December 26, 2016, 7:12 am
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone out there! Hope we had a wonderful holiday but now it’s time to start turning some attention back (for those of you who weren’t binging Christmas day games) to the basketball. The week starts off with a big 11 game slate since so few teams played on Saturday so be sure to set those lineups and get your players active.
The biggest lump of coal for the week is going to be Chris Paul missing the next two games. Chris Paul has been fantastic as always this year and has been the sixth overall player in nine-cat leagues on the year. There is a gift stuffed in your stocking though if you scroll down to the pickups for the week. Now to the game slates.
4 Games: ATL, CHA, CHI, DAL, DET, HOU, IND, LAC, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, PHO, POR, TOR
3 Games: BKN, BOS, CLE, DEN, LAL, NOR, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, SAC, SAS, UTA, WIZ
2 Games: GSW
Obviously the Warriors only playing two games is going to be a major drag on an anyone heavily invested in their super stars, and matters are really only worse if you look at the fact they play the Raptors and Mavericks who are not very fantasy friendly producing teams despite being middling defenses.
The Mavs start off this week on a back-to-back Monday and Tuesday which surely means that Dirk Nowitzki is going to rest one of those two games after making his return on Friday.
Houston has two sets of back-to-backs this week on Monday/Tuesday and Friday/Saturday, however Mike D’Antoni has publicly stated he doesn’t really believe in resting guys.
Philly has a back-to-back on Thursday/Friday and only plays three games this week so watch for rest from any of their litany of injured big men.
Pickups of the Week:
Raymond Felton – Probably the easiest choice of the week with Chris Paul missing at least the next two games, and on top of that if Paul were to return for his third game of the week on Friday it’s followed immediately by a Clippers back-to-back on Saturday. So CP3 is probably looking at one game at best this week and meanwhile Raymond Felton posted eight points with 10 boards, six assists, two steals and two blocks on Sunday. He’ll produce as long as CP3 misses time but could hurt your field goal percentage.
Jon Leuer – He really shouldn’t even be making these articles anymore as he’s played consistently inside the top 100 all year, and now moved into the starting five against the Warriors on Friday. He played 33 minutes in that contest and produced a solid low end line. It’s looking like he’ll get a small minutes bump as a starter which is perfect for him and for fantasy owners, absolutely pick him up if he is still available.
Luol Deng – He’s been mentioned before but he’s continuously producing now and has been the 52nd overall player in the last two weeks. He posted a nice double-double on Sunday and as long as he’s doing this he deserves to be owned.
Tough Play of the Week: Joel Embiid
He’s a monster when he’s on the court and went up to a 28 minute restriction last Tuesday which was sure to have owners buzzing. The issue is this week Philly only plays three games and two of those games are on the aforementioned back-to-back. That creates a problem as he’s surely only going to be playing two games this week, so owners are going to have to make some tough decisions in weekly leagues. If you are an unfortunate soul and own Embiid and multiple Warriors players then be prepared for a rough week.
Injuries to Watch:
Chris Paul – Paul’s hamstring is sidelining him the next two games and he would be questionable for the back-to-back the Clippers have this week if he did return.
Kyle Korver (illness) is active for Monday’s game.
Tim Hardaway Jr. (groin) is traveling but out for Monday’s game against the Wolves.
Dwight Howard (back) is also traveling but is listed as out for Monday’s game against the Wolves.
Marco Belinelli (ankle) is listed as day-to-day currently but there really haven’t been any updates since he was forced from Friday’s game with an ankle injury.
Michael-Carter Williams (knee, wrist) could be cleared to play as soon as Monday.
J.J. Barea (Achilles) is expected to be day-to-day after Christmas.
Andrew Bogut (knee) was ruled out last Friday and is expected to return this week, check back on his status before game time tonight.
Clint Capela (fractured fibula) is out and will be reevaluated in four weeks, but it seems he’s avoided an extremely long absence.
J.J. Redick (hamstring) is day-to-day and has said he won’t push himself to return because of other missing teammates.
Blake Griffin (knee) had successful surgery and his return is expected in four to six weeks.
Larry Nance is expected to miss four weeks with a bone bruise in his left knee.
Dion Waitiers (groin) is looking like he’ll return before the end of the month but may be marginalized by Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson.
Victor Oladipo (wrist) has been having a lot of trouble catching or shooting the ball so will likely remain out for the immediate future.
Evan Fournier (heel) looked alright after a shin injury he played through but then had a heel issue pop up. It seems day-to-day as an issue but should be monitored.
Damian Lillard (left ankle) is listed as doubtful for Monday against the Raptors.
George Hill (toe) is expected to miss all three games for the Jazz this week.
Dante Exum (patellar tendinitis) is to going to be reevaluated in January.