After a unique schedule last week due to the matchup between the Bulls and Pistons in Paris, the NBA's weekly slate looks more traditional this week, as all but three teams will play at least two games. The Bucks will likely get several stars back in action this week, though other teams still face injury situations that will impact fantasy lineup decisions.
While stars from the teams with two games should still start in most fantasy leagues, it's best to consider players with four games instead of some less reliable contributors.
Teams with four games: BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, HOU, IND, LAC, MEM, MIL, MIN, NOP, ORL, SAS
Teams with three games: ATL, BKN, DAL, DEN, DET, LAL, MIA, NYK, PHX, POR, SAC, TOR, UTA, WAS
Teams with two games: GSW, OKC, PHI
All roster and start percentages via CBS Fantasy Basketball
Consider starting: Norman Powell, LAC (58% rostered, 40% start)
Opponents: @LAL, SAS, @ATL, @CLE
Powell usually comes off the bench for the Clippers, but he's had a prominent role for the team and has played 30-plus minutes in four of his last eight appearances. He's been a consistent scorer over that stretch, averaging 21.0 points along with 3.3 rebounds in 28.8 minutes per game. Powell's fantasy value depends heavily on his scoring ability, but he's been consistently dominant on the scoreboard recently after some lackluster performances earlier in the year.
Consider sitting: Tyrese Maxey, PHI (99% rostered, 57% start)
Opponents: BKN, DEN
Maxey saw an increased role Saturday against the Kings with James Harden and Joel Embiid sidelined due to foot injuries, and the 2020 first-round pick responded with 32 points, matching his second-highest scoring total of the season. While it's unclear when Harden and Embiid will return, the 76ers play just two games this week. Maxey will likely return to more modest production if either player returns to the court in the coming games, making him a risky play due to Philadelphia's upcoming schedule. Seasoned fantasy managers know it's a math equation. Even two above-average games from Maxey could be exceeded by four average games from a slightly inferior player.
Consider starting: Caris LeVert, CLE (75% rostered, 40% start)
Opponents: @NYK, @HOU, @OKC, LAC
LeVert has taken on a starting role over the last three matchups and has been a well-rounded contributor, averaging 19.3 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 33.7 minutes per game. The 28-year-old's increased role has been due to Donovan Mitchell sitting out with an ankle injury, and it's not yet clear whether Mitchell will be back in action over the next few games. However, the Cavaliers play four games this week, including three relatively favorable matchups to begin the week. If Mitchell remains out or is limited, LeVert should continue to have plenty of opportunities to contribute.
Consider sitting: Ben Simmons, BKN (97% rostered, 71% start)
Opponents: @PHI, DET, NYK
Simmons posted a triple-double against the Spurs early last week but was an inconsistent contributor the rest of the week. Over his three appearances to close out last week, he averaged 6.7 points, 7.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 28.0 minutes per game. Fantasy managers who drafted Simmons knew about his lackluster scoring production, but his inconsistent results in other categories have limited his overall appeal recently. With the Nets scheduled for just three games this week, it wouldn't be a bad idea to play a more consistent option over Simmons this week.
Consider starting: Khris Middleton, MIL (98% rostered, 18% start)
Opponents: @DET, DEN, @IND, NOP
Putting Middleton back into fantasy lineups when he's healthy is an easy decision, and it appears as though he'll be back in action Monday against the Pistons since he's deemed probable for the matchup. Giannis Antetokounmpo is also probable, so the Bucks will likely be at full strength for the first time since mid-December. Middleton has missed over a month due to his knee injury, but he's been practicing with the G League squad and NBA club recently. Even if he faces a minutes restriction early this week, I'd still feel comfortable putting him back into starting lineups ahead of Milwaukee's four-game week.
Consider sitting: OG Anunoby, TOR (99% rostered, 61% start)
Opponents: @SAC, @GSW, @POR
Anunoby missed Sunday's game against the Knicks with an ankle injury and will undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the issue. Even if he's cleared to return soon, the 25-year-old has had limited fantasy production recently, averaging 10.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 33.0 minutes per game over his last four appearances. Anunoby's fantasy outlook for this week will diminish if he misses any additional games, but he's a somewhat unappealing option even if he returns after a minimal absence.
Consider starting: Patrick Williams, CHI (33% rostered, 11% start)
Opponents: ATL, @IND, @CHA, @ORL
Williams' production in scoring and rebounds has remained fairly consistent recently, as he's averaged 10.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 30.2 minutes per game over his last six appearances. However, he's been slightly more productive on the defensive side of the ball, as he's averaged 1.3 steals per game over those six matchups. Williams should still be viewed mainly as a consideration in deeper leagues, but he's worth considering for fantasy managers attempting to increase their steals ahead of the Bulls' four-game week.
Consider sitting: Tobias Harris, PHI (98% rostered, 57% start)
Opponents: BKN, DEN
Harris had back-to-back double-doubles in early January but has been much more inconsistent over the last two weeks. Across his last seven appearances, he's averaged 14.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 30.1 minutes per game. He's been held under 15 points in four of those outings, and he's logged over five rebounds in just two of those matchups. While he has some glimpses of production, he's worth leaving on the bench during Philadelphia's two-game week in most fantasy leagues.
Consider starting: Jalen Duren, DET (73% rostered, 29% start)
Opponents: MIL, @BKN, HOU
Duren returned from a five-game absence for the Pistons' matchup against the Bulls in Paris last week, and although he came off the bench, he posted a double-double with 11 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks, an assist and a steal in 18 minutes. The rookie generally had inconsistent scoring production before his absence, but he's been a strong contributor on the boards over the last month and a half. Duren proved Thursday that he's able to be a solid fantasy option even if he comes off the bench, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him reclaim his starting role soon.
Consider sitting: Wendell Carter, ORL (97% rostered, 65% start)
Opponents: BOS, IND, @MIA, CHI
Carter posted double-doubles in four of his six appearances to begin the month, but he's struggled over the last three matchups. He's been limited to single-digit scoring totals in two of those outings and has averaged just 7.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in 29.0 minutes per game during that time. Although the Magic have a four-game week, they face three strong frontcourts that will be tough for Carter to bounce back against. Fantasy managers with viable alternatives should consider benching the 23-year-old until he gets back on track.