Welcome to a very unique Week 7, a sort of first-of-its-kind schedule for the NBA during the regular season thanks to this being the first year of the In-Season Tournament. We have four days that are set aside for some of the tournament’s final games, and all 30 teams will play at least twice this week.
Each week, we’ll aim to highlight a pair of Start candidates for your fantasy rosters 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 or roster rate of 50% or less in Yahoo leagues.
Likewise, we’ll 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 TWO GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings
Without further ado, let’s examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 7:
Start: Coby White, Bulls
50% start rate
White is flashing the ability that led the Bulls to invest the seventh overall pick in him back in 2019, as he’s averaging a well-balanced 15.0 points, 4.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds per contest while shooting a career-best 40.3 percent from three-point range. The talented guard enters Week 7 in what is arguably the best form of his career as well, producing tallies of 21.9 points (on 50.0% shooting, including 51.5% from behind the arc), 4.4 assists and 4.0 rebounds across his last seven games. With Zach LaVine still projected out through this week at minimum, White should be involved even more than usual in Chicago’s upcoming pair of contests as well.
Start: Duncan Robinson, Heat
34% start rate
Robinson has been key to the Heat’s offensive production during Tyler Herro’s extended absence due to an ankle injury, averaging 18.0 points (on 53.5% shooting, including 56.7% from 3-point range), 3.4 assists and 2.9 rebounds over his last nine games. Robinson continues to hold down the starting shooting guard role for the time being, and with Herro nearing a return to action but likely to sit out both of Miami’s upcoming games, Robinson should continue to play an integral complementary role, especially with Bam Adebayo also potentially set to miss additional games with his hip injury.
ALSO CONSIDER: De’Anthony Melton, 76ers (22% start rate)
74% start rate
The Lakers could well be knocked out by the Suns in their Tuesday Knockout Round matchup, putting me in the camp of a Russell fade for this week. The veteran guard has had a couple of standout efforts in recent games, but in a vivid example of his inconsistent nature, he produced a nine-point tally Sunday against the Rockets following those breakout performances. Russell can provide some productive scoring and assist contributions when he has enough of a sample size to work with, but he’ll likely be hard-pressed to play enough this coming week to make him a worthwhile start.
Start: Patrick Williams, Bulls
37% roster rate
Like White, Williams is another member of the Bulls with high draft pedigree that has been paying dividends of late in what is a mostly rough season for Chicago thus far. The 2020 fourth overall pick has scored in double digits in six straight entering the new week, and he’s averaging a well-rounded 13.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.0 steals across 31.2 minutes per contest in that span. Williams is also doing a great job stretching the floor, shooting 52.5% overall and 41.7% from 3-point range in that sample. With the starting power forward job apparently his for the time being and LaVine’s absence ongoing, Williams could be in for another productive week.
Start: Saddiq Bey, Hawks
37% start rate
Bey did a solid job in Week 6 over his first few games as a fill-in for Jalen Johnson (wrist), averaging 14.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.7 steals across 34 minutes per contest in a three-game sample. The veteran forward flashed elite efficiency as well, shooting 65.2%, including 64.3% from 3-point range. With Atlanta playing at one of the league’s fastest paces and regularly involved in high-scoring, wire-to-wire battles, Bey is right back in the mix as a Start candidate this week, despite the fact it would be ideal to see him put up more shot attempts than the modest 8.8 per game he’s averaging thus far this season.
ALSO CONSIDER: Jaime Jaquez, Heat (46% start rate)
Sit: RJ Barrett, Knicks
78% roster rate
I’m making the assumption the Knicks aren’t going to get past the Bucks in their Knockout Round game Tuesday, and that even if they happen to, New York will play only two games at most this week. Therefore, I recommend staying away from Barrett, who’s generated a solid but replaceable line of 13.8 points, 2.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds across his last four games, a stretch during which he’s also shot a miserable 31.5%.
Start: Dario Saric, Warriors
40% roster rate
Saric has been providing rock-solid returns off the bench for the Warriors all season, and ironically, he had one of his quieter games of the campaign in a start against the Clippers on Sunday. However, we won’t let that deter us from suggesting you roll with the floor-spacing veteran on the Warriors’ upcoming two-game week, considering he’d averaged 14.2 points (48.9% shooting, including 42.2% from distance), 5.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals per contest over the previous nine games. Saric is capable of producing with either the first unit or off the bench, and the well-rounded lines he’s capable of out of the center spot in your lineup could be particularly valuable on a unique week such as this one.
Start: Santi Aldama, Grizzlies
45% start rate
We’re going back to Aldama for a second straight week after he averaged a solid 11.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks over 29.7 minutes per contest in three Week 6 games. The young big is currently coming off the bench, but he’s regularly seeing minutes in the mid-to-high 20s, at minimum. Although he still has work to do on his efficiency from behind the arc, Aldama is chucking away when he’s out on the floor – he’s averaging 12.2 shot attempts per game, including 5.7 from 3-point range, across 27.2 minutes per contest. When also factoring in what he offers on the boards and in defensive categories, he’s a well-rounded Start candidate who remains very viable this coming week.
ALSO CONSIDER: Isaiah Stewart, Pistons (45% start rate)
Sit: Myles Turner, Pacers
95% start rate
Turner is enjoying a solid season overall and is a must-start even on three-game weeks, but the reality is the Pacers could run into trouble with the Celtics, especially considering Boston handed Indiana a 155-104 loss in their one prior meeting this season. Tyrese Haliburton did miss that game for Indiana – helping explain the lopsided loss – but at the same time, Turner did next to nothing even with extra usage available, posting eight points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block while shooting 4-for-12 from the field. We’ll bank on a second lopsided Boston victory – especially with both Haliburton and Obi Toppin questionable for Monday’s game.