Fantasy Basketball 2014: Week 14 Strength Of Schedule

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I’ll be honest. This isn’t the greatest week for seasonal fantasy basketball.

Normally, close to 20 of the league’s 30 teams suit up for four games each and every week, providing plenty of fantasy potential for your favorite players. However, in Week 14, only 11 teams play in four games, while a healthy five teams play just twice. This makes it a bit more difficult to find strong teams to choose from, especially when you consider the vast amount of injuries there have been this season.

But it has to be done.

Atlanta Hawks

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Thunder 97.7 7th-fewest
Pistons 102.9 6th-most
76ers 109.5 most
Timberwolves 102.3 9th-most

 

The Hawks come with some trickery this week.

Yes, they are one of 11 teams that play the appealing four-game slate, and the matchups are friendly, too. However, their roster is absolutely decimated with injury, capping the amount of viable fantasy plays for owners out there. Of course, the injury to center Al Horford has been devastating to both the Hawks and fantasy owners, but it doesn’t seem to be getting any better for Atlanta. Now, point guard Jeff Teague is nursing an ankle injury and will miss between one-three games. Also, Pero Antic is out for a bit, but looking at the schedule, there is certainly some fantasy upside to be had here.

Oklahoma City is the only relatively weak matchup for the Hawks, but it truly isn’t terrible. If Teague can suit up for this game, I wouldn’t mind plugging him back into my lineup if I owned him. Averaging 16.2 points, 7.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game, Teague has been quite fantasy relevant when on the court. Meanwhile, OKC has been decimated by opposing point guards since Russell Westbrook went down. Earlier on in the season, they were in the middle of the pack, but now they are coughing up 42.78 fantasy points per game to point guards, the 4th-most in basketball. Reggie Jackson is a weak defender who turns the ball over quite a bit, so I like Teague’s potential in this matchup. If he can’t go, look for Shelvin Mack to continue to be a value in daily games and a decent waiver wire add. Mack started in place of Teague on Saturday night, finishing with 9 points, four assists and two steals in a blowout.

Of course, Paul Millsap is a must-start option. His January hasn’t been nearly as strong as his month of December, but on the year, Millsap is still averaging a strong 17.7 points, 8.2 boards and 1.2 blocks per game, and is even developing his three-ball, averaging a triple per game this year. I cannot wait to use him against a 76ers team that is dead last in defensive efficiency, allows 12 offensive rebounds per game (7th-most) and 34.9 defensive rebounds per game (2nd-most). Philadelphia is also allowing a healthy 43.96 fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards, which is the fourth-most in basketball. Feel free to roll out a guy like Lou Williams in daily leagues, especially if Teague can’t go. Playing against his former team will add some extra incentive. Pace is always intriguing in fantasy, and it helps that the Hawks fave the 76ers (1st in pace) and Timberwolves (2nd in pace) during the same week.

Detroit Pistons

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Magic 102.2 10th-most
Hawks 101.0 16th-most
76ers 109.5 most

 

Andre Drummond deserves to be an All-Star, folks.

I’ve proclaimed my love for the Pistons sophomore center many times throughout this season, so feel free to stop reading if you’ve heard all of this before. Averaging an impressive 12.8 points, 12.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game this year, Drummond has been one of the brightest breakout stars of 2014. His 32 double-doubles rank second-most in all of basketball. The guy is virtually a lock for one every single night, as he hasn’t posted one in just 11 of his 43 games this season. He’s a must-start each and every night, but especially this week with some extremely favorable rebounding potential.

The guy is already averaging 12.8 boards per game, which is third in the NBA, but he could average higher than that over his next three contests in Week 14. Firstly, the Magic seriously lack the size to contain him in the paint without Nikola Vucevic in the lineup. On the season, the Magic are coughing up 34.2 defensive rebounds per game (4th-most) and 14.44 rebounds per game to opposing centers (9th-most). Glen Davis and Tobias Harris are playing well, but are vastly undersized, so Drummond should have his way, but more importantly, should also stay out of foul trouble, as Orlando opponents are averaging the fewest fouls per game (18.8).

Next, he gets the Hawks, who have also struggled against opposing big men, largely due to the lack of their center. Teams are averaging a strong 32.8 defensive rebounds per game against Atlanta this year, which is good for the 9th-most in basketball. Centers, in particular, are hauling in the 8th-most boards against the Hawks, as well. Especially when you consider that the combination of Gustavo Ayon and Elton Brand will likely be forced to contain him, I love his chances of going bonkers. And finally, he gets the greatest matchup of all against the Sixers, who are allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to centers (49.37). Earlier in the year, Drummond has his best game as a pro against Philly, going off for 31 points, 19 rebounds, two blocks and six steals. He followed it with a decent 11 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks back on January 10th. The Sixers league-leading pace will likely result in more possessions for him, too.

Oh, feel free to roll Josh Smith out there as well. The Pistons DO have other players, after all.

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

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

 

 

 


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