Week 18 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em
The post-trade deadline hangover can be dangerous, but our Chris Towers is here to guide you in his Week 18 edition of Start 'Em and Sit 'Em.
It always takes a few days or weeks for the ramifications of the trade deadline to become clear. Though this year didn't exactly feature a slew of marquee names swapping hands, there was enough movement to leave a handful of Fantasy contributors' value in doubt.
The first week after the deadline is always going to be the most difficult to figure out, since players are still reporting to their new teams or working their way into new systems. So, while you might be inclined to start your newly unleashed Byron Mullens in Week 18 (Feb. 24-March 2), it might be a week or two early for that.
Though the trade deadline passed, there is still one more hurdle that can potentially cause roster upheaval around the league. Any player released prior to March 1 is eligible for playoff rosters, and we could see some big names bought out or waived at some point this week. The biggest is Magic forward Glen Davis , who has already been bought out and will be searching for a new home in the coming days. He is certainly not worth starting at this point, and might not even be worth a spot on a Fantasy roster looking forward to the playoffs.
Predicting performance on a game-by-game or even week-by-week basis is an imperfect science at best, so you'll want to avoid situations shrouded with uncertainty. At least for Week 18, don't overreact to trade-deadline machinations. Let a week of new rotations provide needed clarity first.
(All stats up to date through Feb. 21 games)
It looked like Jeff Teague might be limited by an ankle injury heading into Week 18, but he was able to play Saturday and should be good to go this week. Despite being healthy, however, he is hardly someone you feel confident starting this week, with just three games on the way. He can be benched for better options. Elton Brand has been pushed into the starting lineup due to injuries, but at this point in his career, he is pretty clearly not someone you want to invest in as a Fantasy owner, especially with Pero Antic's return possibly coming in Week 18.
Schedule:Schedule: CHI, @BOS, @PHO
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 24th
10-team starters: Paul Millsap
12-to-14-team starters: Kyle Korver , Jeff Teague , DeMarre Carroll
Deep-league fliers: Mike Scott , Shelvin Mack , Lou Williams , Elton Brand
|1.||Raymond Felton , Knicks||78/49|
|2.||Jose Calderon , Mavericks||84/51|
|3.||Brandon Knight , Bucks||99/71|
|4.||Mike Dunleavy , Bulls||43/27|
|5.||Tony Wroten , 76ers||42/11|
|6.||J.R. Smith , Knicks||88/50|
|7.||Brian Roberts , Pelicans||37/22|
|8.||Alec Burks , Jazz||60/31|
|9.||D.J. Augustin , Bulls||83/54|
|10.||Trey Burke , Jazz||90/50|
Second-year big man Jared Sullinger has blossomed into a reliable Fantasy option this season, and was in the starting lineup in 73 percent of CBSSports.com leagues as of Saturday night. Unfortunately, that number needs to be much lower in Week 18, after he was diagnosed with a mild concussion Friday. There isn't an official timeline for his return to action, which is a pretty standard operating procedure with concussions, since they vary so much from player to player. Sullinger will have to be cleared through the team's training staff as well as the league's concussion protocol, leaving his status for Week 18 completely up in the air. He has provided a boost for Fantasy owners, but unless you get good news before lineups lock Monday, Sullinger is too much of a risk to start.
Schedule: @UTA, ATL, IND
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 25th
10-team starters: Rajon Rondo
12-to-14-team starters: Jeff Green , Avery Bradley
Deep-league fliers: Jared Sullinger , Phil Pressey , Chris Johnson , Kris Humphries , Brandon Bass , Kelly Olynyk
The Nets remain a conundrum for Fantasy owners, with a variety of big names failing to live up to their career marks. Things won't get any easier in Week 18, with Brooklyn facing an excellent schedule that nonetheless features just three times. In the month of February, only Deron Williams is averaging at least 25.0 Fantasy points per game for the Nets, leaving little here for Fantasy owners to consider in Week 18. Williams is probably the only player worth starting in 10-team or-shallower formats this week.
Schedule: @POR, @DEN, @MIL
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 2nd
10-team starters: Deron Williams
12-to-14-team starters: Paul Pierce , Andray Blatche , Joe Johnson ,
Deep-league fliers: Mirza Teletovic , Shaun Livingston , Kevin Garnett , Marcus Thornton , Alan Anderson , Andrei Kirilenko
The Bobcats got rid of one fringe-y Fantasy option in Ramon Sessions , and added two more with the acquisitions of Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal . Given the makeup of the team, Neal and Ridnour are unlikely to emerge as reliable or worthy Fantasy options moving forward. We have yet to see how either player will impact the team's rotation as of the start of Week 18, but the schedule does nothing to make either worth a gamble. In fact, with just two games, You probably cannot justify starting anyone from Charlotte outside Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker .
