Week 18 Fantasy Basketball Planner

Week 18 (Feb. 22-28)

Teams playing five games: Milwaukee
Teams playing four games: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Portland, Utah, Washington
Teams playing three games: Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Denver, Golden State, Houston, Miami, New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto

Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics (NY, CLE, NJ): The Celtics traded away Eddie House and picked up Nate Robinson in an exchange of backup shooting guards. House was a good three point shooter for the Celtics, but Robinson has a better overall scoring touch and can drive to the basket and create his own shot. His value, however, takes a hit in Boston as he will find double-digit shot attempts hard to come by on a regular basis. He'll be, at best, a Fantasy stopgap based on matchups now.
New Jersey Nets (POR, @BOS, WAS): The Nets have a pair of low-scoring games ahead of them in a three-game week. The Blazers and Celtics rank among the four best defensive teams in the league and the Nets are one of the low-scoring teams in the league. It's not a good week to take a chance on Yi Jianlian or Courtney Lee as a result.
New York Knicks (MIL, @BOS, @WAS, MEM): The Knicks were one of the more active teams at the deadline, shaking up their rotation. They acquired Tracy McGrady and shipped Nate Robinson away. McGrady will play a significant role and is not expected to see many limitations despite his long absence as he's been working with a trainer in order to stay in shape. His presence could take away touches from Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari , but coach Mike D'Antoni is very interested in their development the rest of the season and he'll make sure they get their fair share of touches even alongside T-Mac. Al Harrington could give way to young players as the season winds down, but in Week 18 we still see him as a quality play for a favorable four-game slate. Where the Knicks could see the biggest change is at point guard. They acquired Sergio Rodriguez from the Kings and the Spanish guard could go from barely playing at all to being the starting point guard for the Knicks in the very near future. We aren't ready to declare him a good start even with the matchups, but he's somebody we recommend adding off the waiver wire where available. Chris Duhon may not hang on to the starting gig through Week 18.
Philadelphia 76ers (@GS, @PHO, @LAL):
Allen Iverson has suffered with his shot in the two games since returning from his personal leave, but if he can turn things around Saturday in Chicago we like him to have a good week with matchups against the super Fantasy-friendly Warriors and Suns. The Sixers should post inflated numbers against the first and second worst defensive teams in the league and that should trickle down to players like Lou Williams this week.
Toronto Raptors (POR, CLE, @OKC):
Chris Bosh (ankle) could sit out through the weekend, but the injury is not expected to keep him out into Week 18. Fantasy owners should be able to count on him with what will amount to a week off to rest a sprained ankle by the time they play their first Week 18 game Wednesday. Hedo Turkoglu is dealing from afar with an undisclosed personal matter that is going on in his native country of Turkey. There is some uncertainty around the situation, making him a risky play. With the team's matchups against three top defensive teams, he likely would not have been a recommended play anyway the way he's been producing lately. We don't expect a lot of high scores for the Raptors this week, so stay away from everyone but Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani .

