• In the week ahead, we will analyze the weekly schedule and offer a full primer on players that can help you win your week. Although many leagues finished last week, there are still some fantasy nuts who continue to the end of the NBA season.Owners in leagues this week must prepare for a ton of rest days and unexpected sits from teams locked into the playoffs, while injured players may be on early shutdown watch. Owners can keep it locked to @HoopBallTweets for updates.

    7 teams with six games (ranked by ease of schedule):

    NOR, LAC, TOR, CHA, MIA, SAS, LAL

    The rash of injuries to the Pelicans has given some unlikely players some fantasy value. Toney Douglas is the safest bet for fantasy value out of their new-look starting five and is a must-start player in a six game week. He could flirt with mid-round value over the last 10 days. Tim Frazier has rivaled similar production to Douglas albeit at a lesser rate. He is also worth an add in standard leagues but I would rather own Douglas.

    Luke Babbitt and newly signed Jordan Hamilton have surprisingly been posting top-100 value over the last week and  their minutes have been trending upwards as the Hornets are moving to small-ball. They both should flirt with mid-to-late round production with a little bit of upside and should not be on any wires right now.

    Dante Cunningham has been averaging 36 minutes per game over the last six, however this has not translated to any fantasy value. He is by far the least likely to produce big games out of any Pelican on the wire.

    The biggest news coming out of LA is that Blake Griffin (suspension, hand) is returning to action and savvy owners should have already made the add on the Clippers’ big if he was dropped. He shouldn’t see any rest time as he looks to get back up to game speed.

    Jamal Crawford has also been blistering hot and if Chris Paul has another rest game (which is likely) he can be in for a lot more usage even with the return of Blake.  He has been a must-start player over the last two weeks and owners should obviously be riding his hot hand.

    Jonas Valanciunas has been a beast since returning and has been piling up defensive stats (1 steal and 2.6 blocks per game over his last seven games) which has buoyed him to early-round value over that span.

    Owners of DeMar DeRozan and especially Kyle Lowry should expect at least one or two more rest days with the Raptors locked into the two-seed in the East. This should mean Cory Joseph starts at least one game although starting has not produced a huge boost to his numbers (11.7 points, 4.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 0.3 steals per game as a starter). He should be left on the wire.

    Norman Powell has provided a big spark for the Raptors and his increase in minutes to just under 29 per game has resulted in top-70 value over the last seven. He is shooting the ball at a hot 51.7% from the field over that time and has been able to stretch the floor for the Raps averaging 2 triples per game. Dwane Casey loves his game and he should be seeing minutes in the 30’s where he will remain a fantasy asset. He is owned in only 6% of fantasy leagues and is a much better bet for value than the rest of his waiver wire backcourt mates Terrence Ross and Cory Joseph.

    Marvin Williams has been ice-cold from the field shooting 40.9% over the last two weeks and recording zero total steals. His numbers should creep back up to produce late-round value at the very least. He remains a hold. Courtney Lee has also been producing mid-level value and there is no reason for his play to fall off.

    Cody Zeller could see an up-tick in value while Al Jefferson deals with a bruised quad and should be able to hold steady late-round value for his boards, blocks and FG. Big Al is also a notoriously slow healer so who knows how this will affect him. He remains an unappealing add with this new injury and limited upside.

    The Heat play two sets of back-to-backs which may mean a rest day for Dwyane Wade as the Heat are locked into a playoff spot. I would guess it comes on the road against Detroit or Boston on the last two days of the regular season. All other Heat regulars should be started and Joe Johnson should be owned even during his cold streak. He has top-100 upside and should start shooting the ball better to go along with his playmaking.

    The Spurs are going to be doing Spurs things over the last 10 days and their regulars should see at least two rest days. I would guess that they sit on Thursday at Oracle arena and maybe even the second half of that back-to-back Friday in Denver. Keep it locked to @HoopBallTweets for player updates and  outside of Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge everyone should have volatile value.

    The Lakers are back with six games and this should make Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle must-start guys, Randle has been improving every month and has been the most consistent Laker over the last month.

    D’Angelo Russell has been in the news for all the wrong reasons and his issue with Nick Young and the rest of his teammates has clearly had an effect on his game. He has been shooting just 35.8% over the last month and this has somehow gotten worse with the media breakout. Russell has a ton of upside but you’ll want to see him string at least two good games together before making an add.

