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NBA Fantasy Start/Sit for Week 15

RotoWire walks through which players to start and sit for Week 15 in Yahoo Fantasy Basketball.

Former No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz is pulling the strings for a young Orlando team.

We’re back to a much more conventional schedule in Week 15 after a wild Week 14 ledger that included both five- and one-game weeks at its extremes. The fact three clubs are saddled with two-game schedules isn’t ideal, but we still have plenty of solid options at each position, several of which are benefitting from key injuries on their squads.

Each week, we’ll aim to highlight a pair of Start candidates for your Fantasy rosters – usually from teams with four games — that may shape up as some of the tougher calls of the week to make, with the focus usually being on players with a start rate (when available) or roster rate of 50% or less in Yahoo leagues. 

Likewise, we’ll also spotlight one Sit candidate at each position that would typically not be a consideration for a spot on your bench, with the focus there often on players with fewer game opportunities during the coming week.

TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs

TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards

TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers 

Now, let’s examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 15: 


Guards          

Start: T.J. McConnell, Pacers 

34% start rate 

McConnell has been outstanding in Tyrese Haliburton’s absence due to knee and elbow injuries, producing 15.0 points, 8.3 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals across 27 minutes per contest in the last seven games. The veteran is shooting a blistering 62.5% over that stretch as well. His one start over this stretch, which came Saturday against the Suns, led to an 18-point, 12-assist, 10-rebound triple-double. With Haliburton projected to remain out the majority, if not all, of this coming four-game week, McConnell remains a highly viable option.

Start: Eric Gordon, Rockets  

13% roster rate 

Another vet set to benefit from a key injury on his squad is Gordon, who’s expected to take the floor without point guard Kevin Porter (foot) for all four of the Rockets’ games during the coming week. Gordon is averaging 15.8 points, 4.2 assists and 2.4 rebounds across the first five games of Porter’s absence, shooting a solid 47.4% in that stretch. Zooming further out, Gordon is shooting an even better 49.1%, including 36.0% from distance, over the 10 January games, and he could continue seeing at least a slight uptick in facilitating duties while Porter is sidelined. Finally, the fact that all four Week 15 opponents – Minnesota, Washington, Cleveland and Detroit – rank in the bottom half of the league in 3-point shooting percentage allowed certainly doesn’t hurt Gordon’s prospects.

ALSO CONSIDER: Markelle Fultz, Magic (57% roster rate)

Sit: Klay Thompson, Warriors

65% start rate 

Thompson will only have two games to work with this week and already comes into it having shot just 4-for-17 across 34 minutes versus the Nets on Sunday. Contrasting that 10-point tally with Thompson’s recent 54-point night versus the Hawks to start the new year reminds us how much of a feast-or-famine player he can be. With only two opportunities to take the floor this week, he’s a risk that’s likely worth avoiding.


Forwards         

Start: Trey Murphy III, Pelicans

35% start rate 

Murphy continues to fill a vital role for the Pelicans during the ongoing absences of Zion Williamson (hamstring) and especially Brandon Ingram (toe), with the second-year wing averaging 13.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals across his 27-game starting run in the latter’s stead. Murphy is shooting an efficient 48.4%, including 38.8% from 3-point range, in that sample, and he’s entering the Pels’ four-game week with an even hotter hand that’s netted a stellar 53.8% success rate from the floor over the last six contests. Murphy even has multiple steals in four of those games, underscoring his ability to contribute in a critical fantasy category.

Start: Patrick Williams, Bulls 

34% roster rate

Williams’ production can fluctuate, but he’ll enter Week 15 with both a solid recent body of work and another key advantage as we enter the latter portion of the season – a rare extended stretch of rest that could give him a nice edge this coming week. Due to the Bulls’ game against the Pistons in France on Thursday, Chicago has played just that one contest since Jan. 15 entering the week, meaning Williams should have some spring in his step while battling down low. Additionally, he checks in with seven double-digit scoring efforts in the last nine games, a span in which he’s averaging 12.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 47.5%, including an elite 46.3% from 3-point range. 

ALSO CONSIDER: Khris Middleton, Bucks (35% start rate); Kenyon Martin, Jr. Rockets (25% roster rate)

Sit: Josh Giddey, Thunder

63% start rate

Giddey is a tough player to sit on any week because he checks off so many boxes on the stat sheet, but his upcoming two-game week is a rare instance worth contemplating. The second-year wing’s improved efficiency and recent trio of double-digit rebounding performances notwithstanding, consider giving Giddey a seat on your bench if you have a similarly talented four-game option at your disposal. 


Centers 

Start: Larry Nance Jr., Pelicans 

17% roster rate 

Nance may only be an option if you’re particularly thin on center options, but he carries some nice upside if he garners sufficient minutes. The veteran will enter the week coming off an especially productive showing against the Heat on Sunday, in which he offered a tangible reminder of his versatility by posting 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and one block. Nance encouragingly logged 26 minutes in that contest and 27 the game prior against the Magic with Naji Marshall (toe) sidelined, and that absence could persist into at least the start of the Pelicans’ four-game schedule.   

Start: Bol Bol, Magic

54% start rate 

Wendell Carter is back to full health for the Magic, but Bol has still been seeing some nice run off the bench at power forward and has put together some productive lines throughout January. Bol is averaging 13.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks across his last three games in just 18 minutes per contest, and he’s put up a solid 11.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks across 21.8 minutes in his last eight games overall. While points, rebounds and blocks are the categories Bol is typically limited to in terms of fantasy contributions, those numbers illustrate he can offer plenty in that regard with a modest allotment of playing time.

ALSO CONSIDER: Zach Collins, Spurs (9% start rate)

Sit: Clint Capela, Hawks 

72% start rate 

Capela has three games to work with this coming week, but some risk remains associated with him. The big man has logged just 20 to 24 minutes in his first four games back from a stretch where he missed 13 of 14 games with Achilles and calf injuries. During this period, fellow big Onyeka Okongwu established his stake in a solid allotment of playing time by putting together several impressive performances. Okongwu has outpaced Capela in minutes during the last two games despite the latter drawing the start. The chance that trend continues could make Capela less desirable than other similarly talented three- or four-game options you may have at your disposal.

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