Fantasy Basketball 2013: Week 5 Strength Of Schedule

By Adam Pfeifer
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


It’s no fantasy football, but man, I am growing quite fond of fantasy hoops. Kind of how Will Ferrell was quite fond of Outback Steakhouse in the movie Step Brothers.

Seriously, if you haven’t seen that movie, run, don’t walk, to your television.

Anyway, it’s already the fifth week of the NBA season, and we finally have some clarity. Of course, we have injuries as well. Get well soon, Derrick Rose. While he will not be available this week, the following players and teams will be, and I like them.

I like them a lot.

Washington Wizards


PPG Allowed


Lakers 103.2 6th-most
Bucks 99.2 17th-most
Pacers 87.6 fewest
Hawks 98.2 19th-most


Man, are the Wizards a fun team to watch or what?

Led by John Wall and Bradley Beal, this offense is high-powered, explosive and fast. Wall is obviously a must-start each and every night (or week). His volume and usage is outstanding, seeing 99.7 offensive touches per game (2nd-most) and 38 minutes per game (6th-most). However, his teammate, Beal, actually leads the league in minutes played, coming in at a whopping 40.2. He’s the only player in basketball to averaging more than 40 minutes per game. Many people were high on the sophomore shooting guard, some even saying he could lead the league in scoring. After watching him this season, it’s not out of the question.

I like Beal to keep it going this week. Currently averaging 20.6 points per game, Beal could be a prime source of points in Week 5. He gets the Lakers first, in what could be a high-scoring affair. Washington likes to run on offense, and is effective when doing so, averaging 19 fastbreak points per game, which ranks second in the league. Meanwhile, the Lakers are surrendering 18 fastbreak points per contest, which also ranks as the second-most. I like Washington’s significant advantages at the point and shooting guard positions, and no one on the Lakers will be able to handle them. Beal is also killing it from beyond the arc, shooting .439% from three. That bodes well for his matchup against Atlanta, who are allowing 24.9 percent of total points from three. Beal should roll this week, but temper expectations in a matchup against Paul George and the Pacers top defense.

Center Marcin Gortat may also put up some quietly good numbers this week. He’s been consistent for the Wizards, averaging 12.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game, and two of the teams he plays (Indiana, Milwaukee) rank inside the bottom five in offensive rebounds allowed per game. The presence of Wall and Beal should help get Gortat offensive looks, as well.

Golden State Warriors


PPG Allowed


Pelicans 101.3 12th-most
Mavericks 106.4 5th-most
Thunder 104.3 6th-most
Kings 96.6 21st-most


Stephen Curry is back from a concussion, and didn’t miss a beat, posting a strong double double. He’s a top-10 fantasy option, and frightening enough, he is only getting better. However, as Curry returned, small forward Andre Iguodala suffered a hamstring strain and is sidelined indefinitely. The young, talented Harrison Barnes will be asked to log as many minutes as he can handle for Golden State, and I think he is up for the task for the Warriors, as well as fantasy rosters.

During his first game starting for Iggy, Barnes logged a ridiculous 44 minutes, scoring 20 points, while adding four rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal. He is a versatile player who can contribute in different areas, but can definitely score, especially in this offense. Golden State runs so much on offense, Curry and Klay Thompson warrant defensive attention from beyond the arc, which should set up Barnes. The Warriors have a very friendly schedule ahead of them, facing three teams inside the bottom 12 in points allowed per game. We may see a few shootouts against OKC and Dallas this week, and Barnes will benefit. Both the Mavericks and Thunder are allowing over 17 points per game on the fastbreak (Dallas leads the league with 19.2). Barnes should see plenty of opportunity, and 15 points, four rebounds with some steals can be expected this week.

Boston Celtics


PPG Allowed


Bobcats 91.6 4th-fewest
Grizzlies 96.3 5th-fewest
Cavaliers 101.6 8th-most
Bucks 99.2 17th-most


The Celtics starting lineup seems to always be changing. With rookie center Kelly Olynyk likely to miss a few weeks with a sprained ankle, opportunity presents itself for some of the other young bigs in the Boston lineup. Of course, there is fellow rookie Vitor Faverani, who has shown signs of being a key source of rebounds and blocks whenever he is on the court. In fact, when Faverani has been on the court for at least 20 minutes, he’s averaged a very impressive 11.2 points, 10 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per contest. If he sees extended playing time this week, he could be a sneaky play. Milwaukee, for instance, is allowing 12.1 offensive boards per game, the fourth-most in basketball. They are also allowing the third-most defensive rebounds per game, so Faverani has some rebounding potential this week.

However, the guy I want to highlight is a guy with massive potential. Jared Sullinger is seeing an uptick in minutes, averaging 31.6 minutes per game over his last three. Now back from back injury and suspension, Sullinger is looking to play a huge role in this offense. Head coach Brad Stevens likes Sullinger, and it appears he has taken a step forward this year. Like Faverani, Sullinger should have rebound opportunity as well, but perhaps even more, seeing as he will log more minutes. Milwaukee is tops in the league in rebound differential, while other opponents Cleveland and Charlotte are being out-worked on the glass, too.

Finally, because he is the starting shooting guard, and no longer running the point, Avery Bradley has been taking far more shots. That scoring volume has been good for fantasy, but Bradley has been inconsistent from the floor. Over his last four games, Bradley has shot .462%, .300%, .500% and .227% from the field. However, Bradley is shooting the ball about 14 times per game, and has some favorable matchups where opposing defenses are allowing around .450% from the field. If you need him, now isn’t the worst time to go with him.

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

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.




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