A pair of teams — the Clippers and the Cavaliers — have only two games in Week 21, while every other squad has at least three. As a result, we'll want to avoid players from LA and Cleveland when possible, possibly looking to stream in some players on four-game weeks. Here's how things break down:
- Teams with four games: ATL, CHI, DAL, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOR, NYK, PHI, PHO
- Teams with three games: BKN, BOS, CHA, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAL, MEM, OKC, ORL, POR, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS
- Teams with two games: CLE, LAC
Let's examine some possible lineup moves:
Consider starting: Tyler Johnson, PHO (49% owned, 19% start)
Opponents: MIL, NYK, POR, GS
Johnson had been underwhelming since joining the Suns, but he's picked things up over the past two games, which vaulted him into the top-35 over the past two weeks. He's taken 28 total shots over the previous pair of games, averaging 23.5 points, 4.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals. A regression is likely coming, though the possibility of Johnson turning a corner is enticing, as he's been seeing 31.8 minutes per game since Feb. 10.
Consider sitting: Lou Williams, LAC (99% owned, 76% start)
Opponents: LAL, OKC
Since the Clippers dealt away Tobias Harris, Williams has picked up much of the usage. While his raw numbers since the break — 20.3 PPG, 6.5 APG, 3.0 RPG, 1.5 STL — have been strong, his efficiency has waned, as he's shooting just 33.8 percent from the field. Williams is shooting 42.2 percent on the season, so we should expect him to bounce back soon, but it might not be worth the risk of having him in your lineup on a two-game week, especially against a tough OKC defense.
Consider starting: Justise Winslow, MIA (86% owned, 41% start)
Opponents: ATL, CHA, CLE, TOR
Even with Goran Dragic back in the fold, coach Erik Spoelstra appears committed to keeping Winslow in the lineup due to his unique skill set. Winslow has suited up for three games since the All-Star break, averaging 14.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.7 steals in 30.3 minutes. With Winslow back healthy on a four-game week, it makes sense to throw him in your lineup hoping he keeps things rolling.
Consider sitting: Dennis Smith Jr., NYK (98% owned, 73% start)
Opponents: SAC, PHO, SAC, MIN
Smith's workload has fluctuated recently, and he's seeing only 25.5 minutes per game over the past four contests. In that time, he's averaging 12.8 points, 7.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Ultimately, it's his percentages that have caused him to be only the 94th-ranked player across the past two weeks, as the second-year guard has shot just 43.5 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from the charity stripe over that time. Considering the Knicks have four games, you can probably start Smith with confidence in 14-team leagues, but Fantasy owners in 10-team formats should consider alternatives.
Consider starting: Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC (83% owned, 40% start)
Opponents: NY, BOS, NY
Some overtime minutes helped Bogdanovic reach 28 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals and a block against the Bucks on Wednesday night. Still, it's a testament to his all-around play that he's been the 43rd-ranked player since the All-Star break. Plus, with Marvin Bagley out for at least a week, Harrison Barnes and others could see more minutes at power forward, allowing Bogdanovic to slide into a steady 30-plus minute role at small forward.
Consider sitting: Aaron Gordon, ORL (100% owned, 90% start)
Opponents: PHI, DAL, MEM
Considering where Gordon was taken in most Fantasy drafts, his production this season has been a disappointment, as he's made virtually no tangible improvements to his statistics. That continues to be reflected in his recent play, as the forward has been ranked barely inside the top-100 over the past two weeks, largely due to a 68.2 free-throw percentage on 5.5 attempts per night. On a three-game week, he could be worth sitting in 10 or even 12-team formats.
Consider starting: Maurice Harkless, POR (9% owned, 2% start)
Opponents: MEM, OKC, PHO
Harkless has battled knee soreness for much of the year, but it seems like he may have finally shed the pain. Since the All-Star break, he's been the 45th-ranked player on the back of 13.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.3 blocks across 28.5 minutes per contest. His 56.1 field-goal percentage figures to regress, but there's a strong chance he'll be worth starting in at least 12-to-14 team leagues. At the very least, he should be picked up off the wire in those formats.
Consider sitting: Larry Nance Jr., CLE (85% owned, 54% start)
Opponents: BKN, MIA
Kevin Love's return has put a damper on Nance's Fantasy value, as much of the usage is now funneling to the former All-Star. Over the past three outings, Nance has averaged only 6.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 23.3 minutes. We'll see if that continues, but It's possible Nance should only be started on four-game weeks going forward. Either way, he's certainly not worth the risk this week with just two games on the docket.
Consider starting: Mitchell Robinson, NYK (69% owned, 43% start)
Opponents: SAC, PHO, SAC, MIN
With DeAndre Jordan set to miss the Knicks' upcoming road trip, Robinson is a must-start in nearly every format. Over the past three games, the rookie is averaging 14.7 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.3 blocks and 1.3 steals while shooting 76.2 percent from the field. He's already established himself as one of the NBA's premier shot-blockers, and there's no reason to assume that changes for the duration of Jordan's absence.
Consider sitting: Jarrett Allen (93% owned, 61% start)
Opponents: DAL, CLE, ATL
Allen's workload continues to be spotty, and he can't seem to get over the hump of consistently seeing 25-plus minutes. Since the All-Star break, he's only managed to be the 120th-ranked player averaging 11.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. With only three games on the schedule, you can consider sitting the center in 10 and 12-team formats. Until it's clear he's going to see close to 30 minutes per night, he can be shifted in and out of your lineup based on the number of games being played and other options on your roster.