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What's on the Schedule: Week 17

Fantasy Writer
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While most Fantasy leagues ended last week, there are still plenty of formats which extend to the end of the season, forcing owners to play out the schedule to its entirety. Fantasy Week 17 (April 16-26) is the longest scoring period of the season, lasting 10 days and featuring 89 games. It is also considered the one of the most difficult weeks for Fantasy owners to play out as most teams -- whether in the playoffs or not -- tend to rest some of their key personnel over the final few days of the regular season. This can make it extremely hard for owners to set their lineups, but luckily we did our homework and went through the schedule with a fine-tooth comb to find which teams have the most-and least-favorable matchups over the final period of the year.

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The team we have chosen to feature this week is the San Antonio Spurs.

San Antonio is slated to play a league-high eight games during Week 17, including their second back-to-back-to-back set of the season. The Spurs will jump right into their triple set with three straight West-Coast road games to start the week. The Spurs will be at Golden State on Monday before making visits to Los Angeles to face the Lakers on Tuesday and then Sacramento on Wednesday. San Antonio will then take on the Lakers, Cavaliers and Trail Blazers at home on Friday, Sunday and Monday, before wrapping up its season at Phoenix and Golden State next Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

While the Spurs look to have some favorable matchups and tap this week and still have a chance to catch the Thunder for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, don't expect coach Gregg Popovich to change his ways. The savvy coach has found ways to get his older players rest all season long and he is unlikely not change his philosophy over the final 10 days of the year. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will almost certainly be held out of at least one of San Antonio's back-to-back-to-backs and Pop could even opt to rest Tony Parker, Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw, which he has already done at times earlier in the season. Fantasy owners will have to take a hard look at their rosters when deciding whether or not to start some of the Spurs' main options this week. Still, most of San Antonio's mid-and lower-end options have been too inconsistent to trust outside ofdeeper formats this year, so owners may be better off just rolling the dice with Duncan, Parker and Ginobili. However, Jackson and Diaw should still be considered risky plays this week.

Southwest: New Orleans Hornets (@CHA, @MEM, HOU, @LAC, @GS, @HOU): The Hornets are slated to play six times during Week 17 with five of those contests coming on the road. New Orleans will start with a pair of road games against the Bobcats on Monday and Grizzlies on Wednesday before returning home to face the Rockets on Thursday. After two days off, the Hornets will close out the season on the road, starting on Sunday against the Clippers, which will be followed by contests against the Warriors and Rockets on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. Despite posting the worst record in the Western Conference, New Orleans has been playing much better of late. The return of Eric Gordon has brought an added dimension of offense to the Hornets and they look to have some favorable matchups on tap this week. Houston, Golden State and Charlotte are all ranked in the bottom tier in points allowed and opposition field-goal percentage so New Orleans should be able to score points this week. While most teams that have been eliminated from the postseason don't seem to be very motivated this time of year, the Hornets are not one of those teams. Coach Monty Williams' squad is trying to build some momentum going into next season and with a new owner at the helm evaluating every aspect of the team, look for the Hornets to play hard until the end. Fantasy owners should make sure to have Gordon, Chris Kaman and the suddenly emerging Jason Smith active for the final scoring period. Even Marco Belinelli, Greivis Vasquez and Carl Landry could be worth using in deeper formats.

Southwest Division schedule (April 16-22)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Mavericks @UTA HOU GS @CHI
Rockets DEN @DAL @NO GS @MIA
Grizzlies @MIN NO @CHA POR
Hornets @CHA @MEM HOU @LAC
Spurs @GS @LAL @SAC LAL CLE
Southwest Division schedule (April 23-26)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Mavericks @ATL
Rockets NO
Grizzlies CLE ORL
Hornets @GS @HOU
Spurs POR @PHO @GS

Northwest: Utah Jazz (DAL, @POR, ORL, PHO, POR): The Jazz are one of nine teams slated to play five times during Week 17. Utah will play four of those contests at home starting on Monday night against the Mavericks. The Jazz will then be in Portland to take on the Trail Blazers on Wednesday -- the team's lone road contest -- before returning home to face the Magic. After a few days off, Utah will close out the season against the Suns next Tuesday and the Trail Blazers the following Thursday. The Jazz are still in the mix for the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference, so expect them to come out guns blazing this week. Being at home will also be an advantage for Utah as it is one of nine teams averaging more than 100 points on their own court this season. Combine that with the fact that four of those contests will come against the Suns, the defensively-challenged Trail Blazers and the Dwight Howard-less Magic, and this looks to be a good week to use most of the Jazz's main Fantasy options. Sure, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson could be shut down if Utah is eliminated from the postseason, but that is a risk we strongly recommend taking. Fantasy owners should also make sure to get Gordon Haywood, Devin Harris and Derrick Favors active this week. Despite Enes Kantar's increased role over the past few games, his production is too inconsistent to trust outside of anything other than deeper formats.

