• Week Eight is upon us so let’s take a look at a busy week ahead where the majority of the teams in the Association, 19 to be exact, are playing four-game weeks. That makes the five squads with only two-game weeks stand out with a distinct disadvantage. Let’s dive in:

    Games Played Breakdown:

    Four Games: Bucks, Bulls, Cavs, Celtics, Grizzlies, Hawks, Hornets, Jazz, Knicks, Magic, Mavericks, Nuggets, Pacers, Pelicans, Pistons, Sixers, Spurs, Suns, Wizards

    Three Games: Kings, Nets, Raptors, Thunder, Warriors, Wolves

    Two Games: Blazers, Clippers, Heat, Lakers, Rockets

    In such a busy week of NBA action, those five teams playing sparingly this week put you in a tough spot, especially if you’re in a league where you set your lineup weekly. In weekly lineups, to maximize your games played, the Clippers, Lakers and Heat should all be avoided this week and only the superstars from Houston and Portland should be in your lineup.

    However, in a night-to-night situation, of the five teams, it’s really the Heat that stand out as the team to completely avoid this week. Both of their games are on the road and one of them is in San Antonio to take on a Spurs team that is allowing the lowest points per game, fewest free throws made and second-fewest 3-pointers made. A nightmare fantasy matchup. The Heat’s other matchup is on Saturday in Brooklyn against the Nets which could be a stream-worthy game. But Saturday has a 10-game slate so there will likely be better options that can net you multiple matchups this week as opposed to one tasty matchup against a bad Nets team.

    Speaking of streaming, Tuesday and Thursday are the only days this week with less than six games so those are the days to target for prime streaming value. The Suns and Wizards each play four games this week and they are on the docket during Tuesday’s three-game slate and actually play each other during Thursday’s four-game slate. Players on those teams would be great streaming options this week as they give you games played and guaranteed roster spots on this week’s light nights.

    The Thunder also play on both Tuesday and Thursday but with their three game week and offensive struggles, their streamability ranks quite a bit lower than Phoenix and Washington.

    Wire Watch

    Greg Monroe, C, Suns

    Monroe has struggled to see consistent minutes since being traded to the Suns but when he gets over 20 minutes, he’s shined. In the four games he’s played more than 20 minutes in a Suns uniform, Monroe is averaging 16.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He’s also averaging a steal and slightly less than one block in those contests. When the minutes are there, the production is there. As he gets more comfortable with the coaching staff, the scheme and his teammates, his minutes should rise. Add him and hold on for a little bit. If the Suns give him the opportunity, Monroe can be a fantasy asset for you.

    Caris LeVert, SG/SF, Nets

    LeVert is one of many Nets benefiting from the breakneck pace they’re playing with these days and his numbers are steadily rising. LeVert has hit two 3-pointers in five of his last nine games, including his last two. He’s also been a nice source of steals, swiping two per game over the Nets’ last four. He’s only seen less than 20 minutes of action once this entire season and has been on the floor for more than 25 minutes in each of the team’s last five games. The opportunities are there and you know what you’ll get from LeVert. He’s been consistent and it helps that in most leagues, he’s listed as a shooting guard and small forward so he offers maximum positional flexibility.

    Mason Plumlee, C/PF, Nuggets

    Paul Millsap is out until late February or early March so that already opens up a better chance for Plumlee to make a difference. But with Nikola Jokic out with a sprained ankle for “several games,” Plumlee becomes the main big man on an offense that relies on their bigs to create. In their first game minus both Millsap and Jokic, Plumlee got 30 minutes and put up 12 points, six rebounds and six assists. There’s no firm date on when Jokic will return but it definitely won’t be tonight as he’s already listed as out. The Nuggets play four games this week and while Jokic’s return should be monitored, Plumlee is one of the premier streaming options for week eight.

    Injury Report

    As just now mentioned, Nikola Jokic (ankle) will miss several games. He’s already missed one and will miss tonight’s game against the Mavericks.

    Anthony Davis (groin) is only listed as day-to-day and avoided what appeared to be a serious injury on Friday night.

    John Wall (knee) could be back on the floor as early as Saturday when the Wizards meet the Clippers.

    After missing their game against the Magic on Sunday, both Kristaps Porzingis (ankle) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (shin) will miss another one on Monday night against the Pacers. Consider them day-to-day and a game time decision for the Knicks’ game on Wednesday.

    Hassan Whiteside (knee) has sat the Heat’s last three games and will not be rushed back. He says he’ll need to be 100 percent before returning to the court. It’s likely he misses both their games this week.

    Rodney Hood (ankle) is a game-time decision for the Jazz’s game against the Wizards on Monday night after missing the last three games.

    While it won’t happen tonight against the Cavs, there’s a lot of confidence that Nikola Mirotic (face) will make his season debut for the Bulls this week.

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