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Fantasy Sports Fantasy Basketball

Fantasy Basketball 2013: Week 3 Strength Of Schedule

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

 

It’s Sunday. A day that is universally known for stressing over fantasy football scores, and here I am, previewing the coming week in fantasy hoops land.

Sue me.

Week 2 was a pretty exciting one in the NBA, and fantasy owners have a pretty firm idea of what their team is looking like. However, you always have to prepare for the coming weeks, and Week 3 is knocking on the door. The sample sizes are small, but we are beginning to get a better understanding of which teams are real, which players are real and which matchups are favorable in fantasy. Let’s get into the teams and players I like this week.

San Antonio Spurs

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Philadelphia 106.9 2nd-most
Houston 103.6 7th-most
Atlanta 103.5 8th-most
New Orleans 93.7 5th-fewest

 

There are a few guys on the Spurs that you are plugging into your starting lineup without even thinking. Ever since returning from a minor chest injury, Tim Duncan has been stellar. Over his last five games, Duncan is averaging 15.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.8 blocks per game. You are starting him without question, as well as Tony Parker.

I do want to highlight Kawhi Leonard, however. After coming on strong during last season’s playoff run, many had Leonard pegged as a major fantasy breakout candidate this season. Through six games this year, he is averaging 12.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Not exactly mind-blowing numbers, but I like him to explode this week. The Spurs start with a game against the Sixers, who are possibly the worst defensive unit in basketball, allowing 106.9 points per contest. Leonard did come off the bench for the first time all season on Sunday, but head coach Greg Popovich is known for tinkering his lineups, and against a poor Knicks defense, perhaps he was just experimenting. I like Leonard this week against a Sixers unit that is allowing 35.6 points from beyond the arc per game, the most in the league. With that being said, I like Danny Green a lot, too. A guy who averaged 2.2 three-pointers per game last season, Green has been known to get hot, and that could be the case this week. The Rockets and Hawks are also inside the top-five in three pointers allowed, so Green could go off this week. Another sleeper is Boris Diaw, who is quietly averaging 11.7 points per game. The Sixers lack the big men to guard or rebound, and if Diaw gets the start again in that game, he could be a sneaky good play.

Spurs owners should be handsomely rewarded this week.

New Orleans Pelicans

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Los Angeles Lakers 105.6 4th-most
Utah 100.7 11th-most
Philadelphia 106.9 2nd-most

 

They only have three games this week, but their oppositions are too favorable to pass up. I recently wrote about how big man Anthony Davis is emerging into a star in both fantasy, and real life basketball. Currently averaging an outstanding 23 points, 11.5 rebounds and an other-worldly 4.3 blocks per game, Davis is the number one overall player on ESPN’s Player Rater. Whether he remains in this spot remains unlikely, but the guy is an elite fantasy option, and that won’t change this week. In that game against the Sixers, Davis should be a rebounding machine. The Sixers are allowing 13.4 offensive boards per game, the most in basketball. Meanwhile, Davis is averaging 16.2 rebound chances per game. Philadelphia just allowed Tristan Thompson to haul in 26 rebounds in a home-and-home situation this week.

Davis is the no-brainer, but what about point guard Jrue Holiday? A possible revenge game against the team that traded him, Holiday could explode against the Sixers. Sure, his replacement, Michael Carter-Williams is a stout defender, but Holiday will still get his, and could see a fair share of assists against a weak Sixers defense with no post presence. Meanwhile, both Utah and the Lakers lack the speed and talent at the point guard position to stick with Holiday. He hasn’t shot the ball well thus far, but I like Holiday to bounce back this week. The Sixers and Lakers both rank inside the bottom three in opponent assists per game (27.3, 26.1 respectively), so Holiday could rack up the assists for fantasy owners this week, as well.

Dallas Mavericks

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Washington 107.0 most
Miami 100.9 10th-most
Orlando 96.9 19th-most

 

Don’t look now, but the Mavericks offense is quietly second in team scoring (107 points per game), despite the lacking the firepower appeal on the offensive side of the ball. Newly acquired guard Monta Ellis has been incredible for Dallas, averaging 23 points, 4.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds and an appealing 6.7 free-throw attempts per game. He’ll continue to take enough shots to matter in an offense that is clicking right now. I like him to continue at a strong pace this week with a favorable slate of games ahead of him. As I’ve stated before, Ellis has been making his impact at the strike, currently driving to the basket 11.4 drives per game (league-high), resulting in 65 points on those drives and a field goal percentage of 48.6 percent. Meanwhile, Dallas’ second opponent, Miami, are averaging 25.6 personal fouls per game, so Ellis could continue to get to the line.

Meanwhile, while you obviously want to play Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki at all times, I also really like Jose Calderon this week. A talented passer who can shoot the deep ball, Calderon is averaging 10.1 points, 5.7 assists, 3.1 rebounds and .586% from three-point range this season. From a possession standpoint, Calderon is currently averaging 80.9 touches per game, posting 566 total touches on the season. With a ton of red hot shooters at the moment, Calderon could be a strong assist candidate this week, as the Wizards are allowing 26.2 assists per game, the second-most in basketball.

Keep rolling with the Mavericks options while they are hot.

*Stats provided by Team Rankings and NBA.com

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.