RDT NBA Schedule Analysis – Week 17

Updated: February 4, 2018

Every single NBA player looks forward to All-Star weekend. For those who are participating in the game itself, the 3 point or dunk contest, skills challenge or any other event over the weekend, it is a time to hang out with your mates and have some fun. The game itself is a no defense, no intensity dunk fest. If that’s what floats your boat, good luck to you. There is nothing on the line for the players, so there is no incentive what so ever to play defense and put their body on the line.

There is a fair chance that players who don’t make the All-Star teams enjoy the weekend more. Why? Because it gives them a full week off from their NBA team in the middle of the season. Most spend time with their families, or jet off to some warm Caribbean country for a few days of rest and relaxation. They can re-charge the batteries and come back ready to make that final push to the play offs.

About the only people who DON’T like All-Star weekend are NBA fantasy coaches. Depending on the rules of the format you are playing, you will either have two separate weeks where teams play only one or two games, or you will have two weeks worth of games scrunched together into one ’round’. Real Dream Team NBA falls into the latter category.

Week 17 is business as usual, however Week 18 is effectively two weeks worth of games. The round starts on Tuesday 13/2 and continues all the way through to Monday 25/2. I will break down the actual games in more detail in next weeks Schedule Analysis article, but it does need to be taken into account when trading for Week 17. The Week 18 games in the table below includes each teams games over the entire two week round.

Schedule Breakdown

Trade Targets – 8 Game Teams

I’m going to start by looking at the schedule for the Philadelphia 76er’s. Whilst they only have 3 games in Week 17, they do have 5 games over the All-Star period. They must be in your plans. There are two relevant players to look at – Joel Embiid (Philly’s first All-Star since Jrue Holiday in 2012/13) and Ben Simmons. Keep in mind that in Week 17, there is back to back games on Sat/Sun. Embiid has still not played back to back games (though it may happen on the Sat/Sun back to back in Week 16 – keep an eye on that) and even if he does play, Coach Brown may choose to limit his minutes.

In Week 18, there is also a back to back on the Thu/Fri leading into the All-Star weekend. I would be very cautious selecting Embiid here. Given that he is also playing in the All-Star game, he may miss the second of the back to backs, or again, be on a minutes restriction. We will need to keep a close eye on media releases from the team to see if we can determine the teams plans for this stretch of games. Don’t bring in Embiid for Week 17, but look very closely at him for Week 18.

Charlotte (@Den, @Por, @Uta, Tor) – Dwight Howard has been a revelation over the last few weeks. He was 3rd in the league in Week 15 for total Fantasy points with 146 (Westbrook 154, Harden 147) and has continued that on into Week 16 (scores of 27 and 26 so far). The West Cost road trip can be a bit of a concern, and all 4 teams that they are playing are not easy-beats. However I am backing Dwight in to continue his good form and he should be good for a 25Fppg average.

Cleveland (@Orl, Min, @Atl, @Bos) – What a mess the Cavs have become. We were all waiting for them to ‘flick the switch’ come January, but it just hasn’t happened. During Week 16, they lost to Detroit, who were missing half there team (OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration) as part of the Blake Griffin trade. Kevin Love is now out injured, which is going to put more pressure on superstar LeBron James to turn the teams fortunes around. It’s fair to say that both Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose have not performed to expectations, and whilst Dwayne Wade has been serviceable, he is definitely not the player he used to be. That means that James must shoulder the bulk of the workload, and over the past couple of weeks, it hasn’t translated into good Fantasy scores.

He does have a very juicy game against Orlando this week. Orlando have been horrible of late, and will be coming off a back to back when Cleveland play them. If James can’t get up for 30+ Fantasy Points this game, there is seriously something wrong. They should also have an easy win over the hapless Hawks, but there are also two tough games against Minnesota and the Boston Celtics. Assuming all are fit, this will be the first time that Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas square off since the blockbuster off-season trade. Both teams will be out to prove their worth, and I expect James and Irving to stand up and be counted as the leaders of their teams.

Detroit (Por, Bkn, LAC, @Atl) – We are still waiting to see the implications of the Blake Griffin acquisition on the Pistons team, and more specifically Andre Drummond. Will the arrival of Griffin impact on Drummonds’ numbers? One game is hardly a great sample size, But he did score 27 Fantasy points with Griffin in the lineup on Friday. This followed up a massive 21 point, 22 rebound, 7 assist, 52 Fantasy point game against the Cavs earlier in the week. With most people running with KAT as their centre in RDT NBA, Andre could be a valuable unique selection.

Blake Griffin scored very well in his first game for the Pistons. He dropped 35 Fantasy points in the game against Memphis. Keep an eye on his performance against Miami on Sunday, but he is a bit too risky for my liking.

Houston (@Bkn, @Mia, Den, Dal) – Boy did I cop it over Houston this week. At a BBQ at Zano‘s place this week, he was tossing up between a couple of options. It pretty much involved keeping Chris Paul and getting a better player elsewhere, or keeping James Harden and getting a lesser player elsewhere. Based on his previous week, I advised that you wouldn’t be losing too much in scoring by keeping Paul over Hardern. Oops. Game 1 of the week, Paul misses and Harden drops the biggest triple double in NBA history, finishing with 74 Fantasy points. Oops. Game 2 of the week, Paul plays but is obviously still hampered by injury, and scores just 6 Fantasy points, whilst Harden drops 35. Oops.

Looking forward to this week, and the rest of the season for that matter, Harden is a must own. Given the Cav’s struggles of late, Harden has drawn closer to LeBron the MVP race. He could potentially end up as the top overall scored in RDT NBA, and I am sure he will figure prominently in Dos‘s captain options for this week.

New Orleans (Uta, Ind, @Phi, @Bkn) – In devastating news for both the Pelicans and the player himself, DeMarcus Cousins tore his Achilles tendon this week, which will put him out for the rest of this season, and likely the start of next season also. New Orleans have already made a move to bolster their front court stocks in the wake of the injury, acquiring former Chicago forward Nikola Mirotic in a trade this week. Mirotic is a more than adequate NBA player, but he is no where near the level of Boogie.

This means that All-Star Anthony Davis will need to pick up a lot of the slack. This should be a positive for his Fantasy numbers, and he almost becomes a must own in RDT NBA. He has already had a 40 point game in Week 15, and I predict he will go for 120+ overall points in Week 16. Get him in if you can.

Orlando (@Mia, Cle, Atl, Mil) – Nope. Don’t bother.

Utah (@NOP, @Mem, Cha, @Por) – Utah have a tough schedule, and no real Fantasy premiums. As such, there is no players for the Jazz worth grabbing.

Washington (@Ind, @Phi, Bos, @Chi) – The injury to John Wall has made things interesting in DC. Bradley Beal becomes a tempting proposition now. Beal is only averaging 21.8 Fppg, but this could increase significantly whilst Wall is out. In the two games so far in Week 15, Beal has dropped 26 and 34 Fantasy points. Priced at under $10 million, he is great value if you need extra cash elsewhere.

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Wall’s absence however could be Forward Otto Porter. He is priced at just under $8 million, and has had games of 34 and 28 Fantasy points already. Keep a close watch on the remaining game against Orlando this week. If he goes over 30 again, he must be considered.

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Written by Archie Keeler (@OTLSArchie)

Header graphic by Corey Wade Media (@OTLSCorey)

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