So. Many. Minutes. 240 of them. That’s 4 hours of basketball. Now, the exact amount of hours doesn’t matter, and no player plays every minute of every game (what is this…video games?!?), but this week we get 240 minutes of Chicago Bulls basketball. What about their midwest rival, Indiana Pacers? A measly 48 minutes. Haha, seriously, the NBA scheduling committee breezed by these seven ahead apparently, because both the Pacers and the Nuggets play just once, whereas the Bulls take the court five times. 5x the minutes means 5x the volume means 5x the production. Well, potentially. But even the best players are on alert for a good benching when faced against that many minutes on the other side.
If you own any Bulls this week it won’t quite equal the amount of time mentioned by The Office team in saying bon voyage to Michael Scott, but it will certainly feel like it. It’s a minutes game in Week 12! Here’s The 7 Ahead!
The 7 Ahead
- 5-game week: CHI
- 4-game weeks: BKN, DET, HOU, LAL, MIN, NYK, OKC
- 2-game week: CHA, GSW, LAC, MIA, PHO
- 1-game week: DEN, IND
Overall Thoughts: This is gonna be a weird one. Whole the NBA seemingly put the calendar into hyperdrive over seven days just two weeks ago, they step off the proverbial pedal for a week in this one. Seriously, two 1 game schedules for two teams?!? WTF? GTFO! NFW! Alright, I’m done, but in all seriousness, the disparity in games between the Bulls 5 and the seven teams with 2 or 1 game on their docket is crazy. If ever there was a week to take a long shot on a deeper sleeper for your weekly leagues, here it is. Nikola Mirotic or Nikola Jokic? Haha, it’s a no-brainer, unless there are 196 more minutes available for Gibson to accumulate stats. Hell, even with the Dubs at just two games you’ll find yourself in a pickle of playing Kevin Durant or Taj Gibson. That’s blasphemy to think you’d ever sit KD, but it’s worth considering in Week 12. Without many games on the schedule you can really take advantage of the options available on those 4-game squads, the aforementioned Dougie McBuckets or his teammate MCW. You’ll read more on him in just a moment. Game of the Week: Cleveland @ Utah on Tuesday. After a heavy week the Jazz finally come home and welcome The King and all his witnesses to the Rockies first. Close second, Al Horford‘s return to Atlanta with the Celtics.
Top Weekly Waiver Options (<40% owned in Y!/games this week):
- Doug McDermott (9%/5) – 240 minutes. 5 games. Listen, is Dougie McBuckets a viable fantasy asset quite yet? No, and we know that. But…on a week when so many teams in the Association are taking a rest, yet his Bulls have a five-game slate, he’s incredible valuable. Over his past seven days he’s averaged 30 mpg, so it may not be 240, but we’re looking at 150. Compared to the potential 45-65 minutes of comparable names only getting 2 or three games, or hell, even much better names only getting those minutes, I’m taking McDermott. He’s shooting 51.6% on 10+ FGA per contest, so they’re not hollow minutes, either. The points, a few rebounds, solid percentages and minimal turnovers drive Doug’s dominance in the new look Bulls rotation sans Rajon Rondo. Speaking of which…
- Michael Carter-Williams (29%/5) – If you’re asking me, I’d rather have McDermott to MCW, even though his ownership is 3x higher. I’d base that on name value vs. actual value. However, despite my negative dispensation towards the incredibly young journeyman (seriously, his fourth team?) it’s back to the same thing I just mentioned: minutes volume. With Rondo out of the rotation, MCW steps in as the de facto starting PG. With plenty of weapons around him there’s ample opportunity to drive up some counting stats. So, go ahead and start a 2-game Eric Bledsoe or Goran Dragic. I’ll actually take my chances with Carter-Williams, who is averaging 9/4.3/3.3 with 1.5 TO per game. His FG% will hurt you, but guys like Bledsoe are only shooting 40.7% over his last 5, so with just a slight improvement he’s on par with the bigger names.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. (15%/3) – As a Hawks fan, I promise this isn’t a homer pick. Haha, I’m not even a huge fan of THJ, but given this week’s Kyle Korver trade to the Cavs, I believe Hardaway Jr. is in line for a big uptick in minutes. The Hawks will want to give rookie Taurean Prince some minutes, but the majority should slide to THJ. He’s red hot in 2017 shooting 61.7% and scoring 18.3 PPG over his past seven days. He only gets three games this week, but I’m viewing Hardaway as more of a future investment that simply a streamer. The Hawks will likely continue to showcase THJ on the perimeter to either prove that their coaching staff can develop seemingly anyone or to drive his price up in the trade market. He’s giving them plenty of ammo if the latter is the case by sinking 6, 2, 4 and 5 3PM in his last four games. Strike while the iron’s hot here.
