Fantasy Basketball 2014: Week 19 Strength Of Schedule

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

 

It’s interesting.

When it comes to fantasy basketball, it’s the god awful teams that draw the most attention. Teams with less than 20 wins, teams with players in their starting lineups that many haven’t even heard of.

Teams that flat out stink.

Week 19 of the fantasy hoops season is headlined by a team out west that has lost their Hall of Fame captain, has endured more injuries than you can count, but yet, are so, so intriguing when it comes to fantasy. Let’s preview the week ahead.

Los Angeles Lakers

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Trail Blazers 103.0 25th
Pelicans 101.6 17th
Clippers 101.2 16th
Nuggets 104.7 28th
Thunder 98.6 8th

 

It appears fantasy owners can Baze… more…

Anyone?

With the Lakers roster insanely banged up all season long, Kent Bazemore, who was acquired in the Steve Blake trade, has greatly benefited. Over his last five games, he’s averaging a strong 33.4 minutes per game, while Kendall Marshall, for some reason, has been riding the pine. During that span, Bazemore is averaging a healthy 16.2 points, three rebounds, 2.6 assists and two steals per contest. Head coach Mike D’Antoni seems to absolutely love this kid, and it appears he’s received the nod to run this offense. He’s only owned in 34.3 percent of ESPN leagues, so he is widely available, and needs to be owned in more leagues.

The Lakers lead the league in games this week with a very friendly five outings, which automatically makes them a target for fantasy purposes. Continue rolling with Bazemore this week, as the Nuggets opponents are allowing the second most points per game over the last 10 games, while Pelicans opponents rank 6th in field goal percentage. Bazemore, who is averaging two steals per game over his last five, is a legitimate defender, being named the top defensive player in college basketball back in 2011. That bodes well for this week, as Nuggets opponents rank second in steals, while the Thunder are coughing up the 5th-most swipes per game over their last 10. And on the season, Thunder opponents rank fourth in steals per game. The Lakers second-highest pace (99.9) will allow Bazemore to see plenty of offensive touches.

Meanwhile, Pau Gasol is the only other Lakers asset you can trust in fantasy.

Portland Trail Blazers

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Lakers 106.5 29th
Hawks 101.8 20th
Mavericks 102.0 22nd
Rockets 101.7 19th

 

Portland will be an interesting team to monitor for this week.

All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge should be ready to return by this weekend, allowing fantasy owners to breathe a collective sigh of relief. It’s a great week for him to be back, too, as Portland has a very friendly four-game schedule, starting with the Lakers. Power forwards are averaging a whopping 47.73 fantasy points per game against the Lakers this season, which leads the league. The position is also grabbing the second-most rebounds per game against LA this year, coming in at 13.09. And, more importantly, power forwards are averaging a league-leading 18.61 field goal attempts per game, which bodes well for Aldridge, who currently third in the league in attempts with 1,111. But also, Houston is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards, so this could be a huge week for Aldridge and his fantasy owners. Finally, he gets to face an undersized Dallas frontcourt that he is averaging 24.5 points and 12 rebounds against, as well as a Hawks unit that is completely depleted in the frontcourt. As long as he’s active, roll him out comfortably.

Every game on this slate should be relatively high-scoring, so feel free to give looks to guys like Wesley Matthews and maybe even Mo Williams in deeper formats. Williams is averaging 14.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 triples per game over his last five, while teams like Houston are struggling to defend the three ball as of late.

New Orleans Pelicans

Opponent

PPG Allowed

Rank

Kings 104.1 27th
Lakers 106.5 29th
Bucks 102.0 24th
Nuggets 104.7 28th

 

Anthony Davis is going to absolutely eat this week.

After spraining his shoulder a few nights before, Davis came out and dropped 32 points on Friday night, proving that he is fine. Look, you don’t need me to tell you to start Davis, one of the best players in fantasy. It comes as natural as breathing. But let’s just take a look at the incredible matchups he has ahead of him.

First of all, every team he faces this week ranks inside the bottom 10 in points per game allowed. These defensive units aren’t very good, folks, but they also bode well for Davis’ game. The Bucks rank inside the bottom six in both offensive and defensive rebounds allowed per game on the season, which should be great for a guy averaging over 10 boards per game. However, opponents also rank 5th in blocks per game over the last 10 games. Davis, meanwhile, is the league’s best shot-blocker, averaging three per game. The Nuggets are also surrendering the third-most blocks per game during that same span. The Lakers, obviously, are one of the league’s worst defenses, allowing the most offensive, defensive and total rebounds per game on the year. And finally, Denver’s frontcourt is perhaps the smallest in the league, as centers are averaging the 5th-most fantasy points per game against them this year.

I’m excited.

Anyway, other than the no-brainer, consider Brian Roberts, who has filled in admirably, but may take on a larger role the rest of the way. Jrue Holiday underwent season-ending surgery, so the backcourt (somewhat) belongs to Roberts for the rest of the year. He is only owned in 26 percent of leagues, and could continue to be a nice, cheap option the rest of the way. Especially this week when the Pelicans play four games, as well as four poor defenses. And, assuming he continues to start, Tyreke Evans may be worth a look in deeper formats. He is an explosive scorer who has shown he can fill the stat sheets in extended roles, and the Kings, Nuggets, Lakers and Bucks all rank inside the bottom-10 in fantasy points allowed to the position this year.

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

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

 

 

 

 


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