Week 11 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em
The Mavericks have what might be the best single-week Fantasy schedule of the season coming up in Week 11 (March 5-11). The Mavericks are the only team in the NBA to play five times in the week, as they have a back-to-back to start the week and their back-to-back-to-back later, ending on Saturday.
But what makes it especially attractive from a Fantasy perspective is not just that their players will have an extra opportunity to put up numbers on their fellow players, but also who they get to do so against. The Mavericks play an above average defensive team just once in the week, the 13th-ranked Knicks. Other than that, they face the 19th-ranked Thunder and then a paper-bag of a back-to-back-to-back with road games against the Rockets, Kings and Warriors, numbers 20, 30 and 26 in the NBA in defense respectively.
Even without the attractive schedule, I might have tabbed Mavericks guard Roddy Beaubois as a solid starting option this week, as he has been reinserted into the starting lineup after the All-Star break and has responded with 52 points in just three games as he looks newly reinvigorated following an extended layoff.
With the incredibly favorable matchups he faces in the week along with the hot streak, Beaubois makes an attractive choice for our Start of the Week for Week 11, so add him in all Fantasy formats and expect a solid week from the talented Frenchman.
Iman Shumpert , Knicks (@DAL, @SA, @MIL, PHI): The Knicks have a mixed bag of opponents in Week 11, however Shumpert should be able to thrive as he continues to play off the ball for the Knicks in their new-look offense. He had struggled some prior to the All-Star break, however that seems to have been the result of a knee injury sapping him of some of his trademark explosiveness. In his first game after the All-Star break, Shumpert scored 12 points in just 21 minutes and most importantly, defended Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving in crunch time. With a slew of elite point guards on the way in Week 11, Shumpert should continue to see crunch-time minutes as the Knicks' main defensive stopper, ensuring that he will continue to get solid minutes.
|1.||Tristan Thompson , F, Cavaliers||29|
|2.||Gordon Hayward , F, Jazz||18|
|3.||Derrick Williams , F, T'Wolves||16|
|4.||Mike Dunleavy , G, Bucks||10|
|5.||Randy Foye , G, Clippers||18|
|6.||Carlos Delfino , F, Bucks||41|
|7.||Goran Dragic , G, Rockets||2|
|8.||Gary Neal , G, Spurs||2|
|9.||Kosta Koufos , C, Nuggets||4|
|10.||Ekpe Udoh , F, Warriors||10|
O.J. Mayo , Grizzlies (@GS, @PHO, @DEN): Mayo is the rare Memphis player who does not show a significant split in his home and road production, averaging right around 12 points per game no matter where he's playing. That is good news for this week, as the Grizzlies encounter a trio or porous defenses on the road, all three of which rank in the bottom 10 of the NBA in points allowed. Consistency has been a big issue for Mayo, however he should find plenty of opportunities to put up some nice numbers against these opponents, especially if his teammates struggle as they usually do on the road, as he attempts more shots per game on the road than at home.
Sleeper Alert: Jimmer Fredette , Kings (@DEN, NO, DAL, ATL): Fredette is starting to see his role grow ever-so-slightly here after the All-Star break, as he has found his shooting stroke. The rookie played 21 minutes on Friday night against the Lakers, his most extensive playing time in over two weeks, as he has made 6 of 10 from three-point range in his last three games. Fredette has scored in double digits in consecutive games for the first time since January and is starting to look less hesitant with his jump shot. Fredette has four opportunities in Week 11 to shoot threes, making him an appealing option in deeper Rotisserie formats.
Evan Turner , 76ers (@MIL, BOS, UTA, @NY): Turner started the season with some flashes that suggested he may have turned the corner on a disappointing rookie season, and yet here we are in March and his numbers are almost indistinguishable from last year's. Turner hit an extended cold streak that lasted almost the entire month of February, as he reached double digits in scoring just once in the month. Turner has scored just 12 points in three games since the All-Star break and with a handful of tough, grind-it-out matchups on the horizon in Week 11, it doesn't look like he's about to break out anytime soon.
Mario Chalmers , Heat (NJ, ATL, IND): This isn't an indictment on Chalmers, who is having an excellent year emerging as Miami's true fourth option on offense and a useful Fantasy player with his ability to hit the three-point shot at a high rate. However, in Week 11, the Heat plays just three times, with two games coming against teams in Indiana and Atlanta that guard the line at an above average rate. Fantasy owners will be able to rely on Chalmers for consistent threes the rest of the way, but with only three games this week; he might not be able to accumulate the stats necessary to make him a starting option.
Bust Alert: D.J. Augustin , Bobcats (ORL, UTA, NJ, @OKC): The Bobcats are in a terrible situation for Fantasy players, as they don't have one or two dominant offensive players who put up most of their points, forcing Fantasy owners to hold on to marginal, inconsistent options like Augustin. Augustin has completely lost his shot since returning from injury. In his six games since his return, Augustin has made just 31.0 percent of his shots after a 1 of 9 performance on Friday against San Antonio. Even with a fairly attractive schedule, Augustin has been struggling too much to consider using him this week.
