We’re back to a more conventional schedule in Week 6, even with the rare leaguewide night off for Thanksgiving on Thursday. The four-game teams outweigh those with three, which is always a welcome sight and helps offset another trio of teams with only two contests on their schedule.
TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards
TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: Charlotte Hornets, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors
Without further ado, let’s examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 6:
Start: Shake Milton, 76ers
39% roster rate
Tyrese Maxey will miss several weeks with a foot fracture. James Harden’s (foot) absence projects to extend at least another 10 days and should keep De’Anthony Melton at shooting guard. Milton should slot into the starting point guard role for Philly’s upcoming four-game week. The veteran has handled primary ballhandler duties with aplomb in the past, and he provided a stellar 27-point, six-rebound, two-assist effort on 60 percent shooting in his first start Saturday against the Timberwolves. Milton is shooting a career-high 51.6 percent overall this season, and with plenty of opportunities in the coming week, he makes for a great fill-in for your lineup.
Start: Jaden Ivey, Pistons
46% start rate
Ivey has hit the ground running in his pro career, putting up 16.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.1 steals across 32.1 minutes per game. The rookie fifth overall pick gets another four games to continue his development this coming week, including a matchup against a Jazz team that’s been among the most generous in the league to shooting guards. Ivey also comes into Week 6 with a nice usage uptick in tow, as he’s put up 21.2 points, shot 35.5 percent from three-point range and averaged 16.8 shot attempts per game over his last five contests — all figures that are comfortably above his season averages.
ALSO CONSIDER: Derrick White, Celtics (48% start rate)
Sit: Kevin Porter Jr., Rockets
54% start rate
Porter is one of the big-name players falling victim to a light schedule this week. The mercurial guard has been putting together his best season yet with averages of 19.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.4 steals, even while still struggling with efficiency (41.9 percent shooting). However, the combination of his two-game week and four sub-20-point efforts in the last seven games make him a candidate for your bench if there are similarly talented three- or four-game options on your roster.
Start: Caleb Martin, Heat
28% start rate
The Heat are dealing with a few key injuries as the week begins, with Tyler Herro unable to shake a nagging ankle issue and Jimmy Butler still out for at least Monday night’s game against the Timberwolves with a knee problem after also missing the prior pair of contests. Martin has been taking advantage, coming into the week with averages of 14.5 points (on 50 percent shooting overall, including from three-point range), 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steal over a robust 39.3 minutes per game in his last four. His usage is naturally up. He’s averaging 10.5 shot attempts per game in that span, compared to 7.8 the rest of the season. But with the chance Butler’s absence extends further into the week and Herro also no sure proposition with seven consecutive missed games under his belt, Martin is a nice short-term plug-in.
Start: De’Andre Hunter, Hawks
39% start rate
Hunter’s production can have a rollercoaster quality, but he returns to this space due to the Hawks’ upcoming four-game week and an encouraging stretch that he’s in the midst of. The fourth-year wing is averaging 18.3 points and 3.8 rebounds over his last six games, despite a slump from three-point range. Hunter is shooting only 29.2 percent from deep over that span, but he went into the sample with a stellar 41.0 percent success rate from behind the arc. His previous body of work suggests he can get back on track, considering he came into the season with a 35.0 percent mark in that category over his first three seasons. The fact Hunter’s categorical contributions are narrowed to scoring and rebounding isn’t ideal, but the ample opportunity this coming week makes him a consideration.
ALSO CONSIDER: Ben Simmons, Nets (48% start rate)
Sit: P.J. Washington, Hornets
55% start rate
Washington has displayed more consistency on the offensive end than in seasons past, putting up a new career high in points (15.7). However, his rebounds and assists are actually below his career norms, and he’s also shooting a career-low 42.9 percent, including a career-worst 32.0 percent from behind the arc. He’s a solid contributor overall on a full schedule, but with the Hornets only taking the floor twice this coming week, he can be given the week off in your lineup.
Start: Marvin Bagley, Pistons
32% start rate
Isaiah Stewart is still projected to be out for at least one more week with a toe sprain, which should afford Bagley four more starting opportunities at center this week. The 2018 second-overall pick has rarely ever lived up to his draft pedigree, but he certainly can score and rebound at an above-average rate with enough minutes. Bagley put up between 11 and 16 points and five to eight rebounds in three of his first four starts, taking double-digit shot attempts in two contests. He can run into occasional foul trouble, but if you’re stuck with thinner options at center this week, the veteran is worthy of consideration, especially with a couple of favorable center matchups against the Jazz and Suns on tap in Detroit’s four-game week.
Start: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Thunder
6% roster rate
Robinson-Earl is a name you usually wouldn’t consider unless you’re really in a pinch, but there’s a case to be made for the big man this week if you’re scouring for options at center. To begin with, Aleksej Pokusevski has already been ruled out for Monday night’s game against the Knicks at a minimum due to his ankle sprain, and he could well be in for more than one absence. Robinson-Earl, who got plenty of experience in the top role as a rookie a year ago, stepped in for his teammate versus the Grizzlies on Friday after the injury occurred and provided 14 points, seven rebounds, one assist and three blocks across 28 minutes. He’s also been in the starting role for an 11-game stretch earlier in the season and put up 8.5 points and 3.8 rebounds on 50.7 percent shooting, including 41.7 percent from distance. Given his floor-spacing ability and potential run of multiple starts, Robinson-Earl is in play.
ALSO CONSIDER: Mo Bamba, Magic (44% start rate)
Sit: Wendell Carter, Magic
77% start rate
Carter is listed as a game-time decision for the Magic’s Monday night clash against the Pacers with the foot injury that’s already cost him two of the previous three contests. Carter didn’t attend Monday morning shootaround and therefore appears to be trending toward another absence, and Orlando will only have two other games on its schedule this week. While the 2018 seventh overall pick is enjoying a second straight strong season thus far, the risk of having him for two games or fewer and being less than 100 percent makes him a consideration for your bench.
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.