We’re set for what is one of the most unique fantasy scoring periods each season, the two-week span that’s sandwiched around the upcoming All-Star break. That gives us plenty of teams with robust five-game schedules and even a six-game option in the Warriors, broadening our player pool of under-the-radar starting candidates that can boost fantasy lineups.
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. We’ll also typically target players with four-game weeks in an attempt to maximize opportunities for production.
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 often on players with fewer game opportunities during the coming week.
TEAMS WITH SIX GAMES: Golden State Warriors
TEAMS WITH FIVE GAMES: Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards
TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Miami Heat
Without further ado, let’s examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 17:
Start: Brandin Podziemski, Warriors
42% start rate
Podziemski delivered as a Week 16 Start suggestion, and considering he’ll have a robust six-game opportunity over the Week 17 block and remains well under a 50% start rate, he’s back for a second go-around. The rookie has found a way to fill up the stat sheet of late despite usually coming off the bench, averaging 11.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.1 assists per contest across his last eight games. His ability to check off multiple boxes helps make up for what is often below-average offensive efficiency, and he should be able to offer strong returns with so much opportunity on his plate in the next two weeks.
Start: Jordan Clarkson, Jazz
47% start rate
Clarkson is a reliable fantasy asset that can essentially be plugged in on any given week and help your lineup out in a pinch when he has enough opportunities to take the floor. That should be the case in Week 17, as the Jazz have a solid five-game schedule in that span, and Clarkson already comes in having put up an impressive 17.6 points, 4.5 assists and 3.4 rebounds per contest in the 20 games he’s played since Jan. 1. Those numbers have been generated while logging just under 30 minutes (29.8) per game off the bench, and with the Jazz frequently involved in fast-paced, high-scoring battles, Clarkson could certainly be a rewarding streamer during a five-game block.
Sit: Josh Giddey, Thunder
53% start rate
Giddey continues to sport a slightly elevated start rate despite struggling this season overall, and in Week 17, he’ll be saddled with just four opportunities to take the floor over the two-week period. The third-year pro heads into the scoring period having scored in single digits in four of the last six games despite still retaining a starting role, a span in which he’s shooting a rough 35.5%. Giddey still offers some serviceable production in rebounds and assists even when his scoring is way down, but needless to say, those numbers aren’t anything that can’t be replaced or surpassed by an appreciable margin.
Start: Kelly Oubre, 76ers
46% start rate
Oubre is another suggestion that’s making an encore appearance this week after delivering 18.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists over four Week 16 games. The veteran wing is one of several players helping make up for the absence of Joel Embiid (knee), and more recently, that of Tyrese Maxey (illness). Oubre notably still delivered a strong performance (16 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block) in Maxey’s return Saturday and with newcomer Buddy Hield also emerging as an immediate scoring threat following his trade from the Pacers. Consequently, Oubre, who’s projected to remain in the starting small forward role, makes for a very viable option again during the 76ers’ upcoming five-game schedule.
Start: Caris LeVert, Cavaliers
42% roster rate
LeVert continues to come off the bench in support of what is once again a healthy Cavaliers starting backcourt, averaging a solid 11.1 points, 4.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds across 23.1 minutes per contest in his last nine games. With a solid role and as one of the primary sources of offense on Cleveland’s second unit, LeVert is certainly capable of making meaningful fantasy contributions on a five-game schedule.
Sit: Jimmy Butler, Heat
57% start rate
Listing Butler as a Sit option is a fairly straightforward decision, given the circumstances at play. Not only do the Heat play a league-low three games over the Week 17 period, but the star forward is also currently on a bereavement leave that doesn’t yet have a firm timetable. As such, pivoting elsewhere in a scoring period where so many other players will have ample opportunity to contribute is strongly recommended.
Start: Paul Reed, 76ers
44% start rate
Reed powered through an illness in Week 16 and was feeling better as the Sixers’ four-game schedule wrapped up, as evidenced by the fact he put up 12.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 blocks in the last pair of contests against the Wizards and Hawks. The big man is set for another slate of starts in place of Embiid, and when Reed has been at full strength, he’s proven capable of offering some serviceable numbers in points, rebounds and blocks.
Start: Naz Reid, Timberwolves
42% start rate
Reid is always capable of surprising with some starter-level contributions off the Timberwolves’ bench, a fact most recently borne out by his seven double-digit scoring efforts in the last 12 games, including in four of his last five contests. The veteran continues to steadily see minutes in the low-to-mid-20s at minimum, and he’s encouragingly put up double-digit shot attempts in six of the last seven contests. Reid is also notably shooting a career-best 41.4% from 3-point range on a career-high 4.7 3-point attempts per contest, which is playing an integral role in many of his impressive scoring outputs. With the benefit of five games to work with in the Week 17 period, he’s firmly in play as a sub-50% start option that’s capable of paying dividends.
ALSO CONSIDER: Nick Richards, Hornets (46% roster rate)
79% roster rate
Hartenstein has undeniably provided some impressive stat lines thus far during his starting tenure, but he’s got a couple of things working against him in Week 17. To begin with, he’s dealing with some Achilles soreness that already cost him one game and has him listed as questionable for Monday’s contest against the Rockets. And, if he happens to sit out that contest, he’ll have just three more games to work with during the scoring period, dampening his prospects in comparison to other bigs that will have much more opportunity.