Northwest Division schedule (April 16-22)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Nuggets @HOU LAC @PHO ORL
T'Wolves @IND MEM @DET GS
Thunder @LAC @PHO @SAC @LAL
Trail Blazers @PHO UTA @MEM
Jazz @DAL @POR ORL
Northwest Division schedule (April 23-26)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Nuggets @OKC @MIN
T'Wolves DEN
Thunder SAC DEN
Trail Blazers @SA @UTA
Jazz PHO POR

Phoenix Suns (POR, OKC, LAC, DEN, @UTA, SA): The Suns are scheduled to take the court six times during Week 17 as they make their last run to make the playoffs. Five of Phoenix's games this week will be at home starting on Monday night against the Trail Blazers. The Suns will then take on the Thunder, Clippers and Nuggets at US Airways Center on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, respectively. The Suns' lone road contest will be at Utah next Tuesday before closing out the season next Wednesday against the Spurs. The Clippers are the only team Phoenix will face this week that is not allowing at least 95 points per game this season, so regardless of the outcomes, the Suns should be able to score. Obviously, Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat should always remain active, but owners should make sure Channing Frye and Jared Dudley are also active in the majority of formats. Even Michael Redd, Shannon Brown and Grant Hill should garner some consideration in deeper leagues. Sebastian Telfair has been seeing more run of late as well, but his inconsistent production makes him way too risky to consider in most leagues.

Pacific Division schedule (April 16-22)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Warriors SA LAL @DAL @HOU @MIN
Clippers OKC @DEN @PHO LAC
Lakers SA @GS @SA OKC
Suns POR OKC LAC DEN
Kings SA OKC @CHA
Pacific Division schedule (April 23-26)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Warriors NO SA
Clippers @ATL @NY
Lakers @SAC
Suns @UTA SA
Kings @OKC LAL

Central: Cleveland Cavaliers (@DET, PHI, NY, @SA, @MEM, WAS, @CHI): The Cavaliers are one of six teams slated to play seven games during Week 17 with three of those contests coming at home. Cleveland will face the Pistons in Detroit to start the period before returning home to face the 76ers on Wednesday night. The Knicks will be in town on Friday night before the Cavaliers hit the road to face the Spurs and Grizzlies in a back-to-back set on Sunday and Monday, respectively. Cleveland will be back at home to face the Wizards next Wednesday before closing out the period (and season) next Thursday night against the Bulls. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners the Cavaliers seem to be one of the few teams which has already cashed in this season. Decimated by injuries, the Cavaliers had seven players from the D-League on their roster last Saturday and most of them have seen meaningful minutes of late. Most owners aren't even sure who is on their current roster anymore, making it extremely difficult to use most of their Fantasy options, which will be the case again this week. Kyrie Irving's status remains in question and it is starting to look like Anderson Varejao will not make it back this season. That leaves Alonso Gee and Antawn Jamison as the primary scorers for Cleveland and both players have been slumping big time over the past few weeks. Still, Jamison and Gee look to be the only options on the Cavaliers worth rolling with this week as Irving's injury status makes him an extremely risky play for the scoring period. Owners should consider leaving him reserved if you have another option to turn to.

Central Division schedule (April 16-22)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Bulls WAS @CHA @MIA DAL
Cavaliers @DET PHI NY @SA
Pistons CLE @ATL MIN TOR
Pacers MIN @PHI MIL PHI
Bucks @WAS @IND NJ
Central Division schedule (April 23-26)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Bulls @IND CLE
Cavaliers @MEM WAS @CHI
Pistons @IND PHI
Pacers DET CHI
Bucks TOR PHI @BOS

Atlantic: Philadelphia 76ers (@ORL, IND, @CLE, @IND, @NJ, @Mil, @DET) The 76ers will take the floor seven times during Week 17 with five of those contests coming on the road. Philadelphia will partake in a back-to-back-to-back set to start the week, beginning Monday night in Orlando. The 76ers will then face the Pacers at home on Tuesday before heading to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers on Wednesday. Coach Doug Collins' squad will play their final four games on the road starting on Sunday against the Pacers. Philadelphia will be in New Jersey on Monday before closing out the season against the Bucks and Pistons next Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Despite the 76ers recent tailspin from atop the standings, Philadelphia still controls its own destiny as far as the postseason in concerned. Andre Iguodala and Co. will need to win as many games as possible over the next 10 days and look to have some favorable matchups on the docket. Orlando is not the same defensive team without Dwight Howard on the court, while the Cavaliers, Nets and Pistons are all ranked near the bottom of the league in opposition field-goal percentage. That, combined with the 76ers' desperate position they put themselves in, makes this a great week to use most of their Fantasy options. Despite all the recent struggles and lineup changes Philadelphia has gone through, Fantasy owners should make sure to get Iguodala, Jrue Holliday, Elton Brand, Lou Williams, Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young active in the majority of formats this week. Even Jodee Meeks and the now starting Nikola Vucevic deserve some consideration in deeper formats.

