Fantasy Basketball 2013: Week 4 Strength Of Schedule

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

 

It’s almost Thanksgiving.

The NFL season is almost upon Week 12 already, while the fantasy hoops season is set to kick off the fourth week of the season. After some expected “tankers” saw some hot starts, teams (and players) are beginning to come back down to earth a bit. With that, the fantasy world is seeing more clarity, but certain players are going to continue producing for fantasy owners.

At least for Week 4, anyway.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Washington 104.6 4th-most
Los Angeles Clippers 105.7 3rd-most
Brooklyn 101.8 9th-most
Houston 106.3 2nd-most

 

Minnesota is looking like a legitimate contender right now. They have a poor man’s big three, consisting of Kevin LoveRicky Rubio and Kevin Martin. These three guys are all must-start options from here on out, while Love is looking like the fantasy MVP through three weeks, averaging 26.8 points, 13.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per contest. He’s a top-three fantasy player right now, and I don’t need to tell you to start him. Rubio, meanwhile, isn’t scoring, but is averaging a healthy 9.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. He is in a bit of a shooting slump lately, as he is just 1-for-11 overall over his last two games. Rubio could add more of a shooting touch this week, as both the Clippers and Rockets are in the bottom three in allowing field goal percentage from the floor this season, sitting at 52.7 and 50.8 percent, respectively. He won’t shoot a lot, averaging a tad over six attempts per game, but he could provide a bit more of a scoring touch than he has in recent games.

But what about the emergence of Kevin Martin? After reuniting with former head coach Rick Adelman, Martin is dominating in this offense, averaging 24.4 points per game (6th in the league). Martin is doing most of his work with catch and shoot three pointers. With Love drawing defensive attention, he gets a quick pass off to an open Martin, who is burying 2.5 three-pointers per game. Martin is currently averaging 7.4 catch and shoot points per game, shooting 49.1% from the field in said situations. He could continue to knock down threes, as the Wizards are allowing 30.3 percent of points from beyond the arc. Minnesota loves to get on the break, and these defenses may struggle to match this offense.

Detroit Pistons

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

New York Knicks 99.7 15th-most
Atlanta 100.3 7th-most
Atlanta 100.3 11th-most
Brooklyn 101.8 9th-most

 

Coming into the season, I was really excited to watch the Pistons. With the addition of Josh Smith, this unit possesses one of the most dominant frontcourts in all of basketball. After showing major flashes last season, I was specifically excited to watch Andre Drummond’s progression in year two.

So far, he hasn’t disappointed.

In his last game, Drummond scored 18 points while adding another 15 rebounds, making for his fifth double double of the season. In fact, Drummond is one of just 12 players to average a double double this season, and I really don’t see any signs of him slowing down. He is logging 34.8 minutes per contest, and with Josh Smith playing small forward, Drummond will continue to log a ton of minutes as the Pistons big man. Drummond should continue his dominating rebounding ways this week against a Brooklyn team with a banged up Brook Lopez, who are already allowing 11.6 offensive rebounds per game, as well as a Knicks team without Tyson Chandler. He should manhandle Andrea Bargnani down low. The skilled big man is averaging a healthy 16.9 rebound chances per game, executing on over 71 percent of those chances.

Also, Rodney Stuckey could be a sneaky option this week. Drawing comparisons to Dwyane Wade, Stuckey has the speed and strength to attack the whole at anytime, and he should see opportunity in two games against the Hawks, who lack a skilled defender at the shooting guard position.

Atlanta Hawks

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Miami 98.6 19th-most
Detroit 102.5 8th-most
Detroit 102.5 8th-most
Boston 97.7 23rd-most

 

Many were a bit surprised to see power forward Paul Millsap not in the starting lineup on Friday evening, as Gustavo Ayon stated the game. However, it was more of a decision to get Ayon’s feet wet, as Millsap still played 29 minutes, compared to Ayon’s 17. However, Millsap returned to the starting lineup the next night and logged an impressive double double. However, the real story in Atlanta is the stellar play of point guard Jeff Teague.

Over his last three games, Teague is averaging 24.6 points per game, and has posted 10 or more assists in three of his last five. This offense runs through him, and he can keep the hot streak going this week with four games on schedule. I like him to eclipse double-digit assists in at least one of the two games against Detroit, who are allowing 23 assists per game, which is good for the eighth-most in basketball. They are also averaging .235 assists allowed per possession. A big contributor to his Teagues’ success is the ability to get to the free-throw line, averaging a ridiculous eight attempts per game. Is that sustainable? Maybe not, but both Detroit and Brooklyn are in the bottom five in free throws made per 100 possessions (20.5 and 20.2, respectively).

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.

 

 


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