The fantasy basketball playoffs begin Monday for most leagues, and that means that you will have to be extra sharp with your pickups. No worries, I have you covered with eight of the best fantasy pickups for week 14. Good luck in the playoffs!
Kawhi Leonard, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs (Owned in 33% of standard leagues)
I guess that Leonard was the beneficiary of the Richard Jefferson deal, even though many thought Danny Green would assume that role. The young forward can give you a bit of everything on the offensive and defensive end. Over his past five games he’s averaging 11.4 points, seven rebounds, and almost two steals, and if you are in a league where turnovers are a category, Leonard rarely turns the ball over. Week 14 has some tough matchups, but he should continue to light up the steals category. The Celtics give up the third most steals to small forwards, but the Cavaliers and Hornets are always good matchups just at a general glance.
Marco Belinelli, SG, New Orleans Hornets (Owned in 27% of standard leagues)
Belinelli has been logging big time minutes due to the array of injuries that the Hornets have been dealing with. In nearly 35 minutes per game over the past week, Belinelli averaged 15 points while shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc. Usually I don’t recommend players who only have three games to produce, but Belinelli is a rare exception this week. The Nuggets, Timberwolves, and Spurs give up the 2nd, 3rd, and 7th most points to shooting guards. If Belinelli continues to play 35+ minutes per game, there isn’t a reason why he can’t consistently score 20+ points nightly.
Tayshaun Prince, SF/PF, Detroit Pistons (Owned in 47% of standard leagues)
Due to the absences of Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon, Prince has taken over the scorer’s role in a struggling Pistons offense. The aging veteran averaged a little over 18 points and nearly five rebounds in week 13, but he failed to contribute in the steals and blocks categories. If Stuckey and Gordon remain sidelined until the Pistons third game this week, then fantasy owners will be able to get the most out of Prince. I say this because the Wizards give up the third most points to small forwards, while the Magic give up the 10th most. Watch out for Prince this week.
Charles Jenkins, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors (Owned in 12% of standard leagues)
Jenkins has pretty much locked up the point guard position for the time being. Why? He started over Nate Robinson on Friday and recorded a double-double with 18 points and 12 assists. Don’t forget that the Warriors need to lose some games to hold onto their lottery pick, another incentive to lose. When you start seeing Jeremy Tyler play double-digit minutes, then you know what the organization is shooting for, a draft pick. The Nuggets, Jazz, and Grizzlies all rank in the top five in giving up points to point guards, and Jenkins likes to shoot, so let’s keep an eye on this guy.
Jason Smith, PF/C, New Orleans Hornets (Owned in 13% of standard leagues)
Oh look, another Hornet makes the cut. A depleted New Orleans front court is allowing guys like Jason Smith and Carl Landry to step up and provide some fantasy value to owners. This is where good fantasy basketball owners shine because they can identify and seize these types of opportunities. Smith probably couldn’t consistently score 20+ points even if he was on the court alone, but when you can block two shots a game, scoring isn’t necessary. Denver gives up nearly three blocks a game to centers, second most in the league, while San Antonio gives up the ninth most blocks to centers. Assuming that Kaman and Okafor will be out for at least another week, Smith could be a nifty pickup in deep leagues.
Baron Davis, PG/SG, New York Knicks (Owned in 19% of standard leagues)
Davis should be considered a “rest of the season” pickup, assuming that he doesn’t get injured (unlikely). With Jeremy Lin out for the remainder of the regular season, and Amare Stoudemire out for an unknown amount of time, the Knicks offense will basically be led by Carmelo and Davis. Even though Baron is aging, he can still be effective if his fragile body can stay on the court. The Knicks don’t have much behind Baron, and Mike Woodson seems to favor him more than anyone else on the squad, so pick him up in deeper leagues for now.
Iman Shumpert, PG/SG, New York Knicks (Owned in 35% of standard leagues)
Shumpert should also benefit from the absences of Lin and Stoudemire. He is already proving his worth, as he put up 25 points twice last week, while averaging almost three steals. The best part about Shumpert, is his ability to contribute in all categories. Granted, he can be a bit inconsistent, but that shouldn’t be a huge concern. Given the minutes Shumpert has been playing over the past week, much like Baron, he should be considered a long term pickup simply because his role in Woodson’s offense is much bigger than it was in Mike D’antoni’s.
Glen Davis, PF/C, Orlando Magic (Owned in 17% of standard leagues)
Dwight Howard was held out of Sunday’s game against the Nuggets, but that wasn’t the end of Orlando’s sudden frontcourt injury concerns. The frontrunner for the comeback player of the year award went down late is Sunday night’s loss to the Nuggets, with a sprained ankle. He went into the lockerroom and had an X-ray which came back negative. It’s unknown how long he will be out for, but Big Baby Davis could benefit more than some might think. Davis posted a line of 18 points and 16 rebounds in 37 minutes on Sunday night. I doubt he will consistently put up those types of numbers, but if Howard and Anderson remain inactive, it’s a possibility. Keep your eye on this situation as you approach your league’s playoffs.