Central Division

Chicago Bulls (@WAS, IND, POR, @IND): Joakim Noah remains sidelined as he deals with plantar fasciitis. There is no indication as to when he will be able to return and Fantasy owners will have to go with alternatives until a return date is officially announced. In his absence, Brad Miller has stepped up his production and has emerged as a viable No. 2 center option. But the uncertainty around Noah's return impacts Miller's value because he'd take a huge hit whenever he does come back. The Bulls shipped away John Salmons and Tyrus Thomas and Taj Gibson could be in line for a major boost down the stretch with more playing time. With favorable matchups against Washington and Indiana (twice), he's a sleeper for a strong week as a low-end starter along with Kirk Hinrich .
Cleveland Cavaliers (NO, @BOS, @TOR): The Cavs added a couple of pieces to their rotation this week. Antawn Jamison was acquired in a trade from the Wizards and Mo Williams returned from his injury. Jamison's role will be reduced in Cleveland compared to what it was as a primary go-to guy in Washington, but he should see good minutes (likely around 35 per game) and should still be able to muster up 15-20 points on most nights with around seven boards. Williams could see some of his offensive touches go to Jamison in the long run, but remains a viable No. 3 guard while healthy. JJ Hickson will remain in the starting power forward role (for now), but his minutes and touches will take a huge hit and he's no longer a recommended Fantasy starter.
Detroit Pistons (@SAC, @LAC, @DEN, @GS): The Pistons will be in line for some high scores and inflated numbers in Week 18 with games against four teams that allow over 100 points per game. The Kings and Warriors are among the four worst defensive teams in the league, allowing over 106 points per game each. This could be a chance for struggling Ben Gordon to get his act together, but his recent performances indicate he is not 100 percent. He has been held under 10 points in four straight games going into the weekend and is playing only around 20 minutes per game. The matchups do make Tayshaun Prince an interesting sleeper in larger leagues.
Indiana Pacers (@DAL, @CHI, MIL, CHI): The Pacers are getting steady play out of Roy Hibbert , who seems to have found his comfort zone playing alongside Troy Murphy . He is averaging 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds in February while getting close to 30 minutes per game. That is his highest average playing time of the season in any month.
Milwaukee Bucks (@NY, NO, @IND, @MIA, ATL): The Bucks are the only team in the league to play five games this week. Make the most of that in cumulative formats. Even players like Carlos Delfino , who is in line for a decrease in production with the arrival of John Salmons , makes for a strong play this week due to the extra game. Salmons will eventually take the shooting guard job from Charlie Bell , but even coming off the bench he will be counted upon to provide a scoring presence the team has not had consistently since Michael Redd was injured.

Top 10 Players Added
Player % Change
1. Andray Blatche , Wizards 46
2. JaVale McGee , Wizards 25
3. Sergio Rodriguez , Knicks 25
4. Anthony Morrow , Warriors 19
5. DeAndre Jordan , Clippers 17
6. C.J. Watson , Warriors 16
7. Craig Smith , Clippers 16
8. Tracy McGrady , Knicks 10
9. Josh Howard , Wizards 9
10. Al Thornton , Wizards 9

Southeast Division

Atlanta Hawks (@UTA, MIN, DAL, MIL): The Hawks will have just one favorable matchup in a four game week. That comes against a Timberwolves team that allows the third most points in the NBA at 106.6 per game. Leave Marvin Williams and Mike Bibby reserved due to the unappealing matchups this week.
Charlotte Bobcats (@LAC, @UTA, @MEM): The addition of Tyrus Thomas will shake up the Charlotte rotation a bit. Thomas played 25 minutes off the bench in his debut with Charlotte Friday night. Boris Diaw was mostly unaffected, getting 36 minutes and posting a solid 18 points with nine boards. Gerald Wallace , Stephen Jackson and Raymond Felton were also largely unaffected and all had solid nights. The biggest blow seemed to go to Nazr Mohammed , who played only 15 minutes. He was dealing with an injury coming into the game and the Bobcats played a small lineup all night against the Cavs. If they decide to go big against certain opponents (like the Clippers and Jazz this week, for instance) then players like Diaw and Wallace could start to feel the crunch a little bit. For now, consider Jackson and Wallace solid plays in all formats. Raymond Felton , Boris Diaw and Tyrus Thomas appear to be good plays, but monitor this situation over the weekend.
Miami Heat (MIN, MIL, @ORL): Dwyane Wade will enter Fantasy Week 18 as a serious injury risk, having been ruled out of the team's final two games in Week 17 due to his calf injury. Some reports have said that he could miss 1-2 weeks with the injury, but the team will treat him as day-to-day. Miami does not play until Tuesday, which means that his status may not be known until Tuesday night if he is a game-time decision. Be prepared to take a leap of faith. Otherwise, make sure you have the best possible alternative available. Daequan Cook will get a slight boost in his absence, but Mario Chalmers was the player who came out of nowhere Friday night to score 18 points in 42 minutes. He had a hot hand and hit four treys on the night to make that happen. Don't get too excited about that. Michael Beasley becomes the default go-to-guy in Wade's absence, which led to 30 points against the Grizzlies Friday.
Orlando Magic (@HOU, @NO, MIA): The Magic have established a pretty tight rotation with five players getting 30-plus minutes per game: Rashard Lewis , Matt Barnes , Dwight Howard , Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson . Outside of that, players like Jason Williams , J.J. Redick and Mickael Pietrus are only getting 10-15 minutes per game. Howard and Carter remain the solid plays in all formats. Nelson and Lewis are decent plays, though they can be passed up in smaller leagues for alternatives with better matchups this week.
Washington Wizards (CHI, MEM, NY, @NJ): The Wizards have a different look and feel following a flurry of trades this week. What results from the shake up is one of the hottest pick ups of the year off the waiver wire in Andray Blatche . The departures of Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood have opened up minutes and offensive touches in the paint for Blatche and JaVale McGee and Blatche is making the most of his chance. He had 33 points and 13 boards against Minnesota in the first game following the trades and followed that up with 18 points and 11 boards Friday night. He should post a very strong week against weak defensive teams in the Grizzlies, Knicks and Nets. McGee, on a smaller scale, makes for a good play as well. McGee will get 25 minutes per game on most nights, but can be in the neighborhood of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Mike Miller appeared to be negatively affected by the arrival of Al Thornton Friday night as Thornton scored 21 points off the bench with Miller attempting only six shots and six points. That is something to keep an eye on going forward, but it appears Thornton is ready to make an impact for his new team.

