• Hello and welcome to the penultimate edition of The Week Ahead. We’ve turned the page on our calendars to April and that means the fantasy season has come to a close for most managers in head-to-head leagues. For the remainder that are still active, it’s pretty simple from here on out: anyone is expendable to secure a win. 

    In the interest of simplicity, I’m cutting the intro short and getting straight to the point. There are a handful of teams with three games this week but most of the league will play on more than half of all possible days. The Bulls have some single game relevance but they join the Bulls, Spurs and Jazz as the least rewarding waiver wire options in Week 23. I withheld the Nuggets from this group due to the placement of their games.

    Does the wider NBA fanbase care about the tenth place Hawks at this point in their season? Interest is probably waning outside of the State of Georgia. However, they’re clearly the team with the most fantasy-friendly schedule and injuries are creating some nice opportunities for managers to make value-added plays. Their injured list is a mile long but Jalen Johnson may be back in short order. While it will limit the upside of some other frontcourt players, there’s still tons of opportunity for players to get extra usage while Trae Young remains out. 

    Long streamers will have to take some risk this week. The Pistons and Grizzlies are the best options in that regard but their rotations have been remarkably inconsistent all year, so it’s a tough proposition. However, four games between Monday and Saturday have got to count for something. I can guarantee that there will be multiple players from both teams on your waiver wire but I can’t guarantee which of them will provide value. Try your luck if you dare but buyer beware.

    Lastly, I’d advise managers to keep an eye on the Sixers this week and moving into Week 24. They’ve got a great schedule this week and it finishes on a back-to-back, but the whole picture changes when or if Joel Embiid returns. We know that it’s on the horizon but it’s not clear when exactly to expect the former MVP back. Keep rolling with Mo Bamba, Nic Batum and Paul Reed if that’s what you’ve been doing. Consider doing so if you haven’t. You’re going to hear lots of reporting about his health as a potential return gets closer but don’t let it scare you away until there’s a date and official source attached to one of these reports.

    The Quick Adds from Week 22’s piece got a passing grade but only barely. It came on a bit of a technicality as well. You see, all signs indicated that both Onyeka Okongwu and Payton Pritchard were going to be in the rotation. To a limited extent, that was at least true of Pritchard. Limited minutes yielded limited results and I am happy to leave him on the wire unless injuries strike. It was injuries that hurt Okongwu’s case. We went from a single-game injury management case to a full week absence. You know what? I’m tired of this. If you want to play that game with him and the Hawks if they signal another return, then be my guest. I want a sure thing and it doesn’t seem like that’s going to be him. Thankfully, both Larry Nance Jr. and Malik Beasley carried some weight in Week 22. Nance gets by thanks to the placement of his production — it was him or nothing in many cases — but I’m not confused about the true value of his limited contributions. He plays four times in the upcoming week so I could be talked into sticking with Nance while Brandon Ingram remains out but there’s probably better options out there. Beasley has been on a bit of a hot streak lately and is torching the net from 3-point range. He starts with a back-to-back as part of a four-game week and the Bucks are probably going to be in playoff mode, so I won’t be surprised if he holds the keys to the offense for longer than normal. Keep Beasley around if you can.

    You probably noted through this intro that this is going to be a busy week. What else could you expect when all but four teams play four times? There’s too many games scheduled on Friday and Sunday for most streamers to have any value. There probably won’t be any space in most starting lineups. It’s going to be a tighter squeeze on Tuesday and Wednesday with back-to-back nine game days on the slate. The NBA has seven teams playing on both days, so it’s likely that the Cavs, Lakers, Bucks, Wolves, Thunder, Raptors and Wizards trend up after Monday. That Monday joins with Thursday and Saturday to form the best part of the schedule. My favorite streaming options will cover at least two of those days and you’ve already seen them if you’re this far. Just in case you need a recap: the six teams that will cover multiple weak days are the Hawks, Nets, Pistons, Nuggets, Grizzlies and Sixers. Strategic options are wide open this week since there can be so much variation in a team’s lineup at this point in the season. However, I’m obliged to tell you that a seven day stream is not only possible but actually remarkably easy. That’s the path I’m taking in my leagues. You could probably walk yourself through it without my help but that’s further below if you want my help.

    Schedule Breakdown

    Three Games: Bulls, Nuggets, Spurs, Jazz

    Four Games: Hawks, Celtics, Nets, Hornets, Cavs, Mavs, Pistons, Warriors, Rockets, Pacers, Clippers, Lakers, Grizzlies, Heat, Bucks, Wolves, Pelicans, Knicks, Thunder, Magic, Sixers, Suns, Blazers, Kings, Raptors, Wizards

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