on Thursday and Saturday. Miami gives you a great chance to maximize matchups. Cruise your waiver wire for the best guys from South Beach, like Justise Winslow who has played well since the All-Star break, averaging 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.0 steals in his last five.
Dwight Powell, C, Mavericks
While the Mavericks are tanking (even their owner says so), not many players in Dallas have played well at all. Powell has been the exception though – with strong numbers since the beginning of February. Since then, Dwight is averaging 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 0.8 steals while shooting 62 percent from the floor. He’s been a top-75 play over the last month and with the Mavericks not switching things up anytime soon, it’s time to make a move on this former Stanford Cardinal.
Pascal Siakam, PF, Raptors
The Raptors’ frontcourt depth has been a strength all season long with different names popping up and contributing throughout. As of late, it’s Siakam’s turn, playing some of his best basketball since February began. Since the All-Star break, Siakam is throwing up 10.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.0 steal and 0.8 blocks with 61 percent shooting. If you need someone to chip in in every category, you can’t do much better than Pascal this late in the season.
Nemanja Bjelica, SF/PF, Wolves
With their schedule this week, nobody in your league will be looking toward the Wolves. If you’re in prime playoff positioning, it could be the perfect time to make a move on a guy that nobody else is looking at. Belly has seen a ton of playing time recently with the injury to Jimmy Butler and the release of Shabazz Muhammad. Since the break, Bjelica has been on the floor 33.3 minutes per game and averaging nine points, seven boards, two dimes, a steal and a 3-pointer.
Kyrie Irving (knee) is out for tonight’s game against the Bulls but it’s unlikely he’ll miss any more time this week.
Stephen Curry (ankle) left Friday night’s game as a precaution and should be considered questionable for tomorrow night’s game against the Nets.
With the status of Kawhi Leonard (quadriceps) still hanging heavily over the organization, LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle) is luckily only considered questionable for tonight’s game against the Grizzlies but he should be available for games against the Warriors and Thunder later in the week.
Brandon Ingram (groin) had an MRI today that revealed a strain bad enough to keep him out for the next week.
Darren Collison (knee) has been out for a month but could be back as soon as Wednesday when the Pacers meet the Jazz.
Marc Gasol (ankle) was questionable but will play in tonight’s game with the Spurs while Tyreke Evans (ribs) remains out. He’s still day-to-day though to his status should be monitored for the rest of the week.
Reggie Jackson (ankle) is on his way back and could make it on to the floor for the Pistons by the end of this week if he really surpasses expectations.
Kelly Oubre (foot) is questionable for tomorrow night’s game against the Heat.
Willie Cauley-Stein (back) has missed the last two games and should be considered questionable for the Kings’ matchup with the Pelicans on Wednesday.
OG Anunoby (ankle) has missed the last two games and his status is uncertain for the Raptors’ game with the Hawks on Tuesday.