Fantasy Basketball: Week 22 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em, schedule analysis
Who can help you in this prime Fantasy time? The schedule is again a key element.
Week 22 brings us a pair of teams -- Golden State and Memphis -- with only two games. Every other squad has three or four contests on the docket. Here's how everything breaks down:
Teams with four games: BKN, CLE, DET, HOU, LAC, LAL, OKC, SAC, UTA, WAS
Teams with three games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CHI, DAL, DEN, IND, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOR, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, SAS, TOR
Teams with two games: GSW, MEM
It's best to consider benching Warriors and Grizzlies players if possible, unless they're elite talents like Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant. Let's take a look around the league and see what options we have to start and sit:
Consider starting: Derrick White, SAS (73% owned, 38% start)
Opponents: DAL, NY, POR
White recently missed some time due to a heel injury, but he's rounded back into form recently, helping the Spurs win four straight games. Posting averages of 14.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and a combined 4.3 blocks/steals, White continues to be a crucial piece of the Spurs success this season, and he's even been the 12th-ranked Fantasy player over the past week. During the Spurs' most recent win over the Hawks, White posted six blocks, which has inflated his defensive numbers. Regardless, there's enough evidence to justify deploying him during Week 22.
Consider sitting: Josh Richardson, MIA (98% owned, 80% start)
Opponents: DET, MIL, CHA
Though Richardson has been a staple in DFS lately due to his high floor, Fantasy owners in year-long leagues may want to consider sitting him this week. He was a popular selection in rounds five through seven of most drafts, but he's been producing at about a 12th-round level over the past two weeks. By no means has he been bad, but 16.0 PPG on 44.6 FG%, 4.9 APG and 4.1 RPG haven't made up for his lack of defensive statistics (1.0 combined steal/block). Especially for owners in 10-team leagues, it may be best to explore other options before locking Richardson in on a three-game week.
Consider starting: Patrick Beverley, LAC (51% owned, 20% start)
Opponents: BOS, POR, CHI, BKN
A 20 percent start rate for Beverley is too low, but his 51 percent ownership rate is more surprising. He's been starting and playing 32.5 minutes per night over the past 21 games, posting 9.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 4.2 APG, a combined 2.2 steals/blocks and 1.8 3s. He's somehow managed to fly under the radar as the 49th-ranked player over the past month. Beverley's stats don't jump off the page in a traditional way, but it's undeniable that his skill set is leading to top-end Fantasy production.
Consider sitting: Andrew Wiggins, MIN (99% owned, 75% start)
Opponents: DEN, UTA, HOU
Wiggins deserves weekly consideration as a sit candidate, and this time around is no exception. I'd consider Wiggins a potential drop in all but 14-team leagues. He's been outside of the top 130 over the past month, and he's outside of the top 150 over the past two weeks. It makes more sense to use his spot for streaming, rather than consistently plugging in his sub-40 percent shooting and lack of peripheral stats. I could see the argument on a four-game week in deeper leagues to start Wiggins, but he calls for a sit in most formats.
Consider starting: Cedi Osman, CLE (72% owned, 35% start)
Opponents: TOR, PHI, ORL, DAL
Osman has had his ups and downs all season, causing many Fantasy owners to drop him. However, since Kevin Love has returned to stabilize the Cavaliers' offense, Osman has started playing consistently well. Over the past 30 days, the second-year forward has been the 62nd-ranked player by averaging 15.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.6 3s while shooting 49.4 percent from the field. On a four-game week, it makes sense to bank on his production being steady.
Consider sitting: Draymond Green, GSW (98% owned, 66% start)
Opponents: HOU, OKC
Green's production has slipped lately, causing him to fall outside of the top-80 over the past two weeks. Normally, that wouldn't be an issue, but on a two-game week facing two tough opponents in the Rockets and Thunder, Fantasy owners should consider keeping Green on the bench. If you're in a deep league, you might need to bite the bullet, but Green's utility in 10-team formats this time around is questionable.
Consider starting: Kelly Olynyk, MIA (55% owned, 32% start)
Opponents: DET, MIL, CHA
Coach Erik Spoelstra played Olynyk 45 minutes in a non-overtime game against the Hornets on Wednesday, which demonstrates the kind of confidence Spoelstra now has in the big man. Olynyk's role finally feels secure, which is a thought fueled by his top-30 production over the past two weeks in just under 33 minutes per game. I would be surprised if he continues shooting 57.8 percent from the field or 94.4 percent from the stripe, but signs are at least pointing to him being a startable player for the foreseeable future.
Consider sitting: Serge Ibaka, TOR (96% owned, 64% start)
Opponents: CLE, LAL, DET
There were fears that Marc Gasol's presence on Toronto would harm Ibaka's Fantasy value, and those fears have been realized. Coach Nick Nurse has not taken minutes away from Pascal Siakam to play Ibaka at power forward, so we've seen Ibaka's workload take a hard dip. The big man is seeing 23.5 minutes per game across the past two weeks, and he's been just a top-170 player over this stretch. I don't see a scenario, aside from an injury to Gasol, that Ibaka's role increases again. I hesitate to call him a must-drop candidate, but I wouldn't blame anyone in a 10-team format for moving on.
Consider starting: Dwight Powell, DAL (54% owned, 32% start)
Opponents: SAS, DEN, CLE
In what seems like a cruel joke to Maxi Kleber enthusiasts, coach Rick Carlisle has been giving Powell the lion's share of the Mavericks' center minutes. Powell is the 37th ranked player over the past week and the 50th ranked player over the past two weeks, averaging 19.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals across the past five games. There's no sign of the game plan changing down the stretch, so Powell needs to be picked up and deployed in nearly all formats.
Consider sitting: Marc Gasol, TOR (100% owned, 77% start)
Opponents: CLE, LAL, DET
In a similar situation to Serge Ibaka, Gasol's move to Toronto has diminished his role, which was previously 30-plus minutes per game. Gasol is down to about 25 minutes over the past 14 days, and his decreased production has led to him being just inside the top 130 over this stretch. He's worth hanging onto in the majority of Fantasy formats, but there are likely more enticing options on the board to start moving forward.
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