• *click here if you want to see each team’s rest of season schedule in chart form (h/t Dan Besbris).

    Week 19 Schedule

    1 Game: ATL, BRK, IND, TOR
    3 Games: CHA, CLE, PHI, WAS
    All other teams play 2 games.

    For My Streamers

    Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have no games.

    Thursday has 6 games: Nets at Hornets, Knicks at Magic, Wizards at Cavs, Sixers at Bulls, Thunder at Kings, and Clippers at Warriors.

    Friday has 11: Celtics at Pistons, Hawks at Pacers, Hornets at Wizards, Bucks at Raptors, Wolves at Rockets, Cavs at Grizzlies, Heat at Pelicans, Spurs at Nuggets, Clippers at Suns, Blazers at Jazz, and Mavs at Lakers.

    Saturday has 8: Magic at Sixers, Grizzlies at Heat, Celtics at Knicks, Thunder at Warriors, Bulls at Wolves, Blazers at Suns, Mavs at Jazz, and Lakers at Kings.

    Sunday has 5: Pistons at Hornets, Pelicans at Bucks, Spurs at Cavs, Sixers at Wizards, and Rockets at Nuggets.

    Back-to-Backs

    Thurs/Fri: Hornets, Cavs, Clippers, Wizards
    Fri/Sat: Celtics, Mavs, Lakers, Grizzlies, Heat, Wolves, Suns, Blazers, Jazz
    Sat/Sun: Sixers
    Sun/Mon (week 19): Pistons, Rockets, Pelicans

    If you’re streaming around an 11-game Friday, the Bulls, Warriors, Knicks, Thunder, Magic, Sixers, and Kings have a Thurs/Sat split.

    After this abbreviated week, there are only two weeks until the Yahoo fantasy playoffs.

    Weeks 20 & 21 Schedules (February 26 through March 11)

    You can really make up some ground if you play the schedule right. Check it:

    8 games: IND, MEM, ORL, SAC, TOR,
    7 games: ATL, BRK, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, GSW, HOU, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIL, NOR, OKC, PHI, PHX, UTA, WAS
    6 games: BOS, NYK, POR,
    5 games: MIN, SAS

    Thus, if you’re going to stream someone, look at 8-game options, not 5 or 6.

    *For the season, Sacramento is the only team with five games in a week. It happens Week 20.

    Playoff Schedule: Weeks 22-24 (March 12 through April 1)

    ATL: 3-4-3
    BKN: 3-4-3
    BOS: 3-3-3
    CHA: 3-4-4
    CHI: 3-4-4
    CLE: 3-4-4
    DAL: 3-3-4
    DEN: 3-3-4
    DET: 3-4-4
    GSW: 3-3-4
    HOU: 4-4-3
    IND: 3-3-3
    LAC: 4-4-4
    LAL: 3-3-4
    MEM: 3-4-4
    MIA: 3-4-3
    MIL: 3-4-4
    MIN: 3-3-4
    NOR: 4-3-3
    NYK: 3-4-3
    OKC: 4-3-3
    ORL: 3-3-3
    PHI: 3-4-4
    PHO: 3-3-4
    POR: 4-3-4
    SAC: 4-3-4
    SAS: 4-4-3
    TOR: 4-4-2
    UTA: 3-4-3
    WAS: 3-3-4

    Additional Playoff Thoughts

    With the NBA schedule more spaced out this season to reduce injures (Mission: Failed), there are less opportunities to take advantage of off-day games. Still there are some that can be had:

    Week 22-

    Boston, Miami and Sacramento have 3 off-day games; Houston, Clippers, Milwaukee, OKC and Orlando have 2.

    Saturday, March 18, has 11 games and is overbooked in three of my teams if you want to stream around it.

    Week 23-

    Thursday and Saturday are the only days with fewer than 7 games: Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Lakers, Memphis, New Orleans, Orlando and Philly play both of these days.

    Friday, March 24, is the only day with at least 10 games so double check if you have players benched and need or want to stream.

    Also, The February 7 game between the Pacers and Pelicans that was postponed due to a leaky roof has been rescheduled for March 21, giving both teams an extra playoff game.

