Jonas Nader

The Week Ahead

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The Week Ahead: Week 20

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Week 20 Schedule: Games Played


5 Games: SAC






2 Games: SAS


If you have lineup questions or need fantasy advice, find me on Twitter here! 


Streaming Schedule:


Monday (10 Games): LAL @ ATL, MEM @ BOS, CHI @ BKN, GSW @ NYK, DET @ TOR, PHX @ NOP, ORL @ OKC, IND @ DAL, HOU @ UTA, MIN @ SAC


Tuesday (6 Games): CHI @ CHA, BKN @ CLE, PHI @ MIA, WAS @ MIL, SAC @ POR, LAC @ DEN


Wednesday (9 Games): MIL @ DET, TOR @ ORL, IND @ ATL, CHA @ BOS, GSW @ WAS, PHX @ MEM, OKC @ DAL, NOP @ SAS, HOU @ LAC


Thursday (4 Games): LAL @ MIA, PHI @ CLE, BKN @ SAC, MIN @ POR


Friday (10 Games): DET @ ORL, CHA @ PHI, GSW @ ATL, TOR @ WAS, DAL @ CHI, DEN @ MEM, IND @ MIL, OKC @ PHX, MIN @ UTA, NYK @ LAC


Saturday (7 Games): MEM @ ORL, DEN @ CLE, DET @ MIA, BOS @ HOU, LAL @ SAS, OKC @ POR, UTA @ SAC


Sunday (7 Games): PHX @ ATL, CHA @ TOR, IND @ WAS, NOP @ DAL, PHI @ MIL, BKN @ LAC, NYK @ SAC



Teams With Back-to-Backs:


Monday-Tuesday: Nets, Bulls, Kings


Tuesday-Wednesday: Hornets, Clippers, Bucks, Wizards


Wednesday-Thursday: None


Thursday-Friday: Wolves, 76ers


Friday-Saturday: Nuggets, Pistons, Grizzlies, Thunder, Magic, Jazz


Saturday-Sunday: Kings


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Schedule Notes:


-The Hornets, Clippers, Bucks, 76ers and Wizards all have 4-game weeks beginning on Tuesday.


-The Cavaliers, Nuggets, Heat and Blazers have 3-game weeks beginning on Tuesday. 


-The Spurs are the only team with two games this week and they play on Wednesday and Saturday. The only player I’d start in weekly leagues is LaMarcus Aldridge, but Pau Gasol and Dejounte Murray are also options if you’re desperate. 


-The following teams (apart from Kings) have three games in the span of four nights: Nets (Feb. 26 to Mar. 1), Hornets (Feb. 27 to Mar. 2), Pistons (Feb. 28 to Mar. 3), Clippers (Feb. 27 to Mar. 2), Grizzlies (Feb. 28 to Mar. 3), Bucks (Feb. 27 to Mar. 2), Thunder  (Feb. 28 to Mar. 3), Magic  (Feb. 28 to Mar. 3), 76ers (twice!), Wizards (Feb. 27 to Mar. 2).


-The worst days to stream players are Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as you may not be able to fit them into your lineups that day. 


-With the above sentence in mind, the following teams play the most games on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday: Nets (3), 76ers (3), Blazers (3), Kings (3), Cavaliers (3), Heat (3), Nuggets (2), Clippers (2), Lakers (2), Bucks (2), Wizards (2), Hornets (2).


-With five games on the schedule for the Kings, that makes De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Willie Cauley-Stein must-start players. Skal Labissiere, Frank Mason and Justin Jackson could all have some value, and while Zach Randolph, Garrett Temple and Kosta Koufos are also options (Z-Bo being the best by far), I would guess they each rest once or twice. 



Pickup of the Week:


John Collins (48% owned)- The Hawks are going to buy out Ersan Ilyasova’s contract, opening the door for Collins to play more minutes at power forward in addition to his time at center. He got the start on Friday, and while he didn’t have a big night with nine points, nine rebounds and two blocks, the big takeaway is that he played 30 minutes.


