Week 14 Matchup Rankings
This weekly ranking is based on opponents’ points given up per possession based on pace.
What we Learned Last Week
It’s not over until it’s half over
The season is half gone. You should now know the ins and outs of your league. You should know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Here is something you also need to know: no lead is safe and no bottom-dweller is hopeless. The next half of the season is the most important half of the season because every decision matters much more, and there are less unknowns that you can exploit over your opponents. We have a few important stretches, starting with the lead up to the trade deadline. No one sees most trades coming, but reacting quickly or preemptively to a trade can change your season. More times than not, though, only one of those twenty hypothetical trades you see on Twitter will actually go through. So you need to weigh your return on investment.
For instance, Love has been in rumors to move. Buying low on him today might be a great move. You will also probably have to give up a decent piece of your team to get him. If Love does not get traded, you at least have a solid fantasy player with great rebounds and good threes for his position. If he does get traded though, you might just be sitting on a top 20 player if Love becomes the focal point of the offense like he was in Minnesota. Sometimes a trade is much better for the players who aren’t involved. Pay special attention to log jams like Boston. Any movement could mean big bumps for their frontcourt.
After the All-Star break comes the dog-days of winter. This is when many minutes have been logged already on the season. Some players start to fall-off, while others catch a break and spring out of nowhere to play huge roles for their teams.
Then comes the stretch. More than their share of leagues have been lost down the stretch. This is when the best teams start dialing back to save themselves for the playoffs. Teams in playoff battles start treating games like the playoffs, and young bottom-dwelling teams switch things up and play really weird, sometimes very fun lineups. It’s from this last group of teams you will often find players who you would never think of picking up today playing a key role in your race for the playoffs. Every game counts, so don’t waste your time on good players who are struggling or guys who are resting. Take some chances and follow the minutes. For roto leaguers, be sure to understand your category needs and everyone else’s. This will allow you to gain the most points via free agency or trade. Down the stretch 20 minutes from Bismack might be way better than 32 from Jamal Crawford.
What to Watch This Week
San Antonio vs Golden State
Just watch this game out of principle. Probably won’t pick up any fantasy knowledge, but who cares. It’s the best two teams in a long time going up against each other.
Phoenix vs Philly
A lot of people are jumping on the Devin Booker train. It’s always worth to bet a flyer on youth, but know what you are getting. Booker is playing big minutes, and his production is coming with Brandon Knight sitting out. They need him to do more and he is. Here is what Booker is no doing, getting you steals and blocks, or really anything other than three-pointers, points and a great FT%. While this has value, he doesn’t do enough across the board to be a break-out candidate. Try to move him while he has a hot hand. Time to jump back on board the Bob Covington train. He’s been given the green light to shoot and he’s actually making them. I like his chances for a bounce-back, but if you think he’ll run into more slumps this year, I can understand selling high. If you don’t care about shooting percentages, I don’t know how you can afford to not keep him around.
Denver vs Boston
Jokic is leading the ever-changing Center battle in Denver once again. I’m sure you are all tired of trying to understand who Denver wants to run with, but with minutes available due to the Faried injury, riding Jokic while he’s hot makes a lot of sense. Now only if Will Barton can get back into the swing of things. Speaking of getting back into the swing of things, promising play from Avery Bradley over the last week has made owners happy. Expect him to play well now that he is back from injury. Smelly Kelly Olynyk is the latest favorite frontcourt product, how long will this last? Who may know?
Atlanta vs Indiana
How real is Myles Turner? I guess you will start to find out this week. A must-own in all leagues, even if Turner takes a hard turn back to mediocrity, don’t be afraid to hold on to him, or pick him up when someone drops him. Indiana will most likely want to see what Turner can do for the rest of the year, and someone who can put up those stats can change your chances at winning your league.
Charlotte vs Portland
Don’t get too excited about PJ Hairston playing well in the last week or so, his shooting won’t hold up. Surprisingly, with all the injuries on this team, there really hasn’t been anyone to step up and play their way onto standard league teams. Lon and Kaminsky are getting the extended minutes, but don’t expect them to light up any time soon. They should be used best as flyers, but always keep an eye on guys getting minutes. If Portland had a big many they could run with, they might actually be pretty good. All the hype surrounding Leonard and Plumlee has completely disappeared. Like I said earlier though, strange things happen in the latter half of the season. Don’t completely sleep on anyone who was getting hype before.
Brooklyn vs New Orleans
Joe Johnson has risen from the grave. Please don’t bet the farm on that guy though, this will be a short lived boost for the old man. Still, never ignore production. Thad Young has fallen off hard. Not sure why he is struggling, but could be a good buy-low candidate. You know how we said it would take a while for the Pellies to figure themselves out? Well it might take 40 games for them to do so. Holiday’s minutes are still inconsistent, the rotation keeps changing. People can stay healthy. It’s still a mess. Keep an eye on Eric Gordon, and Ryan Anderson in trade rumors.
If you have any fantasy basketball questions or comments follow me on twitter at @WatchTheBoxes.