After a Week 19 that sandwiched the All-Star break, we’re back to a more conventional Fantasy schedule. We do have the benefit of one team on a rare five-game week, but the tradeoff is that there’s a definite tilt toward teams with three games on the schedule compared to those with four.
As is often the case during the latter portion of the season, injuries are making their presence felt, which has opened some opportunities for several of our Start candidates this week. Players who changed locales at the deadline have begun settling into their new teams as well, a factor in two of this week’s streaming suggestions.
Teams with five games: Toronto Raptors
Teams with four games: Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings
Teams with three games: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards
Teams with two games: Portland Trail Blazers
Without further ado, let’s examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 20:
Start: Dennis Schroder, Rockets
42% start rate in CBS leagues
Kevin Porter begins the Rockets’ four-game week dealing with a sprained ankle that cost him Sunday’s game against the Clippers, and he’s missed three of the past four overall dating back to before the All-Star break. Meanwhile, Schroder has been impressive while drawing starts in Porter’s absence. He’s averaging 13.3 points, 8.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds across 33.8 minutes in his first four games with Houston overall. There’s a possibility Porter sits out at least Tuesday’s rematch with Los Angeles, and even if he does jump back into action relatively early into Houston’s four-game ledger, Schroder’s play thus far should keep him in a sizable role off the bench.
Start: Spencer Dinwiddie, Mavericks
43% start rate in CBS leagues
Dinwiddie is another veteran guard who’s showing well in a new locale. The trade-deadline acquisition has shined off the bench in his last two games heading into Week 19, averaging 22.0 points, 3.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals across 28.6 minutes. He’s logged at least 26 minutes in three of his first four games with Dallas, supporting the notion he should enjoy a solid role off the bench moving forward behind the starting backcourt tandem of Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson. The Mavs are one of those teams with three games this coming week, but Dinwiddie’s ability to contribute in multiple categories and his experience could certainly lead to strong returns.
ALSO CONSIDER: Devin Vassell, Spurs (45% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: Anfernee Simons, Trail Blazers
63% start rate in CBS leagues
Simons falls victim to the Trail Blazers’ two-game schedule this week, and he also enters the week coming off a forgettable 5-for-18 shooting effort against the Nuggets on Sunday night. The third-year guard has undeniably been impressive overall in his extended run as a starter, but his contributions over just two games are likely to be eclipsed by even a comparable three-game option if you have one available.
Start: Isaiah Jackson, Pacers
29% start rate in CBS leagues
Jackson has finally overcome an ankle sprain that cost him the last three games prior to the All-Star break, and he’s returned in impressive form. Drawing starts in each of his first two games back with Myles Turner (foot) still sidelined, Jackson has averaged 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks across just 21.5 minutes per outing. The rookie is projected to continue in the starting five for Indiana’s four-game slate in Week 19, one that includes a bevy of favorable matchups in the form of the Magic (twice), the Pistons and the Wizards.
Start: Lauri Markkanen, Cavaliers
52% start rate in CBS leagues
Both Darius Garland (back) and Caris LeVert (foot) could very well remain out through the Cavaliers’ Week 20 slate, and Rajon Rondo (toe) is also sidelined with an injury. It all adds up to a strong uptick in responsibility for Markkanen, who just came back from an extended absence due to an ankle sprain in his own right. The big man hasn’t missed a beat over his first pair of games, averaging 22.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.0 block in that sample. With four more games to round back into full form this coming week and Cleveland in need of offense, he should be primed to continue ascending.
Sit: Tobias Harris, 76ers
79% start rate in CBS leagues
James Harden’s arrival was bound to ding another member of the 76ers’ core’s usage in a significant way, and thus far it’s clearly been Harris. The veteran forward has taken just nine shot attempts apiece in his first two games with Harden on the floor, a big tumble from his season average of 14.8 per game. He’s put up just 9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in that small sample, and he’s scored in single digits in two of the last four games, overall. Philadelphia only has three games on its schedule in Week 19, and early indications are that Tyrese Maxey, Harden and Joel Embiid are going to serve as the top three offensive options for the Sixers on most nights going forward.
Start: LaMarcus Aldridge, Nets
44% start rate in CBS leagues
Andre Drummond has settled in nicely as the starting center for the Nets, but Aldridge is still playing a key role behind him off the bench. The veteran is averaging 14.6 points (54.2 percent shooting), 5.8 rebounds and 1.0 block across 21 minutes in his first five games back from an ankle injury, despite logging fewer than 20 minutes in three of those outings. Aldridge is a lot less prone to space the floor compared to prior seasons, but Fantasy managers looking for some help in scoring and rebounding will still find him very useful as a streamer.
Start: Precious Achiuwa, Raptors
15% start rate in CBS leagues
Achiuwa has had his moments throughout the season, and he enters Week 19 in the midst of a brief but encouraging sample. Achiuwa’s workload has risen from 21 to 24 to 30 minutes over the last three games, and he’s responded to the opportunity with averages of 13.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.0 steals. The second-year big is even shooting a solid 37.5 percent from 3-point range in that span (2.7 3-point attempts per game).
It’s also worth noting OG Anunoby’s ongoing absence due to a fractured ring finger could work to Achiuwa’s favor. Anunoby’s absence has already had the domino effect of Khem Birch entering the starting lineup at center but ceding the majority of minutes to Achiuwa.
ALSO CONSIDER: Ivica Zubac, Clippers (30% start rate in CBS leagues)
Sit: Clint Capela, Hawks
69% start rate in CBS leagues
Capela had a big 14-point, 17-rebound double-double two games ago, but that type of performance is becoming more of an exception than the rule for the veteran. He’s scored in single digits in nine of his last 11 games, and he’s taking almost three fewer shot attempts per game this season (8.2) than during the 2020-21 campaign (11.0). While he remains a strong source of rebounds and blocks, second-year big man Onyeka Okongwu continues to cut into Capela’s workload. A comparable four-game option with a more-diverse offensive profile could be a better call this week.