Sure he’s prone to duds because he struggles with foul trouble, as he’s averaging 4.7 fouls per 36 minutes. He’s also averaging 16.3 points, 11.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.9 blocks per 36 minutes, and he could realistically flirt with that workload on the nights when he’s not in foul trouble. He’s also efficient, hitting 58.1% of his shots and 73.3% of his free throws. He said he eventually wants to become a threat from beyond the arc, but I wouldn’t expect much in that category this season — he’s currently hitting 31.6% of his 3s with just 0.4 attempts per game. 


Not only is he talented in fantasy, but he’s a monster in real life too and is only behind Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum in VORP (Value over replacement player) among rookies. Collins is one of Atlanta’s few building blocks and it’s a safe bet that we’re going to be seeing a lot of him going forward. He’s easily a must-own player. 



Streaming Options with 4 Games:


*Note: The following players are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues and play four total games in Week 20. 


Taurean Prince (43%)- There’s no doubt that Prince has been a bust, with some fantasy owners even spending a mid-round pick on the second-year forward. However, the opportunity is still there and the All-Star break probably came at the perfect time, as Prince looked rejuvenated on Friday with 14 points, seven rebounds, two assists, three steals and two triples. It’s probably time to stop calling him a potential 1-1-1 guy in the money stat categories because he has just one block in February, but he still has nice upside in points, steals and triples with a handful of rebounds and dimes. You might as well take the plunge with him in a 4-game week and hope he keeps it going. 


Isaiah Taylor (1%)- If you’re looking for a sneaky play this week, Taylor is certainly on the radar. Malcolm Delaney is banged up with a knee issue, but the 23-year-old Taylor was bound to take his spot anyways and the Hawks might as well take a look at the youngster in what is a lost season. He had 13 points, seven assists, one rebound and one steal in 25 minutes in the game before the All-Star break when Dennis Schroder was rested, and then he outplayed the German PG on Friday with 17 points, six assists and two steals in 23 minutes. I’m expecting the Hawks to dial back Schroder’s workload, so there is certainly a path to fantasy value for Taylor. He’s a gamble, but the wire is thin on point guards. 


Jarrett Allen (39%)- There’s not much to say here and it’s absurd that he’s still this available. His workload has been all over the place depending on the matchups, but in his first game after the break he played 26 minutes with nine points, seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal. He’s a must-own player and could quickly become a must-start player if/when he gets 30 minutes on a nightly basis. It’s time coach Kenny Atkinson, make it happen!


Joe Harris (6%)- Allen Crabbe is owned in 49% of leagues, so he’s the better option if available. As noted earlier, the Nets have three quality streaming days (games on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Sunday) and Harris has been getting consistent run for a Brooklyn team that is struggling with injuries. Harris has been solid as a 3-point specialist in February, averaging 11.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.9 triples. 


Jeremy Lamb (40%)- He probably doesn’t deserve that ownership rate, but he’s one injury in front of him from becoming a must-own player. He’ll have some streaming appeal this week and has played 23+ minutes in three straight games, averaging 13.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.3 triples. The Hornets also have two quality streaming days. 


Marvin Williams (43%)- Just like Lamb, Williams is another deep-league streaming option. While he’s been disappointing for most of the season, he’s coming off two decent games in a row with 13.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 blocks and 3.5 triples. Desperate times…


Dwight Powell (40%)- He’s been a strong pickup for a couple weeks, but is coming off a 3-point dud on Friday. It doesn’t sound like Dirk Nowitzki is going to play in back-to-backs going forward, and he could be rested a ton as well. Powell can play both frontcourt positions and has played at least 26 minutes in seven out of his last eight games. He’s averaging 14.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.6 blocks and 0.7 steals in February, shooting 60.7% from the field and 83.9% from the line. It also helps when Dallas owner Mark Cuban admits to tanking, so expect the young guys to play. 


Reggie Bullock (30%)- He’s still underappreciated despite playing at least 30 minutes in 12 straight games. Through nine February contests, he’s averaging 14.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.6 steals and 2.6 triples. If you’re in a deeper league and Bullock is gone, Stanley Johnson (9%) is also an option. His upside isn’t as high, but he’s also getting a lot of run in Detroit with 12.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 triples in February. 


