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What's on the Schedule: Week 12

Fantasy Writer
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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.

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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.

Pacific Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Warriors @SAC BOS MIL @UTA
Clippers BOS ATL PHO HOU DET
Lakers @MEM @NO MIN UTA
Suns MIN UTA @LAC DET HOU
Kings GS DET BOS MIN

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.

Northwest Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Nuggets ATL OKC BOS
T'Wolves @PHO @UTA @LAL @SAC
Thunder HOU @DEN SA POR
Trail Blazers @IND @NY @CHI @OKC
Jazz DET @PHO MIN GS @LAL

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.

Southwest Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Mavericks WAS CHA SA
Rockets @OKC CHA @LAC @PHO
Grizzlies LAL TOR WAS
Hornets CHA LAL WAS @NJ
Spurs WAS ORL @OKC @DAL

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.

Central Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Bulls NY MIA POR PHI
Cavaliers TOR @MIL ATL
Pistons @UTA @SAC @PHO @LAC
Pacers POR PHI @NY NY
Bucks @NJ CLE @GS

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.

Southeast Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Hawks @DEN @LAC WAS @CLE
Bobcats @NO @HOU @DAL TOR
Heat @ORL @CHI @PHI ORL
Magic MIA @SA NJ @MIA
Wizards @SA @DAL @NO @ATL @MEM

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.

Atalntic Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Celtics @LAC @GS @SAC @DEN
Nets MIL TOR @ORL NO
Knicks @CHI POR IND @IND
76ers @IND MIA @CHI
Raptors @CLE @NJ @MEM @CHA

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Player News
Warriors SG Brandon Rush exits Saturday's game with eye injury
(9:10 pm ET) Warriors shooting guard Brandon Rush left Saturday's game in Milwaukee with an eye contusion, the team has announced.

The status of his return is questionable.


Nuggets F Danilo Gallinari (rest) out Saturday in Portland
(8:51 pm ET) Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari will sit out Saturday's game in Portland for rest, the team has announced. 

Gallinari left Wednesday's game with a shoulder injury but did play Friday against the Jazz. 

Gallinari is second on the team this season with 16.2 points per game.


Jazz G Rodney Hood (illness) to start Saturday against the Thunder
(8:38 pm ET) Jazz guard Rodney Hood (gastrointestinal distress) will start Saturday against the Thunder, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

Hood has missed the last two games as a result of the illness.

Hood is averaging 7.4 points and 1.4 assists per game this season.

Jazz F Derrick Favors (back) out for Saturday against Thunder
(8:19 pm ET) The Jazz have officially ruled out forward Derrick Favors (back spasms) for Saturday's game against the Thunder, the team announced.

Favors was listed as doubtful earlier in the day.

Favors has been dealing with the back spasms since Friday's game.

Forward Trevor Booker (6.6 points, 4.7 rebounds) will start in place of Favors.

Favors is second on the team with both 16.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game this season.


Hornets' Mo Williams, Al Jefferson set to start Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:23 pm ET) Despite being listed as questionable for the game, Hornets center Al Jefferson (knee) and guard Mo Williams (knee) will play Saturday against the Hawks, the team announced.

Jefferson has been bothered by the knee for awhile, but has not missed anytime with the injury. Williams has also not missed any time due to the injury.


Grizzlies list guard Tony Allen as questionable for Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:13 pm ET) Grizzlies shooting guard Tony Allen is considered questionable for Sunday's game against the Spurs with a left hamstring strain, according to the team's game notes.

Allen, who is averaging 8.6 points and 4.4 rebounds in 63 games this season, left Friday's game with the injury and was not able to return. 


Hornets F Al Jefferson, G Mo Williams questionable for Saturday
(6:49 pm ET) Hornets forward Al Jefferson (right knee soreness) and guard Mo Williams (left knee soreness) are listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against the Pelicans, according to the team’s injury report. 

Both Jefferson and Williams have not missed any time but have been battling knee pain this week.


Timberwolves release injury report for Sunday at New Orleans
(6:28 pm ET) The Timberwolves have announced that forward Robbie Hummel (hand), forward Anthony Bennett (ankle) and Kevin Martin (hamstring) are questionable; forward Kevin Garnett (knee) and guard Ricky Rubio (ankle) are doubtful; and center Nikola Pekovic (ankle) and guard Gary Neal (ankle) are out for Sunday's game in New Orleans.


Napier doubtful, Whiteside questionable for Heat on Sunday
(6:16 pm ET) Guard Shabazz Napier (right hip pain) is listed as doubtful and center Hassan Whiteside (right hand laceration) has been upgraded to questionable for the Heat on Sunday against the Pistons, according to the team’s injury report.

Napier is averaging 5.1 points and 2.5 assists this season as primarily a reserve.

Whiteside (11.0 points, 9.8 rebounds per game) cut his hand in Monday’s loss in Milwaukee.


Spurs C Aron Baynes (ankle) upgraded to probable for Sunday
(5:33 pm ET) Spurs center Aron Baynes (sprained right ankle) has been upgraded to probable for Sunday's game against the Grizzlies, reports the San Antonio Express-News.

Baynes has missed the last three games after suffering the injury March 22 in the team's win in Atlanta.

Baynes is averaging 6.2 points and 4.4 rebounds as a reserve this season.

 
 
 
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