We’re set for a second straight week where we have more teams on three-game schedules than those with four, which is less than ideal for our flexibility regarding our Start/Sit decisions. However, we still have some excellent candidates at each position this week, and fortunately, only one team is saddled with a two-game docket.
Each week, I’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 generally being on players with a start rate 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, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz
TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: Philadelphia 76ers
Without further ado, let’s examine some of start/sit decisions for Week 9:
Start: Klay Thompson, Warriors
51% start rate
A significant chunk of fantasy managers have opted to give Thompson a seat on their bench in recent weeks, which speaks to how disappointing his season was for the most part over the first month-plus. However, the prolific sharpshooter is finally rounding into form, entering Week 9 with averages of 23.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 45.4% from distance over his last nine games. That stretch is in stark contrast to his season-opening 13-game sample when he drained just 36.3% of his attempts overall. With four games on the docket this week and seemingly wielding a hot hand, Thompson should be back in good graces.
Start: Luguentz Dort, Thunder
44% start rate
Dort can always throw in an occasional tough game, such as his seven-point effort in his most recent game against the Cavaliers. However, the fourth-year pro has mostly been solid and is putting up career-best figures in rebounds (4.5), assists (2.3) and steals (1.1). Dort’s offensive efficiency continues to be a work in progress, but he’s scored in double figures in 19 of 25 games. He can offer solid contributions across the stat sheet on a four-game week, including in the always valuable steals category.
Sit: De’Aaron Fox, Kings
63% start rate
Fox continues to deal with a nagging foot issue that’s already cost him two games coming into the Kings’ three-game week. He’d also been scuffling prior to that point, shooting just 40.0% over his previous five games. If the talented guard sits out at least Tuesday’s clash with the 76ers, you’re already at a significant disadvantage with him in your starting lineup.
Start: Marcus Morris, Clippers
39% start rate
Morris is again filling a complementary role on the Clippers with success, averaging a solid 13.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting an impressive 38.5% from behind the arc. He’s also looked to for additional scoring responsibility during Kawhi Leonard’s frequent absences. The Clippers are due for one back-to-back set this coming four-game week that could lead to the latter taking a seat for at least one contest. Morris can boost your three-point categories if you’re lagging. The fact three of the four teams the Clippers face (Suns, Timberwolves, Wizards) are in the bottom half of the league in 3-point shooting percentage allowed certainly doesn’t hurt his chance for a productive Week 9.
Start: Caleb Martin, Heat
45% start rate
Aside from a recent three-point outlier in 32 minutes versus the Pistons three games ago, Martin has been a steady source of complementary production for the Heat during what’s shaping up as a career-best season. The emerging wing is averaging 11.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals across 32.7 minutes per game while shooting an outstanding 42.0% from behind the arc. Martin enters Miami’s four-game ledger in even better recent form, as he’s draining 51.5% of his attempts, including 46.0% of those from distance, in the last nine contests. With his ability to check off nearly every box on the stat sheet, he’s an appealing candidate to roll with on a full schedule.
Sit: Tobias Harris, 76ers
64% start rate
Harris falls victim to the 76ers’ two-game schedule this week, and he also comes into that light schedule having seen a bit of reduced usage on the offensive end following the recent return of James Harden from a foot injury. Harris has taken 11 and 12 shot attempts in his last two games, contrasting the eight-game sample preceding that stretch, where he’d averaged 16.3 shots per contest. Harris can safely be left on your bench with just a pair of opportunities to take the floor and the possibility of a continued reduced role.
Start: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Thunder
12% roster rate
Robinson-Earl doesn’t exactly set the pulses of fantasy managers racing, but he makes for a viable Start suggestion on a week when the selection of centers with a full slate of games and low roster/start rates is thin. The second-year big’s overall production still inevitably goes through its ebbs and flows. Still, he checks into the new week with averages of 9.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists over the last 10 games in which he’s logged at least 20 minutes — a sample during which he’s even shot 33.3% from 3-point range. Given his starting role and ability to space the floor occasionally and put in grunt work down low, JRE can be considered if you’re thin at the position.
Start: Naz Reid, Timberwolves
9% roster rate
Reid has unsurprisingly been seeing an expanded role of late with Karl-Anthony Towns (calf) sidelined, putting up 11.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.8 blocks across 18.3 minutes in his last four games. We’ve seen Reid thrive in the past with expanded opportunities, and he’s also not averse to putting up the occasional three-point shot. Using his aforementioned recent stat line as a guide, there’s little question the fourth-year big has a chance to serve as a productive emergency plug-in for you on the Timberwolves’ upcoming four-game week.
Sit: Brook Lopez, Bucks
65% start rate
Lopez will have just three games to work with this week and checks in having put up back-to-back disappointing performances where he’s averaged just 5.5 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting an abysmal 25.0%, including 20.0% from distance. It’s also worth noting that much like Harris has experienced with Harden’s return, Lopez has shouldered less offensive responsibility since the recent delayed season debut of Khris Middleton, as he’s averaged just 9.0 field-goal attempts in those five games after putting 11.4 per contest in the first 20 games of the season.
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.