Week 8 is the most unique scoring period of the season thus far, as we have one five-game team and a trio of two-game schedules. In between, there is a 50-50 split between four- and three-game squads, so this week presents an interesting challenge for managers in weekly leagues with no mid-week swap.
TEAMS WITH FIVE GAMES: San Antonio Spurs
TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards
TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors
Let’s examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 8:
Start: Patty Mills, Nets
33% start rate in CBS leagues
Joe Harris is still without a firm timetable to return from his ankle surgery, setting Mills up for another four-game run of starts at two-guard. The veteran sharpshooter has been excellent while working with the first unit thus far, putting up 16.1 points on 52.5 percent shooting, including 46.7 percent from three-point range, and adding 2.3 assists and 1.6 rebounds across nine games. While the contributions outside of scoring and shooting categories are always going to be sparse with Mills, his sizzling 47.4 percent mark from distance thus far this season and current starting role make him very worthy of streaming candidacy.
Start: Alec Burks, Knicks
51% start rate in CBS leagues
Burks is another grizzled, sharpshooting vet currently thriving with a starting opportunity, as he’s averaged 18.8 points (on 44.0 percent three-point shooting), 5.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.0 steals across his first four starts since moving into the first unit. Burks is capable of offering much more than just scoring/shooting contributions as that line indicates, and with primary ball-handling responsibility at the moment, he makes for an even more appealing candidate for lineups this week. Additionally, it’s worth noting Burks’ strong offensive performance as a starter thus far has been achieved with just 38.0 percent shooting, supporting the notion even the slightest uptick in efficiency could result in a more productive week.
ALSO CONSIDER: Tyus Jones, Grizzlies (28% start rate in CBS leagues); Ish Smith, Hornets (7% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: Devin Booker, Suns
45% start rate in CBS leagues
Booker’s current hamstring injury, which is already projected to keep him out of action Monday against the Spurs, coupled with Phoenix’s two-game week make him a clear Sit candidate. Phoenix is off until Friday versus the Celtics, and even if the star shooting guard can make it back for that contest, it goes without saying his potential production can be replaced by most three- or four-game options.
Start: P.J. Washington, Hornets
43% start rate in CBS leagues
Mason Plumlee entered the health and safety protocols Saturday as he was in the final stages of recovery from a calf injury, and it remains to be seen how long he’ll be sidelined. Meanwhile, Washington should be a beneficiary in the form of some extra minutes as the Hornets head into the week woefully shorthanded. In the five games in which he’s seen double-digit minutes since returning from an extended injury absence, Washington has averaged 13.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.0 steals across 33 minutes while shooting 51.1 percent (55.2% 3PT). Even with just a three-game week on tap, Washington’s multi-category contributions, and enhanced usage with both LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier also out, make him a very intriguing play.
Start: Doug McDermott, Spurs
10% start rate in CBS leagues
McDermott is the beneficiary of a rare five-game week and comes into it with some momentum, as he’s averaged 14.5 points (on 54.5 percent shooting), 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists across 23.5 minutes in his first two games back from a four-game absence due to a knee injury. The veteran wing is once again displaying above-average efficiency this season, draining an impressive 42.6 percent of his three-point attempts. While the non-scoring/shooting contributions figure to remain modest, the cumulative production on such a busy week makes McDermott worthy of starting consideration.
ALSO CONSIDER: Pat Connaughton, Bucks (35% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: John Collins, Hawks
83% start rate in CBS leagues
Collins is coming off a season-best 31-point, 12-rebound double-double on Sunday against the Hornets, but he’s nevertheless a candidate for a spot on your bench on a two-game week. Collins is enjoying a solid season, yet it’s also worth noting the scoring haul Sunday is very much an outlier. He’d posted fewer than 20 points in six of the previous seven games, and he’s only supplied double-digit rebounds in seven of 24 contests overall this season.
Start: Mitchell Robinson, Knicks
25% start rate in CBS leagues
Foul trouble can be a recurring theme with Robinson, but what he’s able to provide in the areas of rebounds and blocks, in particular, can make him worth the trouble on certain weeks where you’re in dire straits at center. The big man is averaging a solid 7.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game for the season across 25.5 minutes per contest, and he’s also capable of occasionally delivering a double-digit scoring tally. Robinson is shooting a career-high 75.7 percent from the floor, so the efficiency has consistently been there and could pay off on a four-game week if he can avoid the whistle.
Start: Dewayne Dedmon, Heat
18% start rate in CBS leagues
Bam Adebayo still projects to remain out for several weeks following thumb surgery, so Dedmon should be in for another week of starts. Miami takes the floor three times during the Week 8 scoring period, giving him a strong degree of opportunity to build on the averages of 8.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 block across 26.0 minutes he logged over his first three starts in Adebayo’s place.
ALSO CONSIDER: Ivica Zubac, Clippers (33% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: Deandre Ayton, Suns
76% start rate in CBS leagues
Like Booker, Ayton is a victim of the Suns’ two-game week, and he also enters the scoring period with some recent fluctuations in production. The big man has scored between eight and 17 points in five of the last nine games, and he has a couple of modest (by his standards) six-rebound tallies during that sample. Ayton remains a rock-solid option at center on three- or four-game weeks, but he’s at a distinct disadvantage this week, so consider shelving him in favor of a four-game player.