Week 22 is upon us, and the three-game teams unfortunately outpace those with four-game schedules by a fairly wide margin. There is also one two-game team this week (the Heat), which leads to their two biggest stars incurring Sit designations.
Meanwhile, there are several young players rising to the occasion with expanded opportunity on their squads of late, which, when combined with their four-game ledgers, pushes them into Start territory this game.
TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic
TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: Miami Heat
Without further ado, let's examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 22:
Start: Malik Monk, Lakers
47% start rate in CBS leagues
The Lakers are at real risk of missing even the play-in tournament altogether, but Monk has mostly been a bright spot during his first year with the team. Monk enters the new scoring period with seven consecutive double-digit scoring efforts, a stretch during which he's averaging 16.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting a blistering 45.7 percent from three-point range. On a team badly in need of offensive help for LeBron James, especially while Anthony Davis (foot) remains sidelined, Monk is seemingly locked into the starting two-guard role and should continue seeing solid usage over the course of the upcoming four-game week.
Start: Kevin Huerter, Hawks
24% start rate in CBS leagues
Huerter is shooting a career-best 46.0 percent, including a career-high 38.5 percent from distance, entering the new week, and he's displayed some welcome consistency recently by averaging 12.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steals in the last 10 games. Huerter is draining 45.0 percent of his three-point attempts in that span and seems to have a solid grasp on the starting two-guard role.
The fact that Huerter has some appealing matchups on his four-game week – upcoming opponents Portland, Charlotte and New Orleans all rank in the bottom 10 in three-point shooting percentage allowed for the season – only serves to strengthen his case as a streaming option.
ALSO CONSIDER: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Wizards (42% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: Kyrie Irving, Nets
48% start rate in CBS leagues
Irving almost always delivers in remarkable fashion when he takes the floor, but with no apparent movement on New York's vaccine policy on the horizon yet, he becomes a clear Sit candidate this week. He'll only be eligible for one of Brooklyn's games – Tuesday's game at Orlando – before returning to inactive status for subsequent home games against the Mavericks and Trail Blazers. Even if he were to have a 50-point explosion like he enjoyed two games ago versus the Hornets it wouldn't be enough to make him worth your while over a four-game option.
Start: Trendon Watford, Trail Blazers
44% start rate in CBS leagues
Jusuf Nurkic is expected to remain out through the entirety of Week 22 with his foot injury, which should continue allowing Watford plenty of opportunity to build on his already impressive resume. The LSU product has put together five straight double-digit scoring efforts, averaging 17.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists across 31.8 minutes per game during that span, which has included two starts.
Watford has over 20 points in each of his last two games, flashing some of the same floor-spacing prowess as a rookie that he demonstrated during his college days. Justise Winslow's ongoing absence due to an Achilles injury is also helping lock in some playing time for Watford, making him very much worthy of consideration this week.
Start: Corey Kispert, Wizards
7% start rate in CBS leagues
Kispert appears to be settling in nicely as the Wizards' starting small forward as the team tries to remain alive for a play-in spot without Bradley Beal. Kispert is averaging a solid 11.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in the first 17 games of Beal's absence, and he heads into Week 22 wielding a hot hand. Fantasy managers looking for help in scoring and threes should consider Kispert on a four-game week. It's also worth noting the rookie's rebounding has seen an uptick since sliding over to the nominal small forward spot.
ALSO CONSIDER: Naji Marshall, Pelicans (1% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: Jimmy Butler, Heat
70% start rate in CBS leagues
Butler continues to shift in and out of the lineup with a variety of issues, the most recent a left big toe irritation that cost him Saturday's loss to the Timberwolves. The veteran is not currently on the injury report for Tuesday's game, but the risk that he ends up sitting one of Miami's two games this week is enough to at least consider a three- or four-game option.
Start: Hassan Whiteside, Jazz
24% start rate in CBS leagues
Rudy Gobert is questionable for Monday's game against the Bucks with the foot injury that already cost him Saturday's win over the Kings, a game in which Whiteside filled in admirably. The veteran produced a 12-point, 21-rebound double-double with three blocks. There's a possibility he sees an extended run again for at least Monday's showdown with Milwaukee. Even if that's not the case, Whiteside has often been productive in his bench role this season, producing 19 double-digit scoring efforts, including nine double-doubles.
Start: Precious Achiuwa, Raptors
13% start rate in CBS leagues
Achiuwa is another big who often shows well in a bench role, and he comes into the new scoring period with averages of 13.4 points and 6.3 rebounds across his last nine games. The second-year pro doesn't offer much beyond points and rebounds, but with Chris Boucher seemingly now much more of a mainstay on the power forward depth chart, Achiuwa is seeing reliable minutes behind Pascal Siakam at center. Achiuwa doesn't block shots, and his field goal percentage has taken a major dip this season, but he's a good source of rebounds.
ALSO CONSIDER: Trey Lyles, Kings (4% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: Bam Adebayo, Heat
77% start rate in CBS leagues
Sitting Adebayo during perhaps the most important week of the season is counterintuitive, but it has to be considered given the Heat's two-game week. The fifth-year pro has had some spike performances lately – he's scored 30 or more in three of the last nine – yet he's also been at 19 or fewer points, including one six-point tally, in the other six games during that sample. Adebayo's contributions in steals (career-high 1.5 per game) are especially difficult to pass up, but if you're not in dire need with respect to that category, a four-game option should give you a solid floor.