After two straight shortened scoring periods, things return to normal during Fantasy Week 11 (March 5-11). There are 57 games scheduled over the next seven days and 29 of the 30 NBA teams will play at least three times during the period. With only a few weeks left before the start of the playoffs in most Fantasy leagues, it is important for Fantasy owners to set the best lineup possible as they make their final push toward the postseason. To help, we have highlighted the seven teams which have the most intriguing schedules this week.
The Dallas Mavericks are the only team slated to play five times this week after playing four games the week following the All-Star break. Dallas is starting a grueling stretch in which it will play nine games over 12 days, including six of those contests on the road. The Mavericks will start the week in Oklahoma City for a matchup with the Thunder before heading home to face the Knicks Tuesday night. After a day off, Dallas will embark on its lone triple set of the season starting Thursday night at Phoenix. The Mavericks will then be in Sacramento Friday against the Kings before closing out the period Saturday night at Golden State.
With so many games crammed into such a small time frame, fatigue could certainly be a factor, especially near the end of the week. However, Dirk Nowitzki and crew do look to have some favorable matchups on tap. Three of the five teams Dallas will face are ranked in the bottom five in points allowed this season and the Mavericks have scored more than 100 points in two of their three contests against the Thunder. New York has also shown some flaws defensively of late, so we fully anticipate the Mavericks being able to score some points this week. Coach Rick Carlisle could be forced to go to his bench a bit more than usual over this crowded stretch, which makes this a good week to get most of Dallas' main Fantasy options active. While Nowtizki is a must-start option, Fantasy owners should make sure to get Jason Terry, Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd active this week. Even Brendan Haywood and the suddenly emerging Roddy Beaubois deserve some consideration in most leagues.
Southwest: San Antonio Spurs (NY, LAC) We highlighted the Spurs' schedule last week, but with San Antonio the lone team with just two games on the docket we felt it pertinent to mention them again. The Spurs will play their first game of the scoring period on Wednesday against the Knicks before wrapping things up on Friday against the Clippers. While both games are at home, two games don't leave much room for error and one poor performance could really put Fantasy owners in a hole. As a result, we don't recommend using most of the Spurs' Fantasy options this week. Only Tony Paker should be left active in most formats.
Northwest: Denver Nuggets (SAC, CLE, NO, MEM) The Nuggets are slated to play four games during Week 11 and are the only team to will play four games without any back-to-back sets. Denver will start the week with a matchup against the Kings Monday night before welcoming the Cavaliers to town Wednesday. The Nuggets will then host New Orleans Friday and wrap up the period Sunday against the Grizzlies. While Denver looks to have some favorable matchups on the docket, the Nuggets are a team going through transition. Nene, Danilo Gallinari and Rudy Fernandez are all expected to return this week, which will likely throw a monkey wrench into coach George Karl's current rotation. Corey Brewer and Kenneth Faried will likely have their minutes affected the most this week. Plus, Timofey Mozgov, Kosta Koufos, Arron Afflalo and even Al Harington could see their playing time take a small hit. Because of all the uncertainty surrounding Denver's rotation at the moment, we would caution Fantasy owners about using some of the team's options. Sure Gallinari and Nene can be plugged back into most lineups as soon as they return, but Ty Lawson looks to be the only other sure bet this week. Owners should consider the rest of Denver's pieces risky plays -- at best -- for the upcoming scoring period.
Pacific: Los Angeles Lakers (@DET, @WAS, @MIN, BOS) The Lakers are slated to play four times during Week 11, although three of those contests will be on the road. Los Angeles will start the week in Detroit to take on the Pistons Tuesday night. Kobe Bryant and Co. will then face the Wizards Wednesday before wrapping up their three-game road trip against the Timberwolves Friday night. Los Angeles will close out the scoring period against the Celtics Sunday in the Staples Center, concluding a stretch of four games in eight days. While the Lakers have struggled to score points on the road this season, they look to have some favorable matchups this week. The Pistons and Wizards are both ranked in the bottom of the league in opponent field-goal percentage, while Washington is one of the few teams allowing more than 100 points per game this season. Detroit and Minnesota are surrendering 95.9 and 96.5 points per game, respectively. However, Los Angeles was able to put up more than 100 points in both its meetings against the Timberwolves this year. Sure, the Celtics will likely put up a tough defensive effort, but Boston has allowed 100.6 points over its last five contests. With the way the Lakers have been clicking on offense of late, this looks to be a good week to give some of their mid-range options some run. Outside of must-start options, Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, Metta World Peace and Matt Barnes could also be worth a look. Even Steve Blake and Derek Fisher could be worth using in deeper formats.
Atlantic: Toronto Raptors (ORL, HOU, @DET, MIL) The Raptors are slated to play four times during Week 11 and will play three of those contests north of the border. Toronto will take on the Magic Monday night before welcoming the Rockets to town on Wednesday. After a few days off, the Raptors will wrap up the scoring period with a back-to-back set at Detroit Friday before returning home to take on the Bucks Saturday. While Toronto has had a tough time scoring points this season, it looks to have some favorable matchups this week. Houston and Detroit are both ranked near the bottom of the league in opponent field-goal percentage and Toronto was able to put up 96 and 99 points, respectively, in its lone matchups with the Magic and Bucks earlier in the year. The Raptors are also averaging nearly five points more at home this season than on the road, so this could be one of the rare weeks where owners want to think about using some of the club's mid-range options. Other than DeMar DeRozan and Jose Calderon, make sure to get Amir Johnson, James Jones and Linas Kleiza active. For those owners feeling extremely brave, Jerryd Bayless, Ed Davis and Leandro Barbosa could also be worth a look in deeper leagues.
Central: Milwaukee Bucks (PHI, CHI, NY, @TOR) The Bucks are one of 23 teams slated to play four times during Week 11. Milwaukee will begin the week with three straight home games, starting Monday night against the 76ers. The Bucks will take on the Bulls Wednesday and then the Knicks Friday before closing the week in Canada against the Raptors Sunday. While Milwaukee appears to have some tough matchups on tap, the Bucks do have the advantage of playing in the Bradley Center. Coach Scott Skiles' club has been more efficient offensively at home this season, averaging 99.1 points compared to just 92.4 points on the road. Despite the defensive prowess of the Bulls, 76ers and even Knicks to a certain degree, Milwaukee's offensive efficiency at home is too hard to ignore. The Bucks have plenty of Fantasy options not named Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova who could help owners earn a win this week. Make sure to get the now-healthy Drew Gooden active this week as well as Carlos Delfino and Mike Dunleavy.
Southeast: Washington Wizards (GS, LAL, POR) The Wizards are slated to play three games -- all at home -- during Week 11. Washington will start the week with a matchup against the Warriors Monday before the Lakers come to town Wednesday. After a few days off, the Wizards will wrap up the scoring period against Portland Saturday night. While Golden State shouldn't provide much of a defensive challenge, the same cannot be said about the Lakers and Trail Blazers. Both teams have been particularly stingy on defense this season -- especially Los Angeles -- which could make points tough to come by for the Wizards. Coach Randy Wittman has been shaking up his rotation of late, which is a trend that could continue this week. He benched Nick Young and JaVale McGee recently and has been giving veterans Maurice Evans and Roger Mason Jr. extra minutes. With no clear-cut rotation and a tough schedule on tap, owners may want to avoid some of Washington's mid-range options. Other than John Wall and maybe McGee, there aren't many risk-free options on the roster. Jordan Crawford's recent play should be reason enough to get him active in deeper formats, but there is still some risk there.