Fantasy Basketball: Week 16 Starts & Sits, schedule breakdown
Alex Barutha analyzes the schedule to help make lineup decisions for a week where the only the Bulls play just twice.
It's a relatively busy Week 16, and it's one that will contain the NBA's Feb. 6 trade deadline. There's really not much you can do to avoid any situations that arise from that in leagues with weekly changes. It's not worth it to presumably sit player X because you think they might get traded. It's usually just best to bite the bullet. Also, keep an eye out for Bulls players on your roster, since that's the only team with just two games. Here's the full breakdown:
Teams with four games: ATL, BOS, DAL, DET, HOU, IND, LAC, MEM, MIA, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, SAN
Teams with three games: BKN, CHA, CLE, DEN, GSW, LAL, MIL, MIN, NOP, OKC, SAC, TOR, UTA, WAS
Team with two games: CHI
Here are some players to consider starting and some to consider sitting:
Consider starting: Jalen Brunson, DAL
Opponents: @Ind, Mem, @Was, @Cha
Luka Doncic is dealing with an ankle injury, and it's been deemed similar to the one that caused him to miss four games earlier in the year. As a result, we should see Brunson step into an increased role and take over primary ball-handling duties for Dallas. Across the previous four-game stretch that Doncic was hurt, Brunson checked in as the 62nd-ranked player in Fantasy. He averaged 13.8 points, 9.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds. We shouldn't expect anything drastically different this time around.
Consider sitting: Ricky Rubio, PHO
Opponents: @Bkn, @Det, Hou, Den
Rubio's shot has been broken over the past two weeks. He's hitting just 35.2 percent of his 9.0 field-goal attempts per game and is converting on just 64.3 percent of his 2.3 free throws. If you're in true need of assists and steals, Rubio can be started, especially in 14-team leagues. However, if you're coasting along in a shallow roto format, there may be other options available that you can deploy with more confidence. While the Suns do play four games, the "easy" matchups are still on the road, while the Rockets and Nuggets are tough competition.
Consider starting: Tim Hardaway Jr., DAL
Opponents: @Ind, Mem, @Was, @Cha
With Doncic out, not only should Brunson see an increased role, but so should Hardaway. In the four games that Doncic has missed, Hardaway has seen a boost of 4.1 minutes and 5.2 Fantasy points per game. On a four-game week, that should also include plenty of 3-point attempts. He probably won't provide much value elsewhere, but there's strong potential for him to post 60 points and 12 3s with a quality free-throw percentage (83.3 over the past two weeks).
Consider sitting: Lou Williams, LAC
Opponents: SA, Mia, @Min, @Cle
Considering the Clippers play four games against relatively light competition, sitting Williams is only a move for shallow leagues, probably 10-teamers. While he's been passing and scoring well in general, he's hitting only a third of his 16.7 field-goal attempts over the past two weeks, which is an atrocious number. Plus, with Paul George back in the mix, the Clippers won't have to lean on Williams as much.
Consider starting: Jerami Grant, DEN
Opponents: Por, @Uta, @Pho
Paul Millsap has been sidelined since Jan. 8 due to a bruised left knee and remains without a real timetable for a return. In his absence, Grant has stepped up. Since Jan. 8, Grant has ranked as the 75th-best Fantasy player in 32.5 minutes per game. Notably, he's collecting a combined 2.2 steals-plus-blocks. But he's also pitching in a solid 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 3s. Continue to deploy him as long as Millsap is on the shelf.
Consider sitting: Joe Ingles, UTA
Opponents: Den, Por, @Hou
We've found the one thing that can reliably stop Ingles, and it's his teammate, Mike Conley. Since Conley returned from a hamstring injury Jan. 18, Ingles has been the 184th-ranked Fantasy player. He's provided a great 7.1 assists per game, but there's not much else of value for most standard Fantasy teams. On a three-game week, it's not worth the risk that Ingles puts things together.
Consider starting: Larry Nance, CLE
Opponents: NY, @OKC, LAC
Though the Cavaliers' frontcourt has been relatively healthy as of late, Nance has managed to step up. In 25.5 minutes per game over the past two weeks, Nance has been the 67th-ranked Fantasy player on the back of 13.6 points (61.0 FG%), 8.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 3 and 1.0 steal. We've seen this kind of production before from Nance, so I'd feel confident riding the hot streak on a three-game week, even if it's against somewhat intimidating competition on the back end.
Consider sitting: Zion Williamson, NOP
Opponents: Mil, @Chi, @Ind
Williamson has undoubtedly been exciting in his action on the court, but it hasn't translated to great Fantasy output. Since making his debut, he's ranked just 181st in per-game Fantasy production. That's largely the result of some poor free-throw shooting, which I can only assume was done blindfolded or with the wrong hand, or maybe both (35.3 percent on 4.3 attempts per game). His scoring (18.0 PPG on 63.3 FG%) and rebounding (8.3) has been as advertised, but I may hold off locking him into a starting spot until he can start hitting half of his freebies.
Consider starting: Nerlens Noel, OKC
Opponents: Cle, Det, Bos
Even with Steven Adams returning from injury, there can be value in starting Noel in Fantasy. Over the past 14 days, he's needed just 22.4 minutes per game to be the 38th-ranked player. He's been excellent in terms of his efficiency (77.5 FG%, 77.8 FT%) and defense (3.0 blocks-plus-steals). Consider giving him a starting nod, especially if your league requires two centers.
Consider sitting: Tristan Thompson, CLE
Opponents: NY, @OKC, LAC
Thompson's rebounding continues to be great (10.0 per game over the past two weeks), and if you're in desperate need of boards, he's always there for you. But he's scoring just 8.4 points over this stretch, and he's averaging only a combined 1.9 3s, assists and steals. It's just a rough ask in many roto leagues to consistently start him on three-game weeks.
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