Fantasy Basketball Weekly Planner: Dec. 31-Jan. 6

by Eric McClung on December 28, 2012 @ 13:18:38 PDT


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The NBA schedule has any given team playing between one to five games on any given week. This uneven distribution can alter the value of players quite a bit, particularly in weekly scoring formats. This planner highlights those teams playing an extra game or two and those playing a reduced amount.

Four games

Atlanta Hawks (@HOU, @NO, @DET, vs. BOS)

Over the last seven games Kyle Korver is averaging 10.4 points per game on 42.9 percent from the field. His primary contribution comes from behind the arch, averaging 2.3 threes per game while taking nearly six a game. Korver has recently seen a slight jump in rebounds, averaging 4.7 boards in the aforementioned time frame. The glass work may not last but the steady stream of triples should continue, hopefully with a better success rate.

Must starts: Josh Smith, Al Horford

Al Horford, F, Atlanta Falcons

Brooklyn Nets (@SA, @OKC, @WAS, vs. SAC)

The firing of head coach Avery Johnson and an abdominal injury to Kris Humphries could open the door for Andray Blatche to become a bigger part of the rotation. In the month of December, which includes starting the first six games, Blatche has averaged 13.8 points per game on 53.3 percent shooting with 6.4 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 0.8 blocks.

Must starts: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Brook Lopez

Denver Nuggets (vs. LAC, vs. MIN, vs. UTA, @LAL)

Swingman Corey Brewer recently matched a career-high 27 points in a game thanks to half a dozen threes. He's averaging 14.2 points per game this month with a sharp 50.3 percent shooting percentage. On the season Brewer taking four attempts a game from downtown after never averaging more than three per game in his five previous seasons.

Must starts: Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried

Houston Rockets (vs. ATL, vs. NO, @MIL, @CLE)

He's shooting an ugly percentage but Carlos Delfino is firing away from long distance. Delfino has played in 21 games this season and has taken 10 or more threes on four occasions. Even though he probably can't be trusted completely right now, Delfino is getting the opportunities that could elevate him to fantasy relevance before too long.

Must starts: Jeremy Lin, James Harden, Omer Asik

Indiana Pacers (vs. MEM, vs. WAS, @BOS, vs. MIL)

Despite never averaging more than 8.8 rebounds a game in a season, the Pacers elected to give Roy Hibbert a maximum contract during the summer. Their 7-foot-2 center is quickly looking like one of the most overpaid player in the league right now, averaging 9.9 points per game on a woeful 40.4 percent shooting percentage. Hibbert continues to disappoint on the glass with 8.2 boards but is averaging a career-best 2.9 blocks per game.

The poor shooting can be blamed, in part, on the wrist he injured last year in the playoffs. Even though he's shot better in recent games Hibbert still can't shake off his inconsistencies and lackluster rebounding giving his extreme height advantage.

Must starts: George Hill, David West

Los Angeles Clippers (@DEN, @GS, vs. LAL, vs. GS)

Despite coming off the bench Matt Barnes is playing well enough to be universally owned right now. He's registered 13.3 points per game on 55.8 percent shooting this month with 4.8 rebounds, 1.5 threes, 1.3 steals and a block. Barnes is stuffing the stat sheet and is a great lineup piece heading into a four-game week.

Must starts: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin

Memphis Grizzles (@IND, @BOS, vs. POR, @PHO)

In place of Rudy Gay, who missed a game due to a personal matter, Quincy Pondexter received the start. He tallied 13 points with a trio of threes and made all four free throws but was just three of 10 from the field. With Gay due back shortly Pondexter's limited value as a starter looks very short lived.

Must starts: Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol

Miami Heat (@ORL, vs. DAL, vs. CHI, vs. WAS)

Over the last two games Mario Chalmers has been excellent scoring with the ball, totaling 37 points with eight threes. Ray Allen missed the team's most recent game with a shoulder injury and Dwyane Wade has been suspended for one game following a kick to the groin. Even though Chalmers isn't offering up the assists you'd want from a point guard he has a short-term boost as a scorer.

Must starts: Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh

Oklahoma City Thunder (vs. PHO, vs. BKN, vs. PHI, @TOR)

His scoring extremely limited but Thabo Sefolosha is still managing 1.2 threes, a steal and half a block per game. The attempts from long range were never part a big part of Sefolosha's game until this season after Harden was traded away. If you don't need the points Sefolosha can pour in some swipes this week as a rental player.

Must starts: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka

Philadelphia 76ers (@LAL, @PHO, @OKC, @SA)

If back issues keep Jason Richardson out for multiple games Dorell Wright will see a huge spike in value. In the absence of J-Rich he scored a season-high 28 points with six rebounds, five threes, two blocks and one steal. Wright is a better all-around player than Richardson so it's not out of the question for him to make a big dent in his minutes going forward.

Despite not being a starter Spencer Hawes is getting plenty of minutes and producing. He's averaging 12 points per game this month with 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. Hawes is also shooting nearly a three per game, a rare commodity for a center.

Must starts: Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young

Phoenix Suns (@OKC, vs. PHI, vs. UTA, vs. MEM)

Over the last six games Jared Dudley scored 19 or more points on five times with four or more threes on three occasions. Dudley doesn't get many rebounds but is averaging 1.1 steals per game this season and recently had a game with 10 assists.

Must starts: Marcin Gortat

Portland Trail Blazers (@NY, @TOR, @MEM, @MIN)

Rookie Will Barton has received an extended look coming off the bench over the last two games. The second-round pick played 20 minutes in consecutive games for the first time, totaling 21 points, six rebounds, four assists with a three and a steal. It's too early to know if Barton will keep getting this kind of playing time going forward but with four games coming up in a span of five days he's sure to see plenty of action in the immediate future.

Must starts: Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, J.J. Hickson

DeMarcus Cousins, C, Sacramento Kings

Sacramento Kings (@DET, @CLE, @TOR, @BKN)

The abysmal Kings continue to lose games and are going through another round of drama with embattled center DeMarcus Cousins. Jason Thompson is getting a chance to man the middle of the court without Cousins but would slide back to the starting power forward spot if the situation is resolved. Thompson is averaging 11.7 points this month with 9.2 rebounds, 0.8 blocks, 0.8 steals while shooting better than 51 percent.

Must starts: DeMarcus Cousins (if placed back into the starting lineup)

San Antonio Spurs (vs. BKN, @MIL, @NY, vs. PHI)

Swingman Kawhi Leonard is back following a bout of tendinitis in his left knee. He has the ability to offer across-the-board production with 1.1 threes and 2.3 steals per game in a dozen contests this season. If Leonard was dropped recently it's time to consider picking him up.

Must starts: Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan

Washington Wizards (vs. DAL, @IND, vs. BKN, @MIA0

Uneven production earlier in the season cost Emeka Okafor quite a bit of playing time, but he's starting to come back around. Over the last six games he's recorded 10 or more rebounds on four occasions and is coming off a pair of double-double efforts.

Must starts: none

Two games

Golden State Warriors (vs. LAC, @LAC)

He's not starting games but Jarrett Jack is getting 30 minutes per contest this month while recording 15.5 points on 53.2 percent shooting with 5.8 assists and a steal per game. Over the last five games he's exceeded 25 points twice and double-digit assists on two other occasions.

Must starts: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee

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About Eric McClung

Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a three-time award finalist. Over the years, he's made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts. He's also captured the fantasy football championship in the KFFL staff league twice.

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