2015-16 Fantasy Basketball: Week 18 Preview
4 Games: BOS, BKN, DEN, HOU, IND, LAC, MEM, MIA, MIL, OKC, PHI, PHX, POR, SAC, UTA, WSH
3 Games: ATL, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DET, GSW, LAL, MIN, NOP, NYK, ORL, SAS, TOR
Stephen Curry – PG – Golden State Warriors
I was waiting for a week like this to feature the current greatest player on the planet. It has been an absolutely ridiculous week for the reigning MVP, he has averaged 43.8 points, 8.3 threes, 5.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.5 steals per game over the last week. He also shot 61% from the field and 90% from the free throw line. Curry even contributed with two blocks this week. 46, 51, 42 and 36 points in four games and made a ridiculous 33 treys in those. Now, nobody in their right mind would be looking to trade Curry right now without an absolute king’s ransom in return. However, Curry is worth every penny in DFS leagues at the moment, no matter the cost.
Hassan Whiteside – C – Miami Heat
Since Chris Bosh has been sidelined with another potential blood clot issue, Whiteside has stepped in an dominated for the Heat frontcourt. He has averaged 17.7 points, 15.3 rebounds and 5.3 blocks per game over the past week, while shooting 57% from the floor and an unbelievable 92% from the free throw line. Whiteside has been a beast of late for the Heat, despite coming off the bench, and the contributions don’t appear to be going anywhere with the absence of Bosh for what could be the remainder of the season. Just don’t expect the free throw percentage to be anywhere close to 92%, as he is a 52% free throw shooter over the course of this season.
Nicolas Batum – SF – Charlotte Hornets
It’s been a tough stretch for Batum of late, he has averaged just 10 points, 7.0 assists, 4.7 rebounds while shooting 44% from the field. The assists and rebounds aren’t what landed him in this category for the week, it’s been his lack of scoring. Three of his four games this week were in single digits, and he has just eight points on 3/12 shooting over his last two games combined. Batum has the ability to be a dangerous scorer when called upon, however, it appears his role with the Hornets going forward is defense and contributing with assists and boards. Any time a player of this magnitude plays 39 minutes and only finishes with two points and four rebounds, it’s safe to label him as icy cold.
Doug McDermott – SF – Chicago Bulls
With Jimmy Butler sidelined with a knee injury, McDermott has stepped in and seen an increased role each game that goes by. In his last four games, McDermott has played 21, 29, 31 and 32 minutes respectively. It appears that the small forward –- who is from the same high school that his head coach Fred Hoiberg played at in Ames, Iowa –- has received more playing time now that the Bulls are looking for more scoring production with Butler out. While the Bulls play just three games this week, he has shot the ball well (51% over the past week), and averaged 17.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 three pointers per game. He is owned in just 19.9% of ESPN leagues, and he could see his production continue to grow as long as Jimmy Butler is out.
Mirza Teletovic – PF – Phoenix Suns
Teletovic exploded for 30 points and 11 rebounds against the Nets on February 25th, which helped him average 18.8 points and 7.0 rebounds over the last week. He is also contributing with 3.8 rebounds per game lately, while shooting 49% from the field and 75% from the free throw line. He will contribute with an assist or two here and there, as well as the occasional steal, but he is a great source of points and 3-pointers moving forward. He only averaged 27.3 minutes per game this week, but as the Suns season progresses, someone has to take the shots on a team that is going to be in the running for the top pick in the NBA draft. Teletovic is currently owned in just 36% of leagues.
Eric Gordon – SG – New Orleans Pelicans
While Gordon is 53.6% owned, it is worth checking to see if he is available on your waiver wire. He returned from a finger injury about as well as you could ask for, dropping 31 points on 9/17 shooting (53%), and draining four 3-pointers. Gordon has the chance to take over the role that Tyreke Evans had before he was ruled out for the rest of the season due to injury. As he showed in just his first game back from the injury, Gordon can score in bunches, as he is a threat from deep, but his shooting efficiency from the field can be shaky.
Games of the week
Monday – Pacers at Cavaliers
LeBron James sat out of the game on Sunday against the Wizards, leaving him fully charged up to host Paul George and the Pacers back at the Q.
Tuesday – Bulls at Heat
There’s no Chris Bosh and no Jimmy Butler in this one, but Pau Gasol, Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade, and Hassan Whiteside to highlight a game of two teams trying to make it in the top eight of the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Wednesday – Thunder at Clippers
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan highlight this matchup of two of the top teams in the Western Conference, in a battle of the stars at Staple Center.
Thursday – Thunder at Warriors
The last time these two teams met just last Saturday night in OKC, Steph Curry made the best game winning shot of the season, which happened to be his 12th three pointer of the game, tying the NBA record. Durant and Westbrook will look for revenge at Oracle Arena on Thursday night.
Friday – Trail Blazers at Raptors
The Blazers have been as hot as any team in the NBA here lately, as they travel out to Toronto to take on Kyle Lowry and the Raptors.
Saturday – Rockets at Bulls
James Harden, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, and Doug McDermott? The Rockets are struggling to stay in the Western Conference playoff race, as are the Bulls, as these two teams battle on Saturday night.
Sunday – Thunder at Bucks
The Bucks took down the Warriors earlier this season to give them their first loss, as well as taking down LeBron James and the Cavs at home in an OT thriller as well. Durant and Westbrook head into Milwaukee to take on the Bucks who have no problem playing well in the big moments at home.