Schedule: @SA, @OKC
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 30th
10-team starters: Al Jefferson , Kemba Walker
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Gerald Henderson , Josh McRoberts , Ramon Sessions , Anthony Tolliver , Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
The Bulls might be without one of their most consistent contributors in Week 18, and Fantasy owners would certainly feel the pain just as much. Do-it-all swingman Jimmy Butler went down Friday with a rib injury Friday, leaving his status moving forward entirely unknown. If he cannot play Sunday, Fantasy owners will want to look elsewhere for Week 18, and the natural replacement seems to be Tony Snell , who 37 minutes and scored 20 points in Butler's stead Friday. Snell doesn't have nearly the well-round game Butler does, and he averaged just 9.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 10 starts earlier in the season. He is just a desperation play, even with four games on the way.
Schedule: @ATL, GS, @DAL, NY
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 11th
10-team starters: Joakim Noah , Taj Gibson , D.J. Augustin
12-to-14-team starters: Carlos Boozer , Mike Dunleavy , Kirk Hinrich
Deep-league fliers: Jimmy Butler , Tony Snell
Fantasy owners who have been reaping the benefits of Spencer Hawes career-best season might be upset about his move to Cleveland, a team that was already facing a logjam in the frontcourt. At least for Week 18, however, he may end up remaining a solid Fantasy option, as Anderson Varejao continues to work his way back from a back injury that recently require a cortisone injection. The Cavaliers don't have great matchups this week, but they do play four times, so Hawes could still end up being a solid option for the scoring period. He only scoring seven points in his first game for the Cavaliers, but attempted 10 field goals and finished with 10 rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes. I think he is worth the risk.
Schedule: TOR, @OKC, UTA, @MEM
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 29th
10-team starters: Kyrie Irving
12-to-14-team starters: Luol Deng , Spencer Hawes , Tristan Thompson
Deep-league fliers: Anderson Varejao , Dion Waiters , C.J. Miles , Jarrett Jack , Tyler Zeller
The Mavericks have split playmaking duties for much of the season, and the addition of Devin Harris upon his return from injury has only complicated things. He is second on the team in assists in the month of February at 4.7 assists, behind Jose Calderon (5.4) but just ahead of Monta Ellis . With how valuable and rare assists are, anyone who can provide them is going to have some value. Based on his recent play, Harris is worth a look in category-based leagues, and is right there with Jose Calderon on that second tier of Fantasy options.
Schedule: @NY, NO, CHI, @SA
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 22nd
10-team starters: Dirk Nowitzki , Monta Ellis
12-to-14-team starters: Jose Calderon , Devin Harris
Deep-league fliers: Vince Carter , Shawn Marion , Brandan Wright , Samuel Dalembert , DeJuan Blair
Most teams are in for trouble when they are missing their best player, but the Nuggets have been particularly aimless with Ty Lawson out with a rib injury. On a game-by-game basis, it is nearly impossible to tell who will work out, which makes planning your Fantasy team around Nuggets awfully difficult. Randy Foye in particular has been hit hard by Lawson's absence, averaging just 12.8 points per game without easy shots coming his way. He has contributed 6.4 assists to make up for that some, but those also come with 4.0 turnovers per game, since he just isn't a point guard. It is tough to rely on Foye or any of the Nuggets right now, but a solid schedule might be too much to pass up for owners of Foye, Wilson Chandler or JJ Hickson .
Schedule: POR, BKN, @POR
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 9th
10-team starters: Wilson Chandler , Randy Foye , JJ Hickson
12-to-14-team starters: Ty Lawson
Deep-league fliers: Evan Fournier , Kenneth Faried , Timofey Mozgov , Anthony Randolph
One of the more interesting developments recently has been the slight tweaks new Pistons coach John Loyer has made to the rotation. Finding the right mix of the team's big man trio is going to be the biggest hurdle any coach of this team is going to have, but Loyer has decided to flip the script on Mo Cheeks' game plan by increasing Greg Monroe 's role. Andre Drummond 's role has taken a bit of a hit as a result, this might end up being the best arrangement for all parties involved, as Drummond seems capable of getting his whether he is featured or now. In five games under Loyer, Monroe is averaging 32.2 Fantasy points per game, while Drummond is contributing 30.2 of his own. The Pistons' have been a headache all season, but Loyer seems to have figured out a way to keep everyone happy for the time being.
