This week sees the schedule altered by the All Star break, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t find some winning combinations. I’ve got a full breakdown below, but before we get to the official business, I thought it would be a great time to pick my fantasy all stars for 2015-2016.
Guards: This is the easy part. No two guards have been more dominant than Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook. Curry is a three point marksman who has knocked down 233 three pointers with thirty games left in the season. Westbrook is an athletic machine capable of a triple double on any given night. A few games ago, he hung 24, 19 (boards), and 14 (assists) on the Magic. As good as Westbrook is, I’d still say Curry is the fantasy MVP (thus far).
Forwards: The picture isn’t so clear cut here. Lots of guys have had good years, including Anthony Davis and Lebron James. But both of those guys haven’t been quite as good as Draymond Green and Kevin Durant. Like Westbrook, Green is a do it all guy who can give you a triple double on any given night. Durant is the six eleven version of Curry. Knockdown shooter who has the ability to finish at the rim.
Center: This was the hardest pick of all. For much of the year, I would have gone with Andre Drummond, and the truth is, he still makes a strong case for the selection. However, thanks to a strong January and February, I’ve got to take Demarcus Cousins. Cousins has added the three point shot to his already scary repository of strengths. He’s shooting 35 percent this season, having made nearly 50. That’s flat out scary for a 270 pound seven footer.
Bench: I’d round out the bench with the following: Andre Drummond (rebounding beast), Anthony Davis (reigning fantasy MVP), James Harden (the best SG by a mile), Deandre Jordan (pretty much an older version of Drummond), Lebron James (he’s fallen a bit, hasn’t he?), and Hassan Whiteside (need blocks?).
Week 16 Fantasy Basketball Preview
|Team||Number of Games||Schedule Favorability||Must Start||Consider Sitting|
|Favorable||Paul Millsap, Al Horford||Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore, Jeff Teague|
|Neutral||Isaiah Thomas||Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley|
|Favorable||Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young||Jarrett Jack|
|Favorable||Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum||Al Jefferson|
|Highly Favorable||Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler||Derrick Rose, Nikola Mirotic|
|Highly Favorable||Lebron James, Kevin Love||Mo Williams, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, Kyrie Irving|
|Neutral||Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons||Deron Williams|
|Neutral||Danilo Gallinari, Will Barton, Nikola Jokic||Kenneth Faried, Emmanuel Mudiay|
|Highly Favorable||Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson||Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope|
|Golden State||1 home|
|Favorable||Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson||Andre Iguodala|
|Unfavorable||James Harden, Dwight Howard||Ty Lawson, Trevor Ariza|
|Favorable||Paul George, Myles Turner||Monta Ellis, George Hill, Ian Mahinmi|
|Los Angeles Clippers||0 home|
|Favorable||Deandre Jordan, Chris Paul||Blake Griffin|
|Los Angeles Lakers||0 home|
|Poor||Julius Randle||Kobe Bryant, Roy Hibbert|
|Neutral||Marc Gasol, Mike Conley||Zach Randolph|
|Unfavorable||Hassan Whitehead, Chris Bosh||Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic|
|Unfavorable||Greg Monroe, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antekokounmpo||Michael Carter Williams, Jabri Parker|
|Favorable||Karl-Anthony Towns||Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio|
|New Orleans||1 home|
|Favorable||Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson||Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans|
|New York||1 home|
|Poor||Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis||Robin Lopez|
|Oklahoma City||1 home|
|Neutral||Russel Westbrook, Kevin Durant||Serge Ibaka|
|Favorable||Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic||Elfrid Payton, Tobias Harris|
|Favorable||Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel||Robert Covington|
|Favorable||Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin||Tyson Chandler, TJ Warren, Brandon Knight|
|Favorable||Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum||Mason Plumlee|
|Neutral||Demarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay||Omri Casspi|
|San Antonio||0 home|
|Highly Favorable||Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge||Tony Parker, Tim Duncan|
|Favorable||Kyle Lowery, DeMar DeRozan||Jonas Valanciunas, Bismack Biyombo|
|Favorable||Rudy Gobert, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood||None|
|Unfavorable||John Wall, Otto Porter||Marcin Gortat, Bradley Beal|
Julius Randle, PF, Los Angeles Lakers
I’m not sure I’d start him unless you’re hurting at power forward, but I thought it was time to throw the Lakers a bone.
For weeks, I’ve recommended not using any of their players. Lately though, Randle has shown over the last few weeks, so if you don’t have somebody better, give him a shot.
Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets
A lot of rookies have been making their presence known lately (see SJ below), but perhaps none as strongly as Jokic.
Over the last eight games, he’s outperformed Andre Drummond in my fantasy league.
While it’s true, Drummond has been a in a little bit of a slump as of late, Jokic has also been better than Dwight Howard, Nerlens Noel, Marc Gasol, and Greg Monroe during the same time period.
Stanley Johnson, SG, SF, Detroit Pistons
We see you, Stanley Johnson! The rookie put up a new career-high against the Knicks. pic.twitter.com/pMKboPxasu
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 5, 2016
I really like Johnson’s game. He’s got an NBA ready body, he plays hard, and he’s in a great situation in Detroit with Van Gundy.
I’d been expecting him to eventually move into the Pistons’ starting lineup. Now with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope out for a few weeks (and maybe more), Johnson has been thrust into the SG role, and has responded extremely well.
I think the next few weeks will see him emerge as a must start fantasy option across all formats.
Bradley Beal, SG, Washington Wizards
Just before my league’s trade deadline, I almost nabbed Beal. These days I’m kind of relieved I didn’t. He’s performed poorly after his return from leg injury, and now the Wizards are managing his minutes, so he’s just not a safe play at the moment.
Kyrie Irving, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers
Kyrie may be the best example of a guy who is extremely talented and often coveted in the real NBA game, yet doesn’t translate well to fantasy. Sure, he’ll have some big games for you, but he’s also as likely to disappear or underwhelm. Besides scoring, he doesn’t really do very much, making him a high risk guy to count on.
- Week 23 Fantasy Basketball Preview: Westbrook Remains a Top Pick - March 28, 2016
- Week 22 Fantasy Basketball Preview: Draymond Green, Man of Many Talents - March 20, 2016
- Week 21 Fantasy Basketball Preview: Building a Champion - March 13, 2016