Hello and welcome back to the Week Ahead. Every Saturday I’m going to be right here breaking down the weekly schedule and the latest injury report, and I’ll also include some hot pickups for your fantasy team and some players you should consider dropping. Everyone loves rumors, so I’ll also provide some insight on some of the trending topics around the league. For NBA news and fantasy advice, find me on Twitter by clicking here!
Week 14 Schedule: Games Played
4 Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, GSW, HOU, IND, MIA, MIL, NOR, NYK, OKC, PHI, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS
3 Games: DAL, DEN, LAC, MEM, MIN, ORL, PHO, POR
2 Games: DET, LAL
This is the second two-game week in a row for the Pistons, so Tobias Harris and Andre Drummond are probably the only two players I would start in weekly leagues. As for the Lakers, Julius Randle is probably the only safe start, but Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson will also be interesting if D’Angelo Russell (knee) misses time.
Top 3 Adds of the Week
Caris LeVert (11% owned)- Guys, the breakout is real. LeVert has posted two all-around gems in a row with averages of 15.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.5 triples on a combined 12-of-14 shooting in that span. He’s obviously not going to be this hot from the field, but LeVert can play and coach Kenny Atkinson hinted this week that he’s nearly ready to unleash him even though his initial plan was to bring him along gradually. The Nets have a great schedule for the fantasy playoffs and LeVert is poised to break out in the second half of the season, so pick him up now. As with all rookies, some bumps in the road are to be expected.
Raymond Felton (37% owned)- In case you’ve been under a rock all week, Chris Paul (thumb surgery) is going to miss the next 6-8 weeks. Felton is going to be starter going forward and he looked solid on Jan. 19 vs. the Wolves with 10 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals in 34 minutes. Assists are hard to find on the wire, but Felton should be able to keep Paul’s owners afloat until CP3 returns in March.
Austin Rivers (46% owned)- Rivers may have a bit more short-term value with Paul sidelined, but I’m curious to see what the rotation looks like when Blake Griffin (knee) returns in the next week or two. Rivers was already playing heavy minutes before the CP3 injury, but he’s now locked into a 34-36 minute role for the foreseeable future. Rivers' usage rate climbs from 14.9 to 21.8 when Paul is off the court, so he’s going to be BUSY moving forward.
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On the Radar
David Lee and Dewayne Dedmon- Pau Gasol (hand) is likely out anywhere from four to six weeks, so Lee and Dedmon are both interesting pickups. Lee got the start on Jan. 19 vs. the Nuggets and had 10 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, one block and a steal in 33 minutes, while Dedmon came off the bench and had seven points, four rebounds, two steals and one assist in 19 minutes.
Dedmon was in foul trouble, so keep that in mind. The Spurs like to mix up their lineups based on the matchups and I think Dedmon will also make some starts. In two previous starts this season, Dedmon posted averages of 6.0 points, 8.5 boards, 2.5 blocks and 1.0 steal, while Lee now has averages of 9.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in four starts. Lee looks like the pickup If you need points, boards and decent shooting percentages, while Dedmon is the better add if you need some steals and blocks.
The Drop List
Sean Kilpatrick- He has been held to single-digit points in three straight games and LeVert is coming for his minutes.
Michael Carter-Williams- He might be the least-productive starting PG in the NBA.
J.J. Barea- He’s going to miss “weeks” after injuring his troublesome calf on Friday. Don’t be surprised if he’s shut down.
Chandler Parsons- He’s by far the most annoying player to own in fantasy. He gets a lot of rest days for a player who plays two minutes a night.
John Henson- The Bucks are using all three of their centers again. Make it stop!
Rudy Gay- He’s not coming back this season after tearing his Achilles.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Magic reportedly offered Nikola Vucevic and a future first-round pick for Goran Dragic, but the Heat weren’t interested. First of all, what are the Magic thinking? Secondly, why in the world would the Heat not take that offer and run. Even if they aren’t in love with the idea of acquiring Vucevic when they already have Hassan Whiteside, they could always flip him to another team and pick up another draft pick in the process.
Anyways, that’s not too important and it sounds like the deal is off anyways. If anything, this confirms that the Magic are trying to unload Vucevic, but his fantasy owners should be rooting for a move since his role with the Magic has been so volatile this season. As for Dragic, it’s inevitable that he’s going to be moved because the Heat are looking to clear cap space and pick up draft picks in the process. Dragic has a dream role right now and a move could hurt his production, but would you really trust him a couple months from now in the fantasy playoffs if he stays in Miami with the Heat obviously tanking? In other words, it may not be a bad thing if he’s moved. On the other hand, If you own Tyler Johnson or are stashing Josh Richardson (foot), you have every reason to be excited.
