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Believe it or not, the fantasy season is winding down, with many leagues deep into the playoffs by now. I’ll spend this week and next week’s final entry breaking down the top eight projected players for next year.

Number Eight- Draymond Green, PF, Golden State. Green has nearly unlimited potential going forward, and he’s one of the most versatile players on this list. He’s not a high volume scorer, but he’s so well-rounded, it hardly matters. This year, he’s snagged an amazing eleven triple doubles. Expect that number, as well as his all around stats to improve next season.

Number Seven- James Harden, SG, Houston. What can you say about Harden? He’s the number one SG in all of fantasy basketball, and that alone should be enough to cement his spot in the top eight. In watching Harden this season, he’s the kind of guy that can do very little for three quarters and then explode in the 4th quarter turning a bad night into a great one. He’s going to be in the top eight for years to come barring injury.

Number Six- Demarcus Cousins, C, Sacramento. Boogie has expanded his game to include the three point shoot and tricky drives to the basket from the perimeter. Most centers can’t keep up, and it’s shown. His numbers are off the charts this year, and look to remain that way for some time to come. It’s too bad, no one has found a way to convert all the talent Cousins possessions into actual wins.

Number Five- Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City. Durant is too good to be this low, but that just speaks to how incredible the top four are. He’s one of the best shooters in the NBA, and he’s 6’10. Lately, he’s picked up his rebounding and assists, making him a beast night in and night out. He still hasn’t peaked, and I think that’s pretty scary.

Week 22 Fantasy Basketball Preview

TeamNumber of GamesSchedule FavorabilityMust StartConsider Sitting
Atlanta1 home
2 away
UnfavorablePaul Millsap, Al Horford, Jeff TeagueDennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore
Boston0 home
4 away
NeutralIsaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Jared SullingerEvan Turner, Avery Bradley
Brooklyn1 home
4 away
Highly FavorableBrook Lopez, Thaddeus YoungJarrett Jack
Charlotte1 home
2 away
NeutralKemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, Marvin WilliamsAl Jefferson
Chicago2 home
3 away
Highly FavorablePau Gasol, Jimmy ButlerDerrick Rose, Nikola Mirotic
Cleveland3 home
1 away
FavorableLebron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, Mo Williams, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson
Dallas1 home
3 away
NeutralChandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki Deron Williams
Denver2 home
2 away
FavorableDanilo Gallinari, Nikola Jokic, Emmanuel MudiayKenneth Faried, Will Barton
Detroit2 home
1 away
UnfavorableAndre Drummond, Tobias HarrisKentavious Caldwell-Pope, Stanley Johnson, Reggie Jackson
Golden State3 home
1 away
Highly FavorableStephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay ThompsonAndre Iguodala
Houston2 home
1 away
NeutralJames Harden, Dwight HowardTy Lawson, Trevor Ariza
Indiana2 home
2 away
FavorablePaul GeorgeMonta Ellis, George Hill, Ian Mahinmi, Myles Turner
Los Angeles Clippers2 home
2 away
FavorableDeandre Jordan, Chris PaulBlake Griffin
Los Angeles Lakers2 home
1 away
UnfavorableJulius Randle, D'Angelo RussellRoy Hibbert, Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson
Memphis3 home
1 away
FavorableMarc Gasol, Mike ConleyZach Randolph
Miami1 home
3 away
NeutralHassan Whitehead, Dwyane Wade, Luol DengGoran Dragic, Chris Bosh
Milwaukee3 home
0 away
UnfavorableKhris Middleton, Giannis Antekokounmpo, Jabari ParkerMichael Carter Williams, Greg Monroe
Minnesota3 home
1 away
FavorableKarl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui DiengRicky Rubio
New Orleans2 home
2 away
NeutralAnthony DavisEric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson
New York2 home
2 away
FavorableCarmelo Anthony, Kristaps PorzingisRobin Lopez
Oklahoma City1 home
3 away
FavorableRussel Westbrook, Kevin DurantSerge Ibaka
Orlando2 home
2 away
FavorableVictor Oladipo, Nikola VucevicElfrid Payton
Philadelphia2 home
1 away
UnfavorableJahlil Okafor, Nerlens NoelRobert Covington
Phoenix2 home
2 away
UnfavorableDevin Booker, Alex LenTyson Chandler, TJ Warren, Brandon Knight
Portland3 home
1 away
FavorableDamian Lillard, CJ McCollumMason Plumlee
Sacramento2 home
2 away
NeutralDemarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, Rudy GayOmri Casspi
San Antonio2 home
1 away
NeutralKawhi Leonard, LaMarcus AldridgeTony Parker, Tim Duncan
Toronto2 home
2 away
FavorableKyle Lowery, DeMar DeRozanJonas Valanciunas, Bismack Biyombo
Utah3 home
1 away
FavorableRudy Gobert, Derrick FavorsRodney Hood, Gordon Hayward
Washington0 home
4 away
NeutralJohn Wall, Marcin GortatOtto Porter, Bradley Beal, Markieff Morris

Starts

Thaddeus Young, PF, Brooklyn Nets

Young has been playing great basketball over the last three weeks, averaging 16 and 10  while shooting fifty percent from the field. Those numbers are good enough to put him as the seventh best small forward and the eighth best power forward during that stretch. Brooklyn has a favorable schedule next week, so expect for the good numbers to continue.

Victor Oladipo, SG, Orlando Magic

Oladipo has been on fire over the last three weeks. Not only is he shooting over 54 percent from the field, he’s also been scorching from three, dropping 43 percent of his attempts. His rebounds and assists aren’t too exciting, but he always gets steals and blocks. Bottom line: you can’t not start him when he’s shooting as well as he has been.

John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards

Wall is finally playing like many prognosticators expected him to perform this year. He wasn’t bad earlier on, but he also wasn’t quite living up to his potential either. Over the last couple of weeks, that has changed. He’s making nearly 40 percent of his threes and dishing out over eleven assists per game. A quick check of the rankings, shows him just a hair behind Stephen Curry during that time period.

Sits

Will Barton, SG, Denver Nuggets

I’m not sure if the whole Will Barton experience that happened earlier this season is something we can expect to ever see again. At least not on a consistent basis. Which is a shame, of course, because Barton is a very exciting player when he’s on. When he’s not (like lately), then I think it’s better to keep him on the bench.

Jordan Clarkson, PG, Los Angeles Lakers

I thought Clarkson would be a second half breakout candidate, but it seems he’s not quite there yet. It’s possible his struggles have been exacerbated by D’angelo Russell’s strong play as of late, but I think it’s more just a case of him not quite being there yet. He’s young and talented and plays for a team where there will continue to be opportunities, so even though I’d keep him on the bench for now, I’d definitely stash him away for next year.

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John Mantooth

John Mantooth

John Mantooth is an award-winning author whose short stories have been recognized in numerous year's best anthologies. His first book, Shoebox Train Wreck, was released in March of 2012 from Chizine Publications. His debut novel, The Year of the Storm, came out in June 2013 from Berkley. He lives in Alabama with his wife, Becky, and two children where he spends far too much time thinking about fantasy basketball.
John Mantooth

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