by Ray Kuhn
And down the stretch we come. The problem though is that NBA teams are treating the season’s final games a little differently than fantasy owners.
For fantasy owners, the playoffs are up ahead. Every game, every minute, and every rebound are of the utmost importance. Either your playoff hopes or fate in the playoffs are at stake constantly now. No longer is the season a marathon, it is now a sprint.
I am not saying you have to treat your season long league like a daily lineup you entering at Fantasy Score, but it wouldn’t hurt to at least take on some of that mindset.
In leagues with weekly lineups this is a little different as you are still going to use your best lineup for the most part, but you have to start reading the tea leaves.
Injuries take on a different meaning. A minor injury or soreness that a player would have played through earlier in the year now will lead to a spot at the end of the bench in street clothes in the majority of cases.
Teams whose ticket is already punched for the playoffs will exceedingly cautious. Conversely, teams with nothing but draft position to play for will not put their players under any risk as they look to get ready for next season. Just those few select teams that are grinding to back into the playoffs will play their full complement of players under just about all circumstances.
So as you set up your waiver claims for this upcoming week and plan out your roster, keep in mind that just because the Golden State Warriors are scheduled to play in four games in a given week, Stephen Curry might be playing in three.
Like I said above, in weekly leagues, this is a non issue as you still wouldn’t sit Curry. But if your league allows daily lineups, then Shaun Livingston is worth an addition. The same goes for owners of Jeff Teague as they should be looking to add Dennis Schroder.
But just because you don’t own Curry, it doesn’t mean that Livingston shouldn’t be on your radar. First of all, you might want to keep him away from the Curry owner. Additionally, you could be better served by getting one 30-plus minute game from Livingston along with other games of moderate usage, than more minutes from a lesser guard. You should also keep in mind that the minutes of star players will likely be monitored more closely.
With the season winding down, your work is getting harder, not easier. Monitor all of the last minute lineup decisions as they could impact your season.