This week the schedule is a pretty kind one to fantasy basketball owners with all teams having at least three games and over half the league with four. As we come close to the All Star break, it’s time to be active in acquiring the players and fine-tuning your fantasy team’s lineup for the stretch run. For daily help, check back at Fantasy CPR for our Box Score Breakouts highlighting players stepping up and standing out on a daily basis.
With that being said, here’s 10 players available on over half of ESPN leagues who are worth checking out heading into the coming week. (Percents included are the percentage of ESPN leagues in which the player is owned)Top 5 Fantasy Basketball Frontcourt Options
1. Tayshaun Prince-Memphis Grizzlies: (14.2%) The Grizzlies play a nice four-game set this week taking on Phoenix, Golden State, and Minnesota at home while traveling to Atlanta. Prince made his Grizz debut last night and finished with 14 points, three assists, a rebound, and a block in his 32 minutes off the bench. He should adapt and adjust to his new team in the coming week and could be in store for a nice fantasy renaissance for the rest of the year. He’s been known in his career for balanced stat sheets and the ability to fill it up in multiple categories when playing well which is always something to add to your team if your roster allows for it.
2. Michael Beasley-Phoenix Suns: (36.1%) Beasley struggled last night going 2-13 from the field and finishing with just four points reminding fantasy owners how volatile he can be. He had a pair of 25+ performances in his three previous games including leading the Suns back to a big victory on Wednesday over the Lakers. If you need scoring, he’s a solid option, but be prepared for a few clunkers along the way. He should have big opportunities for the rest of the year in Phoenix. This week the Suns play at Memphis, New Orleans, and Oklahoma City before returning home for OKC next Sunday. It’s a four game schedule but it’s far from an easy one for Beasley and the Suns.
3. Andrew Nicholson-Orlando Magic: (0.0%) With Glen Davis sidelined due to injury, it may be time for this rookie from St. Bonaventure to step in and have his chance. After playing 16 minutes in the last four Orlando games combined, Nicholson played 33 minutes in Boston last night and finished with a respectable 14 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks, an assist, and a steal. If Nicholson gets the minutes for the Magic at PF, he could be a double-double threat on a nightly basis and makes a sneaky pickup if you need help down low. Orlando does have four games this week but they are against solid defensive teams-the 76ers, Clippers, Cavs, and Blazers.
4. Marreese Speights-Cleveland Cavaliers: (2.4%) Speights has been a nice contributor since being acquired by the Cavs. He’s scored double-digits in each of his four games in Cleveland while averaging 13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, an assist, and just under a block per game. He most likely won’t explode for huge numbers but is a solid and steady contributor in points and boards. Speights and the Cavs play three games this week all at home as they host the Bobcats, Magic, and Nuggets.
5. Jimmy Butler-Chicago Bulls: (17.0%) Butler filled in for the injured Luol Deng and emerged as a nice contributor for the Bulls and his fantasy owners. Even with Deng’s return, he’s kept plenty of value as he showed last night playing 40 minutes against Brooklyn. Butler has six rebounds or more in all of his last eight games and has scored at least nine points in all those games as well. He contributes in steals and assists as well while shooting a good percentage from the field and the free throw line. The Bulls only play three this week, but Butler is a solid option for the rest of the year if he’s available in your league.
Other names to know: Earl Clark-LA Lakers (17.6%), Aaron Gray-Toronto Raptors (0.3%), Corey Brewer-Denver Nuggets (1.5%)Top 5 Fantasy Basketball Backcourt Options
1. Jerryd Bayless-Memphis Grizzliers: (37.1%) Bayless cooled off a bit last night scoring just 11 points with five rebounds, a steal, and two assists against Washington. He still played 36 minutes and is a great option if you need guard help as long as he stays on the floor for that long. With four games this coming week, owners can only hope he continues his recent pace. In the last five games Bayless has averaged 16.0 points, 6.0 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.2 steals. It will be interesting to see how he fits in the Grizz rotation with Tayshaun aboard, but if he gets the time he could be the best pickup for the rest of the season.
2. Randy Foye-Utah Jazz: (22.5%) Foye and the Jazz get a pair of games with the Kings this week along with games agains the Bucks and Bulls. Over the last 10 games, Foye has averaged 14.7 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.3 rebounds along with over a steal a game. He had eight assists on Wednesday night and seven rebounds last night against Portland. He’s streaky, but can give you three’s points, and assists. In a week with a nice schedule, he’s a viable option at guard for this week.
3. Nick Young-Philadelphia 76ers: (10.1%) Young has thrived in the starting lineup while playing for the injured Jason Richardson. He’s never afraid to shoot the ball, but he does produce points and assists if you can take the hit in your percentages. Young has averaged just under 18 points a game in his last four along with three assists and over three rebounds. As long as Richardson is sidelined, Young is a decent scoring option this week as the Sixers take on Orlando, Indiana, and Charlotte.
4. Alexey Shved-Minnesota Timberwolves: (7.3%) Shved is back from his injury and the T-Wolves are desperate for any production they can get. His shot looked much better his second game back as he connected on five three-pointers on his way to 18 points to go with six assists and four rebounds. He’ll continue to work his way back, but the Wolves need scoring from their backcourt so expect plenty of work for the Russian guard in the weeks and months remaining in the season. Minnesota does have four games this week against a brutal slate as they face the Blazers, Spurs, Knicks, and Grizzlies.
5. Will Bynum-Detroit Pistons:(2.8%) Bynum’s playing time may take a hit with Jose Caleron’s arrival in Motown, but he’s make the most of his limited time lately. He has nine or more points in four of his last five and is averaging five assists per game over that same span. Last night in just 16 minutes he has 11 points and eight assists (as well as five fouls). Detroit has four games this week (although against tough opponents) making Bynum a fringe option especially if you need assists in the coming week.