Fantasy Basketball Week 6 Preview: Sit Dennis Smith Jr., Jabari Parker?

Week 5 will go down as one of the more unique weeks of the entire season. The Pistons had just one game, the Warriors played five games, and the rest of the league was scattered somewhere in between. Things have normalized again in Week 6, with every team playing either three or four games. Of course, that means streaming is less effective, so you may have to exclusively work with players already on your roster.

  • Three games: CHI, DAL, GSW, HOU, IND, LAL, MIA, MIN, ORL, WAS
  • Four games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CLE, DEN, DET, LAC, MEM, MIL, NOR, NYK, OKC, PHI, PHO, POR, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA

GUARDS

Consider Sitting: Dennis Smith Jr., DAL (97% owned, 57% start)
Opponents: MEM, BKN, BOS

Smith has made important strides as a shooter, hitting 44.5 percent of his field-goal attempts and 38.0 percent of his threes. But the presence of Luka Doncic has affected Smith's usage, as his counting stats are down nearly across the board. Smith has been just the 126th-ranked player in eight-category roto leagues this season, averaging 14.5 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game. Having just three games this week — including one against a stingy Celtics defense — doesn't help his cause.

Consider Starting: Jeremy Lamb, CHA (49% owned, 13% start)
Opponents: BOS, IND, OKC, ATL

It's surprising to see Lamb is just 49% owned considering he's been the 90th-ranked Fantasy player this season, and he's been the 51st-ranked player over the past 14 days. He's settling in nicely to his role as the Hornets' starting shooting guard and needs to be picked up and started in essentially all Fantasy formats. Since the beginning of November, Lamb is averaging 15.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.7 steals across 25.2 minutes per game.

Consider Sitting: Rodney McGruder, MIA (81% owned, 48% start)
Opponents: BKN, CHI, TOR

As the Heat get healthier, McGruder has become less productive. It might be reactionary to drop a starter averaging nearly 32 minutes per game over his last five, but McGruder has been only the 159th-ranked player over the past two weeks. During this stretch, he's shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 64.3 percent from the charity stripe while averaging 11.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists. With declining stats and a three-game week, it's probably best to avoid deploying McGruder.

Consider Starting: Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC (47% owned, 12% start)
Opponents: OKC, UTA, GS, UTA

Bogdanovic has played only three games since returning from a knee injury, but he reminded everybody what he's capable of during Monday's game against San Antonio. In 25 minutes, he posted 22 points on 17 shots and added three assists, plus a rebound. Bogdanovic was a solid all-around player as a rookie, and he averaged 12.4 points, 3.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds after the All-Star break. He's only played three games this season, so there is a bit of risk, but with four games on the slate in Week 6, Bogdanovic is worth the gamble.

FORWARDS

Consider Sitting: Jabari Parker, CHI (96% owned, 72% start)
Opponents: PHO, MIA, MIN

Parker can't seem to find a rhythm on his new team. He's ranked outside of the top 150 over the past two weeks, averaging 14.9 points (43.8% FG), 6.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists. Wendell Carter Jr.'s emergence hasn't helped Parker's usage, and it's difficult to imagine that changing. I'd be saving Parker for four-game weeks, when possible. And with Bobby Portis and Lauri Markkanen nearing their respective returns, Parker's longer-term viability is a bit cloudy.

Consider Starting: Marcus Morris, BOS (69% owned, 40% start)
Opponents: CHA, NY, ATL, DAL

Like the aforementioned Lamb, I'm surprised Morris' ownership is this low. He may regress to the mean at some point. But in a contract year with Gordon Hayward underperforming, Morris has plenty of motivation to elevate his game this season. Ultimately, Morris has been the 82nd ranked player this season, which more than qualifies him to be in your lineup on a four-game week. That rank jumps to a shocking 60 over the past two weeks, as he's averaged 15.3 points on 51.5 percent shooting, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 26.0 minutes.

Consider Sitting: Brandon Ingram (98% owned, 63% start)
Opponents: CLE, UTA, ORL

Whether or not you believe Ingram and LeBron James can successfully coexist, Ingram's Fantasy value in the present moment has taken a dive. Over the past two weeks, he has ranked outside of the top-150 while averaging 13.8 points (42.7% FG), 4.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists in just over 32 minutes per night. Like Jabari Parker, Ingram is worth hanging onto, but may have to be reserved for four-game weeks until he can improve his production.

Consider Starting: E'Twaun Moore (50% owned, 30% start)
Opponents: SA, PHI, NY, WAS

Moore ranking as the second-best Fantasy player out of this group of forwards is about as surprising as Morris leading the pack. The Pelicans have relied heavily on Moore while dealing with injuries and lack of wing depth. He's the 102nd-ranked player on the season and 100th over the past 14 days. At only 50% owned, you may be able to find Moore on your waiver wire and stream him for the week.

CENTERS

Consider Sitting: Dwight Howard, WAS (98% owned, 74% start)
Opponents: LAC, TOR, NO

Howard should continue to be valuable in head-to-head formats and points formats, but Fantasy owners in roto leagues may want to proceed with caution. Howard has ranked outside of the top-150 over the past two weeks with averages of 12.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and less than a block per game. It doesn't appear that he's comfortable yet this season, and Howard might be worth keeping on your bench until he shows a spark.

Consider Starting: Brook Lopez, MIL (82% owned, 43% start)
Opponents: DEN, POR, PHO, SA

Lopez's stats don't exactly look like a typical center's, as he's averaging 12.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 threes, 1.6 blocks and 1.3 assists. But he's been effective in his unique role, which has been reflected in his Fantasy value. On the year, Lopez is the 70th-ranked player overall, and he's climbed up to No. 46 over the past two weeks. His success can be largely dependent on his three-point shooting, but everything should balance out with a four-game Week 6. Plus, the Bucks learned Friday that they'll be without John Henson for the foreseeable future, which could result in a slight minutes boost for Lopez.

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