Week 25 Schedule: Games Played
4 Games: ATL, BKN, CHA, CHI, LAL, MEM, MIL, NOP, OKC, PHI, PHX, POR, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS
3 Games: BOS, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, MIA, MIN, NYK, ORL, SAC
The Final Week
Ladies and gentlemen – we have arrived. Week 25 will be the final week of the 2021-22 regular-season, with no games on Monday and the week concluding on Sunday with a massive, 15-game slate. First off, I would like to thank all the readers of my Monday column this year, and I hope the information I provided throughout the season (via this columns and weekly chats) helped you win your leagues. If you did win this year, please, don’t hesitate to tweet me a screenshot of your trophy for a free RT, as my favorite part of every fantasy season is seeing all the Ws that our team at NBC Sports EDGE helped provide.
Markelle Fultz Time!?
In case you missed it, Cole Anthony attempted to play through his toe issue on Sunday, but tapped out after just three minutes, and he’s being (perhaps optimistically) listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game against Cleveland. Personally, I’d be a bit surprised to see Anthony again this season, as the Magic have absolutely nothing to play for, and they only have three games left on their schedule. So, what does that mean for fantasy hoops? I think we’ll get some fun flashes of #FULTZSZN.
Markelle Fultz has shown some really nice flashes since making his season debut on Feb. 28, and he’s really found his rhythm over the past four with averages of 13.8 points, 5.4 assists and an elite 2.0 steals per contest on 46.7% shooting from the field and 84.6% at the stripe in 20.4 minutes a night. I would anticipate the Magic being cautious with his minutes over these final four games, but if Anthony is out, could he at least be cleared for minutes in the mid-20s? That would be more than enough time for him to make an impact in fantasy hoops, so I think he’s a guy worth grabbing in the leagues that are still going.
Now, it’s worth noting that it was the recently signed Devin Cannady who started the second half of Sunday’s game with Anthony unavailable, but he wasn’t all that impressive in his 30 minutes of floor time with four points (1-of-9 FG, 1-of-2 FT), two rebounds, three assists, one 3-pointer, two steals, two blocks and two turnovers, so I’m not particularly worried about him impacting Fultz in a negative way.
Will we see them again?
The Cavs only have three games remaining on their schedule, and while Evan Mobley does seem to be making solid progress with his ankle sprain, Jarrett Allen doesn’t appear to be all that close in his recovery from a fractured middle finger on his left hand.
Mobley has shed his walking boot and was seen walking around on the sidelines of Sunday’s game without any sort of limp, but we’ve yet to hear any reports of him getting through practices and he’s already been ruled out for Tuesday’s game; along with Allen.
According to a report in The Athletic by Joe Vardon, when Allen neglected to undergo surgery to try and let his finger heal naturally, the Cavs medical staff expected it would have been healed by now, and recently, conversations on J.A.’s prognosis have gravitated towards “if” and not “when.” Allen is still wearing a brace that immobilizes his middle finger, and there’s been no word of him ramping up his workload at practices, so I’m not seeing any reason for optimism here. If Allen still can’t even move his finger without significant pain – how could he possibly play basketball?
It does seem there’s a chance we could see Mobley return to the floor for either Friday’s game in Brooklyn or Sunday’s final game of the season at home vs. the Bucks, but at this point, I’d be surprised to see Allen. If Mobley is able to return for one of the Cavs’ final two games, that’d be bad news for Moses Brown and Lamar Stevens, but Brown has played so well lately I wouldn’t prematurely cut him. In fact, given how J.B. Bickerstaff likes to run jumbo lineups, I think it’s possible that Brown could even stick as a starter upon Mobley’s return, so I wouldn’t cut him until I knew he’d be demoted to a reserve role.
Seth Curry (ankle)
On Monday, Steve Nash said he’s considering sitting Seth Curry for final four games of the regular-season to get his ankle as close to 100% as possible before the play-in tournament, which would make some sense considering this is something that’s been bothering him since January. Curry is being listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game, but I’d consider him much closer to doubtful considering it will be the first game of a back-to-back set with a matchup against the 20-59 Rockets. Unfortunately, there’s not really a fantasy pickup you can make with this news, as it just means Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will dominate the offense with the inconsistent Patty Mills starting and Cam Thomas earning more (but not enough) minutes with the second unit. I wouldn’t be clinging to Curry, though.
See ya next year!
On Monday, the Pacers officially ruled out Chris Duarte (toe) for the final three games of the 2021-22 season, which made perfect sense considering he hadn’t played in over two weeks, and there’s no incentive for him to get back on the court at less than 100% with the Pacers playing for Ping Pong balls at this point. Obviously, he’s safe to cut in all re-draft formats,
The 24-year-old rookie got off to a strong start in his introductory season with various injuries in Indiana’s backcourt allowing him to log 35.9 minutes a night as a starter to go with averages of 17.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.6 tripes, 0.9 steals and 2.1 turnovers per game on 42.5% shooting through the month of October, but he wasn’t able to keep that momentum going beyond the first month of the season. Even late in the year when the Pacers were tanking and desperate for bodies and shot creators in the second unit, Duarte was regularly outplayed by the undrafted rookie, Duane Washington Jr. Now, to be fair, that toe injury was plaguing Duarte since February, so that likely played a role in his less-than-stellar second half, but I also don’t love the situation he’ll be in next year.
The Pacers will likely be starting Malcolm Brogdon, Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield next season, so Duarte will need to learn how to shine in a sixth man role with Indiana. I don’t think that’s impossible for him to do, but it does limit his upside, so I probably won’t be looking his way until the later rounds on draft day next season.
Light Game Days
Monday – No Games
Wednesday – Six Games
DAL vs. DET
BKN vs. NYK
WAS vs. ATL
BOS vs. CHI
OKC vs. UTA
PHX vs. LAC
Thursday – Seven Games
ORL vs. CHA
PHI vs. TOR
BOS vs. MIL
SAS vs. MIN
POR vs. NOP
MEM vs. DEN
LAL vs. GSW
Saturday – Four Games
IND vs. PHI
NOP vs. MEM
GSW vs. SAS
SAC vs. LAC
Week 25 Back-to-Backs:
Sunday (April 3rd)-Monday: N/A
Tuesday-Wednesday: ATL, BKN, CHI, OKC, PHX, UTA, WAS
Thursday-Friday: CHA, LAL, MIL, POR, TOR
Saturday-Sunday: GSW, IND, LAC, MEM, NOR, PHI, SAC, SAS