Jonas Nader

The Week Ahead

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The Week Ahead: Week 21

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Week 21 Games Played:






2 Games: MIN


If you have lineup questions, ask me on Twitter here!


NBA Streaming Schedule:


Monday (7 games): DET @ CLE, MIL @ IND, PHX @ MIA, BOS @ CHI, MEM @ SAS, ORL @ UTA, POR @ LAL


Tuesday (8 games): PHI @ CHA, ATL @ TOR, MIA @ WAS, HOU @ OKC, DEN @ DAL, NYK @ POR, BKN @ GSW, NOP @ LAC


Wednesday (7 games): UTA @ IND, TOR @ DET, MEM @ CHI, HOU @ MIL, NOP @ SAC, CLE @ DEN, ORL @ LAL


Thursday (5 games): BKN @ CHA, PHI @ MIA, BOS @ MIN, PHX @ OKC, SAS @ GSW


Friday (10 games): CHI @ DET, ATL @ IND, HOU @ TOR, UTA @ MEM, NYK @ MIL, WAS @ NOP, LAL @ DEN, GSW @ POR, ORL @ SAC, CLE @ LAC


Saturday (5 games): PHX @ CHA, WAS @ MIA, MEM @ DAL, SAS @ OKC, ORL @ LAC


Sunday (9 games): TOR @ NYK, CHI @ ATL, GSW @ MIN, UTA @ NOP, SAC @ DEN, HOU @ DAL, IND @ BOS, PHI @ BKN, CLE @ LAL


Teams with Back-to-Backs:


Monday-Tuesday: Heat, Blazers


Tuesday-Wednesday: Nuggets, Rockets, Pelicans, Raptors


Wednesday-Thursday: None


Thursday-Friday: Warriors


Friday-Saturday: Clippers, Grizzlies, Magic, Wizards


Saturday-Sunday: Mavericks


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Schedule Notes:


-There are four “quality streaming days” this week on Monday (7 games), Wednesday (7 games), Thursday (5 games) and Saturday (5 games).


-If you’re planning to pick up a player for Tuesday (8 games), Friday (10 games) or Sunday (9 games), you may not be able to fit them into your lineup. 


-The following teams have the most “quality streaming days” this week: Grizzlies (3), Heat (3), Magic (3), Suns (3) and Spurs (3).


-The Celtics (2), Hornets (2), Bulls (2), Cavaliers (2), Pistons (2), Pacers (2), Lakers (2), Bucks (2), Thunder (2), Jazz (2) have the next most “quality streaming days.”


-The following teams play three games in four nights at some point in Week 21: Nuggets, Warriors (be on the lookout for a possible rest day for Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant or Draymond Green), Rockets, Grizzlies (expect Marc Gasol to sit out one of these), Heat, Pelicans, Magic and Raptors. 


-The Wolves have a 2-game week that doesn’t begin until Thursday. Karl-Anthony Towns is the only player you should start in weekly formats, while guys like Nemanja Bjelica and Jamal Crawford can be dropped if you need production. 


-The Hawks, Nets, Hornets, Mavericks, Clippers, Knicks, Thunder, 76ers and Wizards have 3-game weeks beginning on Tuesday.


-The Kings have a 3-game week that doesn’t begin until Wednesday. 


-The Nuggets, Warriors, Rockets, Pelicans and Raptors all have 4-game weeks beginning on Tuesday.



Pickup of the Week:


Bobby Portis (53%)- Coach Fred Hoiberg said Portis will start at least the next five games for the Bulls, but he was already worth owning before this news. “With Bobby, it’s all about confidence,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s not shying away from anything. He’s not shying away from his shot certainly. When he gets in that zone, it’s fun to watch him. He plays with such a swagger.” Portis is coming off a 22-point game on Friday with five rebounds, two assists and two triples in 34 minutes, making him a must-start player if he continues to see that type of workload. 


He has a 38-point game on his resume this season and the Bulls want to see if the Portis-Lauri Markkanen combo will work. “I think we work together really well,’’ Markkanen said. “Early in the season we used to finish games, either me or [Nikola Mirotic] or me and Bobby, but I think me and Bobby are really good. We both can do … say if he pops, I roll. I pop, he rolls, so I think we’ve come along really well.” If Friday was any indication, Portis’ owners should be expecting a monster finish. 




Streaming Options with 4-Game Weeks:


*Note- The following players are available in a lot of leagues and all of them play at least four times in Week 21. 



