Five teams have only 2 games this week: Houston, the Clippers, the Lakers, Miami, and Portland. Those are some nice teams for fantasy, so it’s a shame that they don’t get at least 3 games. However, I wouldn’t drop elite players from those teams just to pick up middle class players who play 4 games. For instance, if you have Harden, I think two games from him is usually better than the alternative, even if the alternative has more volume.
However, because so many teams are playing four games this week (19 teams) there’s a good chance that your opponent will have lots of volume (but, ditto you, unless your entire team consists of Rockets, Clips, Lakers, Heat, and Blazers). Don’t drop elites just to win a week; there are plenty of cheap options out there that can get you volume stats, especially if you have one or two streaming roster spots. Here are some teams to target that all play four games this week and may have cheap players you can stream:
Atlanta - Taurean Prince (25.7% ownership ESPN) should be owned in more leagues. He’s been worth 4.43 on ESPN player rater for the year (right behind Kyle Kuzma), he averages the second most minutes on the team (behind Herr Schroeder), and he gets you a little bit of everything in the stat cats. He hasn’t been great recently, but this week is about cheap volume, and Prince should give you 120ish minutes and between 40 and 50 points.
Charlotte - Look, people don’t want to own Uncle Marvin Williams, and I get it. His ownership is 13.4%. He is NOT sexy (fantasy wise, anyway, I don’t wanna go casting around aspersions regarding any man’s boudoir bona fides). However, VOLUME. Uncle Marv has averaged 25ish minutes over the last month, scoring 10 points with 4 rebounds on 49% shooting, and a few assists, and he sinks free throws (94FT% over the last 30 days). He ain’t gonna hurt ya, and he ain’t gonna be interesting, but dammit, he’s there! He’s basically been as valuable as JJ Barea over the past 30 days, and errbuddy’s tellin’ ya to go on and pick up ol’ JJ. Uncle Marv will help you set the table, but, that’s all he’s gonna do.
Ugh, Chicago - I mean...I could tell you to use some of these guys, and some of the Bulls have been good recently, but...god damn, I just really don’t want to. If Kris Dunn or Zach “the Dentist” LaVine are available in your league, then by all means, pick ‘em up. But, I reckon they were already on someone’s DL. If not, then yaaay, I guess. Ohmygod! The Bulls are 3-18! They have a negative 11 point differential! NEGATIVE ELEVEN! BWAAAAAHAHAHAHHAHAHA! GO PISTONS, YOU SUCKERS!
Cleveland - Kyle Korver, Jeff Green, and JR Smith are definitely all streamable. All are owned in less than 40% of leagues (my God, are they not owned in 40% of leagues), but all three have been serviceable: JR’s been hitting the threes, Jeff Green is averaging 10 points per game, and Korver continues to be Kyle Korver, averaging over 2.5 threes per game, and giving you a few rebounds and assists.
Dallas - JJ Barea. EVERYONE SHOULD PICK UP JJ BAREA IF HE’S AVAILS. HE’S THE MAVERICKS’ THIRD LEADING SCORER (lol, ohhh man). HE’S 20% OWNED. EVERYONE IN FANTASY IS TELLING YOU TO PICK HIM UP. JUST DO IT ALREADY. (Having said that, he’s likely to fall off a cliff because everyone’s screaming at you to pick him up. I like him as a real life trade candidate, though; maybe Toronto? Or, dear Jesus, New Orleans?)
Denver - Jamal Murray is sub-40% owned. He’s probably going to shoot a helluva lot more now that Nikola Jokic is out for a few games, so I’d go pick him right up. He’s good, too, I like him. Dunno why people are out on him this year: all of his stats are improvements on last season, except for his 3PT%, but that’s improved recently, too. I think he and Gary Harris are very similar players, and Harris is owned in 64% of leagues. I’d jump on Murray while he’s under owned.
Detroit - Um, I just checked: the Pistons only have four players that are owned in at least 10% of fantasy leagues. Four: the Drum, Tobias Harris, RJax, and Avery Bradley. Everyone else is just lukewarm mediocrity that doesn’t even count as replacement-level. The Pistons are doing well in real life (thank GOD), but sweet Christmas, they might be the worst fantasy team in the whole damn league. Wow. SVG is doing a great job this year.
Indiana - Bojan Bogdanovic is sub-40%. He averages 15 points, over 2 threes a game, and a couple of boards. What, exactly, is the problem here? Is everyone just too good for Bojan? He’s a top 20 wing in my league. No comprendo.
