By Jeff Erickson, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
After a light holiday week, the schedule picks up a little bit in Week 12. Nine teams play four games this week, and only the Knicks have a two-game slate.
Unlike last week when the entire league was off for Christmas Eve, there are no such blank days this week.
Four Games: ATL, CHA, DAL, MEM, MIN, OKC, ORL, PHO, TOR
Three Games: BKN, BOS, CHI, CLE, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIL, NOR, PHI, POR, SAC, SAS, UTA, WAS
Two Games: NYK
Let’s dispense with the Knicks first. You can make a pretty good case against using any of them this week, given the number of other good options with more games from other teams. Noah Vonleh has been the Knicks’ most consistent fantasy option lately, averaging 31.8 Yahoo daily fantasy points over his last five games, with a range between 28.5 and 36.6.
If you’re in a league with deep starting rosters (say, 10-12 players active per week), that sort of consistency can be valuable for that last roster spot. You eliminate a low floor, albeit at the expense of a potential monster game, as Vonleh’s high for the season is 41 Yahoo points.
I’d avoid all the other Knicks this week. Though Emmanuel Mudiay has taken over the starting point guard duties, his output has fluctuated a little more than I’m comfortable with, including three relatively low output games last week. Kevin Knox continues to get steady minutes more than anyone else on the team, but he’s really struggled with his shot lately. He’s easily your best volume play however, as he hasn’t shot fewer than 12 times from the field in a game since Dec. 8; a span of 10 games. Enes Kanter hasn’t even reached 20 minutes in his last two games.
Let’s take a look at the teams with four games, to see if we can find a few less obvious plays:
Alex Len, Hawks
Admittedly, this one is for thrill-seekers only, as Len is a volatile player. But when he gets the playing time, he can be a source for rebounds and blocks, as demonstrated on Dec. 23 against the Pistons, when he posted a 15-point, 17-rebound, 3-block game. Unfortunately, he followed that up by missing the next two games with a bad back. However, he returned to action Saturday night and played 24 minutes.
It’s noteworthy that Dewayne Dedmon missed Saturday’s game with a knee injury, and that’s the path for Len to get added playing time. The Hawks and Pacers open up Week 12 on Monday with a 3:00 pm ET starting time, so you should know the status of Dedmon and Len before setting your weekly lineup.
Marvin Williams, Hornets
It’s hard to believe that Williams is in his 14th season in the NBA already. The second overall pick in the 2005 draft never achieved the heights hoped for when he was selected, but he’s on a nice little run right now. He’s averaging 32.5 minutes, 12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and nearly a steal per game over an 11-game span since sitting out Dec. 5th’s game with a sore shoulder. He’ll still post a dud of a game, as he did on Friday against Brooklyn, but as a point of reference I’d use him over Knox this week.
Dennis Smith, Mavericks
Smith returned to action Friday and played 30 minutes after a 10-game absence due to a wrist injury. Things have changed while he has been out, however. Rookie Luka Doncic has already taken over this team, and now the ball runs through him. Smith will have to be the secondary creator on this team. It’s something he can do, but I’d expect his assist count to take a hit as a result. Dallas hosts Oklahoma City on Sunday, and I’d wait to see his usage in that game before committing to him for the week, but he’d be a superior option to Mudiay if he plays 30 minutes a game for all four games next week.
Naturally, J.J. Barea loses out with the return of Smith; he played only 18 minutes Friday night. It should be noted that he’s been playing through a hamstring injury lately, which could also contribute to his decline in playing time.
Kyle Anderson, Grizzlies
If you’re looking for a hidden source of steals in a categorical league, Anderson could be an option for you. The fifth year pro has never been much of a scorer, but he’s getting more playing time in his first year in Memphis than he did with the Spurs, averaging 29.6 minutes per game — and moreso lately at the expense of JaMychal Green. In his last five games, Anderson is averaging 2.8 steals to go along with 10.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.8 blocks. When Chandler Parsons ultimately returns Anderson’s playing time could be cut, but Parsons’s return date remains indefinite.
Tyus Jones, Timberwolves
The T-Wolves could be down two point guards with ankle injuries next week, as both Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose are doubtful for Sunday’s game; the former has missed the six previous games. Minnesota opens up play for the week on Monday night, on the second half of a road back-to-back, so it’s possible that both Teague and Rose will miss both games. Jones is another volatile play, given his status as a nominal backup whenever Teague and/or Rose are healthy. In fact, if Rose were healthy, he’d actually be a really nice play this week, especially with a juicy matchup against the Pelicans on Monday.
Jerami Grant, Thunder
The Thunder have turned to Grant more than ever in his fifth season in the league, playing him 31.0 minutes per game this season after giving him only 20 minutes per game last season. With Paul George day-to-day with a calf injury, Grant’s potential to earn is even higher. He played 38 minutes Friday night, taking 12 shots from the field. He’s averaging 15.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.2 steals and 1.0 threes in 35 minutes over the last five games.
D.J. Augustin, Magic
Augustin has had two good games in a row, including a monster 27-point, six-assist, three-steal game against the Suns on Wednesday. The problem with Augustin has been an utter lack of predictability, both in terms of playing time and in output. The Phoenix game was preceded by a seven-point, two-assist game against Miami where he played only 22 minutes. The Magic hit the road for four games this week, as part of a six-game road trip extending into next week.
Mikal Bridges, Suns
For all of the attention paid to the likes of Josh Jackson and Kelly Oubre in this space, Bridges is the guy that’s starting to emerge for the Suns as a viable tertiary fantasy option behind Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. It makes sense — always bet on the pedigree. Bridges gets overlooked because of Ayton in this class, but he’s also a first-round pick; the 10th overall selection. It only makes sense to give him a significant chunk of playing time, and even the Suns recognize that.
Bridges has played 30+ minutes in his last eight games and 11 of the last 12. Over that eight-game span Bridges is averaging 9.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.1 blocks. It’s not earth-shattering numbers, but Bridges is giving you a little of everything. That bodes well for his future production, especially if Booker or P.J. Tucker get dealt away before the trade deadline.
Tomas Satoransky, Wizards
The Wizards play only three games this week, but it’s worth noting Satoransky’s big bump in playing time with John Wall out for the season with a chronic Achilles’ tendon injury that will require surgery. Satoransky will take over at the point guard slot, though he won’t necessarily always have the offense run through him.
But on Saturday night he put up a nice 20-4-6 line against the Hornets, and he’s capable of providing a few steals as well. He’s also taken 11 three-point attempts over the last two games, so he may be a hidden source of 3’s despite attempting just 1.6 shots from beyond the arc for the course of the season.
More From Yahoo Fantasy Sports
Should you block ads? Adblocker