- Montrezl Harrell (36%/4) – The final highlight goes to Harrell. He’s not blowing you away with any stats, but as the fill-in for Clint Capela he’s seeing nearly 30 mpg and shooting 61.5% from the field. An effective scorer that will hurt your FT% (43.8% on 3.3 FTA per game), Harrell has flashed some big scoring potential (29 pts on Dec 30 vs. the Clips). It seems like his floor may a 9/5/2 line on solid shooting, but over the next few weeks he could easily improve upon his 11/6.3/2.3 line he’s amassed over the past week. With four on the docket I’d take Harrell over guys like Myles Turner or Nikola Jokic this week.
And now a look at the daily rhythms of the NBA for this week!
Monday: Three games is all the NBA fans get as the CFB National Championship takes the main stage. Seriously, no one will be watching the Association Monday with Alabama vs. Clemson V2 on the tube, but if it’s a blowout, you get bored, or just don’t like football, we’ll get our first taste of the Bulls Week 12 marathon as they host the Thunder. Side note on the Thunder…if you’re a Russell Westbrook fan it’s almost unfair the advantage you receive this week. So few teams have more than three games on their schedule, yet the Thunder, and James Harden‘s Rockets, get four. The bonus minutes from the top two counting stat options in the game will be massive. Three games, though. The least amount we’ve seen all year.
Tuesday: Tuesday gives us a much better basketball fare than Monday, including our first look this week at THJ as the Hawks visit the Nets. While the Hawks will surely win their seventh straight (are they trying to compete or trying to restructure?!?), hopefully Hardaway Jr. can torch the awful Nets perimeter defense and continue raining in 3’s. But who am I kidding…no one is watching that game with the game of the week, Cleveland @ Utah, on the docket. Oooweee…that’s gonna be a doozy. It’s actually a great day of matchups, with the Bulls/Wizards, Celtics/Raptors and Bucks/Spurs also highlighting a solid second day of the week. But back to that battle in the Rockies, that should be a huge litmus test for the up-and-coming Jazz. Hopefully George Hill will see the starting lineup for Utah. With 18 teams playing this and Friday are the only ones where you’ll have a tricky time streaming.
Wednesday: Washington, Boston, Cleveland all on a back-to-back with only 6 games happening Wednesday, including the second time we get to see Westbrook and Harden. However, the most intriguing part to Wednesday is Kristaps Porzingis v. Joel Embiid. This will be incredible to watch, even though it will matter zero in the standings. If both play 34 mpg with zero restrictions, which player do you choose next year in fantasy.
Thursday: This enigma of the week happens when the two one-game teams play each other as Indiana visits Denver. Haha, I mean, really NBA? You didn’t just give them one game this week, but you pit them against each other? Ok. I see you. Well, if you’re in a weekly league this game must matter nothing to you. You simply can’t afford to play anyone from these squads. Instead, take the Bulls I mentioned as they visit Madison Square Garden to face the Knicks. This will be a return to NY for MCW, and I wonder if that gives a little extra motivation to increase that elusive efficiency.
Friday: Back to 18 teams taking the court to start the weekend, highlighted by the ESPN game of Boston visiting Atlanta. Horford will return to the A for the first time since bolting to Boston this summer. Hopefully he’ll receive a warm welcome (he’s the second greatest Hawk of all-time), but the Hawks will have their hands full. The Celtics are just as hot as the Hawks lately, and if you’re lucky enough to have your hands on Isaiah Thomas you’re drooling over this one.
Saturday: Only 10 teams slated to play on Saturday. It’s playoff NFL football, which I assume is the culprit of the lighter weekend schedule. The battle of the Staples Center is always enjoyable, and they tip off in the afternoon. Unfortunately, after that I don’t see much great basketball as the Bulls (v. Pelicans), Spurs (@ Suns), Wizards (v. 76ers), and Utah (v. Magic) will be crazy favorites.
Sunday: And we’ll end the week with half the league playing, including the finale of the Bulls magical week of voluminous basketball. Visiting the Grizzlies should give them a difficult test for a streaking team, but in terms of fantasy it’s the cherry on the sweet Sunday (see what I dis there?) of taking advantage of your opponent. The back-to-back-to-back competition of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Westbrook and Harden for the best triple-double will carry you though the day, but be on the lookout for another great outing by Harrell for Houston. Oh, you thought the Nets were bad at perimeter D? Haha, they’re just bad, period. Enjoy.
Now, DROP THOSE COMMENTS! And don’t be afraid to send along any questions on trades, pickups or life! Good luck in Week 12, and have fun getting bored of seeing Chicago take the court!