Fantasy Basketball

Fantasy Basketball Week 8 Preview: Under the Radar

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If I were to say an NBA team is 18-4, you’d never think of them as an under the radar. Well, as usual, the 18-4 San Antonio Spurs are hardly being talked about. I don’t know how Gregg Popovich and his players do it, but they are consistently so exceptional that it has become boring. If you look past the headlines, you’ll find that there is a basketball clinic being held by the San Antonio Spurs. They are in session three or four nights per week.

A lot of their lack of coverage may also have to do with the Warriors being in their Conference. The Warriors are the fun team. The team dropping 142 points on the poor Indiana Pacers. A team just a week ago I put in the Finals without a second thought. Of course, I want the rematch between the Warriors and LeBron’s Cavaliers. But San Antonio might just crash my party.

I guess the moral of the story is to always read past the headlines and take everything with a grain of salt. Don’t just look at what someone or something tells you to believe and take it as fact. Don’t just take in hours of SportsCenter and regurgitate that information to your friends and on your twitter feed. Look into the facts and statistics, rather than just accepting the narrative being sold to you.

This principle is especially important in Fantasy Basketball. Teams that win are the ones that don’t fall in love with a player’s big name, rather they are willing to do the work and dig to find that player no one else is talking about. Their team may not have all the sexy names, but it is productive and it wins. I believe teams like the Spurs prefer it that way, and it seems to be working for them.

Fantasy Basketball Week 8 Preview

Schedules to Target

New Orleans Pelicans (4 Games)

The Pelicans have a very favorable week from a fantasy standpoint. Games against Indiana and Houston are no-brainers; they will have plenty of possessions. They don’t figure to be competitive with Golden State, but they will definitely see plenty of touches up and down the roster. Luckily, their game against San Antonio comes at the end of the week, so if you need to drop a Pelican you were streaming, you can do so without issue.

Portland Trail Blazers (4 Games)

The high octane offense of the Blazers will enjoy a very nice week of matchups. They face the Clippers first, who have regressed defensively as of late. The next three games should all be track meets as they play three of the top five teams in pace. Portland should be in the hundreds in every game this week, and have many role players that will benefit.

 Houston Rockets (4 Games)

Houston has maybe the most advantageous schedule of all, facing off with many defensive bottom feeders. Sacramento’s defense has come back down to earth, so I expect James Harden and company to take advantage of that and match ups against Brooklyn, New Orleans, and Minnesota. Tom Thibodeau is regarded as one of the best defensive coaches in the league, but that has yet to manifest itself into strong defense in Minnesota.

Schedules to Avoid

Washington Wizards (4 Games)

If John Wall’s 52 point performance in a loss doesn’t tell you what you need to know about the Wizards’ roster, then I don’t know what will. There are a couple of bright spots on the roster, Otto Porter and most recently Bradley Beal to name a couple, but even they can’t be counted on for consistency. Pair that with the fact that the Wizards play three top ten defenses this week, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Dallas Mavericks (4 Games)

I’ll get this out there now, Dirk Nowitzki is my favorite basketball player of all-time. But to say that the Mavericks transition out of the Dirk era is going poorly would be an understatement. They are one of the worst teams in the league, in real life and in fantasy. Match ups with Detroit, Utah, and San Antonio this week will have the Mavs struggling to break 85 points.

Memphis Grizzlies (4 Games)

The Grizzlies drew a tough schedule in Week 8, playing Clevland in back to back games, then playing Sacramento and Utah. They had a decent schedule last week to figure out the next step without Mike Conley, but this week won’t be as kind. Their pace of play and emphasis on defense also isn’t helping us fantasy owners.

Waiver Wire Targets

John Henson, PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks

John Henson is starting to look like the John Henson we thought we were getting when he first entered the league. He has to fight for minutes in the Bucks’ rotation, but his play lately is forcing him to be considered for more playing time. If your team is hurting for blocks, Henson is a must add. He averages 1.6 blocks per game in just 25 minutes played. His scoring and rebounding should only go up as he continues to see more minutes.

Deron Williams, PG, Dallas Mavericks

I know, I just told you to avoid Dallas this week. But this pick up will be one that we will be recommending as a long term payoff. With JJ Barea out of the picture for the forseeable future, Williams will see a bulk of the minutes at point guard for the Mavericks. Williams is mostly going to provide points, assists, and 3-pointers, but is worth a roster spot. The Mavs have to score at some point, right?

Wayne Ellington, SG, Miami Heat

Seemingly endless injuries to the Miami Heat guards has opened the door for Wayne Ellington. Ellington is averaging almost 35 minutes per game, and is scoring consistently. He is averaging three 3 pointers per game and is also capable of contributing in steals. He isn’t going to stuff the stat sheet otherwise, but is someone you can use to pad your scoring statistics.

About Chris Wright

Chris is a self-diagnosed, non-recovering Fantasy addict. Balances stats on paper with actual on field evidence when making projections. Check him out on Twitter @ChrisWright_F6P

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