    Week 24-

    Monday, Thursday and Saturday all have only 5 games. Detroit plays all 3; Boston, Charlotte, Golden State, Miami, NY and Sacramento play 2.

    There’s an overloaded final day of the fantasy playoffs with Sunday, April 1, having 13 games. If you have a weekly or season long transaction limit, save one or two and preemptively drop your worst players the previous Friday to get extra games on Saturday (since you can’t play 13 dudes on Sunday). Of course, if you have to burn those adds to make the playoffs or advance to the next round, all is forgiven.

    Working the Wire (this week)

    Point Guard

    Tomas Satoransky (concussion) also returned to action and picked up where he left off with nine points, (one trey), 11 assists and a random three blocks. He should be productive as long as John Wall (knee) is out. The caveat is that rumors have connected the Wizards to quite a few free-agent point guards, which would reduce Sato’s shine should any be signed.

    Dejounte Murray (ankle) got back on the court and in two games he averaged 12 points, 5.0 boards, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals with zero threes for top-80 value. He tweaked his ankle a couple times but looked to be O.K. He’s starting and should be good to go, and although his skill set makes him the Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of point guards (very few threes, more boards than assists), he has standard league appeal unless you really need treys and assists from your point guard (which many teams admittedly do).

    Fred VanVleet also kept it going and is at 11.8 points, 1.9 threes, 5.1 assists and 1.1 steals in 13 games over the last month. Niiice.

    J.J. Barea’s been starting and putting DSJ off the ball more, enabling Jose Juan to average a double-double over the last three with 11.7 points and 10.0 rebounds, adding over a three and a steal. That’s good enough to roster until he gets hurt or Yogi Farrell gets hot.

     D.J. Augustin was playing well before Elfrid Payton; after the trade he was widely recommended (including me) and added. He proceeded to shoot below 25.0 percent for two games and caught a fourth-quarter benching in favor of Shelvin Mack. He was subsequently dropped by a lot of owners (including me). He followed that up with 16 points (four trips), four assists and a steal on 45 percent shooting. Ha ha ha. Such is fantasy. #MarqueseoftheEast?

    Shooting Guard

    With LeBron James and the Cavs looking rejuvenated, J.R. Smith was cooking in the three games sans IT3 and Jae Crowder. He shot a ridiculous 65.2 percent from the field. Aside from that and the blocks (0.7), the rest of his stats look similar to last week’s: 13.3 points, 3.3 threes, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals. We all know he’s a streak shooter, but he’s hot now and that’s kind of the point of streaming.

    Even with Dwyane Wade back in town, Wayne Ellington still dropped his usual 11.3 points and 3.0 treys a game. It’s what he does.

    Kyle Korver joined the Cavs resurgence knocking down 2.7 threes without Isaiah along with 11.0 points and 1.4 stocks. He’s a look in deep leagues if any of the other three-bombers are gone, or if you’re paying attention to efficiency.

    Small Forward

    The Croat who shall not be named stayed hot, racking up 19.0 points, 1.3 threes, 7.0 boards and a laughable 3.0 steals with Elfrid in Phoenix. He’s been top-20 the past 2 weeks in 9-cat, top-50 over the last month, but just top-175 on the year. Can he keep it up post-ASB and when Gordon gets back? Is Magic management salty they didn’t pick up the fourth-year player option on his rookie contract?

    The change of scenery did wonders to Jae Crowder’s energy and resulting stats. In three games with the Jazz (on an 11-game win streak) Jae put up 14.7 points, 2.0 threes, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.7 steals (top-160 due to his 41.2 percent field goal shooting). That’s not as good as his stats as a Celtic last year, but a hell of a lot better than he got in Cleveland.

    James Johnson has looked disconnected and passive and was steadily dropped more and more as the season progressed (including my two shares).  He finally did something over the last three games, returning top-60 value with 15.7 points, 1.3 threes, 5.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 turnovers, shooting a blistering 70 percent from the field.  The scoring is nice, but the problem is he averaged just 1.0 combined stocks in that span, which is not what we drafted him for. If you dig into his line, outside of his big bump to field goal percentage and a super-slight plus in points and turnovers, he had a negative weight in every other category. It was reported that he is dealing with some nagging injuries, and coach Spo hopes that Dwyane Wade’s return can help his aggressiveness, so give him a shot while he’s hot, but I wouldn’t waste waiver dollars/priority to get him, and I wouldn’t hold him when his efficiency tanks (assuming the defense stats still aren’t there).

