Fantasy Basketball: Week 20 Starts & Sits, schedule breakdown
Alex Barutha analyzes the schedule to help make lineup decisions for a very active Week 20.
It's a busy Week 20 in the NBA, as every team plays either three or four games. Without a tilted schedule, most start/sit decisions have to be made based on performance or injury. Here's the schedule breakdown:
Teams with four games: BOS, BKN, CHI, CLE, DAL, HOU, IND, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOP, NYK, OKC, ORL, POR, SAC, SAS, UTA, WAS
Teams with three games: ATL, CHA, DEN, DET, GSW, LAC, LAL, PHI, PHO, TOR
Here are some player to consider starting and some to consider sitting:
Consider starting: Elfrid Payton, NYK
Opponents: Hou, Uta, OKC, Det
Payton continues to fuel the Knicks' offense -- what little offense they manage to show on a night-to-night basis. He can't be knocked for not trying to get everyone involved, however, as he's averaging 9.9 dimes across the past month, which is third in the league over this span. Payton is also doing his part on defense, swiping 2.5 steals per game. All in all, he's been ranked 36th in Fantasy across his past eight appearances, which means he needs to be started in all Fantasy formats.
Consider sitting: Terry Rozier, CHA
Opponents: SA, Den, Hou
Rozier's recent string of games has been underwhelming, and they are an example of the worst-case scenario for his Fantasy value. He's taking 13.4 shots per game and hitting them at just 38.1 percent across the past 10 games, essentially negating any good he was doing with 2.2 made 3s. Plus, his passing has been nonexistent (2.9 APG) and he isn't even racking up steals (0.4). On a three-game week against more than competent opponents, I wouldn't want to risk starting him if I didn't absolutely have to.
Consider starting: Marcus Smart, BOS
Opponents: Bkn, @Cle, Uta, OKC
Even with Kemba Walker (knee) hoping to return for Week 20, it may not be for the first game against Brooklyn. Even if he does manage to return, Smart will still maintain a significant role in the Celtics' game plan, as he has all season. He's been especially good over the past month, averaging 14.5 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 2.6 3s and 2.0 steals in 33.1 minutes. That's been good for rank 41 across this stretch.
Consider sitting: Lou Williams, LAC
Opponents: @OKC, @Hou, LAL
With both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George healthy across the past two games, Williams has played a combined 44 minutes, racking up just 14 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and two steals. At that rate, he can't have Fantasy relevance in most leagues. I do expect his workload and usage to uptick a little more than that, but Williams really hasn't been great over the past month anyway. His past 11 appearances have resulted in a Fantasy rank of 152, largely due to a field-goal percentage of 39.4. It's a brutal three-game week for the Clippers, so I wouldn't bank on Williams to bounce back.
Consider starting: Jae Crowder, MIA
Opponents: Mil, Orl, @NO, @Was
While most people will remember the Grizzlies-Heat trade deadline swap as "the Andre Iguodala deal," Crowder is the one who is benefiting from a Fantasy perspective. Since he debuted for Miami, Crowder is ranked 32nd in Fantasy. He's averaging 14.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 3s, 2.0 steals and 1.4 assists in 30.1 minutes. While Crowder has benefited from Jimmy Butler missing some time and various other Heat players being sidelined, he should continue to see minutes in the mid-to-upper 20s on a consistent basis leading up to the playoffs. As long as that's the case, he should be Fantasy-relevant in most leagues.
Consider sitting: Rui Hachimura, WAS
Opponents: @Sac, @Por, Atl, Mia
Hachimura has been passable since returning from a groin injury, ranking 131st across the past nine games. But that's not quite enough to be a lock-in start in 12-team formats, even on a four-game week. His shooting percentage (50.5) has been nice, but he's averaging a modest 13.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 29.6 minutes. The main issue is his combined 3.6 3s, assists, steals and blocks, which is an extremely low number.
Consider starting: Thaddeus Young, CHI
Opponents: Dal, @Min, Ind, @Bkn
While the Bulls continue to deal with a myriad of seemingly never-ending frontcourt injuries, Young continues to give the team some stability. He's ranked 37th across the past month, averaging 14.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 2.0 3s and 1.8 assists in 32.4 minutes. Chicago may be getting Wendell Carter (ankle) back soon, but I assume he'll be eased back into the flow of things. On a four-game week, I'd still feel confident throwing Young in my starting lineup.
Consider sitting: Nemanja Bjelica, SAC
Opponents: Was, Phi, @Por, Tor
Despite the frontcourt injuries the Kings are dealing with, Bjelica hasn't stepped up his game significantly. He's arguably taken a step back, ranking just 149th over the past month. He's hitting a quality 2.3 3s per contest, but the rest of his stats -- 10.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists -- are fairly generic. I'd wait for him to kick things into gear again before locking him into my starting five in 12-team formats.
Consider starting: Brook Lopez, MIL
Opponents: @Mia, Ind, @LAL, @Pho
Should the Bucks be concerned that Lopez's 3-point percentage is down to 29.5 percent? Probably. Should you be worried it's tanking his Fantasy value? Not really. He's still averaging 2.8 blocks per game across the past month, which has been enough to fuel a Fantasy rank of 53 over this stretch, even with some other mediocre stats. On a four-game week, he might be able to rack up close to 12 blocks.
Consider sitting: Jarrett Allen, BKN
Opponents: @Bos, Mem, SA, Chi
With DeAndre Jordan healthy again, he and Allen are essentially splitting minutes at center. Allen needs to consistently see close to 30 minutes to have Fantasy relevance, so this is a bad sign. Over the past month, he's ranked just 142nd in 22.2 minutes per game, averaging 8.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.5 blocks. If you're in a 12- or 14-team league that demands two centers be rostered, you can get away with deploying Allen on a four-game week. Otherwise, I'd opt to keep him on my bench if possible.
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