Atlantic Division schedule (April 16-22)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Celtics @NY ORL @ATL
Nets MIA NY @MIL
Knicks BOS @NJ @CLE ATL
76ers ORL IND @CLE @IND
Raptors ATL @MIA @DET
Atlantic Division schedule (April 23-26)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Celtics MIA MIL
Nets PHI @TOR
Knicks @LAC CHA
76ers @NJ @MIL @DET
Raptors @MIL NJ

Southeast: Atlanta Hawks (@TOR, DET, BOS, NY, LAC, DAL) The Hawks have been quietly playing pretty well over the last few weeks and will take the court six times during Week 17. After taking on the Raptors on Monday, Atlanta will be at home for its final five games of the season starting on Wednesday when the Pistons come to town. The Hawks will then take on the Celtics and Knicks on Friday and Sunday, respectively, before facing the Clippers next Tuesday and Mavericks the following Thursday. Despite the Hawks already being locked into a playoff spot, there is still a chance Atlanta could improve its seeding. However, Fantasy owners will have to be careful when using some of its main Fantasy options as coach Larry Drew could opt to rest some of his players this week. The Hawks also have some tough matchups on tap as the Celtics, Knicks and Mavericks all rank in the top 10 in opposition field-goal percentage, while the Clippers are not too far behind. Still, Josh Smith and Joe Johnson are too valuable to consider benching, although Zaza Pachulia's foot injury makes him a major injury risk. Pachulia is expected to be sidelined until at least the Pistons game and we wouldn't be surprised if he is sits out even longer. Ivan Johnson has seen increased minutes in his absence so Fantasy owners should make sure to get him active this week along with Johnson, Smith and Jeff Teague. Even Willie Green deserves some consideration in deeper formats. However, Fantasy owners in daily formats should also keep an eye on Al Horfod's status moving forward. The Hawks are still holding out hope that he could return prior to the end of the regular season, which would be huge boost to most lineups, if he is able to return.

Southeast Division schedule (April 16-22)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Hawks @TOR DET BOS NY
Bobcats NO CHI MEM SAC
Heat @NJ TOR CHI WAS HOU
Magic PHI @BOS @UTA @DEN
Wizards @CHI MIL @MIA
Southeast Division schedule (April 23-26)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Hawks LAC DAL
Bobcats @WAS @ORL NY
Heat @BOS @WAS
Magic CHA @MEM
Wizards @CLE MIA

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Player News
Move to Houston won't alter Trevor Ariza's trajectory
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:09 pm ET) Trevor Ariza parlayed a career-year into a lucrative free-agency contract with the Rockets this offseason -- stop me if you've heard this story before.

Ariza was largely a disappointment in his first stint with the Rockets, though it did lead him to the best per-game numbers of his career. Still, Ariza was obviously miscast as a primary offensive option the last time he was in Houston, and that won't be a problem this time around.

Ariza joins a Rockets team with two established stars, and will likely spend much of his time trying to fill the departed Chandler Parsons' role. That should suit him nicely, as Ariza has just enough of an off-the-bounce game to serve as the team's third ballhandler when the shot clock gets deep. Ariza attempted 11.1 field-goal attempts per game last season, and should see a boost given Parsons' role; he attempted 13.3 shots per game.

Ariza's improved three-point shot seems legitimate, as he is shooting 38.6 percent from long range over 738 attempts since 2012. However, he will no longer have John Wall feeding him for juicy corner 3-pointers; Wall to Ariza was the league's most productive corner-three combination last season. His shooting numbers may take a hit with his move.

Even acknowledging the loss of Wall's help, we know the Houston offense is set up to get every player the most efficient shots possible, so Ariza shouldn't see much of a dip in his efficiency. His ability to fill up the box score makes him a perfect No. 2 option at forward in category-based leagues, especially now that he is a high-volume shooter. 


Despite new role, don't write off Isaiah Thomas entirely
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:28 pm ET) Suns guard Isaiah Thomas might see one of the biggest dropoffs in his Fantasy value from last season to this, as he joins the crowded Suns' backcourt.

The Suns might have three All-Star caliber guards in the backcourt now, with Thomas likely to backup Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe this season. That should put a serious dent in Thomas' value; Thomas finished 13th in Fantasy scoring among guards a year ago, but is projected to finish just 43rd this season.