Schedule: GS, @SA, @HOU
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 23rd
10-team starters: Josh Smith , Greg Monroe , Andre Drummond , Brandon Jennings
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Will Bynum , Rodney Stuckey , Kyle Singler , Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors really don't have anyone who can make up for the loss of Andrew Bogut , who had turned into a very solid Fantasy option before a shoulder injury sidelined him. At this point, it is hard to say when Bogut will be back, so Fantasy owners should not plan on relying on him in Week 18 unless he returns Saturday. Week 18's schedule isn't particularly favorable for Golden State, but they do play four times, so you might want to roll the dice on Andre Iguodala , who is averaging 26.6 Fantasy points per game over the last five. New Warrior Steve Blake, on the other hand, probably shouldn't be started in any Fantasy leagues from here on out.
Schedule: @DET, @CHI, @NY, @TOR
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 20th
10-team starters: Stephen Curry , Klay Thompson , David Lee
12-to-14-team starters: Andre Iguodala
Deep-league fliers: Andrew Bogut , Harrison Barnes , Jordan Crawford , Marreese Speights , Steve Blake
It is starting to become clear that Terrence Jones ' breakout January was just an outlier. He has been remarkably consistent in the other three months of the season, averaging between 10.0 and 10.4 points in each other month, bottoming out in February. He is no longer looking like someone Fantasy owners want to have in their stating lineups, even with a fairly decent schedule on the way in Week 18. With the way things are going, only James Harden , Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons are sure-fire starters out of Houston with four games on the schedule.
Schedule: @SAC, @LAC, DET
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 10th
10-team starters: James Harden , Dwight Howard , Chandler Parsons
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Terrence Jones , Jeremy Lin , Patrick Beverley , Donatas Motiejuanas, Aaron Brooks , Omri Casspi
The Pacers snuck in one move right under the deadline Thursday, swapping a former All Star for a former No. 2 overall pick in a move that appears to send shockwaves through the league. Unfortunately, this is likely to end up being a transaction that will only leave Fantasy owners frustrated, especially those who were enjoying the production of the freewheelin' Evan Turner so far. Turner was taking advantage of the 76ers' fast pace and reckless offensive style to post career-best numbers; numbers he is unlikely to even come close to matching in Indiana. The Pacers play a bit faster than their grind-it-out reputation might make you think, but they still rank just 18th in pace this season, a significant dropoff from Turner's days in Philadelphia. Granger was posting a healthy 19.5 usage rate in his 22.5 minutes per game, so Turner isn't going to just disappear from the box score altogether. Turner was using 24.2 percent of the Sixers' possessions while playing 34.9 minutes per game, so there was plenty of inflation going on with his career season. Even though the Pacers feature one of the league's best schedules in Week 18, Turner is going to have to prove himself worthy before Fantasy owners can justify getting him back in the lineup.
Schedule: LAL, MIL, @BOS, UTA
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 4th
10-team starters: Paul George , Lance Stephenson
12-to-14-team starters: George Hill , David West, Roy Hibbert
Deep-league fliers: Luis Scola , C.J. Watson , Evan Turner
Los Angeles Clippers
According to reports, the Clippers nearly moved Darren Collison to the Knicks for wing help, which would have been a Fantasy boon for Collison. You might be able to drop him now without thinking too much about the consequences, since he simply won't play without a Chris Paul injury. With J.J. Redick now out at least until sometime in March, this is a pretty easy team to figure out for Fantasy purposes, as the same four players remain must-start options under almost any circumstances. That holds true for Week 18.
Schedule: @NO, HOU, NO
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 16th
10-team starters:, Blake Griffin , DeAndre Jordan , Jamal Crawford , Chris Paul
Deep-league fliers: Darren Collison , Jared Dudley , Matt Barnes
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are crawling back to health, and Fantasy owners will get a big boost with the return of Pau Gasol from a groin injury. His return knocks Chris Kaman back to irrelevance and should provide some level of stability, even if he needs some time to get back to full strength after missing all of February so far. He was thriving before the injury, averaging 20.8 points, 11.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game in the month of January. With three games on the way an some tough matchups, Gasol is still someone you want to have in your lineup, along with Kendall Marshall , the team's primary point guard following the Steve Blake trade.
