Fantasy sports: NBA stretch run decided by quantity over quality

Miami Heat
Many Heat players will likely be held back down the stretch. Credit: Reuters

The nightmare for every fantasy hoops owner is to turn into a Charles Barkley or a Karl Malone or a Patrick Ewing or an Allen Iverson – a great player that put up monster stats but never kissed the ring. In today’s almost exclusive head-to-head fantasy sports climate, the five-month regular-season grind means very little if we choke in the playoffs. That means shaping your roster to fit the homestretch is the priority.

Maxing Out Games
Far too often, head-to-head hoops matchups are decided by raw games played in a given week. Al Jefferson for two games or Marcin Gortat for four? Exactly. We’re not going to dump our studs, but we are going to bolster the bottom of our roster with guys operating on plus schedules. Over the final four weeks of the regular season, the Nets, Heat, Hawks, Pacers and Raptors all play a healthy 15 or 16 games. The Warriors and Clippers play a meager 12. The Blazers (March 24) and Bucks (March 10) have rare five-game weeks coming up. The Clippers and Knicks each have two-game weeks at the worst possible time: April 8.

Beware of the Resters
Unfortunately, NBA coaches don’t have fantasy owners in mind over the final couple weeks of the regular season. They’re selfishly worried about having fresh players for the playoffs. Therefore, we can predict a ton of DNP-CDs in the fantasy playoffs, especially from aging veterans. Dwyane Wade sat out nine of the final 14 games last year and eight of the final 16 in 2011-12. Tim Duncan was held out four times over the last two weeks in 2012. Know the rotations and have backup plans in place.

Category Hunting
Throughout the regular season, most of us simply try to find the best players and see how the categories shake out. In the playoffs, we need to be more assertive. Whether we win 9-0 or 5-4 doesn’t matter, so focusing all our energy on just five categories is optimal. Identify the five you’re going after before the playoffs and build the bottom third of your roster from there. If you can’t win blocks and rebounds but can win 3-pointers and assists, there’s little reason to carry Roy Hibbert over Kendall Marshall.

NBA Pickups
Kent Bazemore, SG, Lakers – An ideal Mike D’Antoni player in that he can put up shots and points in a hurry.
Kevin Seraphin, C, Wizards – With Nene out, Seraphin is the play over Trevor Booker due to upside.
Timofey Mozgov, C, Nuggets – The struggling Nuggets are switching their lineup, promoting Mozgov into a starter’s role.

MLB Sleepers
Get these guys on your radar:
1. Billy Hamiton, OF, Reds – The fastest man in the league is expected to hit leadoff and start in center field.
2. Scott Kazmir, SP, Athletics – A 29-year-old sleeper is rare, but Kazmir gets a huge bump as he goes to Oakland’s pitcher-friendly confines.
3. Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins – If he can hit lefties, the 22-year-old will have a chance to be an everyday run producer for Minny.

NFL News
At the NFL Combine, Packers coach Mike McCarthy raved enthusiastically about Jarrett Boykin. It means free agent James Jones is a goner, and Boykin is going to be the No. 3 receiver behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. On most teams that’s a bit role, but on the Packers it’s an every-down job and one that benefits from Aaron Rodgers’ ability. Boykin will be a WR3 with upside in 2014.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 7,…

Drunk girls and ghost brownies: here’s your weekly ‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap by way of Q&A. Q: do they really not check for feet under…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.