Sergio's top sleepers for Week 18
Player Start %
1. Andray Blatche , Wizards 41
2. John Salmons , Bucks 48
3. Tracy McGrady , Knicks 8
4. Brendan Haywood , Mavericks 59
5. Jeff Green , Thunder 59
6. Metta World Peace , Lakers 34
7. Omri Casspi , Kings 23
8. Taj Gibson , Bulls 14
9. Al Thornton , Wizards 18
10. Kirk Hinrich , Bulls 52

Southwest Division

Dallas Mavericks (IND, LAL, @ATL, NO): The Mavericks acquired Caron Butler from Washington and his first few games with his new team seem to indicate a slight drop in production. He was averaging a 17-7-2-1-0 line in Washington this season. Through his first three games in Dallas, Butler averaged 14-5-2-1-0. That's still very useful production, but Fantasy owners should adjust expectations for Butler due to his new situation on a team that won't be leaning on him quite as much. Butler's presence has already made Shawn Marion production highly erratic. Marion did post 14 points and 10 boards against Phoenix this week, but his other two games were very pedestrian. Expect a rocky rest of the season for Marion. With Erick Dampier sidelined possibly for a month with a broken finger, new addition Brendan Haywood will get a chance to retain much of the Fantasy appeal he gained in a resurgent first half for the Wizards.
Houston Rockets (ORL, SA, @UTA):
The Rockets felt they lacked a shooter and they went out and got just that in Kevin Martin at the trade deadline. That shooter is expected to ease much of the problems the team has had getting out of scoring droughts and coach Rick Adelman, who coached Martin in Sacramento, is going to be looking to get a lot of use out of him. His presence will cut into the shot attempts of Trevor Ariza , who could begin to see a decline in overall production. Aaron Brooks could see a decline from the 16 shots per game he's been getting this year as well. The trade that brought Martin to Houston sent Carl Landry to Sacramento and that will open up minutes up front and a potential sixth man role for players like Chase Budinger , Jared Jeffries or even Shane Battier . But with tough, low-scoring games against Orlando and San Antonio in a three-game week, we suggest letting that scenario play itself out this week.
Memphis Grizzlies (LAL, @WAS, CHA, @NY): The Grizzlies came close to making a major move at the deadline, but they stayed put and they will be in just about the same situation they were in for much of the first half of the season. The addition of Ronnie Brewer is not expected to have much impact and really the only tough decision Fantasy owners have with a Grizzlies player in Fantasy is whether or not to start Mike Conley . This week, Conley will face a couple of tough matchups against the Lakers and Bobcats and a couple of good matchups against the Wizards and Knicks. He makes for a decent play, averaging 7.8 assists over the last two weeks to go with around 12 points per game. He also offers good numbers in steals and threes.
New Orleans Hornets (@CLE, @MIL, ORL, @DAL): Darren Collison continues to do his best Chris Paul impersonation, averaging 20 points, 8.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 1.9 steals and over a three-pointer per game in February. Those are first-round caliber numbers in just about every Fantasy format. The Hornets don't have great matchups this week against four teams that allow under 100 points per game, making fringe options like Marcus Thornton or Morris Peterson players to avoid this week. The way Peja Stojakovic has been playing ever since Paul went down with his injury, he's become more than just a fringe option. He is averaging 21.6 points over his last five games.
San Antonio Spurs (OKC, @HOU, PHO): Tony Parker did not appear to be 100 percent when trying to play through a hip injury Friday night in Philadelphia. Fantasy owners should monitor his progress over the weekend. Although he played 27 minutes in the game, he shot just 1 of 9 from the field. If he is ruled out at all, George Hill will get another chance for a big Fantasy boost.

