And down the stretch they come...
Most leagues combine Weeks 24 and 25, so this is my last outlook for the season. As always, I've listed the number of games each team plays during this period, followed by five teams with poor and favorable schedules.
If you're still reading, then you're likely a) still in the running for a league prize, and b) wondering which players might be able to help you out for the final week-and-a-half. That's great news, so if you're looking for help, I've listed three players who should be owned, three top pickups, and nine other potential plays. I've put a lot of time and effort into these outlooks, so hopefully they've been beneficial to some of you. Good luck!
1. Washington Wizards (4 games: @Cleveland, @Toronto, Toronto, @Boston)
1. Toronto Raptors (6 games: Atlanta, @Indiana, Washington, Philadelphia, @Washington, @Chicago)
Can someone please explain why in the world this guy is still available in some leagues? In case you missed it, Smith was on fire last week, making a ridiculous 22 threes in just 45 attempts from beyond the arc. Over those four games, he also averaged 22.8 points, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals in 26.5 minutes. I could understand the trepidation if he was a 3-point specialist like
We all know that 'Cisco had a disappointing start to the season, but he's really turned it on in the second half. In 22 games since the All-Star break, Garcia is averaging 15.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.1 blocks and 1.8 threes in 35.4 minutes while shooting 49% from the field and 85% from the line. Those are the stellar all-around stats I was expecting from him this season, yet he's still flying under the radar in some leagues. The Kings are also relying on him heavily, as he's played 40+ minutes in 3 straight games. As if you needed any more incentive to pick him up, Kevin Martin has missed two games in a row with an ankle injury. With six games left, Garcia is going to finish the season strong.
Lou Williams was my No. 2 pickup for week 9 and my No. 1 pickup for week 22, so he should be owned in most leagues by now. If not, I highly recommend grabbing him. He scored a modest 14 points on Sunday, but he was just 4-of-15 from the field, so if he had knocked down a few more shots he could have easily scored 20 points. With
Williams grabbed three steals and made a pair of treys on Sunday, and is now averaging 1.2 of each whenever he gets 27+ minutes per game. And while he's totaled only four assists over his past ttwo games, he's averaging a solid 3.9 dimes per contest when he gets the same amount of playing time. And since Philly has already clinched a playoff spot and
Barbosa was injured on Mar. 18 and he missed the next seven games, so he was likely dropped in many leagues as a result. If he's still available, I suggest adding him ASAP. He returned on Friday to score 15 points in just 15 minutes, and then he upped the ante on Sunday by dropping 24 points and two treys in just 24 minutes. While his point-per-minute pace will surely decline, his playing time is likely to soar over the next week and a half. That's because the Suns are now 99.9% out of the playoff race, so the agless wonders (Nash, Shaq, and Hill) are surely going to spend more time on the pine from here on out.
Has Carney finally developed into a solid player? Over his past four games, the athletic freak is averaging a solid 35.5 minutes, 18.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.5 blocks. Oh yeah, and he's drained three treys on a whopping 8.3 attempts per contest! Where did the extra minutes and shots come from? Well,
My terrible luck continues. I grabbed Augustin over a month ago in hopes that he'd get more playing time down the stretch. Instead, the Bobcats kept winning (thus staying in the playoff race) and D.J. didn't get enough minutes to be reliable. So I dropped him on Mar. 29. But just like the girl you did't notice until she got her braces off, Augustin is suddenly much more attractive. That's because Charlotte has lost three games in a row now (almost mathematically out of it) and the man in front of Augustin (
After missing the first 75 games of the season with a wrist/hand injury, Haywood finally deemed himself ready to play. He had just two points and two rebounds on 1-of-6 shooting in his debut, but bounced back with two straight double-doubles right after, totaling 30 points, 22 boards, and one block on 12-of-21 shooting. A lot of people would name Haywood their No. 1 pickup for the week as a result, but not me. That's because Washington only has four games left, and half of them are road games at Cleveland and Boston (yuck). Still, the veteran should be considered if you need center help.
I'm really not a fan of "Big Baby," but he's earned a mention here thanks to his solid recent play. Over his past five games, Davis is averaging 13.6 points on 51% FG shooting, 8.2 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 0.4 blocks in 35.2 minutes. It sounds like Garnett is going to sit out another week, so Baby could continue to put up similar numbers. I just hope you're not counting on him for blocked shots.
First of all, I'd like to give a shout out to
Peja finally returned last week, but his stats thus far (51 minutes, 13 points, 33% FG shooting in two games) have been pretty forgettable. Still, the Hornets really need him to step up because
Batum has been wildly inconsistent this season, but that's to be expected from a 20-year-old rookie. And surprisingly, his shooting has improved drastically over the last few weeks. After shooting just 41.4% FG, 34.5% 3P, and 74.2% FT before the All-Star break, those numbers have improved to 54.8% FG, 42.9% 3P, and 87.5% FT in 16 games since Mar. 1. Portland is one of just a few teams with six games remaining, so the rookie is worth considering in ultra deep leagues.
Lou Williams isn't the only Sixer to benefit from Thaddeus Young's injury. The veteran Evans has moved into the starting lineup, while the rookie Speights is also getting more playing time. In his past three games, Marreese has totaled just 26 points, 13 boards and one block, but he's capable of much more. I also like him because he's shooting a respectable 77.5% from the line, so he won't hurt your FT% like other big men. Meanwhile, Evans has pulled down 26 boards in his last 3 games, and should only be considered if you're in a tight race for rebounds. Just remember that Philly has a very tough schedule, so use these guys with caution.
I mentioned Gooden last week, but he deserves another look because his value appears to be on the rise. He had perhaps his best game in a Spurs uniform on Sunday, going for 15 points and 5 boards on 7-of-12 shooting in 27 minutes. More importantly,