For some fantasy basketball owners Week 22 is the start of their playoffs, and for some the playoffs have already begun.
Adding hot players like the Portland Trail Blazers’ Dorell Wright and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Gorgui Dieng will help you maximize your teams’s game volume, giving you that edge you need to dominate your opponent.
» Dorell Wright, SF, Portland Trail Blazers (1.4 percent owned on ESPN.com): With LaMarcus Aldridge sidelined with a back contusion, Dorell Wright has really taken over. In the five games LMA has missed, Wright is averaging 12.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.0 3-pointers. Aldridge has been taking jumpers in practiced but has not been cleared for contact, so it’s feasible he could miss the Blazers’ entire five-game slate this week. Mo Williams (5.5 percent owned) is also worth a look with the team’s excessive amount of games. Owners should keep in mind that two of the Blazers’ opponents this week are the Bulls and Grizzlies, who are first and second in the NBA in team defense during the month of March.
» Gorgui Dieng, C, Minnesota Timberwolves (15.0 percent owned): While Gorgui Dieng — the rookie out of Louisville — was celebrating his alma mater’s win in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, fantasy owners who added him this week were also celebrating. Starting center Nikola Pekovic has been nursing an ankle injury for the past three games, and Dieng has been doing his best, well, Nikola Pekovic impression, averaging 14.7 points, 14.3 points and 2.0 blocks. The Wolves keep reiterating that Pek will be back soon, but he has a long injury history and has already missed 13 games with the same ailment this season. Whether Pekovic returns or not, Gorgui Dieng should still get ample playing time during the Wolves’ four-game week.
» Tiago Splitter, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs (4.1 percent owned): It may have taken four-and-a-half months, but Tiago Splitter is finally showing us why the Spurs handed him a four-year, $36 million contract in the off-season. The Spurs have won 13 games in a row and quietly own the NBA’s best record (I know, right?). Splitter, like all the other role players on the team, has been a key component of their recent success. The 6-foot-11 Brazilian has averaged 11.2 points (58.5 FG%), 9.3 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 1.2 blocks over his last six games, which includes four double-doubles. Those numbers have him ranked 45th on Basketball Monster.com over that span. Adding him for the Spurs’ four-game week (with plus matchups vs. the Sixers, Nuggets and Pelicans) could prove to be beneficial to fantasy owners.