Schedule: @IND, @MEM, SAC
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 26th
10-team starters: Kendall Marshall , Pau Gasol
12-to-14-team starters: Wesley Johnson , Jodie Meeks
Deep-league fliers: Steve Nash , Ryan Kelly , Nick Young , Chris Kaman , Jordan Hill , Robert Sacre
Mike Conley return had the expected impact last week, pushing Nick Calathes to the very fringes of Fantasy relevance as a backup point guard. He should still be in the rotation moving forward, but he will do so atop the scrap heap of Grizzlies role players who vacillate between useful and invisible on a game-to-game basis. With three games on the way, you'll want to avoid all but the top three in the team's hierarchy in Week 18.
Schedule:LAL, @OKC, CLE
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 12th
10-team starters: Zach Randolph , Marc Gasol , Mike Conley
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: James Johnson , Nick Calathes , Courtney Lee , Kosta Koufos , Ed Davis , Mike Miller
|1.||Tyreke Evans , Pelicans||90/50|
|2.||Channing Frye , Suns||75/55|
|3.||Tobias Harris , Magic||94/75|
|4.||Taj Gibson , Bulls||88/68|
|5.||Markieff Morris , Suns||74/47|
|6.||P.J. Tucker , Suns||58/40|
|7.||Joe Johnson , Nets||93/58|
|8.||Shawn Marion , Mavericks||81/40|
|9.||Andre Iguodala , Warriors||94/63|
|10.||John Henson , Bucks||93/47|
Though LeBron James is dealing with a broken nose, it seems unlikely that this kind of issue will be enough to keep him off the floor this week. Even if it does, whoever steps into the lineup in his place isn't going to move the needle enough for you to consider starting them with just two games on the schedule. It is either Big 3 or bust in Week 18, more so than most.
Schedule: NY, ORL
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 27th
10-team starters: LeBron James , Chris Bosh , Dwyane Wade
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Norris Cole , Mario Chalmers , Ray Allen , Michael Beasley
The Bucks shuffled the deck chairs on their sinking ship at the deadline, resulting in some moves Fantasy owners should have little interest in. The addition of Ramon Sessions should give the Bucks another decent combo guard option, but it remains to be seen if he plays enough to be worth your time. They face the best and worst defenses in the league back to back, so expect an up-and-down week from the Bucks, though you already know to steer clear of them anyways. Other than Brandon Knight , there is nobody you should feel comfortable starting.
Schedule: @PHI, @IND, BKN
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 19th
10-team starters: Brandon Knight
12-to-14-team starters: John Henson , Ersan Ilyasova
Deep-league fliers: Nate Wolters , Ramon Sessions , Giannis Antetokounmpo , O.J. Mayo , Khris Middleton
Nikola Pekovic could be back at some point in Week 18, as he was able to participate in drills Friday. Of course, he wasn't actually in practice as he continues to deal with bursitis in his ankle, so he isn't a sure thing. With the Timberwolves playing just twice in Week 18, you are better off avoiding both he and Kevin Martin , who similarly has an outside chance of returning during the week. Kevin Love is the only player you cannot bench here, obviously.
Schedule: @PHO, @SAC
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 17th
10-team starters: Kevin Love
12-to-14-team starters: Ricky Rubio
Deep-league fliers: Corey Brewer , Jose Barea, Alexey Shved
New Orleans Pelicans
Backup point guard Brian Roberts is starting to come around lately, averaging 14.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game over the last five. He will never be a must-start option, but he will come about as close as possible in Week 18, given the Pelicans' schedules. Theoretically, the presence of Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon limits Roberts' utility, but that hasn't been the case thanks to both players' inconsistency. With one of the best schedules in the league on the way and Roberts safely wedged into a solid role with Jrue Holiday out indefinitely, Roberts makes a lot of sense as a start on the 35 percent of CBSSports.com rosters he is currently owned.
Schedule: LAC, @DAL, @PHO, @LAC
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 3rd
10-team starters: Anthony Davis , Eric Gordon
12-to-14-team starters: Brian Roberts , Tyreke Evans
Deep-league fliers: Austin Rivers , Anthony Morrow , Greg Stiemsma , Al-Farouq Aminu
New York Knicks
The Knicks were unable to find a point guard to replace the perpetually disappointing Raymond Felton , which means they are going to ride down the stretch of the season with their core intact. For Fantasy owners, that means the Knicks will likely remain toxic moving forward, with only Carmelo Anthony really holding consistent value. Amar'e Stoudemire looks to be in the midst of a resurgence, but also just missed time due to soreness in his knee, so he isn't reliable despite averaging 16.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game over the last five. He is a low-end flier with four games on the schedule, but you shouldn't be surprised if he has to miss time without warning, or sees his production slide.
