What's on the Schedule: Week 15
There are 57 games on tap for Fantasy Week 15 (April 2-8) as the NBA calendar is now officially in its final month of the season. By now, most Fantasy leagues are in the middle of the playoffs, which is why it is as important as ever to make sure owners put their best lineup on the floor.
While the schedule continues to balance itself out over the final few weeks, there are still plenty of intriguing matchups on the docket. Only two teams are scheduled to play five times over the next seven days and there are 34 sets of back-to-backs, including two instances of back-to-back-to-backs.
The Memphis Grizzlies are just one of the two teams slated to play three games over three consecutive days, which is why he have chosen to feature them this week.
The Grizzlies are coming off one of their quieter stretches of the season, having played just four games over the last eight days. However, that will change this week. Memphis will take the court five times this period with three of those contests coming on the road. Coach Lionel Hollins' squad will be tested right out of the gate as they partake in their first back-to-back-to-back set of the season starting Monday night in Oklahoma City. The Grizzlies will then be back home to face the Warriors on Tuesday night before wrapping up the triple set on Wednesday in Dallas. After a day off, Memphis will match up with the Heat on Friday night in Miami prior to returning home to face the Mavericks for the second time of the week on Saturday.
Playing five games over a seven-day stretch is never an easy task, especially considering some of Memphis' opponents this week. The Thunder, Mavericks and Heat are all considered strong defensive teams and Miami and Dallas are ranked in the top 10 in both opposition field-goal percentage and points allowed this season. Oklahoma City's defensive stats are not nearly as impressive, but Kevin Durant and Co. has held Memphis under 100 points all three of the teams matchups this season and are 3-0 in those contests. Still, that doesn't mean the Grizzlies won't be able to score a ton of points this week, especially with the Warriors on the slate.
With so many games crammed into so few days, depth and fatigue will play a huge factor this week. Look for Memphis to have to go utilize its bench early and often in some of these matchups, meaning some of the Grizzlies' mid-and low-end options could be looking at some extended run. In addition to must-starts Rudy Gay , Marc Gasol , Zach Randolph and Mike Conley , owners should make sure to get O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen active in the majority of formats. Marreese Speights should also get some consideration in deeper leagues.
Southwest: Houston Rockets (@CHI, @LAL, @SAC): The Rockets are one of just eight teams slated to play three times during Week 15 with all three of those contests coming on the road. Houston will open the week against the Bulls on Monday night before facing the Lakers on Friday. After a day off, the Rockets will close out the scoring period Sunday night in Sacramento. With only three games on the schedule, Fantasy owners won't have much room for error this week. One bad performance can put teams in a big hole, making most of Houston's Fantasy options risky plays, especially considering its upcoming opponents. The Bulls and Lakers are both ranked in the top five in points allowed and opposition field-goal percentage, so points could be tough to come by for the Rockets over the next few days. Luis Scola and Goran Dragic have been Houston's two most consistent producers over the past few weeks, making them the only two players who look like sure bets this period. The rest of the Rockets' spotty production makes them way too risky to use in most formats for the upcoming scoring period.
Pacific: Sacramento Kings (MIN, PHO, LAC, @LAC, HOU): The Kings are slated to play five times during Week 15 with four of those contests coming at home. Sacramento will start the week with a back-to-back set against the Timberwolves and Suns on Monday and Tuesday night, respectively, before welcoming the Clippers to town on Thursday. The Kings will then face the Clippers for the second time of the scoring period on Saturday night in Los Angeles before hosting the Rockets on Sunday. While the Kings have been struggling to scrape together wins lately, scoring points has not been an issue. Sacramento is averaging 109.7 points per game over its last 10 contests and has failed to score at least 100 points once over that stretch. Coach Keith Smart has encouraged his team to dictate the tempo of the game more and the result has been a slew of high-scoring affairs. Considering all four teams the Kings will face over the next seven days are ranked in the middle of the pack in most defensive categories this year, that trend should be able to continue this week. Fantasy owners should make sure to get Isaiah Thomas and Jason Thompson active, in addition to must-start options DeMarcus Cousins , Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton .
