Fantasy Basketball Week 8 Start' Em & Sit 'Em and schedule analysis

A pair of teams, Boston and Philadelphia, have just two games in Week 8. If you're devoid of players from those teams, most of your start/sit decisions will be on the margins, with recent play and injuries likely dictating most of your decisions.

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

GUARDS

Consider Sitting: Nicolas Batum (90% owned, 57% start)
Opponents: MIN, DEN, NYK

The 148th-ranked Fantasy player over the past two weeks, Batum looks to be taking on a smaller role while Jeremy Lamb (71st over the same period) emerges as the Hornets' second option on offense. Batum's 9.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.0 steals over the past 14 days wouldn't entice me enough to start him if he was on my roster, especially in shallower 10-team leagues. It's not worth dropping Batum, but it may be advantageous to start him conservatively for the time being.

Consider Starting: Reggie Jackson (90% owned, 50% start)
Opponents: OKC, MIL, PHI, NOP

Jackson has looked like a true third cog in the Pistons offense lately next to Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. Efficiency from the field remains a concern, but Jackson has averaged 16.8 points, 4.6 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals over the past two weeks, lifting him to the 48th-ranked Fantasy player over that period. Even on a three-game week, Jackson would be worth starting. Four games make the decision that much easier.

Consider Sitting: Lonzo Ball (94% owned, 63% start)
Opponents: SA, SA, MEM

Ball's Fantasy value continues to plummet this season as he shares playmaking responsibilities with LeBron James, among others. The 169th-ranked Fantasy player over the past two weeks, Ball is difficult to condone starting in 12-team formats, and it's becoming a question even in 14-team leagues. Over that time period, the second-year guard is averaging a shockingly-low 6.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. It's not worth dropping Ball, but placing him on your bench until he shows tangible improvement is justified.

Consider Starting: Jordan Clarkson (55% owned, 37% start)
Opponents: BKN, GS, SAC, WAS

Clarkson hasn't been playing exceptionally well, but he's been good enough to consider starting on a four-game week, especially in 12-plus-team formats. Since Nov. 19, Clarkson has averaged 17.3 points on 44.8 percent shooting, 3.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists. The primary appeal for Week 8 is Clarkson's upside to post 60 total points and hopefully reach double-digits in rebounds and assists.

FORWARDS

Consider Sitting: Jayson Tatum (100% owned, 80% start)
Opponents: NY, CHI

While he hasn't made a massive leap in Year 2, Tatum is starting to gain confidence, and he's been the 65th-ranked player over the past two weeks. That's fine value on a three-game week. But based on his season averages, we should expect Tatum to total about 35 points and 14 rebounds this time around. It wouldn't take much for someone with four games to surpass that.

Consider Starting: Markieff Morris (58% owned, 33% start)
Opponents: NY, ATL, CLE

Morris has taken over minutes at center with Dwight Howard out for the past five games, averaging 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.2 assists across 31.0 minutes. Howard may need surgery and there's a real possibility he misses an extended period of time. In that case, Morris becomes a must-add. His ownership is already low considering he's been just a shade outside of the top-100 this year. The Wizards are also coming up on an easy Week 8 schedule that includes dates with a trio of bottom-10 defenses.

Consider Sitting: Brandon Ingram (97% owned, 75% start)
Opponents: SA, SA, MEM

Ingram is in a very similar situation to that of Lonzo Ball. Ingram can't seem to get comfortable next to LeBron James, and as a result he's been the 184th-ranked Fantasy player over the past two weeks. Like Ball, dropping Ingram would be an extreme measure. But Ingram's start rate of 75 percent is almost solely due to name recognition, not actual production.

Consider Starting: Juancho Hernangomez (43% owned, 15% start)
Opponents: TOR, ORL, CHA, ATL

Hernangomez struggled last season due to injury and illness. But in the wake of Will Barton going down in the second game of the season, Hernangomez has seemed to make the progress we thought was coming a year ago. He's started nine games and is expected to continue in that role until Barton (groin) returns -- likely sometime later in December. In those nine starts, Hernangomez is averaging 12.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, and he's been the 91st-ranked player over the past 14 days. On a four-game week, he's worth adding and starting.

CENTERS

Consider Sitting: Al Horford (99% owned, 71% start)
Opponents: NY, CHI

While his numbers are down slightly across the board, Horford has been a top-70 Fantasy player on the season, overall. In that sense, he's in a similar spot as Jayson Tatum. The totals Horford needs to be worth starting this week are high relative to his usual production, especially in shallower formats. Based on his season numbers, we should expect Horford to post about 20-25 points, 10-15 rebounds, 10 assists and maybe four blocks. The assists will be difficult to make up from the center spot, but the rest of the production shouldn't be too difficult to replicate with a three or four-game player.

Consider Starting: Mason Plumlee (26% owned, 9% start)
Opponents: TOR, ORL, CHA, ATL

This might be a somewhat extreme example, but starting Plumlee this week for leagues with 12-plus teams is a viable strategy. Mike Malone has expanded Plumlee's role recently, and the center is averaging 12.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steal in 21.0 minutes across the past three games. A four-game week provides Plumlee an opportunity to underperform relative to his recent production and still be a solid option.

Our Latest Stories