David Nwaba (21%)- Chicago’s plan is to look at different combinations around Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen for five-game blocks going forward, so there’s a chance Nwaba could head back to the bench. Coach Hoiberg would have a hard time justifying that move, as Nwaba has thrived as a starter with 12.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.0 triples in 32.6 minutes over his last five games. Regardless of what happens, I’d still expect Nwaba to have a significant role. 


Denzel Valentine (15%)- Maybe it’s his turn to start (Bobby Portis is the only confirmed new starter), but Valentine should have some value in 14- and 16-team leagues either way. Prior to his quiet game vs. Dallas on Friday, Valentine put up averages of 9.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.7 steals and 1.2 triples in 24.4 minutes in February. And if he does move into the first unit, he’ll get a nice bump and we saw what he could do earlier in the season in the starting five — he averaged 9.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.8 triples. The Bulls also have two “quality streaming days,” another reason to like Portis, Nwaba and Valentine in that order. 


Rodney Hood (50%)- He still hasn’t gotten into a rhythm since his trade to Cleveland, but his role is growing at the expense of Cedi Osman and J.R. Smith. He played 39 minutes with Smith suspended vs. Philly, but also played 24+ minutes in five straight games before that with an obvious upward trend (24, 27, 25, 28, 31, 39). He had 11 games with 20+ points for the Jazz, so it’s just a matter of time before he figures things out with his new team. 


Larry Nance (49%)- He’s had two foul-plagued duds since he arrived in Cleveland, but Nance has still been productive for the most part, averaging 9.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.4 steals on 60.5% shooting and 70% from the line. He’s slowly chipping away at Tristan Thompson’s minutes, the Cavaliers have two quality streaming days this week and if we ignore his time in Los Angeles, he’d be one of four players to average 1.4+ steals and 1.4+ blocks this season (Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis). 


Tristan Thompson (32%)- He’s strictly a rebounding specialist in deeper leagues and is in danger of losing minutes to Nance. He has pulled down at least nine boards in four out of his last five games and at least 11 in his last three. 


Mason Plumlee (17%)- He’s only worth a look in deeper leagues, and unlike Trey Lyles, it looks like he’ll still have a decent role with Paul Millsap back (at least until Millsap’s restrictions are lifted in a week or two). In Millsap’s first two games back, Plumlee has played 22 and 21 minutes, averaging 9.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.5 blocks and 1.5 steals. 


Wilson Chandler (48%)- Chandler finally fell back to earth on Friday, but he was on fire before that with a six-game stretch of 16.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.8 triples. He also played at least 32 minutes in each of those games. His upside isn’t as high with Millsap back, but he should still get the job done as a streaming option in a four-game week. 


Andre Iguodala (14%)- He has looked rejuvenated since the All-Star break, averaging 9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.8 triples in 24.8 minutes. However, it’s possible Iggy gets a rest day this week, as the Warriors have a back-to-back set and play three games in the span of four nights. 


Lance Stephenson (12%)- Darren Collison (knee) could return any day now, but Stephenson has been terrific in his absence, averaging 12.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.3 triples over his last 10 games. The Pacers have two quality streaming days and Stephenson should still see minutes in the 20s when Collison returns, so he’s a fine option this week. Cory Joseph is also an option, but he’s been hit-or-miss as the fill-in starter. 


Domantas Sabonis (51%)- Sabonis is one of the main reasons why Myles Turner is having a down year. When he has the hot hand, coach Nate McMillan isn’t afraid to ride him and he’s closed a bunch of games this season. He’s not going to be consistent while Turner is healthy, but he’s still getting the job done as a reserve, averaging 11.8 points, 9.2 rebound and 2.4 assists in 23.8 minutes over his last five games. Just don’t expect him to rack up many defensive stats — on the season he’s averaging a mere 0.5 blocks and 0.5 steals. 


Bojan Bogdanovic (48%)- He’s probably not available in competitive leagues, but if you’re in a shallow league and need points, triples and a handful of rebounds and assists, look no further. He played at least 31 minutes in eight out of nine February games, averaging 18.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.7 triples on 52.3% shooting. 


Ivica Zubac (2%)- Zubac is more of a late-season stash, but is flirting with close to 20 minutes per game these days. He’s averaging 10.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 assists in his last five, and his value will go up as soon as he starts blocking shots like he did last season. The Lakers also have more incentive to play him with Brook Lopez heading into free agency. 


