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USATSI

We open the new calendar year with a very appealing fantasy schedule, as we get a rare, five-game week while more than half of the remaining teams play four games.

The player pool for streaming candidates is plentiful, and with the COVID-19 situation (somewhat) abating after a very difficult finish to December, we have a bit more stability in roles for complementary players at the moment.

TEAMS WITH FIVE GAMES: Memphis Grizzlies

TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards

TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns 

Without further ado, let's examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 12:

Guards        

Start: Jalen Green, Rockets

58% start rate in CBS leagues

Green returned from an extended absence due to a hamstring injury with a flourish, averaging 22.3 points, 2.3 assists, 1.8 rebounds and 1.0 steals while shooting 48.1 percent – including 51.5 percent from three-point range – over his first four games back in action. If the talented rookie's newfound efficiency sticks, he could be in for a very fruitful week considering the status of backcourt mate Kevin Porter is firmly up in the air after he essentially abandoned the team at halftime in Saturday's loss to the Nuggets. Green's production is primarily scoring-centric, but he could certainly take on more ball-handling duties if Porter is unavailable beyond Monday's game, for which he's already been suspended.

Start: Terance Mann, Clippers

36% start rate in CBS leagues

Mann has stepped up his contributions nicely with Paul George (elbow) sidelined for two separate stints. Since Dec. 8, Mann has averaged an impressively well-rounded 13.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists over 12 games, shooting 56.4 percent, including 50.0 percent from distance. Just as important, he's logging a robust 34.4 minutes per contest while drawing starts in each contest in the sample, giving him a bright outlook going into a four-game week. 

ALSO CONSIDER: Patrick Beverley, MIN (30% start rate in CBS leagues); Gary Payton, Warriors (5% start rate in CBS leagues)

Sit: Cole Anthony, Magic

56% start rate in CBS leagues

Anthony has already been ruled out of Monday's contest against the Bulls due to his ankle injury, and the reality is he's a stay-away candidate, even on a four-game week. The 2020 first-round pick has missed seven of the last eight games, leading head coach Jamahl Mosley to concede recently that Anthony's injury may still be a concern for some time. The Magic are handling his status on a game-by-game basis, but locking Anthony into a weekly lineup is too risky right now.

Forwards        

Start: Herbert Jones, Pelicans

29% start rate in CBS leagues

Jones is another player who's leveraged absences on his team to boost his numbers, as the rookie big is averaging 12.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.6 blocks across 32.2 minutes over his last 10 games. An assortment of key players have been sidelined for New Orleans at different points throughout that stretch, including Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas. While both are expected to return at some point during the Pelicans' upcoming four-game week, Jones' well-rounded stat lines should persist, especially with the confidence he's gained successfully taking on a bigger role of late. Also worth noting is the fact Jones has proven a very good defensive contributor right from the start of his career. He's averaging 1.3 steals and 1.0 block per game for the season.

Start: Larry Nance, Trail Blazers

35% start rate in CBS leagues

Nance has increasingly become an asset to the Trail Blazers as a complementary scoring option and strong presence on the boards. The veteran big man enters Portland's four-game week on a particularly nice run, as he's averaged 10.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals across 30.5 minutes over his last six games while shooting 55.3 percent, including 45.5 percent from behind the arc. The ongoing absence of CJ McCollum (chest) has helped boost Nance's usage some, and the Blazers will also open Week 12 on Monday against the Hawks missing both Damian Lillard (abdominal) and Jusuf Nurkic (COVID-19 protocols).

ALSO CONSIDER: Marcus Morris, Clippers (58% start rate in CBS leagues) 

Sit: Tobias Harris, 76ers

85% start rate in CBS leagues

It may seem odd to continue sitting Harris after he just posted his first career triple-double two games ago, but there could well be more productive four-game options on your roster this week. The triple-double was a complete outlier for Harris and actually came in a game in which he shot just 3-for-12 from the floor. In fact, Harris has been scuffling with his shot in several games coming into Week 12, draining just 37.2 percent of his attempts (18.8% 3Pt) over his last six contests. The rebounds and assists are always relatively reliable, but Harris can be justifiably left on the bench in favor of a comparable – or even lesser – four-game player.

Centers       

Start: Steven Adams, Grizzlies

56% start rate in CBS leagues

The Grizzlies are the only team on a five-game week, bringing Adams into the picture as a starting candidate. The veteran has been riding a strong stretch of play since mid-December, putting up 7.8 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.0 steal across 27.8 minutes over that nine-game sample. Adams checks into Week 12 with a pair of double-doubles over his last three games as well, and with Memphis slated to open the scoring period still missing Dillon Brooks and Kyle Anderson due to COVID-19 protocols, there's a chance Adams sees a bit more offensive involvement than usual. 

Start: Daniel Gafford, Wizards 

49% start rate in CBS leagues

Gafford is averaging career bests in points (9.6), rebounds (6.7), assists (1.1) and blocks (1.8) per game, and he'll come into Week 12 putting up 12.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.5 blocks across 27.3 minutes over his last six contests. The young big man also opens the week with an outstanding matchup against the Hornets, and he'll be in similarly good spots versus the Rockets, Bulls and Magic in his other three games. Gafford's scoring can be a bit up and down, but his work as a rebounder and shot-blocker is much steadier.

ALSO CONSIDER: Kevon Looney, Warriors (5% start rate in CBS leagues); Omer Yurtseven, Heat (38% start rate in CBS leagues)

Sit: Deandre Ayton, Suns

57% start rate in CBS leagues 

Ayton will only have three chances to take the floor this week, and at least one – the Suns' matchup against the Pelicans on Tuesday – has a chance to be wiped out by COVID-19 protocols. The big man should play in at least two games this week, but the strong performances of rookie Jalen Smith in his stead thus far could lead to Ayton also being eased back in if there are any conditioning concerns, as has been the case for multiple players around the league who've missed more than a week.