Schedule: DAL, @MIA, GS, @CHI
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 18th
10-team starters: Carmelo Anthony
12-to-14-team starters: J.R. Smith
Deep-league fliers: Raymond Felton , Tyson Chandler , Tim Hardaway Jr. ., Iman Shumpert , Beno Udrih , Amar'e Stoudemire
Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook is going to be eased back into action, and is unlikely to reach the full-time, 35-plus minute role during Week 18. He looked pretty rusty in his first game back Thursday against the Heat, but still managed to score 24 Fantasy points, so you don't exactly need to keep him on your bench while he works his way back. The Thunder don't have a great schedule for Week 18, however, so consider sitting understudy Reggie Jackson , for whom consistency is likely to be an issue as he works his way back into a reserve role.
Schedule: CLE, MEM, CHA
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 28th
10-team starters: Kevin Durant , Serge Ibaka , Russell Westbrook
12-to-14-team starters: Reggie Jackson
Deep-league fliers: Jeremy Lamb
Break out the bubbly, Tobias Harris owners! The moment you have been stashing the young forward all season for has finally come, as the Magic cleared out the logjam in the frontcourt by buying out Glen Davis . Harris is putting up solid per-game numbers for the season, though he hasn't been as useful as expected because of how much redundancy Orlando had on the roster. He was often forced into playing out of position at small forward with Davis around, and was never featured as much as he should have been. Now, Harris gets to match up against slower power forwards, where he can use his athleticism to get to the rim. With Davis out all season last year, Harris was a monster after the All-Star break, averaging 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. We should see a similar trend emerge this season, and Week 18 is the best possible week for him to start, as the Magic get the dysfunctional 76ers twice among four matchups. He can be safely considered a must-start Fantasy option.
Schedule: @WAS, @PHI, @MIA, PHI
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 1st
10-team starters: Arron Afflalo , Nikola Vucevic , Tobias Harris
12-to-14-team starters: Jameer Nelson , Victor Oladipo
Deep-league fliers: Andrew Nicholson , Kyle O'Quinn
The 76ers are going to be the most compelling post-deadline team for Fantasy purposes. They went from having a pretty secure rotation to some massive question marks. The team lost two of its highest usage offensive players, and got little in the way of NBA talent back to replace them. With the pace the 76ers play at, anyone who gets minutes and shots is going to be a Fantasy option by default, but we can't yet predict how thing will shake out. For Week 18, just stick with the known commodities.
Schedule: MIL, ORL, WAS, @OLR
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 5th
10-team starters: Michael Carter-Williams , Thaddeus Young
12-to-14-team starters: Tony Wroten , James Anderson
Deep-league fliers: Arnett Moultrie , Byron Mullens
Gerald Green continues to enjoy a career season for the Suns, but he has been a pretty limited Fantasy option for long stretches. Even a season-best hot streak only amounts to 28.6 Fantasy points per game over the last five, hardly numbers that scream must-start. Still, he can be incredibly useful in category-based formats for his ability to take and make 3-pointers at a high volume, and he should be active in nearly all of those formats for Week 18 with four games on the way.
Schedule: MIN, @UTA, NO, ATL
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 8th
10-team starters: Goran Dragic
12-to-14-team starters: Gerald Green , Markieff Morris , Channing Frye
Deep-league fliers: Miles Plumlee , Marcus Morris , Leandro Barbosa , Ish Smith , P.J. Tucker
Portland Trail Blazers
LaMarcus Aldridge could be back at some point during this week, but he could end up missing at least one game while recovering from a strained groin. His initial diagnosis indicates he will be out until at least Wednesday against the Nets, so Fantasy owners have to weigh the pros and cons of playing him this week. If he plays twice, Aldridge is almost certainly worth starting over the majority of potential forward options, but the risk of him playing once or not at all might be too much. Despite having one of the best schedules in the league, it makes sense to sit Aldridge in favor of safer options in Week 18.
