An important part of managing a Fantasy basketball team is maximizing the number of games played in your lineup. NBA teams play between two and four games per week. There's not much reason to pull one of your usual starters in a three-game week, and it usually doesn't make sense to try to force someone off the waiver wire into your lineup if they play three times, either. Two and four-game weeks are the important ones.
If you have two players on your roster with around the same skill/production level, with one playing two games and the other playing four, obviously it makes more sense to start the latter. The decision becomes more difficult when the gap in talent is larger. Below, I'll be outlining some players with high ownership who could be worth benching in favor of lower-owned players during Week 2. But first, here's the list of teams with two, three and four-game weeks so you identify players on your own.
- Two games: ATL, DEN, HOU, MIA, OKC
- Three games: BKN, BOS, CLE, DET, IND, LAC, MEM, MIN, NOP, NYK, ORL, PHI, POR, SAC, SAS, TOR
- Four games: CHA, CHI, DAL, GSW, LAL, MIL, PHO, UTA, WAS
Consider sitting: Dennis Schroder, OKC (90 percent owned)
Opponents: BOS, PHO
Make sure to check for news on Russell Westbrook (knee), as this recommendation is based on an assumption that Westbrook will take the floor for the Thunder's matchup against Boston on Oct. 25. I'm confident Schroder will still play a significant role for OKC and should remain owned at least until Andre Roberson (knee) returns around the New Year.
However, for Week 2, Schroder and Westbrook will attempt to find chemistry while facing a stifling defense in Boston. Phoenix's guard defense also looked up to par during the opener against Dallas, limiting Dennis Smith, Luka Doncic, Wesley Matthews and J.J. Barea to 18-of-53 (34.0 percent) shooting. They'll still have their struggles, but these are not the Suns of last season.
Consider starting: Malik Monk, CHA (36 percent owned)
Opponents: TOR, CHI, CHI, PHI
There's a strong chance Monk is on your waiver wire, and he might be worth deploying over someone like Schroder. New head coach James Borrego showed confidence in the second-year guard, playing him 34 minutes during Wednesday's opener against the Milwaukee Bucks. Monk responded with 18 points (7-16 FG, 4-8 3Pt), four rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal. There's no reason to put stock into Monk's two blocks, but the fact that he was trusted to take 16 shots is important. The Hornets' two games against Chicago may help make up for two tough matchups against the Raptors and 76ers.
Consider sitting: Paul Millsap, DEN (100 percent owned)
Opponents: SAC, LAL
Millsap's performance on opening night was anomalous, so I'm not sure how much stock we can put into it. He posted 11 points and 16 rebounds after averaging 14.6 points and 6.4 rebounds last season. Millsap also got to the free-throw line 12 times, which happened just once last season, and went just 1-of-7 from the field. His Week 2 matchups aren't especially intimidating, but it's worth exploring other players who have four games to match Millsap's production in two games, which could generously top out at around 40 points and 20 rebounds
Consider starting: Ersan Ilyasova, MIL (11 percent owned)
Opponents: NY, PHI, MIN, ORL
With Jabari Parker in Chicago and Thon Maker not even active for Wednesday's opener, there's opportunity to be had in the Bucks' frontcourt. In Wednesday's win, Ilyasova was handed 29 minutes, which exceeded even the most optimistic projections. He finished with 13 points (6-9 FG, 1-3 3Pt), nine rebounds and two assists, which represent numbers consistent with last year's production of 10.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 threes in 25.1 minutes. If you're a believer in narratives, it's worth noting Ilyasova is going up against two of his former teams (PHI and ORL) this week. Regardless, a conservative estimate would put Ilyasova at around 40 points and 25 rebounds for the week.
Consider sitting: Clint Capela, HOU (100 percent owned)
Opponents: UTA, LAC
It's never easy to sit a center considering how thin the position can be week-to-week. However, facing the Jazz and the Clippers won't be easy for Capela, who was quiet in the Rockets' opener against New Orleans. The Jazz play at a slow pace and have Rudy Gobert controlling the paint, while the Clippers have a few big bodies (Marcin Gortat and Boban Marjanovic) to throw at Capela. Field goal percentage is a strong source of Fantasy value for Capela. A tough week could bring that down significantly, especially when there's only a two-game sample to with which to work. Projecting Capela for 30 points and 20 rebounds in Week 2 seems appropriate.
Consider starting: JaVale McGee, LAL (42 percent owned)
Opponents: SA, PHO, DEN, SA
McGee has an interesting Week 2. The Spurs slow the tempo down but have no athleticism to compete with McGee's. Meanwhile, both the Nuggets and Suns play quickly but present tough individual matchups for McGee in Deandre Ayton and Nikola Jokic. But most importantly, McGee followed up an impressive preseason by playing well during Thursday's regular-season opener, posting 13 points (5-6 FG, 3-4 FT), eight rebounds, three blocks, one assist and one steal in 22 minutes. While Portland's bigs feasted on the offensive glass for much of the night, the fact remains that the Lakers don't have any better options than McGee. His production across the Lakers' four-game Week 2 could rival that of Capela's two-game week. We should see around 40 points and 30 rebounds for McGee, who also has upside for a double-digit block week.