Cory Joseph (5%)- Darren Collison (knee) isn’t expected back this week, meaning CoJo should get at least four more starts. He’s been really good in his last two games, but overall he’s just been decent in Collison’s absence, averaging 6.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.0 steals in six fill-in starts. I can’t trust him in a 12-team standard league, but he’s an option in 14- or 16-team leagues. 


Lance Stephenson (12%)- Even with Glenn Robinson III back, Stephenson is still a better fantasy option than Joseph. He nearly triple-doubled vs. the Hawks on Friday, and he’s averaging 11.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.6 triples in February. He’ll lose value when Collison is back, but he’s a solid option this week and maybe next when the Pacers play four games again.


Andrew Harrison (17%)- Tyreke Evans (ribs) is banged up again and Harrison’s upside is considerably higher when Evans misses games — Harrison gets a 5.1 usage rate bump with Evans off the floor and was a solid fantasy asset when Evans was held out around the trade deadline. Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff also said he wants to limit Evans’ minutes when he’s healthy, another reason why Harrison could have some nice value going forward. He’s not very consistent, though. 


JaMychal Green (17%)- I won’t waste much ink here, as Green doesn’t have the greatest upside. He is worth a look in 14- and 16-team leagues, as he’s the second most reliable big in Memphis behind Marc Gasol. In his last five games, he’s averaging a modest 10.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists with a total of two blocks, three steals and three triples in that span. 


John Henson (31%)- There’s not much to say here. He needs to be owned in standard leagues, but a lot of people dropped him after his hamstring injury. Henson seemed fine on Friday night, scoring 12 points with eight rebounds in 35 minutes. 


D.J. Augustin (16%)- I’m still expecting the Magic to sign a point guard out of the G-League for an audition, but Augustin is still locked in as the starter for now. He hasn’t been great, but he is a decent streaming option with four games on the schedule. In nine total starts, he’s averaging 9.5 points, 5.0 assists, 2.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.3 triples. 


* While we’re on the topic of the Magic, make sure Mario Hezonja isn’t available in your league. He was putting up early-round numbers before the break, but even with Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic back on Thursday, Hezonja still played 27 minutes with 15 points on 7-of-15 shooting, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and one 3-pointer. I also got my eyes on Jonathan Isaac when he eventually returns. 


Alex Len (27%)- Josh Jackson is long gone in competitive leagues, but Len is still readily available. Tyson Chandler (neck) can’t stay healthy and is officially on shut-down watch, and we don’t know if Alan Williams (knee surgery) will play this season. Len is the last man standing in Phoenix at center, and while his ankles make me nervous, he’s done well in two straight starts with 14.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.5 blocks, playing 38 and 24 minutes in those two contests. He did go full Dwight Howard in his last game though, hitting 0-of-7 from the line. 


Tomas Satoransky (35%)- I have no idea how he’s still available in this many leagues. John Wall (knee) is still at least a few weeks away and new signee Ramon Sessions shouldn’t be a threat. Satoransky has been a stud over his last five games, averaging 15.2 points, 6.2 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 1.0 blocks and 2.0 triples on 61.2% shooting. He’s also 6-of-6 from the line. Kelly Oubre is still getting big minutes in Washington, but man he’s hard to trust outside of deeper leagues. 



Quick Notes:


I still haven’t heard anything about Jimmy Butler’s MRI as I post this, but keep an eye on Nemanja Bjelica and Jamal Crawford as potential adds if we get bad news. Bjelica averaged 11.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.0 triples in 33.5 minutes in four fill-in starts for Butler this season, while Crawford averaged 20.0 points, 5.0 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 1.0 triples in the two games he played without Butler. 


David Nwaba made a big impression when scored a career-high 21 points with nine rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block, three 3-pointers in the starting lineup, so even though the Bulls only play three times, I’m keeping a close eye on him this week. 


Larry Nance is a hot pickup, and while the Cavs only play three times this week, each game is on a quality streaming day (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). In his first four games with the Cavs, he’s averaging 9.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 1.8 dimes and 1.0 blocks, and that includes one game where he played just 16 foul-plagued minutes. 


It might be Ivica Zubac time in Los Angeles, so keep an eye on him. He has played 18 and 20 minutes in his last two games, averaging 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. He’s a good shot-blocker too, so those will come with more minutes.

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