After a week with a more even split between three- and four-game weeks, we're back to one that tilts heavier toward the latter. That's good news in terms of expanded options for your Fantasy lineups.
For the most part this season, nearly every team plays three or four games, but we do have a rare two-game week on tap for the Mavericks. Luka Doncic is productive enough that, depending on your other options, it's justifiable to consider starting him on a two-game week, but the rest of the Mavs should probably be removed from Week 9 lineups.
Teams with four games: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors
Teams with three games: Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards
Teams with two games: Dallas Mavericks
Without further ado, let's examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 9:
Start: Kevin Huerter, Hawks
36% start rate in CBS leagues
Huerter enters the new week fresh off a 10-point, 10-assist double-double against the Pacers on Saturday. his second double-digit assist tally in the last six games. The third-year wing has double-digit scoring efforts in seven of his last 10 contests overall, a stretch during which he's shooting a blistering 47.5 percent from behind the arc. Huerter is also recording steals at a career-best clip of 1.2 steals per contest. Notably, both of his recent prolific games as a facilitator have come with Trae Young also notching a combined 19 assists. With a four-game week ahead of him, Huerter makes for a very viable multi-category contributor.
Start: Derrick Rose, Knicks
25% start rate in CBS leagues
Rose has unsurprisingly hit the ground running in his return to coach Tom Thibodeau's system, averaging 14.7 points (54.8% FG, 42.9% 3PT), 4.0 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 21.0 minutes over the first three games with the Knicks. Rose is coming off the bench for the time being, but he bumped up to 23 minutes against the Rockets on Saturday and could certainly see his role expand as his conditioning gets back up to par. Given that he has the full confidence of his head coach and can play either backcourt spot, Rose could pay off nicely in deeper formats -- and even in standard leagues -- with his four-game week.
Also consider: Hamidou Diallo, Thunder (43% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: Mike Conley, Jazz
42% start rate in CBS leagues
Originally, there was hope that Conley would return to action to start Week 9, but he's already been ruled out of Monday night's game against the 76ers. The Jazz are on a three-game week to begin with, so even in the best-case scenario, Fantasy managers would only get two games out of Conley. The veteran remains without a firm timetable to return from a hamstring injury, but he should be kept in an IR slot for at least one more week.
Start: Josh Jackson, Pistons
46% start rate in CBS leagues
Jackson's rollercoaster career is back on one of its upswings, as the 2017 fourth overall pick has posted eight straight double-digit scoring efforts after going for 21 points against the Pelicans on Sunday. Jackson averaged 17.6 points (47.0 percent shooting, including 38.5 percent from 3-point range), 6.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 block across 28.6 minutes over his previous seven games putting up a solid 11.9 shot attempts from the floor in the process. The fourth-year pro is capable of filling either wing spot, and with starting two-guard Wayne Ellington averaging a miserable 4.6 points on 22.2 percent shooting over his last five games, Jackson may continue eating into his playing time in Week 9.
Start: Darius Bazley, Thunder
54% start rate in CBS leagues
Bazley's teammate, Hamidou Diallo, has rightfully grabbed plenty of headlines with his play in the ongoing absence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (knee). However, Bazley also continues to acquit himself well, averaging 13.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists across 33.1 minutes over his last 10 games before posting 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals in Sunday's win over Milwaukee. Bazley's efficiency is undeniably still a work in progress, but he's remaining aggressive on the other end with 11.2 shot attempts per game (5.8 3PG/A). His free-throw percentage is also up to 75.9 percent after he shot under 70 percent as a rookie. Looking at the Thunder's schedule, Bazley has several particularly attractive positional matchups this week in the Blazers, Grizzlies and Cavaliers.
Also consider: Saddiq Bey, Pistons (9% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: Bojan Bogdanovic, Jazz
56% start rate in CBS leagues
Bogdanovic has improved his inefficient shooting of late, but he's still posting a career-worst 42.6 percent success rate from the floor and is putting up nearly three fewer shots per game than last season (12.2, compared to 2019-20's 14.8). The veteran wing is mustering point totals in the teens the majority of nights and has even slipped into the single digits twice in the last 10 games. While Bogdanovic is plenty capable of a solid week, his production over a three-game schedule isn't likely to be anything that can't be exceeded by a four-game option.
Start: Nerlens Noel, Knicks
36% start rate in CBS leagues
Mitchell Robinson will miss 4-to-6 weeks with the broken hand he suffered against the Wizards on Friday, which means Noel is set for an extended stint as the Knicks' starting center. The veteran put up 10 points, six rebounds, two blocks and one steal across 32 minutes against the Rockets in his first game with the first unit Saturday. Although Tom Thibodeau favorite Taj Gibson could eat into his playing time, Noel should see more than enough minutes to be a reliable source of rebounds and blocks with efficient, low-volume scoring. Even before Robinson went down, Noel was averaging 2.0 blocks per game off the bench.
Ivica Zubac, Clippers
17% start rate in CBS leagues
There's undeniably some risk with Zubac due to his bench role and occasional foul trouble, but the fifth-year big is logging a career-high 19.3 minutes per contest and putting them to good use. Zubac is averaging 8.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.0 assist while shooting a career-high 65.9 percent, and he put up 10.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.2 blocks in 21.4 minutes over a five-game stretch before Sunday's win over Cleveland. That sample included four double-digit scoring efforts and a pair of double-doubles. Foul trouble relegated Zubac to the bench early in Sunday's game, so he managed just five points and five boards in 15 minutes. But with a full schedule this week, Zubac will have an opportunity to continue churning out points, rebounds and blocks, while exploiting matchups against opponents' bench players.
Also consider: Daniel Theis, Celtics (25% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: Kristaps Porzingis, Mavericks
89% start rate in CBS leagues
The big man is performing admirably, overall, since making his Jan. 13 season debut, but his production isn't to the level that he would be worth starting with just a pair of games on tap. Porzingis has actually fallen short of 20 points in six of his last 10 games, and he's averaging a career-low 1.6 blocks per game on the season. Chances are, you have a three- or four-game player with greater upside in Week 9.