Fantasy Basketball: Week 18 Starts & Sits, schedule breakdown
Alex Barutha analyzes the schedule to help make lineup decisions for the week after the All-Star break.
Coming out of the All-Star break in Chicago, the Bulls will be staying at home, where they'll play a league-leading three games in Week 18. There are also a trio of teams — the Clippers, Knicks and Magic — with just one game. Make sure to keep those four squads in mind when making lineup or waiver wire decisions. Here's the official breakdown:
- Team with three games: CHI
- Teams with two games: ATL, BOS, BKN, CHA, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOP, OKC, PHI, PHO, POR, SAC, SAN, TOR, UTA, WAS
- Teams with three games: LAC, NYK, ORL
And here are some players to consider starting and some to consider sitting:
Consider starting: Dejounte Murray, SAN
Opponents: @Uta, @OKC
Murray's production has been in constant flux all season, but he's strung together three impressive games in a row — two without DeMar DeRozan. It seems likely DeRozan will be back following the All-Star break, but I'd still take a chance and hope Murray can come out of the break fresh and ready to build on his recent performances. Even if he regresses to his "usual self", he's still ranked 86th in per-game production over the past 30 days, notably swiping 1.6 steals in 26.1 minutes. His 5.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists have also been a nice touch.
Consider sitting: Terry Rozier, CHA
Opponents: @Chi, Bkn
Rozier's past 12 games have been rough. He's shooting an abysmal 38.4 percent from the field, tanking Fantasy team's field-goal percentage category by launching 13.7 shots per contest. In addition to the poor efficiency, he's only swiped six total steals across this stretch. While he's still hit a passable 2.3 threes per game, the overall production has resulted in a rank of 114 since Jan. 12.
Consider starting: Malik Beasley, MIN
Opponents: Bos, @Den
Beasley has stepped into a starting role for the Timberwolves, where he's seen significantly more usage than he did with the Nuggets. Over his first three games with Minnesota, he's averaged 22.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.7 threes and 3.0 assists in 33.0 minutes. It would surprise me if he continues to launch 11.0 threes per contest, but he should still be a true part of the offense given the lack of other options.
Consider sitting: Lou Williams, LAC
Williams popped off during Thursday's double-overtime thriller against the Celtics, posting 35 points, eight assists, six rebounds, two blocks and a steal in 44 minutes. Even with that monster game under his belt, he's still ranked just 172nd since Jan. 26 (nine games). His shot (37.5 FG%) has been way off in general, but he has also been limited to just 1.1 made threes per contest. When that happens, Williams' avoidance of rebounds, steals and blocks really begins to hurt him. On a one-game week, he can be avoided in plenty of fantasy formats.
Consider starting: Robert Covington, HOU
Opponents: @GS, @Uta
Covington has found success on his new team, ranking 59th in his four games since debuting for the Rockets against the Lakers on Feb. 6. He's provided especially good value in three categories — blocks (1.8), steals (1.5) and threes (2.8) — living up to his reputation as one of the league's premier three-and-D role players. While the initial reaction is to chalk up his shot-blocking as a fluke, consider that since Covington became a starter in 2014-15, nobody has more performances with at least two threes, two steals and two blocks. Covington has 32, while Danny Green and James Harden are second with 24.
Consider sitting: Joe Ingles, UTA
Opponents: SA, Hou
The tug-of-war between Ingles and Mike Conley continues. Since Conley returned to the rotation Jan. 18, Ingles has ranked 179th in Fantasy. His three-point shooting (1.2) and passing (6.8) have been valuable, but everything else has come up short. Over this stretch, he's averaging just a combined 11.0 points, rebounds, steals and blocks.
Consider starting: James Johnson, MIN
Opponents: Bos, @Den
Karl-Anthony Towns is dealing with a mysterious and unspecified wrist injury, and he's expected to be out multiple games after the All-Star break. That provides Johnson an opportunity to see plenty of action in the Wolves' frontcourt. Since joining the team, he's averaging 9.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks, which is exactly the kind of balanced production we've come to expect from him in the past. Even when Towns comes back, Johnson could still be a solid fantasy option in mid-sized leagues.
Consider sitting: Harrison Barnes, SAC
Opponents: Mem, @LAC
There is no reason to roster Barnes in the majority of fantasy leagues, let alone start him, and yet, he has 80% ownership and a 49% start rate. He's ranked 143rd over the past two weeks, 179th since the start of 2020, and 168th on the season. I know he's a body that plays 30-plus minutes consistently, and that means something, but it doesn't mean he needs to be on a 12-team roster. It would be more valuable to stream the roster spot.
Consider starting: Dewayne Dedmon, ATL
Opponents: Mia, Dal
In his three games since joining the Hawks, Dedmon is averaging 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.3 blocks 1.3 threes, and 1.0 steal. He's also the 18th — yes -— the 18th ranked player since Jan. 30. That's fueled by collecting a combined 5.4 blocks-plus-steals over his past five games. His 8.8 rebounds have also helped. It may shock you, but I don't think Dedmon will continue to put up Defensive Player of the Year numbers. Still, the Hawks clearly want him for stability at center — and the option of running a five-out offense — so I'm willing to bank on his success continuing more generally this week.
Consider sitting: Al Horford, PHI
Opponents: Bkn, @Mil
February has not been kind to Horford, who came off the bench Tuesday for the first time since November of 2007. He's ranked just 178th this month, averaging 8.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 threes in 28.9 minutes. I expect him to turn it around eventually. I'd just like to see it before I automatically deploy him as a starter on my fantasy team.
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