The Fantasy Basketball Weekly Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Each Friday, we provide you with top matchups, the latest news and give you the scoop on injured players.
Projections are for Oct 30-Nov. 4 games.
Teams with four games (1): Jazz
Teams with three games (21): Bulls, Cavaliers, Mavericks, Nuggets, Pistons, Warriors, Rockets, Pacers, Lakers, Heat, Bucks, Nets, Hornets, Magic, 76ers, Suns, Trail Blazers, Kings, SuperSonics, Spurs, Wizards
Teams with two games (8): Hawks, Celtics, Clippers, Bobcats,
Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Knicks, Raptors
On tap: The week ahead features 10 nationally televised games: Trail Blazers at Spurs and Jazz at Warriors on Tuesday; Mavericks at Cavaliers and SuperSonics at Nuggets on Tuesday; Pistons at Heat and Suns at SuperSonics on Thursday; Wizards at Celtics and Lakers at Suns on Friday; Trail Blazers at Rockets on Saturday; Cavaliers at Suns on Sunday
For the second consecutive year, Lakers SG Kobe Bryant (wrist) is a question mark for the first week of the regular season. Unlike last season, however, he will be a safe start for Week 1 of the Fantasy season. He was sent home to Los Angeles and will skip the team's final preseason game to keep him fresh for the Oct. 30 opener vs. Houston. ... The Bulls were beaten up in the front court after their final preseason game. Potential starting PF Tyrus Thomas (foot), starting C Ben Wallace (ankle) and rookie Joakim Noah (ankle) all left the game with injuries, but X-rays for all three players came back negative. Head coach Scott Skiles has yet to make up his mind about who will start at PF, but he has many options. The prevailing thought is that he will start Thomas, if healthy, but he could also move Wallace to the four and start rookie Aaron Gray at center. No decision has been made yet, but Gray is worth a flier in larger Fantasy formats. Thomas, Wallace and Noah are not expected to miss any games during the first week of the regular season... Bucks C Andrew Bogut (wrist) is still a big question mark going into the first week of the season. The good news is that he has a sprain and not a break, but his status for the Oct. 31 opener at Orlando could be decided shortly prior to gametime. That makes him a tough call for Week 1. At this time, we suggest you go with a backup. Monitor his progress all the way until your lineups are due. ... Suns C Amare Stoudemire (knee) looked rusty in his first preseason action Wednesday night (despite being 3-for-3 from the field), but it's good to see him back on the floor in time to shake off the rust during games that don't count. He's a must-start in all leagues for Week 1. ... Suns PG Leandro Barbosa (ribs) missed the final two preseason games, but is expected to be ready for the Nov. 1 opener at Seattle. ... Nets PG Jason Kidd (back) feels a whole lot better after an epidural shot helped him recover. He should be on the floor in the opener Oct. 31 vs. Chicago. ... Nuggets C Marcus Camby is already dealing with back spasms. He sat out Thursday's preseason game at Phoenix, however, and should have plenty of time to recover for the Oct. 31 opener vs. Seattle. Consider him a safe start right now, but remember that you'll have to closely monitor his health all season. It's the price you'll have to pay for drafting him. ... Nuggets PG Chucky Atkins left Thursday's preseason game with a groin injury, but is expected to be ready to start in the opener. ... Raptors PF Chris Bosh (knee) was able to log 15 minutes of rust-shaking activity in Thursday's preseason game vs. Cleveland after missing four preseason games. He said after the game that he feels like he's ready to go. ... 76ers C Samuel Dalembert (foot) is a big question mark for the Oct. 31 opener, but he has been cleared to start practicing again. He's still a very risky start for Week 1 considering that he's coming off a stress fracture and could be both rusty and limited in the first week. Calvin Booth and Jason Smith could start in his place, but neither is a recommended stopgap.
