Ball So Hard: The Quest for the Perfect Salary Cap Basketball Team Week 20
By Brian Rothstein
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Kevin Durant (ID 101, $21.0)
I know I keep stating the obvious, but Durant is head and shoulders ahead of every guy in the league not named LeBron. He’s averaging a ridiculous 28.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists, not to mention over a steal and a block per game too. Oklahoma City has the NBA’s third best record as well, meaning he’ll get the 5 point win bonus more often than not. Put him in your lineups.
Stephen Curry (ID 131, $13.8)
The Warriors have been playing poorly but Stephen Curry can’t be blamed. The sweet shooting guard is 8th in the league in scoring at 22.0 PPG. He can light up the scoreboard at anytime, as evidenced by his 54 point outburst against the Knicks. Golden State has an easy schedule this week minus a date with the Bulls. As good as they are defensively, Curry is pretty much matchup proof at this point.
Monta Ellis (ID 146, $12.3)
Ellis has been absolutely on fire recently. He’s scored at least 20 points in 7 straight games. The J.J. Redick trade has been the catalyst for Ellis’ stellar play. He’s averaging 24.6 PPG since the Orlando guard was acquired. Roll with Ellis and hope he remains hot.
Al Horford (ID 151, $11.8)
Horford is enjoying the finest season of his career, putting up 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He’s also one of the better passing big men in the league. His 3.3 APG rank 5th among all power forwards and centers. Horford’s scoring has really picked up with 20+ point efforts in 11 of his last 13 outings. He’s playing at an incredibly high level right now so there’s no reason to take him out of your lineups.
Paul George (ID 158, $10.9)
The third year forward from Fresno State has really blossomed into a star. He’s become the team’s leading scorer with Danny Granger having been injured for most of the season. George’s averages of 17.6 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 4.0 APG make him one of the most versatile players in the league. Granger’s return scared some fantasy owners into thinking George’s effectiveness might be diminished. That hasn’t been the case and Granger is once again sidelined. With 5 games this week, the Pacers leading man will do what he’s been doing all season; be a fantasy stud.
J.J. Hickson (ID 209, $7.0)
Hickson has been one of the most consistent big men in the league. His 35 double-doubles are tied for 2nd most. The North Carolina State product is averaging 16.8 points and 11.9 rebounds over his last 10 contests. Hickson provides solid production night in and night out. I like him this week.
Damian Lillard (ID 235, $6.4)
Lillard is the player who offers the most bang for your buck. Literally. He’s the only player in the top 31 fantasy scorers who costs less than $9.8 million. The rookie sensation has been, well…sensational. Lillard leads all rookies in points and assists, and is only getting better as the season progresses. His per game averages in March are 23.8 points, 6.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds. Lillard is a no-brainer.
J.R Smith (ID 238, $6.3)
J.R. Smith never met a shot he didn’t like. His shot selection has come under fire from Coach Mike Woodson, but Smith is as undeterred as ever. The mercurial shooting guard has been on a tear lately though, averaging 19.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in March. He had a stinker of a game against Golden State but I expect him to bounce back nicely in Denver. With Carmelo Anthony not 100% and Amare Stoudemire injured once again, Smith should continue to be leaned upon to score.
Emeka Okafor (ID 281, $5.3)
I highlighted Okafor last week and he’s done nothing to disappoint. The Washington big man has pulled down double digit rebounds in 7 of his last 9, and has suddenly remembered how to put the ball in the basket too. After scoring in double digits only 8 times through the first 2 months of the season, Okafor has done it in 9 of his last 12 contests. I see no reason his recent success won’t continue.
Derrick Williams (ID 291, $5.1)
I don’t know happy the Timberwolves are with his abysmal .417 FG%, but there’s literally nobody else in Minnesota to play. With the team decimated by injuries, Williams wins heavy minutes by default. Regardless, he’s going to play and take a ton of shots which is the only reason you need to start him. 19.0 PPG and 8.2 rebounds over his last 5 games certainly don’t hurt either.