Walker among final-week impact players

April, 23, 2012

It's home stretch time. With the final regular-season games occurring on Thursday, it's important to keep in mind how many games each team has remaining if you're going to be making any roster decisions or play in a weekly lineup league.

The 76ers, Bucks, Cavaliers, Wizards, Bobcats and Spurs each have three games left, while the Lakers, Mavs, Rockets and Timberwolves have just one. This makes players like Kevin Seraphin (51st on the 30-day Player Rater), Kawhi Leonard (56th), James Singleton (77th), Thaddeus Young (88th), Anthony Parker (94th), Kemba Walker (98th), Gary Neal (110th), Tristan Thompson (120th) and Stephen Jackson (121th) strong plays in the final days of the season. Give yourself every chance to maximize roster value, and feel free to cut bait on mid-level players who have just one game remaining. If you have, say, Luis Scola, who has just one game left, it's completely legitimate to drop him for someone like Tiago Splitter or Byron Mullens, who each have three games. Sure, they're inferior players overall, but three games of them will likely provide more production than one of Scola.

Looking Back

Amare Stoudemire looked strong in his second game back, scoring 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting with 12 rebounds in 34 minutes of play. He'll be a key factor in any potential postseason success the Knicks hope to have, so even though Mike Woodson would ideally want him as rested as possible for the playoffs, he needs to see how he fits into his system, so Amare should get a solid chunk of minutes in the Knicks' final two games.

Marvin Williams started at power forward Sunday, scoring 29 points with 11 boards. He's got legitimate scoring ability, with double digits in nine of his past 13 contests, and should be a nice play in the Hawks' final two games of the season riding the momentum of his hot game.

• Stephen Jackson had his best game as a Spur on Sunday, scoring 17 points with five rebounds, two 3-pointers, three assists, a steal and a block in 22 minutes of play. With Gregg Popovich limiting the minutes of Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, Jackson should finish the regular season strong, and since the Spurs have three games remaining on their schedule, Jackson is a shrewd pickup for the final week of the season.

• Kemba Walker had 13 points and 11 assists against the Kings on Sunday, and after scoring in double digits in all but two April contests has had a strong finish to his rookie season. With three games left, he'll be an excellent fantasy contributor this week.

• The Lakers-Thunder game was full of elbows and overtimes Sunday, and was certainly not devoid of excitement as the Lakers pulled out a gritty win. Metta World Peace will likely be suspended for the Lakers' final regular-season game, and the minute distribution Mike Brown went with was interesting, as Andrew Bynum didn't get off the bench past the third quarter. Steve Blake, Devin Ebanks and Jordan Hill played nearly all the fourth quarter and both overtimes. Hill sparkled, with 14 points, 15 rebounds, a steal and three blocks, and he has a promising skill set and the ability to put up numbers if given the opportunity. While Bynum is clearly still the man in L.A., Hill's strong play should earn him increased minutes in the Lakers' final game, so in deeper leagues if you're looking for some help in rebounds and blocks, Hill could be a one-night fill-in.

Looking Ahead

Jameer Nelson left Sunday's game with a left calf contusion and is considered day-to-day. The team will want their point guard ready to play as close to full strength as possible for the playoffs, so don't be surprised if he sits at least one of the Magic's final two games. If there's a better option out there who plays three games, such as Anthony Parker or Stephen Jackson, don't hesitate to drop Nelson, as you'll want to limit the DNPs on your fantasy squad to close out the regular season. … Dorell Wright and Nate Robinson each sat out Sunday's game, opening up huge minutes for Charles Jenkins, who played all 48 minutes of the Warriors' contest against the Timberwolves. He's a fine option to finish the season, coming off three straight double-digit scoring efforts and playing for a team ravaged by injuries, so feel free to roster him as a late-season addition and ride him while he's hot.



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