Week 8 Preview: 14th Dec - 20th Dec


Week 8 Matchup Rankings


This weekly ranking is based on opponents’ points given up per possession based on pace.

4 Games 3 Games 2 Games
Houston
Milwaukee
Minnesota
Denver
Phoenix
New Orleans
Memphis
Chicago
Indiana
Orlando
Miami
Portland
Toronto
Atlanta
LA Clippers
Brooklyn
Philadelphia
Dallas
LA Lakers
Oklahoma City
Sacramento
San Antonio
Cleveland
New York
Charlotte
Utah
Detroit
Boston
Washington
Golden State

What we learned last week


Bucks are the new Champs!

Well not really, the Bucks finally ended the Warriors’ streak which makes them a footnote in the pages of history. A small foot note. The Warriors only have two games this week, so rejoice that your matchup against the owner of Curry should be favorable for once.

Tony Wroten’s return was uneventful

Wroten returned with a minutes limit and Philly is in no rush to win games or set on a rotation. Canaan continued to start last week while McConnell’s minutes dropped. Kendall Marshall returned as well to stretch minutes even further amongst the backcourt. Either way this situation has become horrible for anyone owning Philly guards, but at least some better guard talent has helped Bob Covington come to life.

D’Angelo Russell had back to back 20+ point games

It is encouraging that Russell is scoring, but he has accomplished this by shooting Kobe-level attempts per game. Russell shot 38% from the field and 71% from the free throw line. Also, he probably got some extra minutes with Clarkson sitting out. The only thing I like is that he is making shots from range, but those percentages and a continued lack of consistent assists or steals makes him not interesting at all in any standard league.

What to make of Dieng?

Dieng continues to get strong minutes, but his performances have been inconsistent over the last week. The lack of major minutes and a couple bad games is concerning, but the minutes are still enough for Dieng to provide value. It has been a small sample-size of Dieng/Towns frontcourt but I’m still interested in the 9-cat potential of Dieng with these types of minutes.


What to Watch This Week


Monday

Phoenix vs Dallas
Wes Matthews and Raymond Felton have caught fire over the last few weeks. Wes Matthews amazing return from injury is now moving into something beyond anything owners could have hoped for.

I’m very surprised he is producing at this level, and might be hitting his ceiling, but this is what Dallas expected from him when they went out and signed him. Felton, on the other hand, hasn’t produced at this level in three years or more. Don’t expect this to last, but flyers are always welcome when a player gets hot or breaks that 30+ minute per game mark.

Tuesday

Cleveland vs Boston
The Cavs have indicated that Kyrie will not return against Boston, but that means his return is imminent, probably within the week. This might be one of the last games you will get value out of Mo Williams or Dellavedova.

Shumpert has actually returned and unsurprisingly has cut into J.R. Smith’s minutes. Smith still has value when he hits a hot streak, but he probably drops out of favor in a lot of standard leagues. Shumpert’s ability to hit threes and grab steals make him an interesting flyer candidate. I’m not sure his minutes will be worth a pickup in standard leagues, but his defense should favor more minutes in the rotation as the season drags on.

Wednesday

Miami vs Brooklyn
Don’t buy the Dragic hype. A couple good games and everyone declared this guy was back. He’s played poorly for 25% of the season, why would he suddenly turn it around. He should be better than this, but I doubt he returns to anything close to what he was last year.

Don’t believe the Bogdanovic and Bargnani hype either, but with Bojan playing heavy minutes he is worth a pickup in standard leagues if you have the space.

Thursday

Houston vs Lakers
Corey Brewer seems to have got the bulk of the minutes from Ariza’s injury, but Ariza returned with limited minutes in their last game with the Lakers. Brewer and Thornton were both effective with minutes, but Ariza’s return will probably drop them back out of standard league value. The minute distribution is something to watch and make a move on depending on how it works out in Houston.

Lou Williams is actually earning his minutes in LA, even though they should be bringing their young players along. With 31 minutes per game, Lou Williams should be owned in all standard leagues.

Friday

Milwaukee vs Golden State
Want to watch a Curry revenge game? Do you think kid will ever settle on a rotation? Parker is yet to stay consistent, and surprisingly O.J. Mayo has played well in the last week. Nothing Mayo does is great and this rotation change could end as quickly has it started.

That said, guys who play 33 minutes per game should be owned, but I’m not falling over myself to make room on my roster for Mayo. His rest of the year value is not great.

Weekend

Indiana vs Memphis
Houston has turned it around a bit and now Memphis is the team in free fall. Everyone on this team is player really poorly, so guys like Gasol and Conley are both great buy low candidates. Miles’ hot streak is cooling off, and Monta at least showed that he is still capable of putting up a big line last week.

Not sure if this means Monta is figuring out his place or that game is simply an outlier. My guess is that it is more of an outlier, but still think Monta will improve before the season is over.

If you have any fantasy basketball questions or comments follow me on twitter at @WatchTheBoxes.

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