We have an interesting Week 8 schedule on tap, as it’s a rare occasion where we have more three-game teams than those with four contests on their ledger. Additionally, we have a pair of clubs saddled with the undesirable two-game docket, making our borderline start/sit calls a bit more challenging overall.
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 normally 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, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards
TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs
Without further ado, let’s examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 8:
Start: Tim Hardaway, Mavericks
42% start rate
Hardaway has exploded after a rough patch that saw him score in single digits in four straight. The veteran wing has scored between 22 and 28 points in the last three contests, also putting up 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steal per game while shooting 50.9%, including 50.0% from distance. The book on Hardaway is well-established at this point – he’s always at risk for a cold spell but can be dominant when he heats up, and with four games on the docket this week, including one against a Bulls team that’s among the most vulnerable in the league to 3-point shooting, he’s firmly in play.
Start: Cole Anthony, Magic
48% start rate
Anthony has finally overcome the oblique issue that robbed him of a full month of action, and he’s returned with very little rust. The 2020 first-round pick is averaging 14.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals over his first three games back, shooting 50.0% overall and from 3-point range in that span. Anthony had also averaged an impressive 15.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists over the first four games of the season before going down, and his improved efficiency combined with the full four-game schedule makes him a very appealing Start option.
Sit: Devin Vassell, Spurs
59% start rate
Vassell is enjoying a career-best season thus far, but he’ll fall victim to the dreaded two-game week this week. The third-year guard also heads into the light schedule in a bit of a shooting slump, as he’s drained just 39.5% of his attempts over his last five games. The combination of slightly reduced production and the sparse opportunities make him a good Sit candidate for a week.
Start: Saddiq Bey, Pistons
42% start rate
The Pistons are well-represented in this week’s article, beginning with Bey, who’s putting up 14.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per contest for the season over 30.1 minutes per contest. The third-year wing is coming off one of his better games of the campaign, having compiled 24 points, seven assists and six rebounds against the Grizzlies on Sunday. Bey’s efficiency is still very much a work in progress, but he operates in a higher-volume bench role that usually affords him minutes in the mid-20s at a minimum and typically has to be aggressive considering Detroit is often trailing.
Start: Bojan Bogdanovic, Pistons
48% start rate
Bogdanovic is also very much in consideration, given his role as a primary source of offensive production for the Pistons. The veteran is averaging a career-high 20.6 points per contest on a career-best 50.8% shooting, including 41.9% from behind the arc. Bogdanovic is also contributing 3.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest, and he checks into his four-game week even hotter with averages of 21.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in his last 12 contests, a stretch during which he’s drained 52.6% of his 14.3 attempts per contest.
Sit: Keldon Johnson, Spurs
62% start rate
Johnson is another talented young member of Gregg Popovich’s crew that earns a seat on the bench this week due to having only a pair of opportunities to contribute. Additionally, until a 27-point breakout against the Suns on Sunday, it’s worth noting Johnson had been in a bit of a slump brought on by an abysmal 27.9% shooting, including 19.3% from deep, over his previous seven games.
Start: Mason Plumlee, Hornets
52% start rate
Plumlee is quietly having one of his better seasons, averaging 9.4 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game across an average of 27.6 minutes. The veteran has been even better over the last several weeks, putting up 10.6 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists over his last 12 contests. A robust four-game schedule for Charlotte that’s free of back-to-back sets lines up as an ideal opportunity to roll with the veteran big man before he potentially starts to wear down later in the season and possibly begins to cede more time to backup Nick Richards.
Start: Isaiah Stewart, Pistons
43% start rate
Stewart has returned from a seven-game absence due to a toe injury in solid form, putting up 12.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists per contest while surprisingly shooting 44.4% from 3-point range. The third-year big had announced before the season that improving his floor spacing was a goal he had for the 2022-23 campaign, and thus far, Stewart is shooting a solid 36.1% from distance while also putting up career highs in points (12.0), rebounds (8.9) and even assists (1.3). With an average of 30 minutes per game in his first three contests back, Stewart appears to be free of health concerns as well, enhancing his appeal.
Sit: Jusuf Nurkic, Trail Blazers
63% start rate
Nurkic will have just two opportunities to take the floor this coming week and now has Damian Lillard back in the fold from his calf injury, likely leading to a hit in the big man’s usage. Nurkic’s production also seems to have taken a bit of a hit with the arrival of new frontcourt mate Jerami Grant this offseason, as both his scoring (14.5 PPG) and rebounding (10.0 RPG), while still impressive, are slightly down from last year’s respective 15.0 and 11.1 figures.
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.