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Since we’ve got a few more days before the All-Star break ends, I thought I’d look to the second half of the season and make some fantasy predictions.

Karl-Anthony Towns will solidify his place as a top tier fantasy center. Okay, so this one is pretty easy. Towns hasn’t even thought about hitting a rookie wall. Instead, he’s crashed right through it. I think this trend will continue, not only winning him ROY honors, but also putting him in rarefied air, right up there with Cousins and Drummond.

Both Emmanuel Mudiay and Myles Turner will become must start options at their respective positions. If this Towns’s prediction was easy, this one is anything but. These two guys have shown flashes sure, but most people wouldn’t feel comfortable with making such a prediction. I do. And the reason is very simple: I’ve watched them play. The eye test is the best test, and both of these guys pass. Look for continued strong play from them in the second half.

Andre Drummond will get his game back. If you haven’t been following him closely, you might not have realized he’d ever lost it, but he has. Oh man, has he ever. Consider his November and December compared with his last half of January and February: 18 point/ 16 rebounds vs. 15 points/ 13 rebounds. I predict that he comes back rejuvenated after the all star break and returns to early season form.

There will be a major injury to a fantasy stud. Okay, another fairly easy one. Then again, this year has been a pretty weird one for injuries, simply because there have been very few to major stars. The law of averages says that will change. Who will it be? No telling. But somebody’s going down.

Week Seventeen Fantasy Basketball Preview

TeamNumber of GamesSchedule FavorabilityMust StartConsider Sitting
Atlanta2 home
0 away
FavorablePaul Millsap, Al Horford, Jeff TeagueDennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore
Boston0 home
2 away
NeutralIsaiah ThomasEvan Turner, Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley
Brooklyn2 home
0 away
FavorableBrook Lopez, Thaddeus YoungJarrett Jack
Charlotte1 home
1 away
NeutralKemba Walker, Nicolas BatumAl Jefferson
Chicago2 home
1 away
Highly FavorablePau Gasol, Jimmy ButlerDerrick Rose, Nikola Mirotic
Cleveland1 home
1 away
FavorableLebron James, Kevin LoveMo Williams, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, Kyrie Irving
Dallas1 home
1 away
NeutralChandler Parsons Deron Williams, Dirk Nowitzki
Denver1 home
1 away
NeutralDanilo Gallinari, Nikola Jokic, Emmanuel MudiayKenneth Faried, Will Barton
Detroit1 home
1 away
FavorableAndre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Stanley JohnsonMarcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Golden State0 home
2 away
FavorableStephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay ThompsonAndre Iguodala
Houston0 home
1 away
UnfavorableJames Harden, Dwight HowardTy Lawson, Trevor Ariza
Indiana0 home
2 away
FavorablePaul George, Myles TurnerMonta Ellis, George Hill, Ian Mahinmi
Los Angeles Clippers2 home
0 away
FavorableDeandre Jordan, Chris PaulBlake Griffin
Los Angeles Lakers1 home
1 away
PoorJulius Randle, Kobe BryantRoy Hibbert
Memphis1 home
1 away
NeutralMarc Gasol, Mike ConleyZach Randolph
Miami1 home
1 away
NeutralHassan Whitehead, Chris Bosh, Dwyane WadeGoran Dragic
Milwaukee1 home
1 away
NeutralGreg Monroe, Khris Middleton, Giannis AntekokounmpoMichael Carter Williams, Jabri Parker
Minnesota1 home
1 away
NeutralKarl-Anthony Towns, Gorgui Dieng Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio
New Orleans1 home
1 away
NeutralAnthony DavisEric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson
New York0 home
2 away
UnfavorableCarmelo Anthony, Kristaps PorzingisRobin Lopez
Oklahoma City2 home
0 away
FavorableRussel Westbrook, Kevin DurantSerge Ibaka
Orlando2 home
0 away
FavorableVictor Oladipo, Nikola VucevicElfrid Payton, Tobias Harris
Philadelphia0 home
2 away
UnfavorableJahlil Okafor, Nerlens NoelRobert Covington
Phoenix1 home
1 away
UnfavorableDevin Booker, Archie GoodwinTyson Chandler, TJ Warren, Brandon Knight
Portland2 home
0 away
FavorableDamian Lillard, CJ McCollumMason Plumlee
Sacramento1 home
0 away
PoorDemarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, Rudy GayOmri Casspi
San Antonio0 home
3 away
Highly FavorableKawhi Leonard, LaMarcus AldridgeTony Parker, Tim Duncan
Toronto1 home
1 away
FavorableKyle Lowery, DeMar DeRozanJonas Valanciunas, Bismack Biyombo
Utah1 home
2 away
Highly FavorableRudy Gobert, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rodney HoodNone
Washington2 home
1 away
FavorableJohn Wall, Otto PorterMarcin Gortat, Bradley Beal

Starts

Kobe Bryant, SF, Los Angeles Lakers

Time to eat a little crow. I’d been adamant all season that Kobe would not be a fantasy factor this season. That he was washed up, past his prime, done. Then the last two weeks happened. Kobe looked like Kobe again. It won’t last, so take advantage while you can.

Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, Denver Nuggets

Call this one a hunch. I’ve been high on Mudiay all season, even when he was playing like trash. Lately, he’s been playing more like the kid scouts believed he could be. With that comes greater confidence. I think he’ll have a strong second half of the season.

Gorgui Dieng, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves

Dieng came on strong at the end of last season, and he’s looking to do the same in 2016. After a rocky start, he’s really playing well as of late, posting some high quality numbers in the past few weeks. Over his last six games, he’s averaged over 16 points, 10 rebounds, and a surprising, 4 assists. As long as he keeps this up, he’s a must start.

 

Sits

Ryan Anderson, PF, New Orleans Pelicans

Watch this one closely. Anderson is highly coveted by several teams, and with the trade deadline approaching, he might benefit from a change of scenery. But until then, or until he gets hot again, he’s a risky play.

Will Barton, SG, Denver Nuggets

Will the Thrill is a lot of fun to watch, but as sixth man, he tends to be either feast or famine. Guys like this really scare me. Lately, he’s been leaning more toward famine, so I’d lean toward keeping him on the bench.

 

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