Memphis - This team is effed up right now. If you don’t give a damn about ratios, then I’d maybe tell you to pick up Mario Chalmers (4.2% owned) for as long as Mike Conley is out. JaMychal Green is a buy-low guy (13%). I keep hoping Chandler Parsons can play 20 minutes a game for, like, a month straight. But, aside from Marc Gasol, I just don’t know who on this team will be playing from game to game, and whether they’ll be any good.
Milwaukee - John Henson is sub-20% owned. He is a threat to get a double-double every game. They’re not pretty, and he sure as fudge won’t get you big points, but he gets you boards, blocks, and around ten points. That’s good for streaming! I also like him and Bledsoe together, I think they’ve looked good.
New Orleans - E’Twaun Moore (5.1% ownership) is a pure volume guy: he can get you buckets, he can get you threes, he can get you a few boards/dimes/steals per game. All that matters is whether he gets the minutes, and it looks like he will: he’s played 30+ minutes in the past two games. He may get likewise for as long as Anthony Davis is out with a groin injury.
New York - Courtney Lee is still sub-40% owned. What the hell, man? He’s a top 10 SG in my league; he’s been a top 50 player on the season on ESPN’s player rater; and, he has the same value as Reggie Jackson, who is owned in 95% of leagues. I do NOT understand this one. Are people not watching the Knicks? Cuz, you should: they’re fun! And, everyone you hate is basically gone. The Knicks are .500 right now, but they could make the playoffs, I’m tellin’ ya. I mean, get real, I assume they’ll be sellers at the deadline so they can get assets and improve the roster, but...it’s the Knicks...you never know. They might make an incredibly stupid trade for an old player with a terrible contract, and we’d all look at each other, and say, “Ohhhh yyyyyeah. They’re the Knicks! Duh.”
Orlando - Ugh, I don’t really wanna suggest anyone from the Magic. They’re so blah, dude. They’re doing what they always do, they’re just sub-.500ing it with a roster full of players you don’t want except for maybe, maybe, the big man. Goddamn, I hate this team sometimes. Get real, I want to like the Magic, I really do: cool/weird history, cool/weird uniforms, cool/weird town, cool/weird fan base. But, jiminy cricket, man, just field a professional basketball team already! They’re like the rash that just won’t go away on the NBA’s body. It would be hysterical if Greg Monroe ends up on this team. (In the Magic’s defense, I do like the individual players, I just don’t think they mesh well. Aaron Gordon has been great, Elfrid Payton is improving/good, Vucevic is Mr. Dependable/Boring, and Fournier has been good. So, why are they four games below .500 and have a worse point differential than Memphis, a team stuck in crisis mode? C’mon, Orlando, figure it out! We want you to be good!
Philadelphia - Jerryd Bayless (1.5% owned) will be valuable while TJ McConnell is out. The 76ers are infamously timid with their (young) players’ minutes, so they may just throw Bayless out there and run him into the ground like a third string running back.
Phoenix - Alex Len (19.4%) has been good over the last month, but he may be injured, leaving his minutes to go back to the logjam of bigs in Phoenix. Greg Monroe, Tyson Chandler, Marquese Chriss: all three may benefit from Len’s absence. Over the last month Monroe, Chriss, Dragan Bender, and Josh Jackson have all averaged 20ish minutes per game. Moose Monroe is averaging 11 points and 7 rebounds on 59% shooting. Could do worse.
San Antonio - Slow Kyle Anderson got injured, unfortunately, and Rudy Gay has had a sore heel, so the B team for the Spurs may end up getting more run this week. I like Dejounte Murray and I think he’s under owned at 16.5%. I know his numbers haven’t been great, but he is definitely the point guard of the future in San Antonio, and he could get more minutes this week with all the injuries. I mean, why doubt a young Spur, yknow? Pop is obviously grooming him to take over next year (unless they trade for a legit PG); if he’s available, you may be able to pick up Kawhi’s running mate for the next few years.
Utah - Joe Ingles. He makes threes, he gets assists, he gets rebounds, he scores 10+ a game...what is not to like here? Is it because he’s boring? I savvy, it’s like Uncle Marv, you just don’t want a boring dude on your team. But...that’s not a good reason to pass on a guy who’s averaged at least 5 assists and 3 threes per game over the last few weeks.
Washington, D.C. - Kelly Oubre, Jr., is another player who should be owned more. He’s 23% owned, but he’s been more valuable than Serge Ibaka who is 78% owned. Oubre, Jr. is a good, young wing, and he’ll get 15 and 6 most games. He’ll have his off shooting nights, but the Wizards play against Portland, Phoenix and the Clippers this week (as well as Utah). Oubre should be able to score this week.