Josh Howard , Jazz (@CLE, @CHA, @PHI, @CHI): It didn't appear to make much sense to insert the struggling veteran into the starting lineup when the team was down, however Howard has made coach Tyrone Corbin look like a genius in the five games since. Howard is averaging 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game over that time frame, looking more like a viable Fantasy option than he has in years. The Jazz have an up-and-down Week 11 on the horizon, with two easy matchups leading into two extremely tough ones, however if recent history is any indication, Howard will be a solid force for them the whole time.
James Johnson , Raptors (ORL, HOU, @DET, MIL): Johnson is very quietly putting together a decent second season in Toronto, and he has been stepping his performance up recently. Over the last five games, Johnson has scored in double digits four times and is averaging 12.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, as the Raptors have been leaning on him a little more heavily. He is the latest Raptor to step up as the team tries to find some stability, and while his role is robust and he is playing well, don't be afraid to rely on him too.
Sleeper Alert: Kenneth Faried , Nuggets (SAC, CLE, NO, MEM): Complicating this selection somewhat is the fact that Nuggets starting center Nene is expected to return for the game against the Kings on Monday. However, Faried has been too good recently to lose his role, especially with coach George Karl saying he doesn't expect Nene to return to a full-time role this season and with Timofey Mozgov suffering another ankle injury on Friday. Faried's high-energy style fits in with Karl's running philosophy, and he has three double-doubles in the last five games without seeing huge minutes. Faried should stay in his 20-minutes-per-game role, where he has thrived, so he should be able to produce enough to be useful in that role.
Corey Brewer , Nuggets (SAC, CLE, NO, MEM): On the flip side of Faried is his teammate Brewer, who likely will lose significant minutes due to the return of a different injured teammate; this one is Danilo Gallinari , who is expected to return from a fractured ankle in Week 11. Brewer has been a nice fill in for Gallinari, however Brewer had scored in double figures just five times prior to Gallinari's injury, as he was barely a part of the team's rotation. And while Brewer has been excelling, the team has scuffled in a big way, meaning there's not really any reason not to go back to the rotation that was working. Gallinari will be worked back into the rotation, but his minutes will almost certainly come at Brewer's cost, making him a questionable option moving forward.
Richard Jefferson , Spurs (NY, LAC): The Spurs are the first team to play only twice in a week in some time, as the schedule has tightened up in a big way recently. They'll get back to a regular load next week, but for Week 11, you won't want to rely on any of their more marginal options like Jefferson in weekly leagues. Jefferson continues to redefine himself as an elite spot-up shooter in his later years with the Spurs, making him a useful low-end Fantasy option, however with only two games, you'll want to look for better options.
Bust Alert: David West , Pacers (@CHI, ATL, @MIA, @ORL): West has been turning things around recently, as he is starting to reach the one-year mark from his major knee injury last season. That might take a detour in Week 11, as the Pacers have to run through a gauntlet of the Eastern Conference's toughest defenses in the week, with three coming on the road. Against the four teams he faced in Week 11, West is averaging just 11.25 points and 4.75 rebounds, as they have been able to hold him below his season averages. Expect West to struggle some as the East's elite defenses go to work.
Brendan Haywood , Mavericks (@OKC, NY, @PHO, @SAC, @GS): Haywood seems to be past the back issues that had bothered him some last week, and so he should be worth starting this week. Unlike his teammate Beaubois, who would likely have been worth starting no matter the matchups, Haywood is only worth starting because he'll have so many opportunities to play against inferior competition. Haywood is averaging just 5.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game this season, however with five chances, he should be able to rack up enough counting stats to make him a viable Fantasy start this week.
Sleeper Alert: Chris Wilcox , Celtics (HOU, @PHI, POR, @LAL): With news of Jermaine O'Neal likely missing the next two weeks with a wrist injury, Wilcox becomes the only natural center on the Celtics' roster. Wilcox isn't starting, however he has seen his minutes go up over the last few games, and he has responded accordingly by averaging 8.8 points and 10.3 rebounds over the last three games backing up Kevin Garnett . Wilcox likely won't maintain a double-double pace, but with how weak the center position is, he could be a useful No. 2 in deeper Fantasy leagues.
DeJuan Blair , Spurs (NY, LAC): This has been an odd season for Blair, as he is averaging a career high in scoring and a career low in rebounding. That trend hasn't been showing signs of reversing recently, but that isn't why Blair is here. He's here for the same reasons Jefferson is, and that is because the Spurs play just twice this week. Only five other teams in the NBA play as few as three times this week, meaning if you're relying on Blair or any of the other low-end Spurs options, you're putting your team in a hole this week that you might not be able to dig out of.
Bust Alert: JaVale McGee , Wizards (GS, LAL, POR): There are plenty of criticisms to make of McGee's game, however he has been a useful Fantasy option for most of the season. Recently his various foibles have proven too much for Wizards coach Randy Wittman, who has begun tinkering with his rotation, going so far as to bench McGee for a game last week. He put him back in the starting lineup on Saturday, however McGee was not back to his usual minutes, playing just 24 and sitting out crunch time. Wittman clearly does not trust McGee at this time and until he earns his trust and minutes back, Fantasy owners will want to be careful about relying on a guy who struggles with consistency even when receiving good minutes.