Still, Thomas is definitely someone you'll want to add to your team when drafting, and almost certainly before the rest of the No. 4-type guards he is grouped with. Thomas is likely to see his numbers fall off from the 20.3 points and 6.3 assists he averaged a year ago, at least at first. However, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him end up starting upwards of 25 games throughout the year, given Bledsoe's injury-proneness. Bledsoe has missed at least 25 games in two of the last three seasons for knee issues.

Thomas probably profiles as more of a bench option for Fantasy purposes next season, but you'll be targeting him much earlier than nearly any other reserve. His upside as a handcuff option for either Bledsoe or Dragic is sky-high, and will make him well worth your attention on Draft Day. 


Eric Gordon cleared for contact
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:34 am ET) Pelicans guard Eric Gordon has been cleared to take part in full-contact offseason drills ahead of training camp, The Times-Picayune reports.

Gordon underwent season-ending knee surgery last April, but is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. 


Jrue Holiday cleared for contact ahead of camp
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:26 am ET) Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday was able to participate in full-contact offseason drills last week, the first time he has done so since undergoing season-ending surgery last January.

"Getting out playing has been a joy," Holiday told The Times-Picayune. "I've been running and jumping and stuff, but getting my rhythm back on the court is definitely a big thing right now for me."

The Pelicans open training camp Sept. 30, and Holiday is not expected to have any limitations as the team prepares for the start of the season. Holiday averaged 14.3 points, 7.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game last season prior to the injury.


Kent Bazemore focused on conditioning in recovery
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:18 am ET) Newly signed Hawks guard Kent Bazemore did not pick up a basketball until August, preferring to focus on conditioning in his recovery from foot surgery in April.

"I think the injury was definitely a blessing," he told the Daily Press, "because I was able to step away from the game of basketball. I took myself out of my element all summer. I did stuff I'm not used to doing."

Bazemore signed a two-year deal with the Hawks this offseason, and is expected to compete for playing time on the wing immediately, as he is fully recovered from the surgery. 


Xavier Henry still aiming for start of regular season
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:13 am ET) Lakers forward Xavier Henry is recovered from offseason wrist surgery, but is still working his way back from a procedure on his right knee. Lakers coach Byron Scott told the Los Angeles Daily News he is not sure if Henry will be ready to play in games by the start of training camp.

"I haven't seen him do much on the court," Scott said. "It's going to be close on if he's ready for camp."

Henry has been able to take part in basketball activities, but has still not been cleared for contact. Still, he is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season, after appeared in 43 games a year ago. 


Larry Sanders 'absolutely' a part of team's future plans
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:09 am ET) Bucks assistant general manager David Morway told HoopsHype.com in September center Larry Sanders is still a part of the team's future plans, despite a troubled 2013-14 season.

"Absolutely," Morway said. "Yeah, yeah. Larry is in our future plans. We are hopeful that this year Larry gets back to being the basketball player that he was two years ago."

Sanders had a long list of issues follow him last season, including a drug suspension served at the end of the season, as well as a thumb injury suffered during a bar fight. Sanders was limited to just 23 games, during which he averaged 7.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game before his season ended in February with a fractured eye socket.

Sanders is expected to open the season as the team's starting center. 


Brendan Haywood possibly ahead of schedule
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:55 am ET) Cavaliers center Brendan Haywood might be able to play during the first half of the 2014-15 season according to The Plain Dealer, as he is in better shape than expected ahead of the start of training camp.

According to the report, the team was concerned their recently-acquired big man might not be able to play until January, if at all, due to foot surgery last season. Haywood missed all of last season as a result of the surgery, but might be able to provide some depth in the backcourt shortly.  


Brook Lopez sheds weight in order to stay healthy
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:46 am ET) Nets center Brook Lopez lost 15 pounds this offseason, in hopes that he can stay healthy following a second season lost due to foot issues.

Lopez told The New York Post in August he is down to 275 pounds, after entering training camp at 290 pounds a year ago. Lopez's season ended in January after foot surgery, and he also underwent a procedure to clean up his ankle during the season.

Lopez is not expected to be on a minutes limit for the Nets this season, despite his injury history. He averaged 20.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in 17 appearances before the injury a year ago. 


John Jenkins gets healthy over summer
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:29 am ET) Hawks guard John Jenkins was able to play a few games during the team's Las Vegas Summer League run, a sign that he has recovered from a lower back issue that derailed his 2013-14 season.

Jenkins appeared in just 13 games a year ago before finally having back surgery in January, but is expected to be at full health for the start of training camp. He appeared in two Summer League games, and is expected to compete for a backup role in the backcourt.

Jenkins has averaged just 5.6 points in 74 games over two seasons since the Hawks selected him 23rd overall in the 2012 draft. 


 
 
 
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