Fantasy Week 5 (Jan. 23-29) is the lightest thus far this season as there are 114 games scheduled over the next seven days. Most teams play four times this week, while seven teams are slated to play three times during the upcoming scoring period. Orlando is the only team scheduled to play five times during Week 5, which is why we chosen to highlight the Magic this week.
After playing four games last week, including three games over three consecutive days, the Magic will play five times during Week 5. However, Orlando will only play three different teams over that stretch, as Dwight Howard and Co. will face the Celtics and Pacers twice during the scoring period. The Magic start off the week with a back-to-back road set against Boston and Indiana on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Orlando will then take on the Celtics for the second time in three days at home on Wednesday night, which will be followed by a game in New Orleans on Thursday. Orlando will close out the scoring period with its second matchup of the week against the Pacers on Sunday evening, concluding a stretch of nine games over 14 days.
The Magic have played very well during the early part of the season, although this upcoming stretch of games could prove to be challenging. All three teams Orlando will face this week are ranked in the top 10 in points allowed this season, while Indiana and Boston are also ranked near the top in defensive efficiency. That seems to suggest the Magic could be in line for some grind-it-out type affairs over the next seven days, making it very difficult for Orlando to put up the 96.7 points per game it has been averaging thus far.
However, it also means coach Stan Van Gundy will likely need to use most of the healthy bodies on his bench, which makes this a great week to start the majority of Orlando's Fantasy options. In addition to the obvious choices of Dwight Howard, Ryan Anderson, Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson, Fantasy owners should make sure J.J. Redick and Glen Davis are active as well. Even Earl Clark and Von Wafer could be worth using in deeper formats.
Here are the other teams that have schedules that could help make those tough decisions a bit easier:
Southeast: Miami Heat (CLE, @DET, NY, CHI): The Heat are slated to play four times during Week 5 with three of those contests coming at home. Miami will start the scoring period with a home game against the Cavaliers on Tuesday night before heading up to Detroit for a matchup with the Pistons on Wednesday. After a day off, Miami will then draw a pair of home games to close out the scoring period as the Knicks and Bulls come to town on Friday and Sunday night, respectively. Not only do Cleveland, Detroit and New York all have losing records, but all three teams also rank near the bottom in terms of defensive efficiency thus far. That should mean another set of high scoring games for the Heat, who enter the week as the highest scoring team in the league, averaging 107 points per game. While LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are all must-start options when healthy, this looks to be a good week to start some of Miami’s lower-tier Fantasy options. Owners should consider rolling with Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole during the upcoming scoring period. Even Mike Miller and Shane Battier could be worth using in some deeper formats as well.
Atlantic: Philadelphia 76ers (WAS, NJ, CHA, DET): The 76ers are scheduled to play four times during Week 5, with all four contests coming at home. Philadelphia will start with a game against the Wizards on Monday night, which will be the third meeting of the season between the two teams. The 76ers will then face the Nets on Wednesday night before wrapping up the scoring period with their seventh back-to-back set of the year against the Bobcats on Friday and Pistons on Saturday night. Coach Doug Collins has his team playing extremely well right now and the Sixers look to have some very favorable matchups on the docket. The Wizards, Nets and Bobcats all rank near the bottom of the pack in points allowed this season and Philadelphia scored 96 points during its lone meeting against Detroit this year. Fantasy owners should make sure to get Philly's main Fantasy options active heading into Week 5, including Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holliday, Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes. Even some of the lower-tier options such as Jodie Meeks could be worth starting in deeper formats this week.
Central: Chicago Bulls (NJ, IND, MIL, @MIA): After playing a pair of back-to-back sets last week, the Bulls are one of the few teams that don't play any during Week 5. Chicago is slated to play four times during the upcoming scoring period, with three of those contests coming at home. The Bulls will start with a game on Monday against the Nets before facing the Pacers on Wednesday night. Chicago will then take on the Bucks on Friday before wrapping things up against the Heat down in Miami on Sunday evening. The Pacers have been stingy on defense thus far, although Miami and New Jersey have not, while Milwaukee is currently ranked 17th in points allowed heading into the upcoming scoring period. Chicago has yet to lose at home this season and most of their main Fantasy options should have no problem getting their numbers during Week 5. While Derrick Rose will likely be an injury risk, Fantasy owners should make sure Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah are all active this week.
Pacific: Los Angeles Lakers (LAC, @MIL, @MIN): After playing a league-high 18 games through the first four weeks of the season, the Lakers are only slated to play three times during Week 5. Los Angeles will be off on Monday and Tuesday before playing its first game of the scoring period on Wednesday against the Clippers. The Lakers will then get two more days off before wrapping up their week with a back-to-back set against the Bucks on Friday and Timberwolves on Sunday. While the Lakers' Fantasy studs should have no problems getting their numbers this week, some of the team's lower-tier options might have some trouble following suit, especially with only three games. Only Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are worth starting in most formats this week.
Southwest: Dallas Mavericks (PHO, MIN, UTA, SA): The Mavericks have played four games in each of the last three weeks and that trend will continue in Week 5. Dallas has four home games slated for the upcoming scoring period and is one of the few teams not that don't have any back-to-back sets. The Mavericks will start with a game against the Suns on Monday, which will be followed by a visit from Kevin Love and the Timberwolves on Wednesday. Dallas will then face the Jazz on Friday before wrapping up the week against the Spurs on Sunday. While the Mavericks look to have some favorable matchups this week, keep in mind Dirk Nowitzki will likely miss most of the scoring period with a knee injury. That means Dallas' other Fantasy options should be in line to see a spike in production this week. Besides the obvious choices of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, and Lamar Odom, Fantasy owners should make sure to get Shawn Marion, Brendan Haywood, Ian Mahinmi and Delonte West active as well. Even Roddy Beaubois and Yi Jianlian could be worth using in deeper formats.
Northwest: Portland Trail Blazers (SAC, MEM, @GS, PHO): We highlighted Portland's schedule last week as the Blazers were in the midst of their longest road trip of the season. However, that is over now and LaMarcus Aldridge and Co. are slated to play four games during Week 5, with three of those contests coming at home. The Blazers open the week with three games on three consecutive days, starting with Kings on Monday night. Portland will host the Grizzlies on Tuesday before playing its only road game of the week on Wednesday at Golden State. The Trail Blazers will then wrap up the week against the Suns on Saturday, concluding a stretch of seven games over 10 days. While playing that many games over such a small time frame could make for some tired legs, Portland looks to have some favorable matchups on the docket. Sacramento and Golden State are both ranked near the bottom of the pack in points allowed this season and Portland is averaging nearly 105 points per game at the Rose Garden. While Aldridge, Gerald Wallace, Wesley Matthews and Raymond Felton should almost always be left active, some of Portland's lower-end options should also be able to put up some numbers this week. Consider Jamal Crawford, Nicolas Batum and Marcus Camby all viable plays in most formats for Week 5.