Week 7 ends the first-ever NBA In-Season Tournament, with the quarterfinals scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. The four winners will then head to Las Vegas for the semifinals (Thursday) and final (Saturday), with the four losers playing against each other on Friday. With all four quarterfinal matchups involving teams that were already scheduled to meet four times during the regular season, it will be interesting to see how that familiarity impacts fantasy production later in the year.
As for the other 22 teams, they’ll play two games in Week 7, one home and one away, on Wednesday and Friday. As that title game won’t impact league records or fantasy basketball, Friday will be the last chance for managers to earn points for the week. Let’s take a look at Week 7, with all 30 teams playing just two official games.
Week 7 Games Played
2 Games: ATL, BOS, BKN, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOR, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS
Week 7 Storylines
– This a good schedule week for the Timberwolves
Fantasy managers may do even more work to target specific matchups, with every team playing the same number of games that will officially count. Minnesota would be a good place to start, as their two games are against the Spurs (Wednesday; home) and Grizzlies (Friday; away). The issue hovering over this team, which boasts the best record in the Western Conference and four players providing top 100 per-game value in 9-cat formats, is the health of starters Anthony Edwards (hip) and Jaden McDaniels (ankle). With Edwards recently joining McDaniels on the sideline, Troy Brown Jr. joined Nickeil Alexander-Walker as the two replacements. While NAW hasn’t blown up, he’s done enough to merit being streamed in deep leagues. However, with Minnesota not playing until Wednesday, his time as a streamer may come to a close.
– Target players facing the Wizards and Spurs
San Antonio isn’t the only team fantasy managers may want to target in Week 7. Charlotte, Washington, and Utah are also among the bottom five in defensive efficiency, while Memphis has been down multiple players due to injury. And then there’s Detroit, which has lost 16 games in a row. Some matchups that could be especially fun for fantasy managers who have opposing players rostered include Philadelphia at Washington (Wednesday), Utah at Dallas (Wednesday), and Detroit at Orlando (Friday).
– Quarterfinal losers to play again on December 8
As noted in the intro, the four teams that lose quarterfinal games on Monday and Tuesday will play on Friday, making that a 13-game night. And there won’t be a conference crossover for those games, so the Boston/Indiana and New York/Milwaukee losers will play each other, as will the New Orleans/Sacramento and Phoenix/LA Lakers losers. Fantasy managers who have players that draw the Pacers at some point in Week 7 could be in a very good spot. While the Pacers lead the NBA in offensive rating, they’re 28th in defensive rating. Of the other seven quarterfinalists, Phoenix (18th), Sacramento (19th), and Milwaukee (20th) are ranked in the bottom half of the league in defensive rating. In the Bucks’ case, things changed once they incorporated more drop coverage, which has benefitted Brook Lopez.
– Will Celtics’ Porzingis be able to return?
Kristaps Porzingis has missed Boston’s last three games with a calf strain, with Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla saying before Friday’s win over the 76ers that the 7-foot-3 big man is now considered day-to-day. There’s a chance that Porzingis will be available for Monday’s quarterfinal matchup with the Pacers, which would impact Al Horford’s role/minutes within the Celtics rotation. Sam Hauser would also be worth tracking in that spot, as he averaged 26.1 minutes per game off the bench with Porzingis sidelined.
– What will the Nuggets’ rotation look like in Week 7?
Jamal Murray made his return from a strained hamstring on November 29 but did not play two nights later in Phoenix. Add to that the absences of Aaron Gordon and Nikola Jokic, and Reggie Jackson landing on the injury report, and the Nuggets weren’t at full strength during Week 6. Will that remain the case in Week 7? Gordon may hold the key to that question, as he’s been sidelined since November 24, with Justin Holiday filling the void in the starting lineup. Holiday, Christian Braun, and Peyton Watson haven’t exactly been on the streaming radar, as none are rostered in more than five percent of Yahoo leagues, but the absences have gotten those guys extended minutes.
Light Game Days
Monday: 2 Games
BOS vs. IND
NOR vs. SAC
Tuesday: 2 Games
NYK vs. MIL
PHO vs. LAL
Thursday: 2 Games
In-Season Tournament Semifinals (in Las Vegas)
Saturday: 1 Game
In-Season Tournament Final (in Las Vegas; doesn’t count toward fantasy scoring)
Sunday: 0 Games
No back-to-backs during Week 7