Fantasy Basketball Start/Sit: Game Count Matters in Week 5

Fantasy Basketball Start/Sit: Game Count Matters in Week 5

This article is part of our In-Season Strategy series.

We have a very interesting Week 5 schedule-wise, as we have one team with a rare five-game week, which is partly offset by fewer teams than usual with four-game ledgers and four teams with just two games over the next seven days. It makes for some intriguing Sit candidates, but fortunately, there are some solid five- and four-game week players that have been coming on lately.

Each week, we'll aim to highlight a pair of Start candidates for your Fantasy rosters – usually from teams with four games -- that may shape up as some of the tougher calls of the week to make, with the focus generally being on players with a start rate (when available) or roster rate of 50% or less in Yahoo leagues. 

Likewise, we'll also spotlight one Sit candidate at each position that would typically not be a consideration for a spot on your bench, with the focus there often on players with fewer game opportunities during the coming week.

TEAMS WITH FIVE GAMES: San Antonio Spurs

TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns

TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards

TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota

We have a very interesting Week 5 schedule-wise, as we have one team with a rare five-game week, which is partly offset by fewer teams than usual with four-game ledgers and four teams with just two games over the next seven days. It makes for some intriguing Sit candidates, but fortunately, there are some solid five- and four-game week players that have been coming on lately.

Each week, we'll aim to highlight a pair of Start candidates for your Fantasy rosters – usually from teams with four games -- that may shape up as some of the tougher calls of the week to make, with the focus generally being on players with a start rate (when available) or roster rate of 50% or less in Yahoo leagues. 

Likewise, we'll also spotlight one Sit candidate at each position that would typically not be a consideration for a spot on your bench, with the focus there often on players with fewer game opportunities during the coming week.

TEAMS WITH FIVE GAMES: San Antonio Spurs

TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns

TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards

TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers                              

Without further ado, let's examine some of the more challenging start/sit decisions for Week 5:

Guards    

Start: Spencer Dinwiddie, Mavericks

35% start rate 

Dinwiddie has taken over starting shooting guard duties and is serving as a dynamic complement to Luka Doncic's usual otherworldly exploits, putting up 18.5 points, 4.7 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per contest. The veteran is also demonstrating career-best efficiency with 49.1 percent shooting, including a stellar 45.9 percent from three-point range on 7.1 attempts from distance per contest. Despite sharing the floor with Doncic, Dinwiddie is also averaging the second-most shot attempts of his career overall (13.8). A four-game week gives him ample opportunity to continue contributing across the board.

Start: Max Strus, Heat

45% start rate 

Strus could open the Heat's four-game week Monday with a starting assignment against the Suns if Tyler Herro remains out with an ankle injury, and he's been putting up career-best numbers while often coming off the bench anyhow. The four-year pro comes into the new week fresh off a career-best 31-point tally against the Hornets on Saturday night, and he's averaging 18.3 points, 2.3 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals on 50.0 percent shooting, including 41.8 percent from three-point range, over his last six games overall. With a minutes load that's typically in the mid-20s at minimum, even when he's on the second unit, Strus could offer you a boost in offensive categories with four games on his docket.

Sit: Tyrese Maxey, 76ers

68% start rate 

Maxey's two-game week and recent middling production despite James Harden's absence with a foot injury makes him a clear Sit candidate this week. The third-year guard has recently taken a step back offensively with three sub-20-point efforts in his last four games, a stint during which he shot 35.1 percent overall. With no guarantee he doesn't turn in at least another clunker and only two opportunities to take the floor, he's not worth the risk.

Forwards         

Start: Josh Richardson, Spurs

14% roster rate 

Richardson is one of the beneficiaries of the Spurs' aforementioned five-game week, putting him in play if you need a fill-in at either guard or forward. The veteran wing checks in with averages of 11.3 points, 2.9 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game thus far on the season, along with 40.0 percent shooting from three-point range. Richardson's production can be a bit uneven and scoring-dependent on occasion, but he's already put up double-digit scoring tallies on seven occasions, including a pair over 20 points, and he's also flashed with six- and 10-assist efforts early on. Given his five potential opportunities to take the floor, he could certainly provide some help if you're in a pinch.

Start: Kenyon Martin Jr., Rockets

23% roster rate 

Martin is rather quietly putting together career-best scoring (11.2 PPG) and assist (1.6 APG) numbers while also pulling down a respectable 5.0 rebounds per game and shooting 51.4 percent across a career-high 25.5 minutes per contest. The third-year pro primarily operates in a bench role. Yet, his playing time has been very consistent, and he can even make occasional contributions as a three-point shooter (34.0 percent success rate from distance). A four-game week is on tap for Houston, and given the team's tendency to get into fast-paced, high-scoring battles, Martin could have plenty of minutes to generate solid production.

Sit: LeBron James, Lakers

65% start rate

You'll naturally only find LeBron saddled with a Sit designation under rare circumstances, but this week qualifies. Not only do the Lakers have just two games on their docket, but the future Hall of Famer isn't guaranteed to play in either due to his ongoing adductor injury. James has been more cautious with his health in recent years, given his advancing age, and it's certainly a possibility he and the Lakers continue to play it safe on the two-game schedule.

CENTERS            

Start: Mason Plumlee, Hornets

44% start rate 

Plumlee continues to hold on to the starting role despite backup Nick Richards' frequently solid play. The veteran big man has improved his numbers from his first Hornets season, putting up 9.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists, with a quartet of double-doubles already under his belt. Plumlee is a rock-solid facilitator in addition to his rebounding prowess, and even his scoring contributions can surprise at times -- all traits that make him a solid start on a four-game week.

Start: Kevon Looney, Warriors

29% roster rate 

Looney isn't always the most exciting start candidate, but like Plumlee, the veteran is a steady presence on the stat sheet. Looney comes into the Warriors' four-game week with averages of 7.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists over his last five games, a span during which he's averaged a solid 26.8 minutes per game. The veteran's two double-digit rebounding efforts thus far this season have come within the last three contests, and he's also recorded back-to-back two-block efforts. While the rebounding contributions will always be the steadiest part of his game, Looney can occasionally throw a double-digit scoring effort up as a bonus. 

Sit: Rudy Gobert, Timberwolves

74% start rate 

Gobert has a two-game schedule this week and comes into it mired in a bit of a funk. The Stifle Tower has gotten off to a good start in Minnesota, but he's put together three single-digit scoring tallies in his last six games and has scored no more than 15 points in any contest during that span. The rebounds and blocks are usually a lock with Gobert, but if you have similarly talented three-  or four-game options – not to mention if you're holding Jakob Poeltl, who has five games on his ledger – you're better off pivoting elsewhere.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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