Favorable Starts: Jan. 9 – Jan. 14
This is a new segment where we’re going to look at some of the teams that have some favorable fantasy matchups this week. Basically, if you have players on these teams it’s worth looking into starting them this week.
Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder have won three straight and might push it to six this week. They will take on a struggling Memphis squad before heading east to battle a lottery-bound Hornets squad. They finish their week against the New York Knicks, whose defense is legendarily nonexistent.
Miami Heat: Usually I won’t pick a team that has three road games on the schedule as a team to be impressed by in fantasy, but the Heat are just that good. If you have LeBron or Wade on your team make sure you check their injury status before each game, but the rest of the Heat players who you might be on the fence about are worth looking into. The Heat play the Warriors, Clippers and Nuggets this week. Even though these games are on the road, Miami should be able to put up some decent numbers against these teams.
Los Angeles Lakers: Even I was slightly surprised when I decided to include the Lakers on this list. But the schedule is undeniable. Even though this team has been offensively bi-polar this season, this may be one of those weeks where reserves like Matt Barnes might be worth a spot start. They will have four more games this week, including the Suns, Jazz, Cavaliers and Clippers. While four games in five nights is a lot, one or two of those games might be a good opportunity to get one of the lesser known Lakers (besides Metta World Peace) into your lineup.
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Teams to Avoid: Jan. 9 – Jan. 14
For this segment we’re going to do the opposite of what we just did above. Obviously if you have the star players on any of these teams it’s going to be recommended you start them anyways, but if you’re questioning whether to start a reserve or bench player from one of these teams this week it might be a good idea to reconsider.
Portland Trail Blazers: I’ve been very high on the Trail Blazers this year, but this is going to be a real test for Portland. The Blazers might have a strong showing against the L.A. Clippers, but follow that up with games against Orlando, San Antonio and Houston. The obvious defensive problems that the Magic and Spurs can create don’t need to be shared, but Houston is a scrappy team that may give your Blazers players some problems. Guys like Raymond Felton or Marcus Camby should be left on the bench this week.
San Antonio Spurs: Just like I mentioned Portland above this the Spurs are worth avoiding as well, with the obvious irony being that they will play each other this week. Portland has turned into a strong defensive team that can create all sorts of matchup problems for opposing players. On top of that, San Antonio has to face a tough game in Houston, who (once again, like I mentioned above) is a tough defensive matchup for most fantasy players, especially your big men.
Houston Rockets: To continue with our theme the third team will be the Houston Rockets. Houston will play both Portland and San Antonio this week, which will limit them offensively. While they have favorable games against the Bobcats and Kings in between, they will be another team to do a little research on before inserting some of their lesser players (Luis Scola, Chase Budinger) into your lineup.