Pay Attention to Opposing Defenses? Or just the Celtics

In my last Hoops Lab I suggested paying attention to opposing defenses when setting your starting line-ups.  Specifically, I suggested keeping an eye on the Celtics, Cavs, and Spurs as teams that could potentially hurt your player's numbers.  Five days into the season, how is that philosophy panning out?

Well, through ten combined games thus far those three teams have only given up one 100-point game and opponents are averaging only 88.2 points/game against them.  In reality, though, it is the Celtics that are pulling those numbers down as they have given up only 79 ppg while the Spurs are giving up 94 ppg and the Cavs 90.5 ppg.

But more specifically on the fantasy front, the Spurs haven't done much to affect the production of the likely fantasy starters on the opposing teams.  The usual suspects all performed about to expectations.  The Cavs somewhat slowed the Bobcats, but in their other three games they didn't do much that would make you bench someone.  But the Celtics?

Through three games, the Celtics have given up exactly one 20-point LeBron James.  They have also given up more than four assists to exactly one opposing that LeBron guy again.  Outside of LeBron, here are the offensive roto numbers for all 14 other starters:

Luol Deng: 4 points, 2/8 FG, 0 ast
Ty Thomas: 10 points, 3/7 FG, 0 ast
Joakim Noah: 16 points, 7/10 FG, 4 ast
John Salmons: 8 points, 2/14 FG (1 trey), 1 ast
Derrick Rose: 10 points, 4/8 FG, 2 ast

Gerald Wallace: 10 points, 3/9 FG, 0 ast
Boris Diaw: 6 points, 3/7 FG, 2 ast
Tyson Chandler: 0 points, 0/5 FG, 0 ast
Stephen Graham: 5 points, 2/11 FG, 0 ast
Ray Felton: 9 points, 3/11 FG, 3 ast

Anderson Varejao: 9 points, 3/9 FG, 1 ast
Shaquille O'Neal: 10 points, 5/11 FG, 1 ast
Mo Williams: 12 points, 3/8 FG, 3 ast
Anthony Parker: 10 points, 3/9 FG (2 treys), 4 asts

For those that don't want to read all those numbers let me sum it up for you: utter demolition.  Those 14 starters are averaging 8.5 points on (43/127) 33.9% FG with three treys TOTAL.  And if you look at those names, at least 11 of them are potential fantasy starters in most leagues and possibly 13 of them as Parker and Varejao get run in some deeper leagues.

Now, obviously the Celtics have to slow down on defense at some point...don't they?  But even so, it is quite evident that they have the capacity to blank opponents on at least a semi-regular basis.  So for now, I guess I'll modify my original premise to: pay attention to when your team members are playing the CELTICS.  If you've got a superstar like LeBron or even your top few draft picks then obviously you play them no matter the opponent.  But if you've got two relatively equal players and one is playing the Celtics while the other is playing...pretty much anyone else, you might consider starting the one that isn't facing the team whose stated goal is to be the best defense in NBA history.


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