|F I V E T E A M S W I T H F A V O R A B L E M A T C H U P S|
|The following five teams have the best matchups for the upcoming week. That doesn't necessarily mean they will post the best Fantasy stats, but if you're looking for a one-week start or are trying to make a difficult decision between two players to use, lean toward players from these teams:|
|Cleveland Cavaliers (CLE)||--||--||DAL||--||NY||--||@PHO|
|LeBron James and Co. start the season off against a tough defensive team in the Mavericks, but finish off the week against two weak defensive teams. The Knicks and Suns both averaged over 100 ppg against last season. Expect the Cavs to be off and running in those two games, giving secondary players like Daniel Gibson a chance at some nice numbers.|
|Denver Nuggets (DEN)||--||--||SEA||--||@MIN||--||NO|
|The SuperSonics allowed an embarrassing 102.0 ppg last season and they didn't exactly improve on the defensive end. Sonics rookie phenom Kevin Durant (ankle) may not even get to play in the opener and he's perhaps the team's most active defender. Minnesota was a middle-of-the-pack team defensively last season (19th in points against) and the loss of Kevin Garnett and Mark Blount in the middle should have them falling to the ranks of the worst defensive teams in the league.|
|Indiana Pacers (IND)||--||--||WAS||--||MIA||@MEM||--|
|The Wizards and Grizzlies are teams that would rather outscore you than play defense and it showed last season. The Wizards allowed 104.9 ppg while Memphis gave up 106.7 ppg. It should be a solid first week on the offensive end for Jermaine O'Neal, but he's a must-start regardless. Players like Jamaal Tinsley, Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy should benefit.|
|Los Angeles Clippers (LAC)||--||--||--||--||GS||--||SEA|
|Oh those Warriors. The entire country saw in the playoffs what was also evident during the regular season. They don't play defense. The Warriors were the worst defensive team in basketball last year, allowing a league-high 106.9 ppg. They haven't changed their philosophy under Don Nelson and the Clippers offense should get a nice jump start as a result. The SuperSonics -- as noted earlier -- weren't too far behind the Warriors in defensive indifference. Corey Maggette's breakout campaign should get off to a nice start -- especially in leagues that use averages as a scoring system considering the team will only play two games this week. Chris Kaman could also begin a Comeback Player of the Year trail.|
|Utah Jazz (UTA)||--||@GS||--||HOU||--||GS||@LAL|
|Four games. Count them. They are the only team in the NBA this week to play four games and that alone should benefit Fantasy owners in head-to-head cumulative scoring formats. They have arguably the most favorable matchups this week when you consider the extra game and the fact that they play those defensively-challenged Warriors ... twice. Sure, they'll play against the stout defensive squad that is the Rockets in between, but we won't see quite a lockdown team this year under Rick Adelman as we did with Jeff Van Gundy at the helm. Plus, they finish off the week against the Lakers, who also don't like to play defense (103.4 ppg allowed last season). We expect big things for Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur. Andrei Kirilenko even gets a chance to prove last year's bust of a season -- and this year's offseason rumblings and trade requests -- are behind him.|
|F I V E T E A M S W I T H P O O R M A T C H U P S|
|The following five teams have the worst matchups for the upcoming week. That doesn't necessarily mean you should reserve every player from these teams, but try to avoid less-heralded performers from these squads if you have an alternative on your roster:|
|Atlanta Hawks (ATL)||--||--||--||--||DAL||--||@DET|
|The Hawks have arguably the worst matchups ahead of them this week. They have just the two games, which is already a negative in leagues with cumulative scoring. They also play against two teams that finished in the top four in the NBA in terms of total defense last season. If his name isn't Josh Smith or Joe Johnson and he's a Hawk, think twice.|
|Charlotte Bobcats (CHA)||--||--||--||--||MIL||--||@MIA|
|The Bobcats will start the season with just two games this week and will be a team trying to find an identity after losing two players for the year during the preseason. We don't recommend sitting established players like Emeka Okafor, Gerald Wallace or Jason Richardson, but it's a good idea to lay off their supporting cast until things straighten themselves out. No Walter Herrmann or Matt Carroll this week.|
|Memphis Grizzlies (MEM)||--||--||SA||--||--||IND||--|
|The Grizzlies like to run-and-gun, but they won't be able to play their own game against the defending champion Spurs. We all know what they can do on the defensive end and that game should be played at San Antonio's pace. The Pacers are also a grind-it-out kind of team. When you also take into account that they only play two games, Grizz players are tough sell.|
|Minnesota Timberwolves (MIN)||--||--||--||--||DEN||--||@NY|
|Much like the Bobcats, the Timberwolves will also be a team trying to sort itself out early on in the season after the barrage of offseason moves. Who will emerge? Who will flop? We don't know yet. Use these first two games to find out.|
|New York Knicks (NY)||--||--||--||--||@CLE||--||MIN|
|The Knicks are one of the nine teams who play just two games this week. They are another team looking to find an identity with Zach Randolph around. This might be a good week to sit David Lee and determine whether or not he'll be able to repeat his success on the glass last season with Randolph and Eddy Curry in the paint.|
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