Fantasy Week 9 (Dec. 24-30) is one of the lighter scoring periods of the season as the NBA has cleared its schedule for Christmas Eve and only has five games scheduled on Christmas.
However, that doesn't mean the week is any less important as there are still plenty of intriguing matchups on the docket. That gives Fantasy owners some opportunities to rack up as many wins as they can before the New Year. We have compiled a list of five players who are worth a look in Roto formats and five who should be avoided for the upcoming scoring period.
As always, we recommend Fantasy owners do their own homework but feel free to use our list as a cheat sheet during the busy holiday season. Good luck during the upcoming scoring period and Happy Holidays!
Find a place for 'em
Jodie Meeks, G, Lakers (NY, @DEN, POR):After spending weeks tweaking and fine-tuning different lineups, coach Mike D'Antoni has finally seemed to settle on his rotation. Meeks is one of the players who made the cut and will continue to see time at both guard positions, though he will likely continue to come off the bench – at least for now. Still, the 25-year-old has seen more than 30 minutes in each of his last five contests as D'Antoni likes his ability to space the floor and push the tempo. Meeks has thrived in Los Angeles' new offensive scheme and scored in double figures in seven of his last eight contests. He is averaging 14.6 points over that stretch on 43 percent shooting from the field, chipped in with 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals. He also averaged 2.6 made 3-pointers during his hot streak and now looks to have some favorable matchups on tap this week. Meeks already poured in 21 points in his lone meeting against the Nuggets this season and the Knicks and Trail Blazers have both been struggling to defend the 3-point line of late. Despite the return of Steve Nash, Meeks looks to be good play in Week 9. (owned in 17 percent of leagues)
Ramon Sessions, G, Bobcats (MIA, BKN, NO): After getting off to a hot start this season, Sessions hit a bit of a lull a few weeks back. He averaged just 9.8 points and 4.7 assists on 33 percent shooting from the field over a six-game stretch and was losing minutes to Gerald Henderson and Ben Gordon. However, Sessions has found his groove again of late and seen his scoring rise back up as a result. The 26-year-old has scored in double figures in six of his last seven games and is averaging 14.7 points on 48 percent shooting from the field over that stretch. He is also making 57 percent of his attempts from behind the arc during his recent run while seeing a healthy 24 minutes per game. While he doesn't look to have the most favorable matchups on tap this week, Sessions will likely be counted on to help shoulder some of the scoring load over the next scoring period with Gordon and Henderson nursing minor injuries. At the very least, Sessions should be able to maintain his current production so feel free to get him or leave him active this week. (owned in 73 percent of leagues)
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, F, Bucks (BKN, MIA, DET): Mbah a Moute was forced to miss the first few weeks of the season while recovering from knee surgery, but has found himself in the starting lineup since his return to the court. The 26-year-old has started each of the last seven games for coach Scott Skiles and posted a solid 10.7 points and 6.3 rebounds on 48 percent shooting from the field. He is also chipping in with 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals while seeing a healthy 29.5 minutes per game. While Mbah a Moute's scoring can be a bit inconsistent at times, his ability to fill up the stat sheet on a nightly basis makes him a very nice fit for owners in Rotisserie formats. Everybody knows by now that Skiles likes to change his starting lineup more often than a pair of socks, so Fantasy owners may want to take advantage of the his minutes while he is seeing them. With Ersan Ilyasova still struggling and Tobias Harris out with an elbow injury, minutes at small forward appear to be Mbah a Moute's to lose. Get him active in the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 15 percent of leagues)
Tristan Thompson, F, Cavaliers (@WAS, ATL, BKN): This is Thompson's second appearance as a start this season and when you look at his recent production it is easy to see why. The second-year man out of Texas is averaging 11.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks on 57 percent shooting from the field over his last five games. He has posted a double-double in three straight games and looks to have some favorable matchups on tap this week. Thompson posted a 12-10-5 stat line in his lone contest against the Wizards this season and pulled down a season-best 15 boards in an earlier meeting against the Hawks. Thompson also went for 14 and 5 when he faced the Nets and we don't see any reason why he won't be able to maintain his productive ways this week. While Thompson can be irritatingly inconsistent at times, owners should get him active while he is producing. (owned in 73 percent of leagues)
Emeka Okafor, C, Wizards (CLE, ORL, @CHI): Okafor has been a major disappointment this season as he is averaging a career-worst 7.4 points and 6.2 rebounds over his first 25 games in Washington. However, the 30-year-old has been slowly showing signs of improvement and we think that trend can continue this week. Okafor is averaging 9.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.0 block over his last seven games and has been much more assertive on the offensive end of the court. He was attempting only six shot attempts over his first 16 games but with the Wizards struggling to put up points, coach Randy Wittman has asked Okafor to be more aggressive and he has responded by chucking it up 8.4 times during his recent seven-game run. Now the veteran looks to have to favorable matchups on tap this week as the Magic and Cavaliers are both allowing more than 40 points in the paint per contest. While Okafor isn't going to blow most owners away with his monster stat lines, he has been productive enough to warrant using as a low-end option in category-based formats for the upcoming scoring period. (owned in 37 percent of leagues)
