We have what could be considered close to an ideal schedule this coming week, as there are more teams with four games than three, and only a pair of clubs have two-game ledgers. We’re focused on both some reserves that are managing to offer some starter-level production and some players taking advantage of injuries on their squads this week to help inform our Start recommendations.
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 more challenging calls of the week to make, with the focus generally 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: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs
TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz
Without further ado, let’s examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 16:
Start: Immanuel Quickley, Knicks
44% roster rate
Quickley continues to provide starter-quality production off the bench most nights, averaging 17.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists across 33.9 minutes over his last 15 games, a span during which he’s shooting 48.9%, including 37.6% from three-point range. The third-year pro is averaging a career-high 27.4 minutes per contest for the season as well, and he’s been on the floor over 30 minutes on four occasions in his last nine games alone. Given his ability to check off multiple boxes on the stat sheet and his secure, high-volume second-unit role, he’s certainly a player to consider rolling with on a four-game week.
Start: Donte DiVincenzo, Warriors
25% roster rate
DiVincenzo is another player that carries reserve slotting on the depth chart yet has a meaningful role in which he’s regularly churning out impressive multi-category production. The wing is averaging 12.3 points (on 43.5% three-point shooting), 4.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals across his last eight games, a stretch in which he’s averaging a solid 29.4 minutes per contest. DiVincenzo has always been a capable defender – he’s averaged over a steal per game in four consecutive seasons – and he’s draining a career-best 39.1% of his attempts from behind the arc. DiVincenzo has notably kept up his solid play even with the starting five healthy at the moment, making him a candidate for a starting role on your roster during his four-game week.
ALSO CONSIDER: Cole Anthony, Magic (38% start rate)
Sit: Desmond Bane, Grizzlies
56% start rate
The Celtics’ Jaylen Brown is a borderline candidate for this spot with only a two-game week on the docket, but he’s often shown the ability to cram three games’ worth of production into a pair of contests this season. Meanwhile, Bane does have a three-game ledger coming up, but he’ll come into the week having missed consecutive games with a knee injury. Although Memphis doesn’t play its first game until Wednesday, the fact Bane was doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Pacers seemingly puts him in jeopardy of at least one more absence. Given that we’ve also seen his shot go cold after a layoff before, this could be a good week to stray away from Bane.
Start: De’Andre Hunter, Hawks
43% start rate
Hunter seems to often fly under the radar in fantasy circles, yet the fourth-year pro is averaging a career-high 15.8 points and currently putting up the second-best three-point shooting percentage of his career (37.1). Hunter enters the Hawks’ four-game week amid an especially productive stretch as well, putting up 17.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists across 34.8 minutes in his last 12 games while shooting 48.4%, including 40.0% from behind the arc. He’ll have four games to keep the hot streak going this week, and with Trae Young potentially sitting out Monday’s contest against the Trail Blazers with an ankle injury, Hunter could get things kicked off in a productive fashion.
Start: Gordon Hayward, Hornets
33% start rate
Hayward has often been a fantasy enigma due to his barrage of injuries in recent seasons. Still, the capable veteran is healthy entering the Hornets’ four-game week and playing reasonably well of late. Hayward just put together a perfect 7-for-7 performance from the field in Sunday afternoon’s upset of the Heat, and he’s put up 17 and 20 points in his last two games overall. He’s shooting an outstanding 63.6%, including 42.9% from distance, in his first four contests back from an eight-game absence due to a shoulder injury. Additionally, he’ll have a pair of particularly favorable matchups in the upcoming four-game week in the form of the Bulls and Pistons — two teams that have had trouble with perimeter defense.
ALSO CONSIDER: Kyle Anderson, Timberwolves (35% start rate)
Sit: Lauri Markkanen, Jazz
57% start rate
It’s naturally tough to give Markkanen a seat at any point, but this week could qualify as a rare exception. The Jazz will only take the floor twice, dampening the talented wing’s overall prospects. For what it’s worth, Markkanen’s rebounds have also dipped to four and five in his last two games, and the chance he remains a bit scoring-reliant with only two opportunities to take the floor makes him a risky option. See if you have a bench player on a four-game week with a safer floor for total stats.
Start: Daniel Gafford, Wizards
41% start rate
Gafford will see Kristaps Porzingis rejoin him in the frontcourt Monday after a three-game absence due to an ankle injury — a stretch that included a 21-point, 12-rebound double-double for Gafford against the Pelicans. However, Gafford has thrived with Porzingis next to him on plenty of occasions this season, posting double-digit scoring tallies on 21 occasions while recording five double-doubles along the way. What’s more, the Wizards’ four-game week includes three favorable matchups for centers in the Spurs, Pistons and Trail Blazers, strengthening Gafford’s case further.
Start: Jericho Sims, Knicks
10% roster rate
Sims appears set for another four games as a starter this coming week, with Mitchell Robinson’s return timeline from a thumb injury pushed back. The second-year big is getting valuable reps and making good use of them, averaging 6.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest over his five-game run with the first unit thus far. Sims has a pair of double-digit scoring and rebounding tallies apiece during that span, shooting a perfect 16-for-16 along the way. Just as important, he’s averaging a solid 29.8 minutes per game in the sample while doing an excellent job avoiding foul trouble, making him an intriguing option this week if you’re thin on options at center.
ALSO CONSIDER: Precious Achiuwa, Raptors (37% start rate); Brandon Clarke, Grizzlies (40% start rate)
Sit: Robert Williams, Celtics
80% roster rate
Williams can be particularly valuable in shoring up your rebounds and blocks, but the big man missed Saturday’s game against the Lakers with an ankle injury and will only have two chances to take the floor this coming week. Given the caution with which the Celtics often treat Williams due to his injury history, he’s not worth taking a chance on this coming week.
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.