Best Fantasy schedules
Team Schedule
1. Bucks @NY, NO, @IND, @MIA, @ATL
2. Pistons @SAC, @LAC, @DEN, @GS
3. Bulls @WAS, IND, POR, @IND
4. Trail Blazers @NJ, @TOR, @CHI, @MIN
5. Thunder PHO, @SA, MIN, TOR

Northwest Division

Denver Nuggets (@GS, DET, @LAL): Kenyon Martin has come out of his first significant injury scare of the season well and is right back to where he left off. After missing two games with a knee injury, he returned with 18 points and 17 rebounds against the Cavs this week. He is still being counted on to play around 40 minutes per game and is once again a must-start now that he has proven healthy. The game against Golden State this week should be a very high-scoring affair for both teams and that bodes well for a player like J.R. Smith in larger formats, though his overall appeal has been cut into now that Carmelo Anthony is back from his injury.
Minnesota Timberwolves (@MIA, @ATL, @OKC, POR):
Corey Brewer attempted 17 shots in Friday's game against Chicago, scoring 19 points in the process. Prior to that, Brewer had been very inconsistent over the last week. He has been very hot-and-cold all season. Use the weekend to determine if this is the start of another hot streak. Ryan Gomes has settled into a comfortable role, getting around 30 minutes per game with around 12 shots per contest. He can be a good fill-in for larger leagues in a four-game week, but we don't like Minnesota's matchups against four teams that allow under 100 points per game. There will be better weeks ahead for him.
Portland Trail Blazers (@NJ, @TOR, @CHI, @MIN): The Trail Blazers finally have a center. Marcus Camby did not get off to a great start in his first game with the Clippers Friday night, but he will settle in soon to his familiar role as a prime rebounder and shot blocker who can chip in around 10 points per night. The trade that sent Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw to the Clippers in exchange for Camby will clear the way for Andre Miller to play big minutes on a consistent basis and put up the types of numbers he has throughout his career with the Cavaliers, Nuggets and Sixers. He can be around 16 points and six or seven assists the rest of the way.
Oklahoma City Thunder (@NJ, @TOR, @CHI, @MIN): The Thunder face very favorable matchups against the Nets, Raptors and Timberwolves, all teams that allow well over 100 points per game. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are musts, as always, but Jeff Green also makes for a very good start this week. He is playing over 40 minutes per game and getting around 15 shots in the offense, which should absolutely continue this week against opponents that allow high-volume offense. Rookie James Harden is coming off two strong games and is a sleeper in larger formats thanks to the possibility for inflated scoring numbers this week.
Utah Jazz (ATL, CHA, @SAC, HOU): The Jazz talked to Miami about a possible Carlos Boozer trade all the way through the deadline, but nothing happened, so Paul Millsap Fantasy owners will have to wait until next season for him to have a full-on breakout season. In the meantime, Boozer will retain his appeal as a high-end No. 1 forward while Mehmet Okur and Millsap cut into each other's consistency. Okur left the team Friday to be with his wife for the birth of his son, but he will be back for Week 18. Andrei Kirilenko is another player who was talked about in trade rumors, but he will remain in Utah the rest of the season and that may not be such a bad thing. He is averaging a 16-4-4 line in February. He should make the most of matchups against Sacramento and Houston this week, two teams that allow triple digits on a regular basis.

