Week 11 shapes up as one of the most interesting periods of the season because it actually constitutes a two-week timeframe that wraps around the All-Star break. This leaves us with a unique and somewhat unbalanced schedule at either end of the spectrum: three teams have six games, while one, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, will play just three times. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the league has four or five games on the schedule.
Of course, more games means more opportunities for Fantasy points, but the five-day break in action adds some unpredictability. All-Star Weekend is the unofficial halfway point of the NBA season, and it's often used as a marker for evaluating longer-term injuries, as well as a team's standing in the league. As a result, rotations can shift over the course of just a few days, and you may not have the opportunity to make any lineup changes.
This week, it's more important than ever to use the schedule to your advantage. Not only does it maximize your chances to score big, but it also mitigates the risk of players woefully underperforming their expectations.
Here's how the schedule breaks down:
Teams with five games: Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards
Teams with four games: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz
Teams with three games: Los Angeles Lakers
Without further ado, let's examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 11:
Start: Justin Holiday, Pacers
33% start rate in CBS leagues
We're at the point of the season where we can safely assume Holiday's improved all-around performance isn't a fluke. The veteran is still boasting career-best shooting efficiency (46.5 percent shooting, 41.8 percent from 3) and also averaging a career-high 4.2 rebounds per game. Holiday is also contributing an impressive 1.2 steals per contest and shooting 82.0 percent from the free-throw line. The 31-year-old is averaging 12.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists heading into his five-game schedule, and he offers enough complementary production to justify starting on a five-game week.
Start: Goran Dragic, Heat
34% start rate in CBS leagues
Dragic already logged 33 minutes in only his second game back from his nine-game absence due to an ankle injury, scoring 26 points off the bench against the Jazz on Friday night. He followed up with a well-rounded 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal in Sunday's win over Atlanta. Dragic will get three of his five upcoming games in his Week 11 schedule after the All-Star break, which will give him even more time to get back to full health. When he's at 100 percent, Dragic is a steady source of scoring, assists and 3s, with some rebounds and steals sprinkled in.
Sit: Buddy Hield, Kings
75% start rate in CBS leagues
Hield is coming off of a big night Sunday against Charlotte, but he has only four games on the extended schedule, and he was shooting under 35 percent from the field in the eight games leading into Sunday night. That span included three single-digit scoring tallies and modest averages of 3.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Hield has his hot streaks when he's one of the best shooters in the NBA, but he's been too inconsistent of late to play over a comparable five- or six-game player.
Start: Derrick Jones, Trail Blazers
15% start rate in CBS leagues
Jones gets the benefit of six games over the next two weeks, and he's likely to continue working without fellow wing C.J. McCollum, who coach Terry Stotts recently said isn't close to returning from his foot injury. Jones is averaging 12.3 points -- on red-hot 64.7 percent shooting, including 46.7 percent from 3 – 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 2.0 blocks across 29.8 minutes over his last six games. While the elite efficiency is going to be difficult to keep up over an extended period, Jones has typically been an excellent shooter from two-point range, and his much-needed defensive versatility should keep him in a major role. Jones has dipped under 29 minutes only once in his last seven contests.
Start: Danuel House, Rockets
12% start rate in CBS leagues
House is another wing who's been coming on recently, as he's capitalized on a return to the first unit by averaging 13.0 points (51.1 percent shooting; 50.0 percent from 3), 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists across 30.0 minutes in his first five games back as the starting small forward. With Christian Wood (ankle) out through at least the All-Star break, House should continue to see elevated minutes. And while he's prone to poor shooting nights, House is a high-volume 3-point shooter who's capable of adding contributions in steals and blocks.
Also consider: Luguentz Dort, Thunder (21% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: LeBron James, Lakers
98% start rate in CBS leagues
I know, I know -- you didn't spend a high pick on James to sit him on your bench, but hear me out: The Lakers are the only team with three games over the next two weeks, so James, while capable of exploding for a triple-double on any given night, is at a major disadvantage. The MVP favorite's averages over the last 10 games entering Sunday's blowout – 26.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 1.3 steals – are certainly formidable, but they're not irreplaceable. You shouldn't bench James in favor of a four-game player, or even most five-game players, but if you have a productive six-game option, it's not the worst idea to maximize your bites at the apple.
Start: Steven Adams, Pelicans
39% start rate in CBS leagues
Adams is less-involved offensively in New Orleans than he was during his recent Thunder seasons, but he's still a force on the glass and is also equaling a career high with 2.3 assists per contest. Adams is averaging a modest 8.2 points per game, but he's shooting a career-high 61.8 percent from the field. His blocks are also down this year, yet he has multiple blocks in three of the past five contests. While there's still risk involved in rostering him due to his inconsistent offensive production, the fact Adams has six games in Week 11 helps mitigate some of the risk.
Start: Wendell Carter, Bulls
50% start rate in CBS leagues
Carter claims a spot in this space for the second straight week, as he earned the distinction with a strong Week 10 effort. The Raptors' COVID-19 issues claimed Carter's fourth game of Week 10 on Sunday, but he went off for a pair of double-doubles that also featured multiple steals and blocks in his first two outings. Carter was a complete non-factor in Friday's loss to Phoenix, but the Bulls draw five games in Week 11, so he'll have a good chance to outpace several big men in his tier.
Sit: Chris Boucher, Raptors
65% start rate in CBS leagues
Boucher started the Raptors' most recent game Friday against Houston and blocked three shots in 28 minutes. With Pascal Siakam out, Boucher should be in line for increased minutes at the five. However, he carries major risk heading into the week. For starters, there's no guarantee the Raptors will even take the floor Tuesday against the Pistons as they battle the COVID-19 issues that wiped out Sunday's game. Even if that game goes on as scheduled, Boucher may only have two games remaining as a starter before Siakam returns after the All-Star break, placing him back for the final three games of Week 11. It's also worth noting that prior to Boucher hasn't been overly productive in his two games as a starter, averaging just 8.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 blocks across 25.0 minutes. The blocks and 3s are worth chasing, but before you lock Boucher into any lineups, make sure the Raptors are set to play their full schedule.