We have a highly appealing Fantasy basketball week ahead of us, as there are no two-game teams, while the bulk of the league has four games on its docket. There are also some major injuries in play, with LeBron James' high-ankle sprain threatening to keep him out for multiple weeks and LaMelo Ball (wrist) likely done for the season. Meanwhile, a few young players are surging at the moment and pushing themselves into weekly Fantasy consideration.
Teams with four games: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz
Team with three games: Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Wizards
Without further ado, let's examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for the coming week:
Start: Donte DiVincenzo, Bucks
25% start rate in CBS leagues
DVincenzo enters the new scoring period averaging 13.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.0 steals across his past five games, a stretch during which he's putting up a solid 11.0 shot attempts per contest. The third-year wing has a pair of double-doubles in that span, and zooming out further, he's put up double-digit point tallies in 12 of his last 15 contests. While his offensive efficiency could use a boost, DiVincenzo is contributing across four categories with regularity and will have four games to work with this coming week, with at least the first one, at minimum, projected to include a Giannis Antetokounmpo absence due to a knee sprain.
Start: Keldon Johnson, Spurs
37% start rate in CBS leagues
Johnson is another young player on the rise who's enjoying a very strong second season, as he's averaging 14.0 points (48.0 percent shooting), 6.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists across 29.1 minutes across 36 games. More recently, Johnson has six double-digit scoring efforts in the last seven games, including a jaw-dropping 23-point, 21-rebound double-double against the Cavaliers on Friday. With LaMarcus Aldridge no longer expected to suit up for the Spurs, Johnson's usage should remain robust and makes him a starting consideration on a four-game week.
Sit: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder
76% start rate in CBS leagues
Both Gilgeous-Alexander's schedule and health play a part in him receiving this designation, as the third-year guard is otherwise enjoying a strong third campaign. However, SGA has only three games to work with his coming week, and considering he missed Saturday's game due to right shoulder soreness, it's not a guarantee that he'll be ready to take the floor Monday against the Timberwolves. Additionally, the injury may be affecting Gilgeous-Alexander some on the offensive end, considering he has three sub-50-percent shooting games over the last six appearances. Given the very real possibility that Gilgeous-Alexander only plays two games, consider rolling with a slightly less productive four-game option if you have one.
Start: Aaron Gordon, Magic
52% start rate in CBS leagues
Gordon may finally be over his stubborn ankle issues, as he's now played three straight games and averaged 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists in those contests. Granted, the scoring average is significantly boosted by Gordon's season-high 38 points against the Nets on Friday, but the veteran big is a proven offensive asset and is averaging a solid 14.8 points per game for the season on career-best 41.1 percent shooting from 3-point range. Gordon's four-game schedule, plus the likelihood he continues to even out his production the further he gets from his injury, makes him a viable starting consideration in Week 14.
Start: Markieff Morris, Lakers
5% start rate in CBS leagues
As alluded to earlier, LeBron James' absence is naturally going to open up plenty of opportunity for several Lakers, especially considering Anthony Davis is still weeks away from a return and Marc Gasol is also sidelined. Dennis Schroder and Kyle Kuzma are two primary candidates to benefit under this scenario, and both are unsurprisingly rostered at elevated rates as the week begins. However, Morris is one more under-the-radar option who has the skill set to also step up his contributions, especially in the areas of scoring, 3-point shooting and rebounding. Morris took only six shots in the first game of LeBron's absence Sunday versus the Suns, but he pulled down eight boards and is likely to boost his involvement on the offensive end with the Lakers in dire need of any source of offense.
Also consider: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lakers (6% start rate)
Sit: Kelly Oubre, Warriors
53% start rate in CBS leagues
Oubre is likely still dealing with the after-effects of a kick to the foot he sustained against the Rockets on Wednesday. Even though he never missed a game, he's averaged just 8.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 2.0 blocks in the subsequent two games, despite Stephen Curry missing both of those. On top of the possible injury concern, Oubre has a three-game week on tap and already experienced one serious offensive funk earlier this season. With the foot issue lingering, Oubre is best kept on the bench in favor of a four-game option.
Start: Robert Williams, Celtics
53% start rate in CBS leagues
Tristan Thompson will start the week still in COVID-19 protocol, and it remains to be seen if the veteran will be ready for Monday's game against the Grizzlies after sitting out Sunday. Williams had a more modest four-point, seven-rebound, two-assist effort Sunday against the Magic, but he has averaged 11.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.8 blocks across 21.3 minutes in his last nine games. Williams' shot-blocking and rebounding prowess is earning him a career-high 16.9 minutes per game, and even if Thompson returns at some point in the coming week, the third-year big has also proven he can be a fairly consistent offensive contributor off the bench. Williams still has a ways to go, but Brad Stevens' trust in him has gradually increased of late.
Start: Jakob Poeltl, Spurs
32% start rate in CBS leagues
Poeltl is another Spurs player who's enjoying a strong season while benefiting from Aldridge's absence. The big man isn't a great source of offense, but he has three double-digit rebounding efforts in the last four games . In addition to his typically strong work on the boards, he's proven to be an excellent source of blocks, averaging 1.5 per game on the season. With a four-game week that includes a pair of particularly favorable matchups versus the Hornets and Bulls, Poeltl is very much viable as a starter in most formats.
Also consider: Ivica Zubac, Clippers (11% start rate)
Sit: Wendell Carter, Bulls
39% start rate in CBS leagues
There may be an ongoing temptation for those who invested valuable draft capital in Carter to continue rolling him out. However, the third-year big has lost his starting role to Thaddeus Young and hasn't responded well in his move to the bench over the last five games. Carter is averaging 8.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists during that stretch, which is serviceable but not to the caliber most managers are looking for in a starting center. Carter has averaged just 19.2 minutes per game since his demotion – he played just 14 minutes Sunday versus the Pistons -- and he's scored in single digits in eight of the last 10 games, overall.