Put 'em on your bench
Jason Terry, G, Celtics (@BKN, @LAC, @GS, @SAC): Terry's first year in Boston has not gone as planned as he has averaged just 11.2 points over his first 26 games. However, his dip in scoring can be attributed to his recent shooting slump. Terry hasn't been able to hit anything of late as he is shooting a putrid 31 percent from the field over his last eight games. He is making just 32 percent of his shots from behind the arc over that same stretch and is starting to show some frustration on the court due to his struggles. He is still putting up more than 9.0 points per game over during his slump, and his lack of efficiency has really been hurting owners in Rotisserie formats. While we have no doubt that Terry will be able to right the ship before too long, it may not happen this week. Two of the four opponents he will face this week are ranked in the top 10 in opposition field-goal percentage and Terry has averaged just 12.9 points per game over his career against the Clippers, which is his lowest scoring average against any one opponent. We recommend leaving Terry on the bench this week. (owned in 55 percent of leagues)
Gary Neal, G, Spurs (TOR, HOU, @DAL): A recent rash of injuries combined with coach Gregg Popovich's peculiar resting patterns have allowed Neal to see some big-time run over the past few weeks. The 26-year-old averaged more than 30 minutes per game during an eight-game stretch at the end of November and into December that resulted in him putting up 16.6 points per game on 44 percent shooting from the field. However, now that Stephen Jackson and Kawhi Leonard are back, Neal has seen his playing time and production take a hit. The third-year guard from Towson has played fewer than 25 minutes in each of his last two games and gone ice cold from the field as he is shooting just 30.8 percent from the field over his last five contests. He is averaging just 7.9 points over that stretch and has been playing through a nagging calf injury. Now that the rest of the Spurs are getting healthy, we would expect Neal to see closer to 20 minutes most nights, which will make it hard for him to put up consistent numbers. Fantasy owners should leave Neal on the bench in the majority of formats while he is playing at less than 100 percent and slumping. (owned in 19 percent of leagues)
Andrew Nicholson, F, Magic (NO, @WAS, TOR): With Glen Davis sidelined with a shoulder injury, the Magic have a huge void to fill at power forward. Coach Jaques Vaughn has decided to give Nicholson the first crack at starting in place of Davis and the rookie is expected to be manning the four position in the upcoming scoring period. While Nicholson looks to have all the tools to be a productive Fantasy forward for a long time in this league, we aren't sure he is ready to contribute right away. The 23-year-old struggled in his first start and will be asked to bang with some big bodies this week in the likes of Anthony Davis of New Orleans and Nene in Washington. His first start came against the Raptors and he struggled to match up with Ed Davis as he finished with just six points and four rebounds on 3 of 10 shooting from the field. Despite the promise of seeing starters minutes, we strongly recommend taking a wait-and-see approach with Nicholson for the upcoming scoring period. Owners should make sure he can handle the increased workload and expectations before getting him active. (owned in 19 percent of leagues)
Antawn Jamison, F, Lakers, (NY, @DEN, POR): After spending the last few weeks trying out different lineup combinations, D'Antoni has finally set a rotation for the Lakers. Unfortunately, Jamison doesn't appear to be in it right now. The veteran has seen a combined 40 minutes over his last five games and has earned a pair of DNPs in his last two contests. D'Antoni has decided to go with Metta World Peace and Jodie Meeks as his two main scoring threats off the bench, which won't leave a ton of time for Jamison. While the 36-year-old did see some nice run when the Lakers first made their coaching change, he seems to be on the outside looking in now. Fantasy owners should not only sit Jamison for the upcoming scoring period, but make sure to leave him benched until he works his way back into the fold. (owned in 30 percent of leagues)
Andray Blatche, C, Nets, (BOS, @MIL, CHA, CLE): Blatche became quite the waiver-wire pickup when Brook Lopez was sidelined with a foot sprain a few weeks back and it was easy to see why after he posted an impressive 17.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals while seeing 30 minutes per night over that seven-game stretch. However, now that Lopez is healthy again, Blatche has gone back to his mediocre stat lines. He has scored in double figures in two of his last five games and is averaging 10 points and 3.5 rebounds over that stretch while seeing 19 minutes per game. While he still will light it up from time to time, the consistency he showed when he was starting can't be counted on anymore. Despite the Nets favorable upcoming schedule, owners should consider leaving Blatche reserved for the time being. However, he is worth holding onto based on Lopez's injury history. (owned in 70 percent of leagues)