Fantasy Basketball 2014: Week 13 Strength Of Schedule

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It’s the week of the Blazers, y’all.

We’ll get into more detail about why players out of Portland are in line for a nice fantasy week, but for now, let’s just soak in the fact that we are already approaching the All-Star game. Because of this, I want to take the time to highlight a few guys who overlooked guys who need to be sporting those ugly All-Star jerseys in New Orleans.

Lance Stephenson leads the NBA in triple-doubles, and has made Pacers fans forget all about Danny Granger. Stephenson may or may not make the cut, but averaging 13.7 points, 5.1 assists, 6.6 rebounds and one triple per game, Stephenson has been the unsung hero behind the Pacers incredible start, and I think is deserving of making the team.

What sophomore slump? Andre Drummond has really matured during his second year in the league, and has established himself as one of the more dominant centers in basketball. Averaging a healthy double-double on the year (12.7 points, 12.7 rebounds), Drummond needs to be playing in New Orleans. His 29 double-doubles ranks second in the league, only behind Kevin Love.

But hey, you came here for fantasy talk. Yeah, let’s do that.

Portland Trail Blazers

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Houston 101.8 11th-most
Oklahoma City 98.2 7th-fewest
Denver 102.4 8th-most
Minnesota 101.7 12th-most
Golden State 99.4 19th-most

 

Four games is good.

Five games is better.

That’s right, folks. Portland will suit up five times during Week 13, which makes them an automatic start in my books. And it doesn’t hurt that they have some sweet matchups either. Now, I absolutely love LaMarcus Aldridge, and is my frontrunner for the MVP award. Of course, fantasy owners love him too, as he is one of the best (and most consistent) players in all of fantasy hoops. His strong season (24.1 PPG, 11.3 RPG) is good enough for him to rank 12th overall on ESPN’s Player Rater, while he is the number five overall power forward. He’s the main reason behind Portland’s incredible record this season, and should continue to please fantasy owners this week.

His first opponent, Houston, is coughing up the 3rd-most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards, coming in at 44.79. They are also surrendering the third-most offensive rebounds per game (12.5) and the ninth-most blocks per game (5.7). Houston and Portland both play at a pace that ranks inside the top-10, so Aldridge will see plenty of possessions in this potential high-scoring affair. He also gets Denver’s undersized frontcourt, in what should be another high-scoring game. Denver is allowing the 2nd-most fantasy points to the power forward position (45.89), but are also getting killed on the glass, coughing up the fourth-most rebounds to power forwards. He should have his way in this one.

You obviously don’t need me to tell you how good Aldridge is, so what if I provide you with more of a sneaky option in Portland? Mo Williams has probably been this team’s unsung hero all season, but doesn’t warrant the most fantasy attention. However, during that month of January, he is playing very well, averaging 11.5 points, 5.3 assists, 2.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.5 triples per contest. When you consider he is doing all that in only 25 minutes of work, it’s impressive. He may be worth a look this week with five games. OKC is surrendering the 6th-most fantasy points to point guards and the fifth-most points per game from three (25.6).

New York Knicks

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Brooklyn 100.9 15th-most
Philadelphia 110.0 most
Charlotte 96.9 5th-fewest
Los Angeles Lakers 105.8 2nd-most

 

It’s not five games, but the Knicks have a very nice slate of games in the upcoming week.

I want to talk about another no-brainer in Carmelo Anthony. Over his last five games, Melo is killing it, averaging 24.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.6 triples per contest. The rebounds certainly stand out to me, as he’s now averaging nine per game on the year. He’s played a lot of power forward for the Knicks, especially with Tyson Chandler sidelined, and it’s benefited his fantasy prospects. The Knicks have been talking about playing him more at the power forward position, sliding Andrea Bargnani to a bench role. Melo played the four last season and was terrific, so this move would certainly boost his value a bit. Either way, you have to love him and his rebounding potential this week against two of the worst rebounding teams in basketball.

The Lakers are the dream matchup, of course. They are dead last in offensive and defensive rebounding, allowing 13.1 and 35 per game, respectively. Melo should thrive in that game, even if he just plays small forward. Meanwhile, the 76ers are coughing up 34.6 defensive rebounds per game (3rd-most) and 12.2 offensive boards per game (4th-most). And when you combined all that with the fact that these two teams are 30th and 29th in points per game allowed, you start to get all warm inside when you see Melo on your roster. And for that same reasoning, I don’t hate Chandler at all this week, either. The Lakers are allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing centers (49.29), while the 76ers are coughing up the third-most. Philadelphia is also allowing the most blocks per game this year.

Detroit Pistons

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Los Angeles Clippers 100.1 18th-most
Milwaukee 100.3 17th-most
New Orleans 102.9 4th-most
Dallas 102.6 7th-most

 

Oh, yay. I get to talk about Andre Drummond some more.

In all seriousness though, I do just love the Pistons schedule this week, but for sure, a lot of it has to do with Drummond. He could easily post a double-double in all four games this week, adding to his impressive 29 on the season, which is the second-most in the league. Both Milwaukee and the Clippers have been abused by centers this year, allowing the 2nd (47.67) and 4th (46.78) fantasy points per game to the position. The Bucks, in particular, have been a terrible frontcourt all year, allowing the second-most offensive rebounds and fifth-most defensive rebounds per game this season. Meanwhile, New Orleans opponents are blocking 6.3 shots per game, the third-most in basketball. The only issue with Drummond is foul trouble, but a few of his opponents are totally undersized, so I don’t think it’ll be a problem, especially when you consider that Dallas’ opponents are averaging the fewest fouls per game this year.

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

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

 

 


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