    Royce O’Neale sustained his 9-cat standard league value last week in over 32 minutes per game with 9.8 points, 1.3 threes, 6.5 boards, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocks. He’s better suited for deeper leagues unless you think those numbers can help. We’ll see what happens when Rubio (hip) gets back.

    Power Forward

    Dwight Powell continued his 5-cat contributions and he’s been a top-40 guy for two weeks now on 16.3 points and 8.3 boards with his efficiency (66.7 percent from the field, 86.2 from the line and 1.2 turnovers) leading his value. He’s starting, the Mavs have nothing to play for, and let the tanking begin!

    Larry Nance had an uneven pair of games in his homecoming. His first game was bad, his second was excellent (double the usage). He has enough upside to be picked up if he’s floating around on your wires.

    Weekly Marquese Chriss Watch: Ouch.

    Center

    Missing Dewayne Dedmon– you have to pronounce it with a Jamaican accent even though he’s not Jamaican- last week was an oversight on my part. I assumed he was mostly owned in competitive leagues but found him on one of my wires and added him for James Johnson (the other J.J. drop was for Bogdan squared). Dedmon is stealing minutes from John Collins (for now) and has top-70 value over the past two weeks with 10.5 points, 1.1 threes, 7.4 rebounds over 1.5 stocks with excellent efficiency. Yes, please.

    From last week: “Montrezl Harrell continues to kiss standard-league value and is a player you can use for a low-end boost in field goal percentage, points and blocks…” Ditto.

    Ed Davis had a rough game against the Warriors on Wednesday, but still managed to grab 9.5 rebounds over the last four games. He’s still the best rebounding specialist for deeper leagues or end-of-week stat padding.

    Random Observations

    -You were blessed if you happened to catch Wednesday’s Blazers-Dubs game. Aside from being a good game, the legendary Bill Walton sat in on the broadcast and boy, was it a treat. He was gushing all over the place, and enthusiastically proclaimed whatever thought popped into his head, often unrelated to the topic, talking volcanoes, talking trash to his coworkers. He had us wondering more than ever if he was high, senile, playful, all three, or some modern reincarnation of Mullah Nasreddin. Good times, and about time ESPN brought some zip to their usually lame NBA broadcasts (except JVG, of course).

    -I heard Seth Klein on Besbris’ pod last Monday (Fly, Niko, Fly) mention that he scooped up Jinglin’ Joe Ingles of waivers. WTF!? Who drops Joe Ingles when he’s been snapping?! He’s been top-30 in 9-cat over the past month! Why am I shouting?! … If Klein is in more than a 6-team league and dudes are dropping top-30 players on a hot-streak, please sir, can I join next year and take y’all’s monies?

    -You know what really grinds my gears? Trying to assemble a trade and the ideal candidate is on a dead squad with an absentee owner who hasn’t check his team since Christmas. Argghhh.

    -Speaking of argghh, read this article if you want more backstory about the obfuscation in Philly regarding Markelle Fultz’s (alleged) shoulder injury and the subsequent effect on his jumper (with videos chronicling Fultz’s form). Have the Sixers been lying? Is it all mental? Read it and judge for yourself.

    -The Jazz have won 11 games in a row and have looked fantastic doing so (also siphoning attention away from the (maybe underrated) Rockets’ 10 game streak). The esteemed Zach Lowe breaks it down.

    -New Rule: Stats from the All-Star Game should be included in weekly totals for fantasy scoring purposes. It’ll never happen as the majority of owners would object, but it could at least be an option. I’ve already played in leagues with goofy stats like ejections and double-doubles; why not All-Star game stats? It would be incredibly random, but incredibly fun.

    – All-Star Weekend recommendations: televise the players’ draft, bring the 4-point line to the All-Star and Rising Stars Game, have more big men in the Skills Challenge and do something to make the actual game competitive and not so boring.

