Fantasy Basketball 2013: Week 7 Strength Of Schedule

By Adam Pfeifer
Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports


The Portland Trail Blazers are 17-3 right now, which is good enough for the second-best record in all of basketball.

This time last season, they were 8-12.

It’s been an absolute blast watching this team play the game of basketball, and as one might assume after glancing over their roster, there is plenty of fantasy goodness to be had in Portland. This unit has been the best team out West, and they could easily blaze through their opponents in the seventh week of the season.

Portland highlights our Week 7 fantasy forecaster.

Portland Trail Blazers


PPG Allowed


Jazz 102.0 6th-most
Rockets 101.8 9th-most
76ers 110.2 most
Pistons 98.8 21st-most


LaMarcus Aldridge is the best player in the NBA that no one ever, ever talks about.

I don’t understand it. Not one bit. The dude is averaging 23.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. He’s been extremely efficient, shooting .475% from the field. He’s the number 17 overall player on ESPN’s Player Rater, and he’s a dark horse MVP candidate right now, leading the first place Blazers. Of course, you are starting him religiously in fantasy each and every week, but I just wanted to give him the attention he deserves. Oh, and for the 100 percent of owners starting him, prepare for fireworks, as well as other members of Portland.

What about another young stud? Point guard Damian Lillard is an absolute must-start this week. Last year’s rookie of the year is taking another leap in year two, averaging 20.8 points and 5.7 assists per game. He’s been fun to watch, and I love his schedule this week. Averaging 86.2 touches per game (10th-most) and 36.2 minutes (top-25), Lillard is seeing volume that makes me love him even more. Combined that with the fact that he faces three of the most generous defenses, and I’m all in. More of a scoring point guard, Lillard is currently averaging seven three-point attempts per game. Houston, meanwhile, is allowing 23.3 attempts per game from beyond the arc, which ranks as the fourth-most in basketball. Meanwhile, the 76ers are coughing up the most points from deep per game (29.9), so there is three-point opportunity for Lillard here. Also, the 76ers are obviously the best matchup in fantasy hoops, allowing a league-high 46.49 fantasy points per game to point guards, according to FanDuel. Lillard is going to ball out this week. And because of favorable matchups for three-point shooters, Wesley Matthews is a terrific play as well.

I also like Robin Lopez, who has been playing extremely well lately. He’s posted a double-double in three of his last five games, and is logging a healthy 30.8 minutes per contest. Philadelphia and Detroit are inside the bottom seven in FPPG to the center position, and both the Sixers and Rockets have been poor in rebound differential this year. Also, Lopez is averaging 1.5 blocks per game, and the rejections could continue this week. Opponents are averaging 8.2 blocks per game against the Sixers over the last 10 games, the most in the league.

Charlotte Bobcats


PPG Allowed


Warriors 99.1 19th-most
Magic 103.3 2nd-most
Pacers 88.1 fewest
Lakers 102.8 3rd-most


Not many people talk about him because he plays for Charlotte, but Kemba Walker is seeing some of the most volume out of anyone in the league right now. Currently second in touches per game (99), first in total touches (1,981) and fifth in time of possession per game (6.8 minutes), Walker has had the chance to put up terrific numbers this season. He’s only averaging 16.7 points, 4.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game this year, but if he continues to see this usage, there’s no way his numbers won’t improve. I’m looking to trade for him and start him this week. The Lakers are surrendering 42.53 fantasy points per game to point guards (fourth-most) and Golden State is allowing is allowing 42.90 per game (3rd-most). Both of these games have the potential to be high-scoring, which would certainly benefit Walker. Kemba is also a strong candidate for steals, averaging 1.6 per game. Meanwhile, Lakers opponents are averaging 8.7 steals per game over their last 10. Golden State also ranks inside the bottom 10 in opponent steals per game (8.6). Kemba could have his most productive week of the season in Week 7.

Another intriguing name is Jeff Taylor, who has filled in for the injured Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Despite struggling out of the gate this year, Taylor is a very strong three-point shooter, so he brings that to the table. During his first start on Friday night, Taylor posted 20 points on .500% shooting, while adding eight rebounds, one block, one assist and a steal. He played a very healthy 37 minutes, and appears to be the guy moving forward while MKG is sidelined. Keep an eye on him this week and see how he progresses as the starter.

San Antonio Spurs


PPG Allowed


Raptors 98.7 22nd-most
Magic 99.4 17th-most
Timberwolves 101.9 7th-most
Jazz 102.0 6th-most


After a slow/injury-ridden start to the season, Tim Duncan reminded fantasy owners that he is still very relevant… and then some. Duncan dominated on Monday night against the Hawks, posting a monstrous 20-20 game. He also added two assists, two blocks and a steal. Consider him and the consistent Tony Parker as must-start options as long as they are out there.

I do think there is some serious sleeper potential in San Antonio this week, however. San Antonio has four games in five nights this week, and you know that head coach Greg Popovich certainly isn’t afraid to tinker with his lineups. Perhaps some of the older guys get a bit more rest, which gives opportunity to the younger guys. One of those younger guys I’m intrigued by this week is Marco Belinelli. The 27-year old shooting guard quietly leads the NBA in three-point field goal percentage (.560) and has been strong lately. Over his last five games, Belinelli is averaging a respectable 13 points and .588% from beyond the arc. It’s even more impressive when you take into consideration that he is only logging 21.3 minutes per game this year. Each of his opponents this week rank inside the bottom-10 in opponent shooting on the year, and I think Belinelli could log plenty of minutes during this busy week for the Spurs. Kawhi Leonard also has some upside this week. The Spurs won’t typically ask him to score a ton of points, but he is coming off an 18-point outing, and both Utah and Toronto allow the eighth and ninth-most fantasy points to small forwards, respectively. Also, Leonard is an elite defender, averaging about two steals per game. I like his chances to pick some pockets against Utah, as they are allowing opposing small forwards to post a league-high 2.51 steals per game. Look for the San Antonio young guns this week.

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

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.








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