What's on the Schedule: Week 13
This will be the final week of regular season action for many Fantasy Basketball leagues, so our Adam Moore breaks down the Week 13 schedule to help you make one final playoff push.
Fantasy Week 13 (March 19-25) signals the final week of the regular season in most Fantasy leagues, leaving some owners one more chance to earn a playoff berth. There are 57 games scheduled over the next seven days with plenty more intriguing matchups on the docket. A season-high five teams will play a set of three games over three consecutive days, while two clubs are slated to play five times. However, the team we have chosen to feature this week is the Chicago Bulls, who don't fall into either of those categories.
The Bulls are one of eight teams slated to play only three games during Week 13, but Chicago is the only club that will play just two different teams over that stretch. The Bulls start the week with a prime-time matchup against the Magic Monday night before heading to Canada to face the Raptors Wednesday night. After two days off, Chicago will be back in the United Center taking on the Raptors Saturday night for the second time in four days.
While coach Tom Thibodeau has the Bulls rolling toward another No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, Chicago will likely be shorthanded once again this week. Derrick Rose seems highly unlikely to play until Saturday at the earliest due to a groin injury, while Luol Deng continues to try and play through a nagging wrist injury that has limited his production. That means some of Chicago's lower-end options should continue to see some extended run, which has worked out pretty well lately. The Bulls are 9-4 without the reigning MVP in the lineup and have averaged 96.6 points per game over that stretch. That trend should continue this week with the Magic and Raptors on the docket. Chicago is averaging 95.5 points per game against Orlando this season, while Toronto has allowed more than 100 points in each of its last two contests, including 107 points to the offensively challenged Bobcats.
While Fantasy owners should leave Rose on the bench this week due to his injury, continue to roll with Chicago's other high-end options Deng, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. C.J. Watson will continue to start in Rose's absence and has played well in his extended opportunities, so owners looking for a replacement should consider picking him up. Even Kyle Korver and Taj Gibson should continue to see increased minutes and deserve a look in deeper formats this week.
Central: Milwaukee Bucks (@POR, BOS, @CHA, IND) The Bucks are slated to play four times during Week 13, including their first back-to-back-to-back set of the season. Milwaukee will start the week wrapping up its mini two-game West Coast trip against the Trail Blazers Tuesday night. The Bucks will then get Wednesday off before returning home to face the Celtics Thursday. Milwaukee will be at Charlotte Friday before wrapping up the scoring period at home against the Pacers Saturday night. While the Celtics and Pacers present a defensive challenge, the Bucks should have no problem putting up points on the Bobcats and Trail Blazers. Both teams have been awful on defense lately -- especially Portland, which is allowing an average of 104 points per game since the All-Star break. That should bode well for the Bucks and their new acquisitions. Fantasy owners should make sure to leave Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, Ersan Illyasova -- if healthy -- and Drew Gooden active this week. Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Delfino are riskier options but still useable in deeper formats, however, we recommend leaving Ekpe Udoh on the bench until his role with the team becomes a bit more defined.
Atlantic: Toronto Raptors (@NY, CHI, NY, @CHI) The Raptors are slated to play four times in Week 13, although they will only face two teams over the next seven days. Toronto will open up the week on the road against the Knicks Tuesday night before returning home to face the Bulls Wednesday. After a day off, the Raptors will take on New York again Friday before closing out the week with another matchup against the Bulls Saturday night -- this time in Chicago. While Toronto has been lighting up the scoreboard over the last few nights, points could be tough to come by this week. The Bulls are ranked second in points allowed this season (90.9) and seventh in opposition field-goal percentage (42.7 percent) and held the Raptors to a season-low 64 points in their lone meeting this season. Meanwhile, the Knicks have looked very sharp under new coach Mike Woodson, holding each of their last three opponents to an average of 89 points per game since making the coaching switch. With Toronto's tough schedule and inconsistent lineup, there aren't too many Fantasy options on its roster we would recommend using this week. Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan and Jose Calderon -- if healthy -- should be the only options considered for use.
Southeast: Atlanta Hawks (BOS, CLE, NJ, @WAS, UTA) The Hawks are one of the two teams slated to play five games this week, although Atlanta will play four of those contests at home. The Hawks will open up the scoring period against the Celtics Monday night before taking on the Cavaliers Wednesday. After a day off, Atlanta will begin a back-to-back-to-back set against the Nets, Wizards and Jazz Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. While playing five games over a seven-game stretch is never an ideal situation, the Hawks will have some favorable matchups on tap. The Jazz, Wizards, Nets and Cavaliers all rank near the bottom of the pack in terms of points allowed and opposition field-goal percentage, which should translate into a high-scoring week for the Hawks. Fantasy owners should make sure to leave Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Jeff Teague and Zaza Paculia active this week. Even Marvin Williams -- if healthy -- and Kirk Hinrich could be worth a look in deeper formats.
Southwest: San Antonio Spurs (MIN, DAL, @NO, PHI) The Spurs are slated to play four times during Week 13, including their first back-to-back-to-back set of the season. San Antonio will start the period by playing host to the Timberwolves Wednesday night before beginning its triple set against the Mavericks at home Friday. The Spurs will be in New Orleans Saturday night before wrapping up the week against the 76ers back in San Antonio Sunday. Coach Gregg Popovich never misses an opportunity to give his starters some extra rest and that will more than likely be the case this week. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will almost certainly be held out of one of the Spurs weekend contests and Pop could even opt to rest Tony Parker, which he has already done at times earlier in the season. Fantasy owners will have to take a hard look at their rosters when deciding about whether or not to start some of the Spurs' main options this week. While Parker should be OK, even if he does miss a game, Duncan and Ginobili's sporadic production may be more problematic. Owners with other options may want to sway that way this week, but if you don't have a choice, leave Manu and Duncan active and hope for the best. Stephen Jackson will also remain a risky play until his role becomes more defined, but DeJuan Blair and Tiago Splitter could be worth a look in deeper formats.
Northwest: Oklahoma City Thunder (@UTA, LAC, MIN, MIA) The Thunder are scheduled to play four times this week and will get to play three of those contests at home. Oklahoma City will start the week with its lone road contest of the scoring period Tuesday night in Utah. The Thunder will then take on the Clippers Wednesday before wrapping up the week against the Timberwolves Friday and Heat Sunday. Despite having to deal with the Clippers and Heat in the same week, Kevin Durant and Co. will have some favorable matchups. The Thunder have scored more than 100 points this season in each of their matchups against Utah, Minnesota and Los Angeles and the Heat's up-and-down tempo continues to dictate higher-scoring games. Oklahoma City also enters the week as the highest-scoring team at home this season, averaging 105.4 points at Chesapeake Energy Arena. As should be the case every week, make sure Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka are all active. Even Kendrick Perkins could be worth a look in some deeper leagues.
Pacific: Phoenix Suns (@MIA, @ORL, @IND, @CLE) The Suns will play four times during Week 13, but all four contests will be on the road. Phoenix will be on the East Coast this week, starting Tuesday night at Miami. The Suns will then take on the Magic in Orlando Wednesday before facing the Pacers Saturday night. After a day off, Phoenix will then close out the scoring period against the Cavaliers Sunday. While Phoenix has been clicking on offense lately, three of the four teams the Suns will face are ranked in the top 10 in points allowed and opposition field-goal percentage. Cleveland shouldn't present much of a challenge but facing the Heat, Magic and Pacers in the same week could make points tough to come by. Despite coach Alvin Gentry expanding his rotation over the past few weeks, Steve Nash, Marcin Gortat, Channing Frye and maybe Jared Dudley (deeper formats) should be the only Suns worthy of using this week.
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