Fantasy Basketball: Week 17 Start' Em & Sit 'Em and schedule analysis
With only one full week left before the All-Star break and trade deadline, solidifying your place in the standings is more important than ever.
Week 17 features a relatively normal setup before we head into Week 18, which is shortened by the All-Star break and sees most teams play just two games. Only one squad, the Jazz, has two games this week, with the remainder of the teams playing three or four contests. Here's how Week 17 breaks down:
- Teams with four games: ATL, IND, MIL, NOP, ORL, PHO, SAC, SAS, WAS
- Teams with three games: BKN, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIN, NYK, OKC, PHI, POR, TOR
- Team with two games: UTA
Regarding the Kristaps Porzingis trade: It's possible we get some clarity on the incoming players' roles before the start of Week 17. DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews are both buyout candidates, and neither may end up playing a game in a Knicks uniform. Based on what we saw during Thursday's loss to the Pistons, the Mavericks may run a three-center rotation using Maxi Kleber, Salah Mejri and Dwight Powell.
In that case, Mejri is the only player of the trio that sees a bump, but it may not be big enough for 12-team leagues. And at this point it's very much unclear if Porzingis will take the floor for the Mavs before the end of the season.
Consider starting: Danny Green, TOR (47% owned, 22% start)
Opponents: PHI, ATL, NYK
Green has been sneaking his way up the Fantasy ranks as of late, fueled by his best shooting percentage (44.1 FG%) since 2012-13 and his most threes made per game (2.3) since 2014-15. He's also been solid on defense, posting a combined 1.7 steals/blocks per contest. All things considered, he's been the 61st-best player over the past two weeks and the 104th-ranked player on the season, making him worthy of ownership in standard 12-team formats. Green's recent uptick in production means not only should he be owned, but he should be in strong contention to enter your team's starting group.
Consider sitting: Ricky Rubio, UTA (94% owned, 59% start)
Opponents: PHO, SAS
Rubio has been back from injury for five games, and he's recently started to look healthy, averaging 15.0 points, 7.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 28.0 minutes across the past two games. However, minus the rebounding, those numbers are all higher than his production on the season. Heading into just a two-game week, I'd worry about the point guard regressing, especially in 10-team format — and especially with uncertainty hanging around him as the deadline looms.
Consider starting: Allonzo Trier, NYK (35% owned, 17% start)
Opponents: DET, DET, TOR
With the Knicks trading away both of their shooting guards in Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee, plus the incoming Wesley Matthews expected to be bought out, Trier seems to be the strongest candidate to see an expanded role. Despite only playing 24.5 minutes per game over the past two weeks, Trier has been a top-70 Fantasy player over this stretch by averaging 14.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.0 steal. Aside from his raw numbers, his value has been increasing due to his efficiency, as he's shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 94.4 percent from the free-throw line on 6.0 attempts. Trier should be added in 12-team formats and warrants strong consideration as a starter.
Consider sitting: Jeremy Lamb, CHA (85% owned, 59% start)
Opponents: LAC, DAL, ATL
Though Lamb is ranked inside the top-100 on the season, he's been slumping. Over the past 30 days, he's down to 147, and his Fantasy value has dropped to 155 over the past 14 days. A driving force has been his shooting percentage over the past two weeks, as the wing has shot just 41.2 from the field on 11.3 attempts. He's also generated virtually no defensive stats, combining for 0.5 steals/blocks over that time. It's possible he makes a jump back up at some point in the season, but it's difficult to start Lamb in 12-team formats until he does.
Consider starting: Kelly Oubre Jr., PHO (82% owned, 40% start)
Opponents: HOU, UTA, GSW, SAC
I was as skeptical as anyone regarding Oubre's potential impact for the Suns, but I was wrong. The wing has averaged 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and a combined 2.7 blocks/steals over the past two weeks — a span in which he's been the 48th-best Fantasy asset. On a four-game week, Oubre is essentially a must-start, even in 10-team leagues. It's possible he regresses more towards his Wizards stats at some point, but I'm fine riding the wave until, or if, that happens.
Consider sitting: Joe Ingles, UTA (89% owned, 58% start)
Opponents: PHO, SAS
Ingles hasn't been his usual self this season. He's dropped below 44.0 percent shooting from distance for the first time in three years, and he has the lowest free-throw percentage of his career (71.4%). He hasn't yet found a way to raise those percentages back up, so he's been stuck around top-90 value for most of the year. Considering his ranking, he can probably be safely avoided on a two-game slate.
Consider starting: P.J. Tucker, HOU (39% owned, 22% start)
Opponents: PHO, SAC, OKC
You wouldn't think someone shooting 37.5 percent from the field over the past two weeks while averaging 7.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists could check in as a top-65 player, but Tucker is the exception. He's been elite defensively (3.8 combined steals/blocks) and has shot the three well (1.5 makes per contest), bringing his value way higher than expected. There's no reason he should only be 39%-owned, as he can be utilized even in 10-team formats. He should be started in nearly all leagues until he shows sign of slowing down in the three-and-D categories.
Consider sitting: Marcus Morris, BOS (77% owned, 56% start)
Opponents: CLE, LAL, LAC
Morris, ranked just outside of the top-90 on the year, has struggled with his shot lately, shooting only 40.7 percent from the floor over the past two weeks. That's resulted in him being the 127th-ranked Fantasy asset over that time, putting him into fringe-starter territory. Fantasy owners in 12-team or deeper formats should consider alternatives before locking Morris in — preferably someone on a four-game week. Plus, with the Celtics at full health, Morris' upside is relatively low.
Consider starting: Jahlil Okafor, NOP (80% owned, 48% start)
Opponents: IND, CHI, MIN, MEM
The Pelicans missing essentially their entire frontcourt has forced Okafor into a larger role, and he's done better than anyone could have anticipated. Over the past week, he's been a top-20 player, posting 21.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and a combined 2.7 blocks/steals per contest. Understandably, Fantasy owners may have concern about the potential returns of Julius Randle and Anthony Davis. But I'm of the opinion that Okafor has earned a permanent role in the rotation, and it would surprise me if that was fewer than 20 minutes. Ultimately, Okafor has been so productive, I'm fine taking the risk of starting him for Week 17 amidst all the uncertainty. Once the Feb. 7 trade deadline passes, we should have more clarity on what to expect from the former No. 3 overall pick for the rest of the season.
Consider sitting: Derrick Favors (85% owned, 55% start)
Opponents: PHO, SAS
Favors is a borderline starter nearly every week, ranking 128th on the season. He's the perfect candidate to stash on your bench for a four-game week, as he's averaging a solid 11.0 points on 57.0 percent shooting, 7.2 rebounds, a combined 1.9 steals/blocks and 1.0 assist. However, with two games on the docket, make sure he's on your bench this time around. You can almost certainly find someone to stream on a four-game week with higher upside.
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