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Fantasy Sports Fantasy Basketball

Fantasy Basketball 2013: Week 8 Strength Of Schedule

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

 

Let’s be honest, for a second.

Christmas is right around the corner, and while many of you may want the newest phone or tablet, I know what you want. You want to continue dominating your fantasy basketball league, of course.

Just call me the Roto Santa.

So, with the eighth week of the season set to begin, it’s once again time to look into the future. Let’s forecast Week 8 of the fantasy hoops season, and find out which guys I like more than others. Oh, and if you were thinking about getting me something for the holidays, I love video games.

Kidding.

Los Angeles Clippers

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Spurs 93.2 4th-fewest
Pelicans 102.1 4th-most
Nuggets 100.1 15th-most
Timberwolves 102.1 4th-most

 

Chris Paul is the number two overall player on ESPN’s Player Rater, only behind Kevin Durant. I don’t need to tell you why he should be in your lineup, so I won’t. However, the Clippers do have a favorable schedule in Week 8, so if you own a handful of players from the powerhouse from Los Angeles, now may be the time to use them. The Clippers, one of the most high-scoring teams in the NBA, should put up plenty of points this week, and fantasy owners will reap the benefits.

He’s a pretty big name commodity in both fantasy and real life, but I want to talk about Blake Griffin for a minute. Still a bit raw, but Griffin has been very productive this season, averaging 20.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals per contest on the year. If you somehow have plenty of power forward depth on your roster, I’d stick with Griffin this week in some favorable matchups. For starters, anyone who watches Griffin knows he does most of his offensive damage in the paint, as his post moves aren’t fully developed and his outside jumper is inconsistent. On the season, Griffin is averaging 5.7 close touches per game (those that originate within 12 feet of net), which ranks 11th-most in the league. He also has seen an incredible 1,984 total touches this year, only five point guards have touched the ball more. If that trend continues, Griffin should have a field day against the Nuggets, Pelicans and Timberwolves, who rank inside the bottom-10 in points in the paint allowed per game (44.5, 43.8 and 46.3, respectively). Also, the Nuggets and Pelicans rank inside the bottom-10 in fantasy points allowed per game to the power forward position. There’s a ton of opportunity for Griffin this week.

With J.J. Redick sidelined due to injury, Jamal Crawford will continue to start in his absence. The Clippers love to run, sporting a pace of 98.3 (9th-highest), so I like Crawford’s prospects against the Timberwolves this week. Minnesota is coughing up 15.9 fastbreak points per game, the fourth-most in basketball. This game could be a very high-scoring affair, which bodes well for Crawford. The Wolves are also surrendering the fifth-most fantasy points per game to the shooting guard position, coming in at 38.31. Jared Dudley may also be worth a look in deeper formats.

Atlanta Hawks

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Lakers 103.5 2nd-most
Kings 102.5 3rd-most
Jazz 101.6 10th-most

 

Arguably the most favorable slate of opponents for the week, the Hawks will likely see plenty of their players used in fantasy lineups in Week 8. Let’s take a look at the first-year Hawk, Paul Millsap. After dealing with injury and some rust to start the year, Millsap is dominating the month of December. In 12 games during this month, Millsap is averagng 18.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.5 steals. Just awesome production across the board. I like him to continue his stellar play in the eighth week of the fantasy season. Over his last five games, Millsap is logging a healthy 35 minutes per game, so the usage is there. That’s always the first thing I look for. Combined that with his red hot play and strong matchups, and I’m sold. All three opponents rank inside the bottom-10 in points allowed per game, so there should be plenty of points to be had. Rebounding potential should be there as well, as the Lakers are coughing up 12.2 offensive boards per game (fourth-most), while the Jazz are surrendering 11.3 (11th-most). The Lakers are getting crushed on the glass, as they also are giving up the most defensive rebounds per contest (35.1).

And how about Kyle Korver this season? He set the record for consecutive games with at least one three-pointer earlier this year, and is quietly putting together perhaps the best season of his career. Averaging 12.4 points, 2.7 assists and four rebounds per game is swell, but the impressive numbers surround his shooting touch. Korver is shooting an impressive .515% from the field, as well as .495% from beyond the arc. The long ball is always the main appeal with Korver in fantasy, as he is hoisting up 5.6 long balls per game, sinking 2.8 of them. I like his matchup against the Kings, a defense that allowing opponents to nail nine three-pointers per game. In fact, teams are attmpting 23 long balls per game against Sacramento. Also, both the Kings and Lakers are coughing up over 35 fantasy points per game to shooting guards, well above the league average. DeMarre Carrol is worth a look in deeper leagues, too. He’s hitting 1.1 three-pointers per game this season, and is having the best season of his career.

Boston Celtics

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Timberwolves 102.1 4th-most
Pistons 100.7 11th-most
Wizards 99.6 17th-most
Pacers 89.5 fewest

 

Hey, Rajon Rondo has been cleared for full contact.

Just don’t remind anyone in Boston’s backcourt.

The Rondo replacements have been playing very well to start the season, particularly Avery Bradley as of late. Over the last eight games, Bradley is averaging 15.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 triples. He’s also shooting a scorching 50.5 percent from the floor during that span. I like his chances of continuing his hot shooting touch, as the matchups are favorable. The Timberwolves allow opponents to shoot an impressive 47.7 percent from the field, which is the highest in the league. Also, Detroit is surrendering the fourth-highest percentage to the opposition (46.5%). Bradley is also an elite defender, and while he is only averaging 1.1 steals per game this year, he always has the potential to swipe a ton of balls. Meanwhile, the Pistons are coughing up an average of 2.46 steals per game to the point guard position (3rd-most). A low-end starting fantasy point guard, I think Bradley will provide an early Christmas present for fantasy owners this week.

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

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.