• Welcome to This Week Tonight! We’re going to be doing some quick hitters to prep you for your week of fantasy basketball goodness including games played, back-to-back watch, best and worst match-ups, pickups, and of course our injury run down. It’s an exciting time of the year as we get to see the young guys really take control of the fate of fantasy leagues everywhere, which leads to a lot of excitement and anxiety from all the volatility in play. Guys like Alan Williams, T.J. Warren, Caris LeVert, Richaun Holmes, and Jamal Murray are all having gigantic week-to-week implications  and it’s not going to slow down any time soon.

    You need to be ready to leap on young talent as soon as it becomes available. This is the season of the speculative add so don’t be shy or you might just be left out in the cold! Now onto This Week Tonight!

    Editor’s Note: Hoop Ball Premium Subscribers get access to even more info, articles, live chats, tools and more. Subscribers to our Hoop Ball Fantasy Pro Service get in-depth analysis on a one-on-one basis from our pros. Check it out!

    Games Played This Week: 

    5 Games: POR

    4 Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, MIA, MIL, MIN, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHX, SAC, SAS, WAS

    3 Games: DAL, LAL, MEM, NOR, OKC, TOR, UTA

    Obviously the Trail Blazers are going to be a big target for owners this week. Maurice Harkless is still going to be unhampered by Evan Turner who is targeting a week 15 return, so Harkless should be a priority play for owners questioning his recent surge. Al-Farouq Aminu has also quietly improved his play in the last month and should be added and rolled out in almost all formats.

    Back-to-Back Watch:

    The Pistons, Spurs, and Clippers all play back-to-back sets on the Wednesday/Thursday card. Give due attention to the Clippers and Pistons news feed but definitely keep an eye on the Spurs. Greg Popovich loves to sit guys during the away games when they fall on those Thursday night national broadcasts so make sure you keep your eye on the wire so you can stream a replacement if necessary.

    The Wizards, Magic, Nuggets, Bucks, Kings, Hornets, Hawks, Wolves, Warriors, Mavs, and (finally) the Raptors all play a back-to-back set on Friday and Saturday night. The biggest concern is for banged up guys to pick up a precautionary DNP, which I’m sure there will be a handful of that night.

    The Knicks, Sixers, Heat, Suns, and Cavs will all play back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday night. Needless to say that’s a prime rest spot for Kyrie Irving and LeBron James who have had monstrous workloads with the absence of Kevin Love. Kyrie Irving sat out a full game this last week after playing heavy minutes in Atlanta the previous night.

    Best Match-up Plays: 

    The Mavs get just three games but they play the Lakers, Nets, and Suns. That’s about as good as it can possibly get and the Mavs players will be ideal plays in both daily fantasy as well as owners weekly lineups.

    The Wizards get a pretty good gig as well as they play four games and get the Suns, Nuggets, Kings, and Blazers throughout the week. The Wizards are already an extremely condensed fantasy team so this should add up to some serious value for those who own Wizards players.

    Worst Match-up Plays: 

    The Thunder not only play just three games but they have to play the Blazers, Spurs, and then the Jazz. That’s going to lead to a brutal fantasy value for Thunder players not named Russell Westbrook, and owners should be worried about even worse efficiency from him this week.

    The Rockets are a pretty fool proof fantasy team but even they may be challenged as they play against the slow paced Spurs and Jazz to start the week and then have to play the Bulls and Cleveland to finish it off.

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    Best Pickups to Win Your Week: 

    Maurice Harkless – He’s averaged 35.2 minutes per game since the All-Star break, he plays five times this week, and he’s been a consistent top 100 player (or better) for over a month now. He should have already been owned after his large minutes immediately following the All-Star break but if he’ still hanging around in your league he’ll make an excellent play this week. The same goes for Al-Farouq Aminu.

    Alan Williams – He was nothing short of sensational over the last week and that should continue for the rest of the year as Alex Len has struggled to prove his viability as a starting center. Williams has averaged 13.0 points, 10.8, and 1.8 blocks per game to go along with 54.5% field goal percentage. He’s the number one big man add in all formats moving forward.

    Ish Smith – There’s already been rumblings of a change coming to the starting lineup in Detroit as Reggie Jackson just hasn’t been the same player this year as he was last year. Smith has been a much more reliable distributor and Stan Van Gundy keeps playing him in the 4th quarter to close out games because he’s just more reliable. Smith is useful on his own as a nice source of points, dimes, and steals but could post some big popcorn stats if he manages to lock down the starting role this week.

    Significant Injuries:

    Joe Harris (cocussion/shoulder) is going to miss Monday’s game against the Grizzlies. His absence opens up more time for Caris LeVert as well as Sean Kilpatrick.

    Al Horford (elbow) was held out of Sunday’s game against the Suns and remains questionable for Monday’s match against the Clippers.

    Frank Kaminsky suffered a sprained AC joint that kept him out of Saturday’s game against the Nuggets. Cody Zeller is a direct beneficiary and could push for standard league value as long as his quad holds up.

    Rajon Rondo (ankle) and Dwyane Wade (thigh) are both game-time decisions for Monday’s game against the Pistons, neither is expected to miss more time than that.

    Kenneth Faried (back) is targeting mid-March for his return and is doubtful to play against the Kings on Monday.

    Kevin Durant has a Grade II MCL sprain as well as a bruised bone in his knee and is going to be reevaluated in four weeks. He could possibly be out for the regular season and regardless it’s a gigantic blow for the Warriors and fantasy owners alike.

    Victor Oladipo (back) did not play Saturday or Sunday and should be considered questionable over his next few games. The Thunder play against Portland on Tuesday.

    If you haven’t heard Joel Embiid (knee) and Ben Simmons (knee) are both going to be out for the remainder of the season.

    Jahlil Okafor (knee) did not play on Saturday against the Pistons  and is listed as day-to-day.

    Bradley Beal turned his ankle on Sunday but was able to return to the game. It’s a non-factor right now but Beal’s injury history is pretty bad so it’s good to be wary.

    Editor’s Note: We have a brand new APP for all of our FREE Hoop Ball podcasts. You can download it for your Apple devices here and for your Android devices here. ALSO, you can subscribe to our flagship show Fantasy NBA Today on iTunes right here and on Stitcher right here.

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