Fantasy Basketball 2014: Week 11 Strength Of Schedule

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

 

I’m hooked.

Fantasy football is certainly my number one game in the fantasy circles, but I’ve grown incredibly fond of fantasy hoops. It’s gotten to the point where I constantly check player stats, even if I don’t own them. Daily fantasy has also become very addicting, though, I am nowhere near that father who missed his son’s birthday party while at the casino.

Gambler’s anonymous, y’all.

Anyway, it’s now my 11th week covering fantasy basketball, and when choosing teams and players I prefer, it’s important to find which teams play the most. This week, 11 teams suit up four times, while 18 play three games.

Philadelphia 76ers

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Minnesota 102.9 4th-most
Cleveland 101.3 12th-most
Detroit 102.2 8th-most
New York 99.4 20th-most

 

A team that is picked on because of their defensive inefficiencies on a weekly basis, the 76ers have one of the best schedules for fantasy purposes this week. It comes at a good time, too, as Philadelphia has now won four straight contests. Anyway, three of their four opponents rank inside the bottom-12 in points per game allowed, and over the last 10 games, both the Cavs (106.9 PPG) and the Pistons (105.5 PPG) rank inside the bottom-six in scoring defense.

One of my favorite players heading into this season was Thaddeus Young. Living in PA, I watch plenty of Sixers games, and felt a breakout year was looming for the 25-year old. It didn’t happen right away, but look out, as over the last five games, Young is averaging a stellar 26 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 3.6 (!) steals per contest. That’s insane production. During that span, he is shooting an impressive .543 percent from the field, making for one of the better power forwards in fantasy as of late. I’d be more than okay with continuing to roll with him. His schedule isn’t at all daunting, and the Knicks sport the third-worst rebounding differential over the last 10 games. They are also coughing up a healthy 33.2 defensive rebounds per game, which is good for 7th-most in the league. Also, Young, a guy who is averaging close to two steals per game on the season, has terrific opportunity against a Cavs team that is allowing the opposition to post 6.2 steals per game (third-most). Nothing wrong with Thad again this week.

I also love Evan Turner this week, who continues to have an under-the-radar fantasy season. He’s averaging a very strong 19.8 points, four assists, 6.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game on the year, ranking as a top-15 fantasy small forward. He’s scored at least 22 points in four straight games, and has the ability to continue that streak this week. First of all, the Cavaliers have perhaps the biggest roster hole at the small forward position than anyone. Because of that, opposing SF’s are averaging a league-leading 41.62 fantasy points per game against them. In two games against them this year, Turner is averaging 26.5 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Not to mention, his 67.1 offensive touches per game are very strong for a small forward.

New Orleans Pelicans

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Miami 98.2 22nd-most
Washington 99.6 19th-most
Dallas 101.8 9th-most
Dallas 101.8 9th-most

 

After a rather slow start (for his standards), Davis has heated up since returning from injury. Over his last five games, The Brown is averaging 18.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, is shooting .591 percent from the field, and, most importantly, is blocking 3.2 shots per game. When he first came back to the lineup, the huge block totals weren’t there, but Davis has now blocked at least three shots in four straight games. And, of course, his presence will always be felt on the glass, and has some favorable matchups in that regard this week. Over the last three games, both Dallas and Washington are surrendering 13.3 offensive rebounds per game, which is the 6th-most in basketball. Dallas and Miami, meanwhile, both rank in the bottom 10 in rebound differential over the last 10 games. Miami’s a terrific team, no doubt, but their frontcourt doesn’t scare many people. Also, the opposition is shooting 48.8 percent from the field over their last 10 games against Miami, which is the second-most in basketball.

Another interesting name to throw out there is Tyreke Evans, who had a painfully slow start to the season. However, he is beginning to find his stride as of late, averaging a strong 16 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, one steal and 14.4 field goal attempts per game. He’s better suited coming off of the bench, and certainly isn’t afraid to shoot the ball. Also, keep an eye on Ryan Anderson. He was carted off the court on a stretcher during Friday night’s game against the Celtics, and missed Saturday’s game. If he remains sidelined, expect Al-Farouq Aminu to slide in, and could be a sneaky source of rebounding for the short-term.

Phoenix Suns

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Chicago 92.2 2nd-fewest
Minnesota 102.9 4th-most
Memphis 97.5 7th-fewest
Detroit 102.2 8th-most

 

I felt like the Suns were an interesting team to focus on this week.

They have four games, which is always a positive, but with Eric Bledsoe (knee) out for the next week or so, fantasy opportunity has presented itself for Gerald Green. In his first start in place of Bledsoe, Green had a solid night, scoring 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting, while also recording an impressive five steals. He’s now gone over 20 points in four of his last seven games and is a must-add in all formats for the short-term. Green has played at least 32 minutes in both games since Bledsoe was sidelined, and a guy who is averaging 2.7 steals per game over his last five, Green could have some steal potential in this game against Chicago, who are coughing up the second-most steals per game (6.7). That game against Minnesota could be terrific for Green, too, as it could be a high-scoring affair. Also, the Wolves are surrendering 37.74 fantasy points per game to shooting guards, which is the 5th-most in the NBA.

Obviously, Goran Dragic is the real winner here. He and Bledsoe usually share the backcourt, but for the time being, it’s all his. In the two games Bledsoe has missed, Dragic is averaging 24 points, 6.5 assists, two rebounds and two steals per game. Consider him a must-play for the time being.

Don’t sleep on Miles Plumlee either, folks. The sophomore is quietly having a breakout campaign this season, sporting nearly a double-double to go along with 1.8 blocks per game. Over his last five, he’s averaging a strong 10.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, and should continue to see an uptick in minutes and touches as the season progresses. He could be a sneaky play this week, as the Bulls, Grizzlies and Timberwolves all rank inside the bottom-10 in blocks allowed per game (6.7, 5.8 and 5.7, respectively).

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

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

 

 

 

 


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