Fantasy Basketball 2014: Week 16 Strength Of Schedule

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It’s about to get crazy, y’all.

The All-Star break is looming, which means teams will be playing a bunch of games to wrap up the first half of the season. For some teams, the break couldn’t come soon enough. Week 16 is a fairly even period for teams, as 20 teams play five times, while seven clubs play an incredible six times. Fantasy points for days, folks. I mean, 27 teams play at least five games this week.

Fasten your metaphoric seatbelts.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Kings 103.7 27th
Pistons 102.8 25th
76ers 110.0 30th
Magic 101.8 20th
Raptors 97.1 4th
Wizards 99.7 12th

 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

The Cavs are in complete disarray right now. After losing to a Lakers unit with five players, the team let go of their GM. There have been fights during practices, arguments with the coaches, everything. It’s been bad. However, things could go up this week, as the Cavs have six winnable games this week, which translates to some very strong fantasy upside for Cleveland players.

Let’s start with the face of the franchise, Kyrie Irving. I love Kyrie, but I have to be honest, he hasn’t lived up to the hype in 2013. Averaging a respectable 21.5 points, 6.3 assists and 3.1 rebounds, Irving has been named the Eastern All-Star starter, but has been leaving fantasy owners wanting more quite often. However, it’s hard to get away from a guy of his caliber and skill level, especially when you he is part of one of the seven teams to play six games this week. This week he gets the 76ers, who are the heavenly matchup for fantasy point guards, allowing the most points per game (45.33), assists (10.26) and blocks (0.62). No-brainer, must start. However, he also gets the Kings (6th-most FPPG) and Pistons (9th-most FPPG). He closes the week out with a matchup against the Wizards, a team he has torched for 30.7 points, 7.7 assists, a steal and 2.3 triples in three meetings this season. I think he could light it up from beyond the arc, too. Raptors opponents rank 1st in three-point percentage over the last 10 games (most in basketball), Sixers opponents are allowing the most points per game from three (28.5) and the Kings rank 7th-worst at defending the long ball.

It’ll continue to be a gamble investing on one of the wing players, but perhaps C.J. Miles will hold some value. The guy is simply playing better than the likes of Dion Waiters and Jarrett Jackposting double-digit points in each of his last three games. Again, a guy who can absolutely light it up from three, Miles may have a good opportunity this week with plenty of plus matchups. And if you want to get really cute, perhaps grab first round pick Anthony Bennett in deeper leagues, who is seeing added run and has scored double-digit points in two of his last three contests.

Tread carefully, of course.

Denver Nuggets

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Pacers 90.7 1st
Timberwolves 101.9 22nd
Suns 101.8 21st
Bucks 101.8 20th
Bulls 93.0 2nd
Kings 103.7 27th

 

Welcome back to must-start territory, Randy Foye.

With Ty Lawson (ribs) sidelined through the All-Star break, Foye will see a major uptick in minutes. The guy was already seeing close to 40 minutes per game over his last five, but with Lawson out, the offensive touches will surely increase. He won’t run the point, as it was recently announced that Quincy Miller will handle point guard duties. But Miller is inexperienced, and his playing time isn’t set in stone, presenting ample opportunity for both Foye and Evan Fournier. Disregarding matchups with the two best defensive teams in basketball, Week 16 is a pretty comfortable slate for Denver, as they play six games, four of which see teams that rank inside the bottom-10 in defense. Like the Cavs, there is some three-point potential here, as both the Timberwolves and Suns opponents rank 3rd and 5th in three-point shooting percentage over the last 10 games. Meanwhile, Foye is sinking a healthy 2.1 triples per game this year, while Fournier hits one every night. The Nuggets are also scoring 25.1 points per game from beyond the arc, the 9th-most in basketball.

I’ll also be rolling out J.J. Hickson and maybe Kenneth Faried a bit this week, too. Especially during that matchup with the Bucks. Power forwards are averaging a strong 42.75 fantasy points per game against Milwaukee (9th-most), while coughing up a league-leading 13.64 rebounds per game to the position. The Bucks are also allowing 12 offensive boards and 33.5 defensive boards per game, both of which are the 5th-most in basketball. Hickson, meanwhile, torched Milwaukee for 19 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks during their first meeting. Faried had a solid 10 points, eight rebounds, an assist, a block and two steals, himself. You definitely want to invest in the Denver frontcourt in this matchup.

Washington Wizards

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Grizzlies 94.9 3rd
Rockets 101.4 18th
Raptors 97.1 4th
Hawks 100.8 16th
Pelicans 101.1 17th
Cavaliers 102.3 24th

 

The Wizards don’t have a ton of terrific matchups if you are looking for boatloads of scoring, but from fantasy prospects, there’s some value to be had here.

For instance, both Marcin Gortat and Nene have really come on as of late, helping push this Wizards team into playoff contention. Over his last five games, Nene is averaging a solid 14.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, three assists, one block and 2.2 steals. Gortat, on the other hand, is averaging 13.4 points, 9,4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and a block during that span. Both should see strong shot blocking potential this week, as the Cavs and Pelicans rank inside the bottom-four in rejections, while both are allowing over six blocks per game over their last 10. If you are searching for rebounds, you might consider looking elsewhere, but blocks and points can be there this week. Power forwards are averaging 26.48 points per game against the Cavs (2nd-most) and the Hawks are coughing up 25.86 points per game to the position (3rd-most) over the last 15 days.

And, of course, John Wall is a stud.

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

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

 

 

 

 

 


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