     

    Blessings on you and yours,
    Chef

     

    Get at me.

    Follow @HoopBall Fantasy for up-to-the-minute fantasy updates.

     

Fantasy News

  • Nikola Vucevic
    C, Orlando Magic

    In an interview Wednesday, Magic head coach Steve Clifford said he could see Nikola Vucevic improving across all areas of his game, and echoing his player's belief that he is in his prime.

    One of the areas Clifford thought Vucevic could improve upon was his 3-point shooting percentage, and also seemed to indicate that he could contonue to up his play on defense. He's unquestionably solidified himself as the anchor of this team, and the Magic as a whole are likely eyeing to improve upon their momentum as a rising young playoff team in an Eastern Conference that looks pretty weak after the top four to five teams. Expect Vucevic to produce safe second-round value this season.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    Suns General Manager James Jones said in a recent interview that Deandre Ayton is capable of playing PF if needed.

    One could chalk this up to either Ayton continuing his development in becoming a more dynamic offensive player, or the Suns covering up for the lack of depth on their roster at PF. In reality it's likley a mix of both, and is a positive for Ayton's value heading into this season. If he does end up spending meaningful time at the four, it would not bode well for the value of Dario Saric, who is already barely going at the end of drafts in 9-cat leagues.

    Source: NBA.com

  • DeMarcus Cousins
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    The Lakers have been granted a $1.75 million Disabled Player Exception for DeMarcus Cousins (torn left ACL).

    This now officially rules DeMarcus Cousins out for the season. The Lakers will now have the ability to go out and acquire a player that will in all likelihood occupy the end of their bench. Because they signed Dwight Howard, using this cap space on a center isn't necessarily as big a priority as it once was when Cousins initially went down.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Mohamed Bamba
    C, Orlando Magic

    Mo Bamba will enter training camp second on the depth chart behind Nikola Vučević.

    Head coach of the Magic, Steve Clifford, told a reporter that he plans on having Bamba as his primary backup center while Khem Birch will be third on the depth chart. The Magic also have Vučević, who was re-signed in the offseason to a four-year, $100M contract. As long as Bamba is backing up Vučević, his fantasy ceiling is capped outside of standard redraft leagues.

    Source: NBA

  • Nerlens Noel
    C, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Brett Dawson of The Athletic believes that Nerlens Noel could see a slight bump in minutes if the Thunder limit Steven Adams' usage.

    Noel is a great per-minute producer of steals and blocks but only appeared in 13.7 minutes per contest last season. Additional playing time would make him more useful in deeper leagues.

    Source: Brett Dawson of The Athletic

  • Joel Embiid
    C, Philadelphia Sixers

    In a video, Joel Embiid announced that he lost about 25 pounds over the summer.

    Embiid is one of the best fantasy players around but has struggled at times with conditioning. The Sixers will gladly accept any improvements from last season's averages of 27.5 points and 13.6 rebounds.

    Source: NBC Sports

  • TJ Warren
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    According to Pacers beat writer Scott Agness, Pacers forward T.J. Warren has no injury worries heading into the season.

    Warren has missed 56 games during the last two seasons, but he hopes to stay healthy for all of 2019-20. Warren is likely to start for the Pacers and could hold top-100 value if he can stay on the court.

    Source: Scott Agness on Twitter

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard expects to play for Team USA during next year's Summer Olympics.

    Lillard skipped this year's World Cup but is planning to play in Tokyo. He should be a late first-round or early second-round fantasy pick this year.

    Source: news.com.au

  • Stephen Curry
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    Warriors guard Stephen Curry expects to play at next year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

    Curry will have a busy year ahead of him. Still, it's no surprise that many potential members of Team USA skipped this year's FIBA World Cup in favor of an Olympics appearance. Curry will be a popular early first-round pick in fantasy drafts.

    Source: ESPN

  • Isaiah Thomas
    PG, Washington Wizards

    Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left thumb.

    This is rough news for the Wizards, who already have John Wall on the shelf. Thomas was a candidate to start at point guard, but instead he'll have to recover from yet another injury. Thomas averaged 8.1 points and 1.9 assists in limited action for the Nuggets last campaign.

    Source: Washington Wizards on Twitter