We’re set for a Week 22 scoring period with a near-even distribution between four and three-game teams, giving us a solid player pool to choose from as the Fantasy stakes get higher with each passing week. We have one prolific source of suggestions in the Pistons, who have multiple players sidelined by injury and plenty of opportunity for secondary players to thrive.
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 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, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards
TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks, Utah Jazz
Without further ado, let’s examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 21:
Start: Derrick White, Celtics
40% start rate
White comes into Boston’s four-game week averaging 15.8 points (on 50.0% shooting), 5.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds across 35 minutes during a current four-game starting stint. He’s been even more productive when zooming out to a 20-game sample dating back to Jan. 24. The veteran guard is putting up 17.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds in that span while shooting 49.0%, including 38.1% from 3-point range. Robert Williams (hamstring) could miss at least half of the Celtics’ four-game slate this scoring period, which should keep White running with the first unit.
Start: Killian Hayes, Pistons
36% roster rate
Another player currently benefitting from injuries on his squad is Hayes, who will play at least the first of Detroit’s four games this week on Monday without backcourt mate Jaden Ivey (COVID-19 protocols) and fellow guard Alec Burks (foot). Bojan Bogdanovic (Achilles) and Marvin Bagley (ankle) are also still out Monday with their respective ailments, and under such conditions Saturday, Hayes went off for a 17-point, 13-assist double-double that also included six rebounds, a pair of steals and one block.
While his shooting always makes him a bit of a wild card fantasy-wise, Hayes’ should be taking on extra usage to varying degrees in each of his four opportunities this coming week and therefore deserves some serious consideration, especially when factoring in his ability to bump up your assist and steal numbers.
ALSO CONSIDER: Markelle Fultz, Magic (42% start rate)
Sit: Kelly Oubre, Hornets
69% start rate
Oubre has been in excellent form of late, with four tallies of more than 20 points in his last five games, but he has a couple of key factors working against him this coming week. One is the Hornets’ light two-game schedule, which in and of itself would be enough to ding his prospects significantly. However, Oubre is also dealing with a back injury that already cost him Sunday’s game against the Cavaliers and has a chance to further lessen his already scant opportunities. With it getting down to fantasy crunch time, steering clear of the risk is the prudent way to go.
Start: Tari Eason, Rockets
44% roster rate
Eason has been a true bright spot as a rookie during what’s turned into a frustrating season record-wise for the Rockets. Unsurprisingly, he is upping his consistency and production the more experience he garners. Eason is averaging 13.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals across 27.6 minutes in his last eight games, shooting 55.3%, including an elite 62.5% from behind the arc.
The significant improvement as a shooter – especially from distance – that Eason flashed during his sophomore 2021-22 season at LSU appears to have some staying power, and he’s displaying some of the same defensive prowess he did during his college days as well. With a high-volume bench role and head coach Stephen Silas likely to continue affording his bevy of young players an abundance of minutes down the stretch, Eason has plenty of appeal.
Start: Isaiah Livers, Pistons
16% roster rate
Livers enters the new week seemingly entrenched as the starting power forward, with Marvin Bagley (ankle) and Isaiah Stewart (hip/shoulder) sidelined and without a firm return timetable. The 2021 second-round pick has come on over the last four games with averages of 14.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals. Like Hayes, he’s certainly in a position to benefit from several other teammates’ absences over the coming days while continuing to gain experience in a starting role.
ALSO CONSIDER: Kenyon Martin Jr., Rockets (29% start rate)
Sit: P.J. Washington, Hornets
73% start rate
Washington is another member of the Hornets who has a bleaker outlook than usual due to the two-game schedule Charlotte is saddled with this week. The big man is averaging a solid 15.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 blocks since his return from a four-game absence due to a foot injury, but those numbers can be replaceable by a comparable player with a full schedule.
Start: Jakob Poeltl, Raptors
46% start rate
Poeltl has settled back in nicely to his old Toronto digs, averaging 15.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.8 blocks since jumping into a starting role on Feb. 12. As that line clearly illustrates, Poeltl can prop up every category to a varying degree, and his contributions on the defensive end of things take his fantasy appeal to another level. With four games this week, there’s no reason not to roll with the big man in your lineups at such a key time of the season.
Start: James Wiseman, Pistons
37% start rate
Wiseman is finally getting an extended opportunity again in his new Pistons locale as he enters the new week averaging 13.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks across 26.4 minutes per contest during what is now an eight-game starting stint. The 2020 second-overall pick of the Warriors is still struggling with foul trouble, but his 62.7% shooting is helping him maximize his time on the floor. He’s also set for plenty of extra usage this coming scoring period while the Pistons’ roster continues to be littered with absences.
ALSO CONSIDER: Xavier Tillman, Grizzlies (42% roster rate)
Sit: Mitchell Robinson, Knicks
69% start rate
Robinson has just a two-game slate on his docket this week and checks in with a handful of uneven performances recently. The big man has three straight single-digit scoring outings and has four overall in the last six contests, a span in which he’s averaging 8.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals. Robinson can bolster several categories when he’s running hot, but the chance that his slight downturn continues paired with a lack of overall opportunities makes him potentially expendable this 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.