Week 17 Fantasy Basketball Schedule Breakdown
With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, another key event for the NBA season is on the horizon: All-Star Weekend. The festivities begin on Friday in Indianapolis, resulting in a change to the fantasy basketball schedule. Week 17 in standard leagues is two weeks wrapped into one, with games on both sides of the break used for weekly scoring. Let’s look at the Week 17 schedule, in which most of the NBA will play either four (13 teams) or five (15) games, and a few of its notable storylines.
Week 17 Games Played
6 Games: GSW
5 Games: CHA, CLE, DEN, HOU, LAC, LAL, MIL, MIN, NOR, ORL, PHI, PHO, SAS, UTA, WAS
4 Games: ATL, BOS, BKN, CHI, DAL, DET, IND, MEM, NYK, OKC, POR, SAC, TOR
3 Games: MIA
Week 17 Storylines
- Warriors and Heat on opposite ends of the scheduling spectrum
Golden State will be the most active team during Week 17, as they’re scheduled to play three games on both sides of the All-Star break. Not only will they end their pre-break schedule with a back-to-back, but they’ll begin the post-break portion with one. Gary Payton II’s return won’t impact fantasy basketball, but it does give Steve Kerr another option to work into the rotation. How will this affect Brandin Podziemski and Klay Thompson? While the skill sets differ from what GPII brings to the table, the latter has seen his minutes decrease recently, and being part of the closing lineup is no longer guaranteed. Also, Chris Paul (hand) is due to be re-evaluated shortly. The rotation we see after the break could have some significant tweaks compared to how the Warriors go into it.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Miami, which only plays three games during Week 17. Two games will be played before the break, with the Heat playing a road back-to-back against the Bucks and 76ers. The lone post-break game is at New Orleans. While managers with one of the Heat’s main options shouldn’t be concerned, what happens with Jaime Jaquez Jr. or Caleb Martin? This may be the time to place them on the bench unless there’s a worthwhile alternative lingering on the waiver wire. In deep leagues, they should be held, while the best course of action in a shallow format may be to drop them for a player who will have the opportunity to play five games during the “week.”
- Three teams finish their pre-break slates with a back-to-back
Golden State, Memphis, and Utah will be the busiest teams heading into the All-Star break, as each has a Wednesday/Thursday back-to-back to navigate. By now, we know all about the Grizzlies’ roster issues, with Vince Williams Jr. emerging as the safest non-Jaren Jackson Jr. option for fantasy basketball. GG Jackson offers intrigue, while Santi Aldama could be worth a roll of the dice now that he’s starting. However, three of Memphis’ four games in Week 17 will be played before the All-Star break.
As for Utah, the Jazz play three of their five games before the break, and all five are at home. Walker Kessler and John Collins are two players to track, as Thursday’s loss to the Suns was the first they started alongside each other since December 28. Both were productive in the road loss, but Utah did not have the answers defensively despite Phoenix playing without Devin Booker. Kessler can provide solid value in a reserve role, even though fantasy managers prefer to see him in the starting lineup. Collins has come off the bench in only two of his 49 appearances this season, so the sample size is too small to draw any significant conclusions.
- 14 teams begin their post-break schedules with a back-to-back
The league schedule-makers want to see how fit some of these teams are coming out of the break. Nearly half of the 30 teams will play a Thursday/Friday back-to-back to begin their post-break schedules, with Charlotte (at Utah) and Washington (at Denver) taking on the unenviable task of playing their first game at high altitude. The Hornets’ rotation looks much different than before the trade deadline, with all five additions seeing time in Saturday’s win over Memphis. Tre Mann, who started at point guard, Vasilije Micic, and Grant Williams were the most impactful and are worth a look in fantasy in their new situations.
The question for Washington is how healthy Marvin Bagley III (back) will be coming out of the break. He started in his first game since January 31 but only played 15 minutes in Saturday’s loss to the 76ers. Will he be restricted during that back-to-back (at DEN, at OKC), or will he be a full go? With the Wizards trading Daniel Gafford (the reason why Bagley started on Saturday), the “best” alternative at center may be Kyle Kuzma, hoping that a forced mismatch can mitigate the issues Washington will have defensively. Richaun Holmes did not play against Philadelphia, while Eugene Omoruyi (who, like Kuzma, isn’t a center) played eight minutes off the bench.
- What will managers get out of Alperen Sengun to begin Week 17?
