Fantasy Basketball: Week 25 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em, schedule analysis
Who can help you in this Fantasy crunch time? The schedule is more even than usual in the last full week of the season.
Week 25 marks the last full week of the 2018-19 campaign, and every team has either three or four games. Let's check out the specifics:
Teams with four games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAL, MIA, MIL, MIN, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHX, POR, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA
Teams with three games: CHI, LAC, MEM, NOR, OKC, WAS
There are no major disadvantages schedule-wise, so most start/sit decisions will be made in regards to recent performance or potential opportunity.
Consider starting: D.J. Augustin, ORL (57% owned, 39% start)
Opponents: TOR, NYK, ATL, BOS
Augustin has found a groove lately as the Magic fight for a playoff spot, as he's scored in double-digits in seven of the past eight games. Over this stretch, he's shooting 47.1 percent from the field, averaging 6.6 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 3s in 30.4 minutes. All things considered, he's been a top-75 player across the past 14 days, and there's no sign of his role decreasing.
Consider sitting: Andrew Wiggins, MIN (97% owned, 68% start)
Opponents: POR, DAL, MIA, OKC
Wiggins has scored 20 points in four straight games, but he's still so much of a drain on other categories that he's still outside of the top-110 across the past week, and that rank dips to 152 when accounting for the past 14 days. Fantasy owners in points leagues can hang onto him, since Wiggins' percentages -- 57.9 percent from the stripe over the past four -- don't hurt. If you're in a 12-team categorical format, however, it might be time to drop Wiggins and take a flier on someone with higher upside in these final games.
Consider starting: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LAL (32% owned, 16% start)
Opponents: OKC, GSW, LAC, UTA
The Lakers have a well-documented injured list, and Caldwell-Pope has been thriving in an expanded role. His inconsistency frustrates DFS users, but in a week-to-week format, things should even out. What stands out is Caldwell-Pope's 3.3 3-pointers made per game across the past nine outings, and that's coupled with 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals. Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball are out for the year, so there's little reason to expect KCP to take a step back for this final stretch.
Consider sitting: Will Barton, DEN (91% owned, 61% start)
Opponents: GSW, SAS, POR, POR
It's tempting to start Barton since he's trending upward, having scored in double-digits in seven of the past eight games. Still, though, he's not seeing 30-plus minutes on a regular basis, and he's shooting just 41.8 percent across this stretch while providing minimal contributions in other categories. All things considered, he's a top-170 player over the past two weeks, so Barton is really only a lock in the deepest of Fantasy formats.
Consider starting: Larry Nance, CLE (77% owned, 39% start)
Opponents: PHX, SAC, GSW, SAS
With Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson healthy, there was concern that Nance's role could fall by the wayside. That hasn't been the case. He's scored in double-digits across each of the past four games while seeing 28.3 minutes. Nance's Fantasy value mostly comes from his diverse skill set, however, not just scoring. That's been on display as well, with Nance averaging 6.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.3 steals across the past four. He's been a top-30 Fantasy asset over the past 14 days, worthy of starting in every league.
Consider sitting: Kyle Kuzma, LAL (99% owned, 75% start)
Opponents: OKC, GSW, LAC, UTA
Similar to Andrew Wiggins, I think name recognition and pure scoring ability have inflated Kuzma's ownership and start rate. You don't have to dig too deep to find concerns. He's shooting 37.8 percent across the past two weeks, which severely deflates the impact of his 18.6 PPG. Ultimately, the 4.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.9 3s and 1.2 combined steals/blocks are keeping him afloat. Fantasy owners in 10-team formats have an especially tough choice, and I'd lean towards sitting him. It's closer to 50/50 based on roster construction in 12-team formats.
Consider starting: Maxi Kleber, DAL (21% owned, 11% start)
Opponents: PHI, MIN, MEM, MEM
DFS players know how up-and-down Kleber can be, but he's paying dividends for season-long owners who took a chance. The past two weeks have seen Kleber become a top-75 player on the back of 11.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist and a combined 1.3 blocks/steals. Kleber's efficiency is a huge source of his value, as he's shooting 51.1 percent from the field and 90.0 percent from the free-throw line while drilling 2.2 3s per contest. The argument is there to start Kleber in a 10-team format, and it's essentially a no-brainer for 14-team leagues.
Consider sitting: Serge Ibaka, TOR (96% owned, 63% start)
Opponents: ORL, BKN, CHA, MIA
Given his role, Ibaka is playing well. That doesn't matter for Fantasy, though. He's seeing 21.5 minutes per game across the past 14 days, averaging 10.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks, resulting in him being outside of the top 160. Barring an injury from Marc Gasol, you actually might be able to drop Ibaka for this final stretch in hopes of finding a higher-upside option on the waiver wire.
Consider starting: Dwight Powell, DAL (64% owned, 38% start)
Opponents: PHI, MIN, MEM, MEM
It's a little surprising that Powell is just 64 percent owned, considering he's been cemented as a starter across the past 16 games. Worse yet, despite being a top-65 fantasy player over the past 30 days, he's only being utilized in 38 percent of starting lineups. His role will be steady for the remainder of the year, and we can safely assume he continues averaging 14.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and a combined 1.6 steals/blocks on 64.2 percent shooting.
Consider sitting: Hassan Whiteside, MIA (96% owned, 68% start)
Opponents: BOS, BOS, MIN, TOR
Whiteside should be dropped in way more than four percent of leagues. He's seeing 14.5 minutes per game across the past six contests, with coach Erik Spoelstra completely shifting in favor of Bam Adebayo. Ultimately, Whiteside is almost outside of the top 200 across the past two weeks, and he should not be in any starting lineups outside of 20-team formats.
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