Fantasy News

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma is out for Team USA's tuneup up game vs. Australia with a sore left ankle.

    Kuzma is being held out of this one for precautionary reasons. There's clearly no need for USA Basketball to risk him further injuring the sore ankle. This does not sound like a serious injury and should not affect his fantasy ADP on draft day.

    Source: USA Basketball on Twitter

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    Dwight Howard has agreed with the Grizzlies on a buyout, and will sign a non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers.

    The Lakers are giving Howard an opportunity to be fantasy relevant. When given minutes, Dwight can produce double-doubles with the best of them, but he has been changing teams for years now. He will be worth a gamble at the end of your draft if camp with the Lakers goes well, but this is a non-guaranteed deal, and he only played nine games last season.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Marcus Derrickson
    PF, Atlanta Hawks

    The Hawks signed Marcus Derrickson to an Exhibit 10 contract on Friday.

    It looks like Derrickson will be a G-League option for the Hawks, so there's nothing to see here. At one point he was competing for the last roster spot on the team. We don't need to keep of track of every computer-generated player.

    Source: Chris Vivlamore on Twitter

  • Marreese Speights
    C, Free Agent

    Marreese Speights will work out for the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype.

    Speights spent last year playing in China and will attempt his NBA comeback with the Lakers. who are in desperate need of an additional center. He is among three centers the Lakers are looking into, the others being Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah. Of those three, Speights unquestionably has the best floor spacing ability, which would be his strongest bet to eke out those other two for the job.

    Source: Alex Kennedy on Twitter

  • Trevor Booker
    PF, International

    Trevor Booker has worked out for the Nuggets and has workouts planned with the Bucks and Clippers, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype.

    Booker was out of the NBA in 2018-19, spending the season in China after he didn't get any offers in free agency. He did return to the US to undergo a procedure on his foot but is apparently fully recovered. The last time we saw Booker he split 68 games between the Nets, Sixers and Pacers in 2017-18. If he does make a successful comeback he'll have no fantasy relevance.

    Source: Alex Kennedy on Twitter

  • John Henson
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    In a recent Q & A on Cleveland.com, beat writer Chris Fedor said that the Cavs are "excited" to have a healthy John Henson.

    Henson underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist last November and missed the rest of the season. He was limited to 14 games with Milwaukee before getting traded to the Cavs, averaging 5.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 13.4 minutes per game. The Cavs do have a crowded rotation at center with Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. all candidates to see minutes, but Henson gives them an element of rim protection and could factor in. He's a name to remember for deep-league owners hunting blocks.

    Source: Cleveland.com

  • Robert Covington
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Robert Covington (right knee bone bruise) will reportedly be "good to go" for the start of training camp in October.

    Well, this is good news that we didn't hope we would need. Covington played 35 games last year and couldn't get over the bone bruise injury that kept him out for a majority of the year. We expected him to be ready to go, and the fact that we're even discussing this is slightly less than ideal.

    Source: Dane Moore on Twitter

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Team USA has named Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Donovan Mitchell as captains for the FIBA World Cup.

    Congratulations to Mitchell, Walker and Smart on the tremendous honor of being named captains for the USA men's team. This won't have any impact on their upcoming fantasy seasons, but it is a major accomplishment nonetheless. Team USA has an exhibition rematch against Team Australia on Saturday.

    Source: Boston.com Celtics News on Twitter

  • Isaiah Canaan
    PG, International

    Isaiah Canaan has signed a contract with the Shangdong Heroes of the Chinese Basketball Association.

    The veteran journeyman played for the Suns, Wolves and Bucks last season, appearing in 30 games total. Canaan will be looking at a more prominent role and payday overseas as he attempts to build his value back up before trying to latch on to a team towards the end of the year. Canaan is off the fantasy radar.

    Source: Zhang Duo on Twitter

  • Patty Mills
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Patty Mills put up 19 points, three assists, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers in Thursday's international exhibition between Team Australia and Team USA.

    The Boomers figure to be one of the chief threats to the Americans in the World Cup and put forth a competitive effort in today's exhibition. Mills has typically been a steady, late-round fantasy option for deep-league play but that may change this season as the Spurs will need to mix in both Derrick White and Dejounte Murray in the backcourt. Chris Goulding tied for the team lead in points, also scoring 19 while hitting four 3-pointers in 22 minutes off the bench.