While he and Jalen Green were benched for the fourth quarter of Friday’s loss to the Raptors due to defensive struggles, the talented center was held out of Saturday’s game in Atlanta due to lower back pain. While Houston plays five games during Week 17, three are scheduled for after the All-Star break. Sengun’s status for Monday’s game against the Knicks impacts the entire roster, most notably the man who replaced him in the starting lineup on Saturday (Jeff Green).
While he isn’t a center, Uncle Jeff was solid in his 31 minutes on the floor. Jalen Green also benefitted, as he recorded a triple-double (26/14/10/1 with two 3-pointers). Also impacting the Rockets was the continued absence of Fred VanVleet, as he would have figured prominently in the playmaking had he been healthy enough to play against the Hawks. If Saturday’s rotation was any indication, fantasy managers don’t need to consider the possibility of adding Jock Landale should Sengun remain sidelined, as he only played 13 minutes off the bench.
- Will Spencer Dinwiddie or Kyle Lowry become fantasy-relevant in their new homes?
Dinwiddie and Lowry hit the buyout market shortly after the trade deadline, with the Raptors and Hornets, respectively, moving in another direction. Both have since agreed to join teams with loftier ambitions. Dinwiddie is headed home, as the Los Angeles native has agreed to a deal with the Lakers. Lowry’s also joining his hometown team, as he’ll reunite with Daryl Morey and Nick Nurse in Philadelphia. But will either player be fantasy-relevant in his new role? Unfortunately, the answer is likely no.
While Lowry provided 12th-round per-game value in 9-cat formats, Dinwiddie was two rounds worse. And they’re both in situations where they’ll play behind established starting point guards. Lowry and Dinwiddie have shared the court with other playmakers, which is relevant to their fits on rosters headlined by Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia) and D’Angelo Russell (Lakers). Dinwiddie’s path to providing fantasy value in his new role may be a better one to navigate, as the Lakers don’t have much depth on the perimeter behind starters D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves, especially with it being unknown when Gabe Vincent (knee) will be healthy enough to play.
- Keep an eye on Simone Fontecchio in Detroit
Fontecchio did not start his Pistons debut on Saturday, but he essentially played starter’s minutes in the six-point loss to the Clippers. Shooting 8-of-19 from the field, he accounted for 20 points, nine rebounds, one assist, one steal, and three 3-pointers in 32 minutes off the bench. Starter Mike Muscala only played ten minutes alongside Jalen Duren. Detroit plays four games during Week 17, two on each side of the All-Star break. Can Fontecchio crack the starting lineup? Does it matter, especially if he can continue approaching (or surpassing) 30 minutes? Given Detroit’s need for floor spaces, he could be an intriguing option in deep leagues, especially with Quentin Grimes (knee) sidelined.
- Will the Knicks look to the buyout market to strengthen the center rotation?
With Mitchell Robinson (ankle) still sidelined, Isaiah Hartenstein dealing with a flare-up in his Achilles, and Jericho Sims dealing with an illness, New York lacked options in Saturday’s loss to the Pacers. Taj Gibson started and logged 19 minutes, but as big of a fan favorite as he is, he shouldn’t be playing rotation minutes for a playoff contender. Give the veteran credit for doing what he can for the team, but the Knicks would be best served to look to the buyout market for another option.
Unfortunately for them, the Thunder added Bismack Biyombo on Saturday, taking an intriguing name off of the list of available options. Will Leon Rose and company look to add a body before the break, or will they look to navigate their final two pre-break games with the current roster instead? The severity of Hartenstein’s Achilles issue may significantly impact the answer to that question, even if Sims is available for Monday’s game in Houston. There may not be a fantasy-relevant big on the list of current free agents, but adding an option would benefit the forwards (Precious Achiuwa and new addition Bojan Bogdanovic) who looked overwhelmed in their respective stints at the five against the Pacers.
Light Game Days
Thursday (February 15): 3 Games
MIL vs. MEM
GSW vs. UTA
MIN vs. POR
Saturday (February 24): 3 Games
ORL vs. DET
BOS vs. NYK
BKN vs. MIN
Week 17 Back-to-backs
Sunday (Week 16)-Monday: None
Monday-Tuesday: MIL, MIN
Tuesday-Wednesday: BOS, BKN, DET, LAL, MIA, ORL, PHO, SAC
Wednesday-Thursday (February 15): GSW, MEM, UTA
Thursday (February 22)-Friday: CHA, CLE, DEN, GSW, HOU, LAC, LAL, NOR, OKC, PHI, PHO, SAS, TOR, WAS
Sunday-Monday (Week 18): IND, SAC