DraftKings Fantasy Outlook: February 2016
by Adam Wexler – Houston TV and Radio Personality
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Rockets at Suns, Thursday February 4Rockets at Suns, Friday February 19
The Suns will be playing just their second game with a new head coach after Jeff Hornacek was recently relieved of his duties. The Suns are in disarray and are experiencing major injury issues. Heading into February, they have the league’s fourth worst record and are in the bottom five in points allowed. The Rockets should be able to push the pace and see if they can get going from behind the 3-point line. Since December 1, the Rockets have been among the top three-point shooting teams and will have plenty of opportunities to get points on the board.
Blazers at Rockets, Sunday February 6Rockets at Blazers, Wednesday February 10Rockets at Blazers, Thursday February 25
This originally didn’t figure to be such an important game in the lower portion of the western conference playoff standings. From a fantasy perspective, guards have fared well against the Rockets this season. The duo of C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard should prove to be a difficult matchup for the Rockets perimeter defenders. Both teams rank in bottom half of the league in defensive efficiency and the pace of play should promote lots of offense. This is the first meeting between these teams since they met in November, J.B. Bickerstaff’s first game as interim head coach. James Harden had 45 points in that game, making a season high 19 free throws to go with 11 assists.
Rockets at Warriors, Tuesday February 9
Turn on the engines, because the Warriors are rarely slowed down. Klay Thompson enters the month of February on an absolute tear and usually he or Steph Curry has their way against the Rockets. When the teams met on New Year’s Eve, Thompson blitzed the Rockets for 38 points, making 16-of-27 shots from the field. Curry missed that game, but scored 25 points against the Rockets in just over 27 minutes in the first meeting, adding seven rebounds and six assists. Howard made his season debut against the Warriors in November and was not very effective, nearly fouling out in under 22 minutes with just nine points and seven rebounds. He bounced back for a much better game in the second meeting with 21 points and 13 rebounds in the Rockets 4 point loss. The Rockets made 40 percent of their threes in the last matchup but made just 21.7 percent of their long range attempts in the November showdown.
Rockets at Jazz, Tuesday February 23
The Rockets recently faced the Jazz with a banged up Rudy Gobert and it helped the Rockets offense operate much more efficiently. Overall, the Rockets have shot better than 50 percent against Utah in going 2-0 against them. Like most nights, Harden would be likely to have a strong performance and fill up the box score. Very few others likely to do the same. The Jazz spread things around and keep things balanced so much that it could be anyone on any given night.
Spurs at Rockets, Saturday February 27
Kawhi Leonard hasn’t been fantastic lately, but that likely doesn’t last forever. LaMarcus Aldridge has been trending better recently, making January his top shooting month of the season at just over 53 percent. He’s had many strong nights against the Rockets as a Blazer and it might be time for him to replicate that as a Spur. Harden has gone five straight games against the Spurs without scoring more than 22 points while Howard managed just 13 points and eight rebounds against San Antonio in the last meeting. That snapped a personal streak of 16 straight double-doubles against the Spurs. He’ll likely start a new streak in this matchup.
Rockets at Bucks, Monday February 29
The Bucks incredible length all over the court has been trouble for the Rockets in recent meetings. Howard missed the last meeting on January 22, but Harden led the way with 30 points and 8 assists. More of that will be needed this time around and Josh Smith should play a significant role in this game because of his length. Expect all five Bucks starters to post good numbers, mainly because they almost always do - especially Greg Monroe, whose unconventional style helped him post 21 points while adding 9 rebounds and 4 blocks in the first meeting.