Jarell Martin (6%)- The Grizzlies are banged up, Marc Gasol is going to be rested a ton and Martin has been a sneaky fantasy asset for a while now. Martin has played at least 28 minutes in six out of his last eight games, averaging 10.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists in that span with a total of four blocks and five steals. His upside isn’t the greatest, but finding a player on the wire with that kind of the workload is difficult. The Grizzlies also have three quality streaming days. 


Andrew Harrison (21%) or Mario Chalmers- Harrison will miss his second straight game on Saturday with a right wrist injury, but hopefully he’s day-to-day. In his last three games, Harrison put up impressive numbers with 17.0 points, 6.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.0 triples. If Harrison isn’t ready in time for Week 21, Chalmers would have some low-end value — as a fill-in starter this season, Chalmers has averaged 9.4 points, 5.5 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.0 triples. 


JaMychal Green (33%)- He’s currently dealing with an illness, but should be ready to roll for Week 20. Green is a better pickup than Jarell Martin and was playing well before he got sick, averaging 11.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.5 blocks and 0.7 triples in 27.7 minutes in February. 


Bam Adebayo (10%), James Johnson (44%) and Kelly Olynyk (37%)- I wish I had a firm answer for you, but the reality is that no one knows which one of these players will step up for Miami on a certain night — coach Erik Spoelstra likes to use a hot-hand approach with his frontcourt. The Heat play four times this week and that includes three quality streaming days, and If I was forced to rank them I’d go with Johnson, Adebayo and then Olynyk. 


E’Twaun Moore (26%)- He hasn’t been a consistent standard-league option since December when he shot an unsustainable 59.8% from the field. However, he’s still playing big minutes for the Pelicans with 29+ minutes in five straight, averaging 11.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.4 triples. 


Mario Hezonja (26%)- He was posting early-round numbers before the All-Star break, but now his fantasy arrow is pointing down with the Magic healthy again. Hezonja is still playing three different positions for the Magic and could see around 20 minutes per night, and one of the reasons he’s on this list is because the Magic have three quality streaming days this week. Also, keep an eye on Jonathan Isaac when his restrictions are lifted. 


D.J. Augustin (16%)- Augustin had his best game of the season on Friday, scoring 20 points with nine assists, five rebounds and four 3-pointers. He hasn’t been a world beater as a starter, but the Magic have a great schedule this week and Augustin is doing enough to warrant ownership in 12-team leagues. In 16 total starts, he’s averaging 10.2 points, 5.4 assists, 2.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.6 triples. 


Pascal Siakam (6%)- He’s starting to run some offense for the second unit as a point forward and the Raptors are calling him their Draymond Green. “He’s still in a place right now where he’s trying to improve his 3-point shooting [but] his ball-handling is off the charts,” coach Dwane Casey said. “He can handle the ball against pressure, handle the ball on the break and make good decisions.” His path to consistent fantasy value is blocked by a healthy Serge Ibaka, but Siakam’s role is growing and he’s been sneaky productive, averaging 12.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.6 blocks in 23.4 minutes over his last five outings. 


Jakob Poeltl (14%)- The Raptors have arguably the best second unit in the NBA and as good as Siakam has been, Poeltl has been making noise as well. He has at least three blocks in four out of his last five games, averaging 9.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.8 blocks and 1.0 steals in that span. He’s playing nearly 23 minutes per game lately and might be forcing his way into a timeshare with Jonas Valanciunas


C.J. Miles (8%)- OG Anunoby is going to miss some time with his ankle issue and Norman Powell has been disappointing, so we’ll probably be seeing more of Miles going forward. He has at least two 3-pointers in four straight games, and he went off in 20 minutes on Friday with Anunoby sitting out, scoring 20 points with one rebound, one assist, one block, one steal and six triples. Consider him as a boom-or-bust option. 



Additional Notes:


The Suns have a total of three games in Week 21, but all three of them are on quality streaming days. That makes Alex Len an intriguing pickup. The big man is starting these days and blocked a career-high six shots on Friday, and if you ignore his dud against the Pelicans when he fouled out, he’s averaging 10.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2.8 blocks over his last five. Just in case anyone asks about Josh Jackson, he’s been a must-start player since the new year. 


The Spurs also have three games in Week 21, but all three of them are on quality streaming days. That means guys like Patty Mills, Kyle Anderson, Danny Green and Joffrey Lauvergne (if LaMarcus Aldridge is still out) could have some nice value. 

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