Northwest: Minnesota Timberwolves (@SAC, GS, @NO): The Timberwolves enter Week 15 as one of the more beat-up teams in the league. Minnesota has dealt with a rash of injuries over the past few weeks that have left only eight players at coach Rick Adelman's disposal over the past few games. However, the Timberwolves will be able to get some much needed rest over the next seven days as they are scheduled to play just three times this week. Two of those contests will be on the road, starting Monday night against the Kings. The Timberwolves will be back at home to face the Warriors on Wednesday before wrapping up the scoring period at New Orleans on Sunday night. While facing the Kings and Warriors in the same week should result in at least two high-scoring affairs, Minnesota's injury troubles have made it extremely tough for Fantasy owners to set their lineups in recent weeks. With the status of Michael Beasley , J.J. Barea and Nikola Pekovic still up in the air, we don't recommend starting any of those three this week. Only Kevin Love and Luke Ridnour look like safe plays for the upcoming scoring period.
Southeast: Atlanta Hawks (CHA, DET, CHA): The Hawks are slated to play three times during Week 15, but will only face two different teams over the next seven days. Atlanta will host the Bobcats on Wednesday night before welcoming the Pistons to town on Friday. After a day off, the Hawks will face the Bobcats for the second time of the scoring period Saturday night in Charlotte. While this looks to be a very favorable schedule for Atlanta, playing only three games puts some Fantasy owners at a disadvantage. One bad game can put owners in a hole that could be tough to climb out of with just two remaining games on the slate. For that reason, Josh Smith , Joe Johnson and Jeff Teague are the only three Hawks we recommend starting this week.
Atlantic: New York Knicks (@IND, @ORL, CHI): The Knicks have been one of the most discussed teams this season and that trend has continued over the past few weeks with all the injuries to hit New York. Jeremy Lin is the latest player to go down with a serious injury leaving the Knicks trying to fill another void on their roster. However, New York should have some time to regroup over the next few days as the Knicks are slated to play just three times during Week 15. The Knicks start the week with a pair of home games against the Pacers and Magic on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, before returning home to face the Bulls on Sunday. All three of those teams are ranked among the league leaders in points allowed and opposition field-goal percentage, so this looks like it could be a tough week for the majority of New York's Fantasy options. Coach Mike Woodson will likely spend the next several days tweaking his rotation a bit as the Knicks' light schedule should allow for some much needed practice time. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, that means most of New York's options will be risky plays this week. Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith are expected to see extended minutes in Lin's absence moving forward, but with only three games on the docket, one bad performance can really sink you. For that reason, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler look like the only sure bets this week.
Central: Milwaukee Bucks (@WAS, CLE, CHA, POR): The Bucks are slated to play four times during Week 15 and Milwaukee looks to have some very favorable matchups on tap. Brandon Jennings and Co. will start the week with a game against the Wizards on Tuesday night, which will be the team's lone road contest of the period. The Bucks will be back at home on Wednesday night to face the Cavaliers before closing out the week against the Bobcats and Trail Blazers on Friday and Saturday night, respectively. The Bucks have really tried to push the tempo on offense over the past few weeks and as a result are averaging 105 points per game during the month of March. Now the Bucks will get a chance to face four teams which have really been struggling on defense. The Wizards, Bobcats and Cavaliers all rank near the bottom of the pack in most major defensive categories this season, including points allowed and opposition field-goal percentage. While the Trail Blazers do not fall into that category, Milwaukee put up 116 points against them in their lone meeting back in Week 13. In addition to must-start option, Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings , owners should make sure to get Ersan Ilyasova and Drew Gooden active this week. Even Mike Dunleavy deserves some consideration from owners in deeper formats.