Fantasy Basketball: Week 18 Start/Sit, Including Nick Richards, Vince Williams and Brandin Podziemski

Fantasy Basketball: Week 18 Start/Sit, Including Nick Richards, Vince Williams and Brandin Podziemski

This article is part of our NBA Start/Sit series.

After a unique two-week Week 17 scoring period sandwiched around the All-Star break, we're back to normal in Week 18. What's more, we have the relatively rare instance of a week without any two-game schedules, although the three-game clubs do outnumber those with a full complement of opportunities. Nevertheless, we have plenty of viable candidates for each position. 

Each week, we'll aim to highlight a pair of Start candidates for your fantasy rosters that may shape up as some of the tougher calls of the week to make, with the focus usually being on players with a start or roster rate of 50 percent or less in Yahoo leagues. We'll also typically hone in on players with four-game weeks in an attempt to maximize opportunities for production.

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

TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors

TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards

Without further ado, let's examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for

After a unique two-week Week 17 scoring period sandwiched around the All-Star break, we're back to normal in Week 18. What's more, we have the relatively rare instance of a week without any two-game schedules, although the three-game clubs do outnumber those with a full complement of opportunities. Nevertheless, we have plenty of viable candidates for each position. 

Each week, we'll aim to highlight a pair of Start candidates for your fantasy rosters that may shape up as some of the tougher calls of the week to make, with the focus usually being on players with a start or roster rate of 50 percent or less in Yahoo leagues. We'll also typically hone in on players with four-game weeks in an attempt to maximize opportunities for production.

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

TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors

TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards

Without further ado, let's examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 18:

Guards      

Start: Brandin Podziemski, Warriors

39% start rate 

Podziemski continues to sport a lower start rate than warranted, having just completed a two-week period where he averaged a solid 12.5 points (on 46.4 percent three-point shooting), 6.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists per contest. The rookie continues to hold down the starting shooting guard role on the Warriors, and given who he shares the backcourt with, Podziemski should only continue to get better the more reps he gets with the starters. With another full schedule on tap in Week 18, I see him as a viable option yet again. 

Start: Vince Williams, Grizzlies

51% start rate 

Williams continues to benefit from the Grizzlies' avalanche of injuries, using Memphis' multiple absences to carve out what should be a secure starting role for the foreseeable future. The second-year wing checks into a four-game Week 18 with averages of 15.4 points (50.8 percent shooting), 6.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.2 steals per contest over the 12 games he's played in the last month. As that line indicates, Williams is essentially able to check off every box on the stat sheet, and he's even been serviceable from deep with a 36.6 percent success rate from behind the arc for the season. Given the degree of opportunity he'll see this week and the fact both Marcus Smart (finger) and Desmond Bane (ankle) project to remain out, Williams is a clear Start option.

ALSO CONSIDER: Andrew Nembhard, Pacers (22% roster rate); Tre Mann, Hornets (32% start rate)

Sit: Josh Giddey, Thunder

64% start rate

Giddey's start rate has actually gone up over what it was entering Week 17, but the third-year guard has done nothing to warrant it. Giddey averaged a modest 9.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals across 23.8 minutes in the four games he played over the last two weeks. He'll be saddled with a three-game week in Week 18 as well, and the combination of all those factors again renders him a Sit candidate.

Forwards         

Start: Simone Fontecchio, Pistons

24% roster rate 

Fontecchio has proven an immediate fit since his trade to the Pistons, scoring in single digits just once in his first five games in the Motor City and averaging 15.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists across 28.6 minutes per contest. The second-year wing is shooting a cool 47.7 percent over that span as well, and the starting small forward job appears to be firmly in his possession for the time being, though Isaiah Stewart's impending return could change things. Fontecchio is also an effective three-point shooter – he's drained an impressive 39.9 percent of his shots from behind the arc – adding to his appeal as a streaming option for Detroit's four-game week.

Start: GG Jackson, Grizzlies

36% roster rate

Jackson is another young member of the Grizzlies who's leveraged the multiple absences on his team into a strong body of work. The rookie second-round pick has scored in double digits in 10 of the last 11 games, including seven straight. He's averaged 19.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 27.6 minutes per contest over the latter span, connecting on 41.2 percent of his 7.2 three-point attempts per game in that span. Jackson's clear floor-spacing ability and robust second-unit role undoubtedly put him on the Start radar with a maximum number of games this week for a short-handed squad.

ALSO CONSIDER: Cody Martin, Hornets (6% roster rate); De'Andre Hunter, Hawks (three games) (28% start rate)

Sit: Tobias Harris, 76ers    

72% start rate

Harris hasn't come close to capitalizing on the ongoing absence of Joel Embiid (knee), and the former has also been managing a hip issue that's caused some recent absences. Harris has averaged just 10.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks across 30.7 minutes in the last three games after he missed back-to-back contests due to the hip issue. The arrival of Buddy Hield coupled with Kelly Oubre's increasing comfort level in the team's offense has helped reduce some of the veteran forward's opportunities. With only three games on Philly's docket this week, Harris is a definite candidate to consider benching for at least one scoring period.

CENTERS       

Start: Precious Achiuwa, Knicks

44% start rate 

Achiuwa continues to draw starts at power forward for the contending Knicks in the ongoing absence of Julius Randle (shoulder), who remains without a timetable for return. The 2020 first-round pick of the Heat is making good use of one of the longest starting tenures of his career, putting up 13.7 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.0 steals across a robust 39.6 minutes per game in 11 straight turns with the first unit coming into Week 18. Achiuwa has four double-doubles over that span, and he's a threat to accomplish that feat any time he takes the floor. New York's four-game schedule and the fact OG Anunoby (elbow) also remains out for Tom Thibodeau's team should continue to offer the big man plenty of opportunity.  

Start: Nick Richards, Hornets

37% start rate 

Richards has been a steady presence in this column in recent weeks due to Mark Williams' continued absence due to a back injury and Richards' solid play in his stead. The 2020 second-round pick is coming into the new week fresh off a 21-point, 10-rebound double-double against the Blazers, and he's averaging 13.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks across 28.6 minutes per game in the last seven contests overall. Richards' rim-protecting prowess complements his scoring and rebounding numbers perfectly from a fantasy perspective, making him an excellent starting option on Charlotte's full schedule.

Sit: Clint Capela, Hawks

60% start rate 

Capela is another veteran who just recently returned from injury and has yet to bounce back to normal production. Given he also has a three-game schedule this week, he earns consideration for a Sit designation. Capela has played just 19 and 17 minutes in his first two games back from a six-game absence due to an adductor injury, even though he started both contests and Onyeka Okongwu (toe) remains out. Trae Young's multi-week absence due to finger surgery does theoretically open more opportunity for Capela, but with his minutes being managed at the moment, there's no guarantee he will capitalize.

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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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