Worst Fantasy schedules
Team Schedule
1. Raptors POR, CLE, @OKC
2. Rockets ORL, SA, @UTA
3. Heat MIN, MIL, @ORL
4. Pacers @DAL, @CHI, MIL, CHI
5. Timberwolves @MIA, @ATL, @OKC, POR

Pacific Division

Golden State Warriors (PHI, DEN, DET): The Warriors got a whole lot healthier when Monta Ellis and Corey Maggette returned from their injuries. Their return, however, means decreased production out of Anthony Morrow , which marks the end of his Fantasy peak over the last couple of scoring periods. He may not fall off the face of the earth right away, but he won't be playing 40-plus minutes per game or getting 15-20 shots per game anymore. C.J. Watson Fantasy appeal will also take a hit. Andris Biedrins is not getting heavy minutes, playing just around 23 minutes per game with Anthony Tolliver taking most of his minutes. Tolliver is the better Fantasy option right now.
Los Angeles Clippers (CHA, DET, @PHO, @SAC):
The Clippers made a couple of trades, sending Marcus Camby to Portland and getting back Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw and also acquiring Drew Gooden in a three-team deal that saw them ship Al Thornton to the Wizards. With Camby gone, DeAndre Jordan and Craig Smith have gotten a chance to play a bigger role with both players producing solid stat lines this week. Neither player will be more than a No. 2 center option, but they can be used when matchups call for it. This week, favorable matchups against the Suns and Kings make them viable sleeper options in deeper leagues. Jordan may have more upside, but Smith has been the better Fantasy option despite coming off the bench through the first two games since the deal.
Los Angeles Lakers (@MEM, @DAL, PHI, DEN): The Fantasy hoops world continues to hold its collective breath while Kobe Bryant (ankle) remains sidelined. Kobe will have had over two weeks between games by the time Tuesday's game in Memphis comes around. We think he'll be ready to play in Week 18, but Fantasy owners will have to monitor his progress over the weekend and may have another tough call to make at lineup deadline time on Monday. Shannon Brown has gotten a nice boost with Kobe out, but is only going to be worth starting in larger Fantasy leagues if Kobe gets ruled out for at least another couple of games. The Lakers have three very favorable matchups this week against teams that allow over 100 points per game. It's a good week to start Lamar Odom and Metta World Peace is starting to pick up his offensive game a bit. He's a sleeper for a big week in Fantasy Week 18 due to the matchups and his recent play.
Phoenix Suns (@OKC, PHI, LAC, @SA): The Suns kept Amar'e Stoudemire after all and things should remain about the same for the Suns down the stretch. There are a few changes, however. Channing Frye is beginning to fade again as Robin Lopez begins to take on more responsibilities and playing time. But that's not the only thing working against Frye. Jason Richardson is coming on strong and is taking away a lot of the need for perimeter shooting that Frye offers as a strong suit.
Sacramento Kings (DET, UTA, LAC): The Kings have a new look now with Kevin Martin out of the picture. Coach Paul Westphal plans on going with a starting lineup of Tyreke Evans , Francisco Garcia , Omri Casspi , newcomer Carl Landry and Jason Thompson . Spencer Hawes and Donte Greene move to the bench and Beno Udrih will remain on the bench for now. Garcia, Casspi, Greene and Udrih all have a chance to take on more active roles with Martin's void leaving around 15 shots per game. Initially, several players will get a chance to contribute and step up, but ultimately somebody will seize the opportunity.

Do you have a Fantasy hoops question for our staff? You can e-mail us at DMFantasyHoops@cbs.com. Be sure to put Attn: Weekly Planner in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. You can also follow Sergio on Twitter (@CBSGonzalez).

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