Fantasy Basketball 2013: Week 10 Strength Of Schedule

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

 

It’s always smart to look ahead.

Preparation is key in everything you do. Whether it’s a job, school or, of course, fantasy sports. The latter (obviously) being the most important of the three. And yes, that was sarcasm.

Sort of.

Week 10 of the fantasy hoops season should be better than Week 9, seeing as we won’t be forced to watch a handful of rather ugly Christmas day games. Half of the NBA has four-game weeks, which means plenty of fantasy goodness is to be had.

Indiana Pacers

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Cavaliers 102.6 5th-most
Raptors 98.8 20th-most
Pelicans 102.1 8th-most
Cavaliers 102.6 5th-most

 

The Pacers have one of, if not, the most favorable schedule for Week 10. Two games against the Cavaliers, who have coughed up 107 points per game over their last five, and a favorable matchup against a struggling Pelicans that is surrendering 106.5 points per game during the same span. Those numbers are fifth and sixth-most among all defenses. I know everyone is aware that Paul George is a star, but he’s so good, that I’m going to talk about him some more.

Sorry.

George is currently the number-six overall fantasy asset on ESPN’s Player Rater. The star is averaging a healthy 40.4 fantasy points per game, and has posted less than 30 in a game just six times this season. He’s insanely awesome, and I think is a terrific daily option this week. The Cavs, like I said, are struggling defensively, but have been weak in defensive efficiency against opposing small forwards all season long. Cleveland is surrendering the most fantasy points to small forwards this year (41.23), as well as a strong 24.18 points per game, which is also the most. There may be no bigger hole in basketball than that of the Cavaliers small forward position, and George should go absolutely bonkers against this weak unit. Another opponent, the Raptors, are also allowing the 12th-most fantasy points to the position, so as good as George is, he may be even better this week.

Keep an eye on Lance Stephenson, as well, who’s cemented his himself as a borderline must-start fantasy option. Out of nowhere, Stephenson leads the league in triple-doubles (three) and is coming off the best scoring outing of his career, in which he dropped 26 points on 14-of-23 shooting. He made four-of-seven three-point attempts, and is currently sinking 1.2 triples per contest on the season. He could light it up from beyond the arc, as the Cavs are coughing up 26.1 points per game from deep, the fourth-most in basketball. In fact, 25.5 percent of points scored on Cleveland come from beyond the arc. Only three other teams sport a higher percentage. And clearly, Stephenson is a versatile player, able to contribute in many categories. He’s averaging 13.4 points, 5.1 assists and 6.7 rebounds per game. I like his chances of producing all across the stat sheets, especially against the Raptors that is coughing up the most assists per game to opposing shooting guards (5.60). Keep rolling with Stephenson this week.

Denver Nuggets

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Heat 97.3 7th-fewest
76ers 111.7 most
Grizzlies 97.2 6th-fewest
Lakers 103.4 3rd-most

 

The Nuggets don’t have the most appealing fantasy pieces, but plenty should be in play this week with a favorable slate of matchups looming. Anytime you see the 76ers as the opposition, you tend to gravitate towards that ideal matchup. The Sixers are worst in defensive efficiency against point guards (46.47 FPPG) and shooting guards (40.59 FPPG). They also rank second-worst against small forwards and fourth-worst against power forwards.

Their defense stinks, folks.

Ty Lawson is easily the most fantasy relevant piece of the Nuggets, but he’s been struggling during the month of December. In 11 games this month, Lawson is averaging 12.5 points and 7.4 assists, but is shooting just .353% from the field. He’s eclipsed double-digit assists in just three games this month. What’s the perfect medicine to a slump? Why, playing the 76ers, of course. The opposition is averaging a league-leading 27.5 assists per game against Philadelphia this year, and point guards are notching 11.01 assists per game, which is also the most in basketball. Expect Lawson to get back on track from the field, too, as 76ers’ opponents are shooting a healthy 47.1 percent this year.

Another appealing play is J.J. Hickson, who will likely benefit if Kenneth Faried continues to miss time with a nagging ankle injury. Whichever player gets the start at power forward will be a strong option against a 76ers defense that is surrendering 33.9 defensive rebounds per game, which is the third-most in the league. Like I mentioned, power forwards are scoring the fourth-most fantasy points per game this season, and in games where Hickson has logged at least 30 minutes, he is averaging an impressive 35.2 fantasy points per game.

Washington Wizards

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Pistons 101.9 11th-most
Mavericks 102.8 4th-most
Raptors 98.8 11th-fewest
Warriors 98.8 11th-fewest

 

Trevor Ariza has been a very pleasant surprise for fantasy owners this season, ranking as a top-20 small forward as of right now. He’s averaging a solid 30.6 DraftDay fantasy points per game on the year. Over his last five games, Ariza is averaging 15.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, one steal and three triples per contest. He’s been strong lately, and I like his Week 10 slate of matchups, too. Both Detroit and Dallas rank inside the bottom-five in fantasy points per game allowed to small forwards (40.80 and 39.22). Ariza is a busy defender, averaging 1.8 steals per game, and both of these teams rank inside the bottom-four in steals per game allowed to small forwards (2.20 and 2.14, respectively). Dallas also struggles against the three ball, allowing 24.4 points per game from beyond the arc, the seventh-most in basketball.

Also, after an injury scare on Friday night, Bradley Beal suited up for Saturday’s action, and finished with 15 points, four assists and two rebounds. The Wizards were blowing out the Pistons, so Beal only logged 20 minutes. Barring any setback during the weekend, Beal should continue to be a great play this week.

John Wall is pretty good, too. You know, if you are into guys who are playing at a career-high level. That sort of thing.

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

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

 

 


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