The upcoming Week 5 scoring period lines up favorably for fantasy managers, as an abundance of teams are on four-game weeks. We do have one two-game team this week (the Spurs), but there are a good number of streaming candidates to choose from, especially with some players who were struggling early on beginning to hit their stride.
TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz
TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: San Antonio Spurs
Without further ado, let's examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 5:
Start: Luguentz Dort, Thunder
31% start rate in CBS leagues
Dort had been held back by a significant lack of efficiency until recently, and he'll enter the new scoring period still shooting just 42.2 percent overall. However, not only does that figure qualify as a career-best for the third-year wing, but it's also firmly on an upward trajectory. Dort has drained 59.5 percent of his attempts over the last three contests, leading to a trio of 20-point efforts. Already offering serviceable contributions in rebounds and assists, Dort could be a rewarding option on a four-game week if he's able to maintain the hot hand.
Start: Eric Bledsoe, Clippers
32% start rate in CBS leagues
Much like Dort, Bledsoe has started to snap out of some early-season doldrums of late. He enters the week with four straight double-digit scoring efforts that have been made possible by the veteran's 51.0 percent shooting, including 40.0 percent from three-point range. The 31-year-old has also seen upticks in his rebounds, assists and steals over last season, with his 1.6 SPG marking his best figure since the 2017-18 campaign. The Clippers have settled in nicely after a rough start, and if Bledsoe keeps up a usage level akin to the 14.0 shot attempts he's averaged over the last three games, he'll make for a prudent streaming option.
ALSO CONSIDER: Chris Duarte, Pacers (29% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: Mike Conley, Jazz
54% start rate in CBS leagues
Conley has a three-game week on tap and enters it performing well below his usual standards. The veteran has back-to-back six-point efforts and is averaging just 8.0 points on 36.4 percent shooting over his last three contests overall. While his 7.3 assists and 1.3 steals during that same sample are certainly meaningful, Conley's season averages of 13.9 points, 5.5 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals are replaceable by a four-game option.
Start: Franz Wagner, Magic
37% start rate in CBS leagues
Wagner's rookie season has been an unqualified success thus far, with the eighth overall pick turning in highly effective play on both ends of the floor. Wagner had a six-steal effort two games ago versus the Nets, and although he's scuffled some with his shot over the last few games, he's still putting up a solid 13.0 points per contest and connecting on a serviceable 35.6 percent of his 4.5 three-point attempts per game.
The Michigan product's rebounds (3.8) and assists (1.8) numbers are not exactly impactful, but his average of 1.5 steals – built largely on the strength of an 11-game streak with at least one – supplements his overall value nicely on a four-game week.
Start: Talen Horton-Tucker, Lakers
10% start rate in CBS leagues
I'll take a bit of a leap of faith here with Horton-Tucker, who just made his season debut Sunday afternoon against the Spurs. He certainly showed well in that contest, posting 17 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block while shooting 50 percent on 14 attempts. The young wing does have a solid body of work over his first two seasons, and he gained valuable experience last season by appearing in 65 games and producing 9.0 points, 2.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.0 steals across 20.1 minutes per contest.
With LeBron James (abdomen) still not having progressed to contact work, it appears Horton-Tucker may have a shot at handling starting small forward duties for the entirety of the Lakers' four-game week.
ALSO CONSIDER: Josh Hart, Pelicans (26% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: Keldon Johnson, Spurs
56% start rate in CBS leagues
Johnson is in the midst of a hot six-game stretch where he's averaged 17.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 steals across 33.7 minutes, so he's certainly offered fantasy managers reason to keep him locked into their starting lineups over the last two scoring periods. However, that changes this coming week, when San Antonio has just two games on the docket. Feel comfortable giving the emerging big man a temporary seat on the bench. Even if he keeps up his stellar play, his production should easily be eclipsed by comparable three- or four-game options on your roster.
Start: Andre Drummond, 76ers
56% start rate in CBS leagues
The big man is one of the hottest names at his position going into the week, considering he's generated three double-doubles over his first four starts in place of Joel Embiid (COVID-19 protocols). Drummond's play during that span harkens back to his Pistons glory days, as he's produced 11.5 points, 18.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.3 blocks across 33 minutes. Embiid's exact return date remains unknown, but given he's expected to miss at least 10 days, it's possible he sits out at least the first two of Philadelphia's three games this scoring period.
Start: LaMarcus Aldridge, Nets
46% start rate in CBS leagues
As was the case last week, I've turned my attention to some productive three-game centers with viable four-game candidates at the position being quite scarce. Much like Drummond, Aldridge's ability to offer an abundance of production when given the opportunity is extremely well documented, and he checks into the new scoring period running hot. The veteran big man, who's been much more consistent than starter Blake Griffin, is averaging 14.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 blocks across a modest 21.6 minutes over his last nine games. What's more, Aldridge is shooting an impressive 56.7 percent, including 56.3 percent from behind the arc, during that stretch, and his efficiency is such that he can deliver nicely despite his bench role.
ALSO CONSIDER: Bobby Portis, Bucks (39% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: Jusuf Nurkic, Trail Blazers
81% start rate in CBS leagues
You'll rarely consider relegating Nurkic to the bench during the course of the season, but this week could be an opportune time if you have a more offensively involved three- or four-game big man who is also strong on the boards. Nurkic's Blazers are set for three games this week, and Nurkic has been in a bit of a slump with single-digit scoring tallies in two of his last three games. He's also yet to play 30 minutes in any game this season, and even more concerning is the fact that he's played 23 or fewer in four of the last six contests.