Fantasy Basketball: Week 23 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em, schedule analysis

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Week 23 is unique. The Warriors are on a five-game week, while the Nets and the Magic have two game weeks. This creates a massive disparity in potential Fantasy value that owners should be aware of. Ironically, the Warriors might be one of the worst teams to have on a five-game week from a streaming perspective, as Golden State's bench players are generally unproductive. For most Fantasy owners, it'll be more important to check on your Brooklyn and Orlando players to see if they're worth deploying.

  •  Team with five games: GSW
  • Teams with four games: BOS, CHA, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, HOU, IND, MIA, MIL, NYK, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS
  • Teams with three games: ATL, CHI, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIN, NOR, OKC, PHI, PHO, POR
  • Teams with two games: BKN, ORL

Let's explore some players to consider starting and some to consider sitting:

GUARDS

Consider starting: Derrick White, SAS (81% owned, 46% start)
Opponents: GS, MIA, HOU, BOS

The Spurs have won each of the past six games, and White's play has been a big reason for that. During this stretch, he's averaging 14.7 points, 5.8 assists, 5.0 rebounds and a combined 3.3 blocks/steals while shooting 52.8 percent from the field. He's been the 26th-ranked player in eight-category leagues over the past 14 days, and even if his shooting and defense see some regression, a four-game week should help make up for it.

Consider sitting: D'Angelo Russell, BKN (100% owned, 84% start)
Opponents:
SAC, LAL

A pair of factors push me to fade Russell this week: Spencer Dinwiddie's return, and, more importantly, the two-game week. Since Dinwiddie's return on March 1, Russell has seemed uncomfortable. He's averaging 16.1 points on 37.8 percent shooting, 7.6 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals. He's also shooting below 60 percent from the free-throw line. While I believe his efficiency will balance back out, taking the gamble on a two-game week is far from an ideal situation.

Consider starting: Marcus Smart, BOS (45% owned, 27% start)
Opponents:
DEN, PHI, CHA, SA

Smart is quietly hitting 1.6 threes a game at 37.1 percent this season, plus he's swiping 1.8 steals. He's boosted those numbers to 2.1 threes and 2.3 steals, respectively, over the past two weeks, which has resulted in him being a top-35 player. We can't assume those paces will stick for the remainder of the season, but on a four-game week, it's worth starting Smart while he's hot, especially since elite steals production is not easy to come by.

Consider sitting: Tim Hardaway Jr., DAL (93% owned, 57% start)
Opponents:
NO, POR, SAC, GS

I'm generally of the belief that starting a player on a four-game week is a smart decision, even if the player is slumping a bit. But Hardaway's production, or lack thereof, is beyond a slump. He's been nearly unplayable over the past month, checking in as the 177th-ranked Fantasy player in that span. It's even worse when you narrow down to the past two weeks, where he's almost ranked outside of the top-250 as a result of 12.1 points on 37.0 percent shooting and virtually no supplementary stats. A bounceback is always possible, but I'd rather drop Hardaway then start him.

FORWARD

Consider starting: Marvin Williams, CHA (41% owned, 17% start)
Opponents: PHI, MIN, BOS, TOR

Williams has hovered around the top-120 all season, so deploying him on a four-game week is almost always worthwhile. However, over the past 14 days, he's been playing especially well, racking up 10.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2.0 threes and a combined 1.7 steals/blocks. Those numbers certainly don't jump off the page, but he's been a top-75 player over this stretch. With the Hornets gunning for a playoff spot and on a four-game week, I'd bank on Williams playing big minutes, which could result in quality production.

Consider sitting: Aaron Gordon, ORL (100% owned, 84% start)
Opponents:
NO, MEM

Gordon's production generally hasn't been up to the hopes of those that drafted him, and that remains the case as of late. He's been ranked just outside of the top-90 over the past 14 days despite some solid raw production of 16.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.0 block. His 40.0 FG% is ultimately dragging him down the ranks. On a two-game week, you'll likely want to explore other options in 10-to-12 team leagues.

Consider starting: Kevon Looney, GSW (6% owned, 2% start)
Opponents:
SA, MIN, IND, DAL, DET

The Warriors are on a rare five-game week, and you might be able to take advantage of it by streaming Looney. This is a stretch that includes two back-to-back sets, and it would surprise me if DeMarcus Cousins suits up for all five games. Even if Cousins plays in every game, you should be able to extract value out of Looney. Over the past 14 days, he's averaging 6.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.0 assist and a combined 1.7 steals/blocks. With five games, that gives up upside this week for 35 points, 35 boards and a combined 10 steals/blocks.

Consider sitting: Evan Fournier, ORL (90% owned, 58% start)
Opponents:
NO, MEM

Fournier has been off for about a month, shooting just 38.5 percent over the past 30 days. He's averaged a solid 3.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds over this stretch, but Fournier really isn't a player with high enough usage to make up for poor shooting. With just two games on the docket, it's probably best to avoid Fournier is most Fantasy formats.

CENTER

Consider starting: Dwight Powell, DAL (64% owned, 43% start)
Opponents: NO, POR, SAC, GS

Powell has filled in nicely at center since DeAndre Jordan was dealt away, and he's averaging 16.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists over the past two weeks. Considering Powell has been the 51st-ranked player over this stretch, it's surprising that he's just 64% owned, as he's worth adding in even 10-team leagues. There's little reason to believe his role will be reduced down the stretch and he's certainly worth starting on a four-game week.

Consider sitting: Jarrett Allen, BKN (90% owned, 53% start)
Opponents:
SAC, LAL

It feels impossible to predict when Allen will see over 25 minutes and when he'll see below 25 minutes, but he's crossed that threshold over the past four games. While his averages of 13.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 blocks are solid, I'd be hesitant to start Allen even on a three-game week given his inconsistent role. With just two games for Allen here, you might be able to find someone on a four-game week with higher upside.

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