Stein has also reported that the Wolves and Pistons have engaged in trade talks that would involve a PG swap of Ricky Rubio for Reggie Jackson. The Wolves view Kris Dunn as their franchise PG and it’s no secret that Rubio has been on the block for a while. However, this is puzzling because Rubio has really elevated his game to another level recently while Dunn has struggled mightily in his rookie season. Maybe the Wolves want to bring in some more defense in Jackson, but I don’t like this trade for either team. In terms of fantasy, Jackson would likely see a dip in value on the Wolves and Rubio would likely get a slight bump in Detroit.
The Heat could remove Chris Bosh from their payroll as soon as Feb. 9, but rival executives expect them to wait until after Mar. 1 to waive him so that he’s not playoff-eligible for another team. Stein is reporting that the Bulls will make a run at him next summer if he’s ever cleared to play again, meaning we could see a potential Dwyane Wade and Bosh reunion, only this time in the Windy City.
This next report may have the most fantasy implications, as Stein reported that the Nuggets are fully expected to move Jusuf Nurkic before the Feb. 23 trade deadline. Nurkic has not been thrilled with his role in Denver and the team wants to give him a chance to be the “front-line center” for another team. Nurkic is a per-minute monster that could thrive on a new team, so he’s one of my favorite stashes as we approach the trade deadline. Nurk Alert lives.
With Rudy Gay (Achilles) done for the season, the Kings might be ready to shake things up and Stein is reporting that Ben McLemore and Arron Afflalo are likely on the way out of Sacramento. There are no real fantasy implications here, but at least we will finally get a look at rookie Malachi Richardson if this comes true.
P.J. Tucker could be on his way out of Phoenix and the Clippers, Bulls, Cavaliers, Timberwolves and Hawks all have interest, and while the Suns can get a second-round pick for the defensive stalwart anytime they want, they are holding out in the hope that they can get a first-round pick. Get ready to see a lot of T.J. Warren, Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender in the final months of the season.
We already know that Brandon Knight is likely going to be moved, but now Stein is reporting that the Suns are no longer looking to deal Tyson Chandler. Coach Earl Watson said this week that Chandler is "not going anywhere,” but this could just be a ploy to raise his value in trade talks.
According to Newsday, Carmelo Anthony said he would be open to waiving his no-trade clause if the Knicks tell him that they want to go in another direction. “I think it will be more on the front office,” Anthony said. “I have the power, but still I would talk to them. We would be in communication if they feel like they want to go in a different direction, they want to start rebuilding for the future. If they tell me they want to scrap this whole thing, yeah, I have to consider it.” It’s hard to imagine another team taking on his massive salary and he has a 15-percent trade kicker in his contract, so a trade seems unlikely no matter how bad Phil Jackson wants him to leave.
Injury Report: Accurate as of Jan. 21 at 2:00 ET
Jeremy Lin (hamstring) still has no timetable to return.
Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play Saturday vs. Portland and could miss additional time. "The Achilles is structurally fine, but he has a lot of soreness around it," coach Brad Stevens said. The Celtics are going to be cautious, so pick up Marcus Smart if you're OK with his awful FG percentage.
Kevin Love (back) is questionable for Saturday's game vs. the Spurs, but he is nearing a return and should be ready for Week 14 regardless of his status on Saturday.
Danilo Gallinari (ankle) and Wilson Chandler (personal) will both return on Saturday vs. the Clippers, while Gary Harris (ankle) remains out. Will Barton is a strong play in all formats while Harris is out.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (shoulder) will miss his fourth game in a row on Saturday vs. the Wizards. His timetable is still unclear, but he's worth stashing in all formats.
Jon Leuer (knee) will return from a five-game absence on Saturday vs. the Wizards, but the Pistons will ease him back into the rotation slowly.
Chris Paul underwent successful surgery on Jan. 18 to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, and he's expected to miss the next 6-8 weeks of action. This means he should be back in the lineup around March, just in time for the fantasy playoffs.
Blake Griffin (knee) is "close to 100 percent" and could return as soon as Tuesday's game vs. the 76ers. He said he could play right now if the Clippers let him, so expect to see Griffin at least one time in Week 14 before the end of the Clippers' road trip.
Josh Richardson (foot) is expected to miss a couple more weeks, but he's a decent stash for the final stretch of the season, especially with all the Goran Dragic rumors.
Ricky Rubio will miss Sunday's game vs. the Nuggets for personal reasons, but he's fully expected to return on Tuesday vs. the Suns.
Khris Middleton (hamstring) is still aiming for a return near the All-Star break. The Bucks will bring him along very slowly, but he has top-30 upside when he's at full strength so you can't leave that kind of talent on the wire if you have an IR spot.
Anthony Davis (right quad) did not practice on Saturday, but the injury is not serious and he should be fine for Monday's game. This is Davis we are talking about, so make sure Terrence Jones is not sitting on your waiver wire.
Steven Adams is still in the concussion protocol and we won't know if he's traveling for Monday's game vs. Utah until Sunday.
Evan Fournier's (heel) return isn't "imminent," while Jodie Meeks (thumb) is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. C.J. Watson started and scored five points in 31 minutes on Friday, so there are no adds here.