Schedule: @DEN, BKN, DEN
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 6th
10-team starters: Damian Lillard ,, Nicolas Batum , Wesley Matthews
12-to-14-team starters: Robin Lopez , LaMarcus Aldridge
Deep-league fliers: Mo Williams
|1.||Marc Gasol , Grizzlies||99/64|
|2.||Enes Kanter , Jazz||83/44|
|3.||Jonas Valanciunas , Raptors||91/58|
|4.||Tyson Chandler , Knicks||91/65|
|5.||Robin Lopez , Trail Blazers||94/71|
The Kings moved Marcus Thornton at the deadline, which should free up Ben McLemore for an increased role moving forward. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners who are hoping this might lead to the rookie starting to live up to his considerable potential, I wouldn't expect big things in the near future. McLemore is still owned in 30 percent of CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues, despite scoring in double figures just 16 times in 54 games. Thornton was playing just 23.5 minutes and taking 7.7 shots per game in the month of February, so there isn't exactly a huge role opening for McLemore, who has yet to show much beyond a mediocre scoring touch in the NBA. The Kings' high-usage trio of stars leaves little room for role players to flourish, and don't expect Ben McLemore to buck that trend even if he sees a bump in playing time starting in Week 18.
Schedule: HOU, @LAL, MIN
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 7th
10-team starters: DeMarcus Cousins , Rudy Gay , Isaiah Thomas
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Derrick Williams , Ben McLemore , Jason Thompson , Jimmer Fredette , Aaron Gray
San Antonio Spurs
At this point, we really don't know how long Tony Parker is expected to be out with his "variety of maladies," but it is getting hard to justify not starting Patty Mills for Fantasy purposes. Sure, maybe Parker comes back at some point this week and entirely negates Mills' value; with how well Mills is playing recently, isn't that a risk you have to take? He is averaging 25.7 Fantasy points per game in the month of February, despite playing only 22.3 minutes per game. Given how many players are still dealing with injuries, Mills makes for a fine injury replacement as long as he is getting minutes.
Schedule: DET, CHA, DAL
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 13th
10-team starters: Tim Duncan
12-to-14-team starters: Boris Diaw , Marco Belinelli , Kawhi Leonard , Patty Mills
Deep-league fliers: Tony Parker , Manu Ginobili , Cory Joseph
As the deadline approached, I received a few twitter questions from anxious Kyle Lowry owners wondering if they should sell high ahead of a possible trade. Rumors surrounding Lowry slowed to a trickle over the last month, so it never seemed particularly likely to happen. Lowry has been a top-5 guard ever since the team's trade of Rudy Gay , and Fantasy owners should be content to ride him for the remainder of the season as a must-start option. At this point, Lowry and DeRozan are the only players I would rely on with just three games on the way.
Schedule: @CLE, WAS, GS
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 21st
10-team starters: DeMar DeRozan , Kyle Lowry
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Greivis Vasquez , Terrence Ross , Jonas Valanciunas , Amir Johnson , Patrick Patterson , John Salmons
The Jazz stood pat again at the deadline this season, though that comes as much less of a surprise than when their lack of movement a year ago did. The Jazz have their long-term core pretty set, so while there were some rumblings about a possible Gordon Hayward move, it comes as little surprise that the Jazz are moving forward with what they have in house. For Week 18, the Jazz might be without big man Derrick Favors at times, as he continues to struggle with a lingering hip injury, which makes him something of a risky play yet again. With Favors' injury and Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward stuck in slumps, your most reliable Jazz players are difficult to put into the starting lineup this week. I would still roll with Burke, Hayward and Alec Burks this week, with four games on the schedule.
Schedule: BOS, PHO, @CLE, @IND
10-team starters: Trey Burke , Gordon Hayward , Alec Burks
12-to-14-team starters: Derrick Favors , Marvin Williams , Enes Kanter
Deep-league fliers: Richard Jefferson , Jeremy Evans
Washington added veteran point guard Andre Miller at the deadline, in a move that should shore up a backup point guard spot that has been a real spot of weakness for them. For Fantasy owners, however, this is probably not the type of move that should really move the needle. Miller is likely to be a pure backup for John Wall , who already plays 37 minutes per game. You can't really expect them to play a backcourt featuring Wall and the elder Miller too much together, because that lack of shooting simply isn't tenable. This is another case in which the Fantasy impact will be greatly outstripped by the real-world impact of a deadline-day deal.
Schedule: ORL, @TOR, @PHI
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 15th
10-team starters: John Wall
12-to-14-team starters: Bradley Beal , Trevor Ariza , Nene, Marcin Gortat
Deep-league fliers: Martell Webster , Trevor Booker