Fantasy Week 12 (March 12-18) is one of the busier periods of the season as there are 59 games scheduled over the next seven days. Four teams will play five games this week and there are 33 back-to-back sets, including one back-to-back-to-back. And with the NBA's trade deadline upon us, there could be some players on the move this week, which will add an additional challenge to Fantasy owners and teams as both continue to navigate what has been anything but a normal NBA season.
While it is difficult to predict which players will be on the move, we have highlighted the seven teams we feel have the most intriguing matchups this week and who could also be affected by trades, starting with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers only played 30 games prior to the All-Star break but have been one of the busiest teams since play resumed. Los Angeles played four times in each of the last two weeks but will now be one of four teams with five games scheduled this period. However, the Clippers are the only team that will get to play all five of their games at home starting Monday night against the Celtics. Chris Paul and Co. will then face the Hawks Wednesday, followed by a visit from the Suns Thursday night. After a day off, Los Angeles will close out the period with a back-to-back set against the Rockets and Pistons on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, respectively.
While playing seven games over a 10-day stretch will present plenty of challenges, the Clippers should benefit greatly from playing at the Staples Center. Coach Vinny Del Negro's squad is averaging 99.8 points per game at home and is making 47 percent of field goals in their own pad. That should help when facing the defensive-minded Celtics and Hawks during the early portion of the week. Things look to get easier as the week progresses as the Clippers have scored more than 100 points in each of their two matchups against the Rockets this year. Despite Detroit's improved play lately, the Pistons are allowing their opponents to convert 47 percent of their field-goal attempts, which ranks 28th out of the 30 NBA teams. The Suns held Los Angeles to a season-low 78 points during their lone meeting this season, but we don't foresee that happening again.
Despite the obvious challenges of playing so many games over such a small time frame, this looks to be a great week to use most of the Clippers' Fantasy options. In addition to must-start options Blake Griffin and Paul, owners should make sure to get DeAndre Jordan, Mo Williams and Randy Foye active. Even Kenyon Martin could have some run in deeper formats.
Pacific: Sacramento Kings (GS, DET, BOS, MIN) The Kings are scheduled to play four times during Week 12 but will have the luxury of playing all four at home. Sacramento will open the period with its lone back-to-back set against the Warriors and Pistons on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The Kings will then welcome the Celtics to town Friday before closing out the week Sunday evening against the Timberwolves. Despite the Kings' sub-.500 record, this looks to be a great week to start most of their main Fantasy options. Both the Pistons and Warriors have been spotty at best on defense this season and the Timberwolves have surrendered an average of 99.8 points over their last five games. The Celtics are the lone team on the schedule this week which could present a defensive challenge but the Kings usually find a way to score points at home. In fact, coach Keith Smart's squad is averaging 99 points per game at home this season, which is five points more than their average on the road. DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton and Isaiah Thomas should all be active this week and even Jason Thompson, Jimmer Fredette and John Salmons can be considered viable options in deeper formats.
Northwest: Minnesota Timberwolves (@PHO, @UTA, @LAL, @SAC) The Timberwolves are slated to play four games during Week 12 as they get ready to begin life without Ricky Rubio. Minnesota will be on the road for the duration of the scoring period, starting Monday night in Phoenix. The T'wolves will then take on the Jazz and Lakers in a back-to-back set Thursday and Friday night, respectively, before closing out the week at Sacramento on Sunday. While Minnesota looks to have some favorable matchups on the docket, the Timberwolves will have to find a way to replace the 10.6 points and 8.2 assists Rubio gave them on a nightly basis. Kevin Love's production should remain unchanged, but many are wondering how Fantasy sensation Nikola Pekovic will fare without some of Rubio's precise passes to him in the post. That doesn't mean Pekovic's production will be non-existstent without Rubio, but it could take a hit. Luke Ridnour and Jose Juan Barea -- if healthy – should see a boost in production this week and even Martell Webster's minutes will likely increase. However, because no one knows for sure how Minnesota will look moving forward, some of its options could be considered a bit risky this week. Other than Love, Pekovic and Ridnour, we would recommend leaving most of the T'Wolves' other options reserved.
Southwest: Houston Rockets (@OKC, CHA, @LAC, @PHO) The Rockets are one of the 20 teams scheduled to play four times this week. Houston will start the scoring period on the road for a matchup against the Thunder Tuesday night. The Rockets will take on the Bobcats back in Houston Wednesday before closing out the scoring period with a pair of road games against the Clippers Saturday and Suns on Sunday. While Houston will have to play three of its four contests away from home, the Rockets are actually one of the more efficient road teams in the league, averaging 95.7 points in other arenas. Combine that with the fact that Luis Scola and Co. have already put up more than 100 points on the Clippers and Thunder this season and this looks to be a good week to use most of Houston's Fantasy options. Fantasy owners should make sure Scola, Kevin Martin and Samuel Dalembet are all active this week. With Kyle Lowry sidelined for a few weeks, Goran Dragic should be activated heading into the scoring period.
Central: Detroit Pistons (@UTA, @SAC, @PHO, @LAC) The Pistons enter Week 12 playing some of their best basketball of the season and are scheduled for four games over the next seven days. All four contests will be on the road, starting Monday at Utah. Detroit will then take on the Kings Wednesday night before wrapping up the period against the Suns Friday and Clippers Sunday in a matinee. While the Pistons have not fared well on the road this season, they look to have some favorable matchups on tap. The Jazz and Suns both rank in the bottom tier in points allowed this season and the Suns have been anything but a defensive juggernaut. The Clippers could present a challenge but not enough to worry about sitting most of Detroit's main Fantasy options. Make sure to leave Greg Monroe, Rodney Stuckey, Brandon Knight and Tayshaun Price active this week. Even the emerging Jason Maxiell could be worth starting in some deeper formats.
Southeast: Washington Wizards (@SA, @DAL, @NO, @ATL, @MEM) The Wizards will play five times during Week 12, with all five contests coming on the road. Washington will start the week in Texas with a back-to-back set against the Spurs and Mavericks on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. The Wizards then take on the Hornets Thursday and Hawks Friday before wrapping up the scoring period against Memphis Sunday evening. If playing five road games over seven days wasn't challenging enough, Washington's roster could look completely different by the week's end. General manager Ernie Grunfeld has made it clear everyone not named John Wall is on the trading block, making most of the Wizards' Fantasy options risky plays this week. While it won't be feasible for some owners, we recommend trying to avoid using Jordan Crawford, Nick Young and Andray Blatche if possible. The center position is too thin to sit JaVale McGee, but Trevor Booker is another player who could be dealt. Wall appears to be the only sure bet this week, which is why he is the only player we feel comfortable fully endorsing for the scoring period.
Atlantic: Philadelphia 76ers (@IND, MIA, @CHI) The 76ers are one of the few teams slated to play only three games during Week 12. Philadelphia will start the week at Indiana on Wednesday before taking on the Heat at home Friday night. The 76ers will then face the Bulls in Chicago Saturday night, wrapping up a very tough three-game stretch. Indiana, Miami and Chicago all rank in the top 10 in points allowed and opposition field-goal percentage this season, making this a brutal stretch for Philadelphia. Points will likely come at a premium this week and Philadelphia's balanced scoring attack makes this a tough week to endorse most of its Fantasy options. Only Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams and the emerging Evan Turner look like safe plays. Start the slumping Jrue Holiday and inconsistent Elton Brand at your own risk.