There are only 112 games scheduled during Fantasy Week 7 (Feb. 6-12), making this scoring period the lightest of the season thus far. No team is slated to play five times or play three games on three consecutive days this week, as 24 of the 30 teams are scheduled to take the court four times over the next seven days. Only six teams will play three contests and there are only 26 back-to-back sets.
With this week's schedule arguably the most balanced to date, there aren't that many intriguing matchups at first glance. However, after taking a closer look at each team's upcoming schedule, we found plenty of tidbits that Fantasy owners should be aware of when setting their lineups this week. Here is our list of the teams we feel have the most intriguing schedules heading into Week 7.
We highlighted the Grizzlies' schedule last week, but with four games on the docket during Week 7, we thought it prudent to mention Memphis once again. The Grizzlies are the only team slated to play four home games during the upcoming scoring period and one of the only teams that won't play any back-to-back sets. Memphis will begin the week with its third matchup of the season against the Spurs on Monday night, followed by a visit from Kevin Love and the Timberwolves on Wednesday. The Grizzlies will then host the Pacers on Friday night before closing out the week against the Jazz on Sunday.
While Memphis looks to have some tough matchups this week, the Grizzlies should have no problem putting points on the board. Coach Lionel Hollins' club has one of the most lopsided home and road splits in terms of points scored this season. The Grizzlies are averaging just 87.2 points per game on the road this season but are scoring 102.1 points per contest at home. That is a difference of nearly 15 points, which is the largest differential in the league. Sure, fatigue could play a factor at some point with the Grizzlies playing nine games over 14 days, but Memphis' splits are simply too drastic to ignore. While Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley should almost always remain active, Fantasy owners should have no qualms about rolling with some of Memphis' lower end options this week as well. Feel free to activate O.J. Mayo, Tony Allen and even Marreese Speights in deeper formats.
Here are the other teams with schedules that could help make those tough decisions a bit easier:
Southwest: New Orleans Hornets (SAC, CHI, POR): The Hornets are one of only six teams with three games scheduled for Week 7, although New Orleans is the only club slated to play all three contests at home. The Hornets will welcome the defensively challenged Kings to the Big Easy on Monday night before hosting the Bulls on Wednesday. After a day off, New Orleans will close out the scoring period against the Trail Blazers on Friday night. While Sacramento is ranked last in points allowed this season (101.4), Chicago and Portland are both ranked in the Top 10 in the same category, allowing just 88.4 and 91.5 points per game, respectively. Combine that with the fact that New Orleans is averaging a league-low 87.4 points per game at home this season and Fantasy owners are likely looking at three grind-it-out, low-scoring affairs this week. Only Jarret Jack -- if healthy -- Emeka Okafor and maybe Trevor Ariza are worthy of starting in most formats this week. Carl Landry and Greivis Vasquez are simply too risky to start in anything other than the deepest of formats.
Pacific: Phoenix Suns (@ATL, @MIL, HOU, @SAC): The Suns have played four times in each of the last two weeks and that trend will continue during Week 7. Phoenix is slated to play four games over the next seven days, with three of those contests coming on the road. The Suns will start the week with a back-to-back road set against the Hawks and Bucks on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Phoenix will play its lone home game of the scoring period on Thursday against the Rockets before closing out the week at Sacramento on Saturday night. While everyone considers the Suns one of the faster-paced teams in the league, Phoenix has had problems scoring away from home. Coach Alvin Gentry's squad is averaging just 89.9 points per game on the road this season, which doesn't bode well for owners considering their upcoming schedule. With three road games, including a back-to-back on the docket, Fantasy owners should avoid using the majority of Phoenix's Fantasy options this week. Only must-starts Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat should be left active in most formats.
Northwest: Oklahoma City Thunder (@POR, @GS, @SAC, @UTA): The Thunder will be on the West Coast over the next seven days as Kevin Durant and Co. are scheduled to play four road games, including a pair of back-to-back sets during Week 7. Oklahoma City will begin the week in Portland for a game against the Trail Blazers on Monday night before making its second trip of the season to Golden State on Tuesday. After a day off, the Thunder will be at Sacramento on Thursday night before closing out the scoring period against the Jazz on Friday. While four road games in five days seems like a daunting task for most teams, the Thunder should be up for the challenge. Three of the four teams Oklahoma City will be facing this week are ranked in the bottom seven in points allowed, including Sacramento, which is allowing a league-worst 101.4 points per contest. Couple that with the fact that the Thunder is averaging 98.3 points per game away from home, and this looks to be a good week to use most of Oklahoma City's Fantasy options. Besides the obvious choices of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, Fantasy owners should give Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and even Nick Collison a look in deeper formats.
Southeast: Charlotte Bobcats (@BOS, CHI, LAC): The Bobcats are slated to play three times during Week 7, and all three on their matchups look to be challenging. Charlotte will be in Boston on Tuesday night to take on the Celtics before Derrick Rose and the Bulls come to town on Friday night. The Bobcats will then close out the scoring period against the Clippers on Saturday. Both the Celtics and Bulls are ranked in the top five in points allowed this season, which could make it a long week for the offensively-inept Bobcats. Charlotte has been decimated by injuries of late and is having trouble generating offense. Kemba Walker and Co. are averaging just 78 points per game over their last six contests and have failed to score 100 points in 11 straight games, making most of Charlotte's Fantasy options risky plays this week. Only Walker and perhaps Boris Diaw are worthy of starting in the majority of formats this week.
Central: Chicago Bulls (@NJ, @NO, @CHA, @BOS): The Bulls enter Week 7 in the midst of a nine-game road trip, which will have Chicago playing four times over the next seven days. The Bulls will battle the Nets on Monday night in New Jersey before heading out to New Orleans on Wednesday. After a day off, Chicago will take on the Bobcats on Friday before making their second trip of the season to Boston on Sunday afternoon. While most teams struggle on the offensive end when playing away from home, the Bulls have been the opposite. Chicago is actually averaging nearly 98 points per game away from the United Center this season, which ranks sixth overall. With New Jersey, Charlotte and even New Orleans on the schedule this week, the Bulls should have no problem continuing their stellar offensive play. Fantasy owners should feel free to roll with the majority of Chicago's Fantasy options heading into Week 7. Even lower-end options such as Ronnie Brewer, Taj Gibson and Kyle Korver could be worth a look in deeper formats.
Atlantic: Philadelphia 76ers (LAL, SA, LAC, @CLE): The 76ers are slated to play four times during Week 7, with three of those contests at home. Philadelphia will face the Lakers on Monday night before Tim Duncan and the Spurs head to town on Wednesday. After a day off, the 76ers will take on the Clippers on Friday and then close out the week in Cleveland against the Cavaliers on Saturday night. While taking on the Lakers, Spurs and Clippers seems like a daunting task on paper, the 76ers should be able, at the very least, to score some points. The Lakers are the only team on that list ranked in the top 10 in points allowed this season, while the Clippers and Cavaliers rank near the bottom. San Antonio is surrendering just over 93 points per game but has had its fair share of issues on the defensive end. With the way Philadelphia's offense has been clicking of late, owners should feel free to continue to roll with the majority of the 76ers' main Fantasy options. Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner and Jodie Meeks could also be worth a look in deeper formats.