The schedule is all over the map in Week 14, but there’s still plenty to like despite four teams having two or fewer games. The Bulls and Pistons will face off at Accor Arena in Paris on Thursday, hence their rare one-game ledgers this week. On the other end of the spectrum, we also have the Raptors playing five games, and more teams have four games than three.
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: Toronto Raptors
TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards
TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs
TEAMS WITH ONE GAME: Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons
Without further ado, let’s examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 14:
Start: Bennedict Mathurin, Pacers
53% start rate
Mathurin was already enjoying his rookie season before Tyrese Haliburton suffered elbow and knee injuries on Jan. 11 against the Knicks, which are projected to keep him out for at least two weeks. That spikes Mathurin’s value further, and he notably went off for 26 points, five rebounds, three assists and one steal across 39 minutes in his first game without his backcourt mate in the lineup. Mathurin will have four games to work with his coming week and should continue to be heavily involved in each, making him a very appealing starting option.
Start: Immanuel Quickley, Knicks
50% start rate
Quickley recently saw a seven-game starting run come to a close, but the third-year guard continues to produce nicely off the bench. Quickley is averaging 15.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 30.7 minutes over his first three games back on the second unit, and he’s scored 15 or more points on 10 occasions as a reserve overall. Quickley has been flashing improved shooting lately as well, with a 50.0% success rate from the field over the last seven contests, and he’s averaging career highs in both points (12.4) and rebounds (4.1) on the campaign.
Sit: Zach LaVine, Bulls
71% start rate
As noted above, the Bulls are one of two clubs on an exceedingly rare one-game week, so LaVine’s inclusion here is self-explanatory. The veteran wing actually comes into Week 14 on a sizzling streak that’s seen him score at least 25 points in six straight. Still, he will be comfortably outproduced by three- or four-game options of similar caliber during the current scoring period.
Start: Naji Marshall, Pelicans
48% roster rate
Marshall has been an impressive all-around producer during his current six-game starting stint in place of Zion Williamson (hamstring), averaging 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting a blistering 40.7% from deep. Marshall is encouragingly taking 14.2 shots per game in that sample as well, and zooming further out, he’s scored in double digits in 11 of his last 12 contests overall. Williamson isn’t slated to be reevaluated until next week, meaning Marshall should continue enjoying ample opportunity over New Orleans’ upcoming four-game schedule.
Start: Norman Powell, Clippers
31% start rate
Powell continues to offer above-average returns in his robust bench role, and he’ll enter the new week with averages of 18.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals across his last six games — a sample in which he’s also shot 48.7%, including 42.4% from behind the arc. Paul George also enters the week having already missed five consecutive contests due to a nagging hamstring injury, and the Clippers’ four-game week opens with a back-to-back set Tuesday and Wednesday, meaning Kawhi Leonard could sit for one of those games. All those factors likely equate to continued elevated opportunity for Powell, adding to his appeal.
51% start rate
Bogdanovic missed Sunday’s game versus the Knicks with a non-COVID illness, and although he’ll likely be available for Thursday’s clash with the Bulls in Paris, he’s expendable on a one-game week. The veteran wing will head into that international clash riding a nice eight-game streak of 20-point efforts during which he’s shot 52.2%, including 46.7% from three-point range, so there could be some temptation to roll with him. However, similarly talented options with three and four times the opportunities this week should serve you better.
Start: Kevon Looney, Warriors
42% start rate
Looney continues to quietly put together another rock-solid season down low for the Warriors, putting up career highs in points (6.8), rebounds (8.4), assists (2.8) and shooting percentage (64.0) as the new week begins. The veteran is also amid an impressive nine-game stretch during which he’s averaged 8.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest while churning out a pair of double-doubles and six double-digit rebounding performances overall. While other centers with higher start rates will naturally provide you with more scoring, Looney is a viable alternative on a four-game week, especially if you need to shore up your rebounds.
Start: Precious Achiuwa, Raptors
12% roster rate
Achiuwa is the beneficiary of a rare five-game schedule this week, so he’s worthy of consideration if you are thin on options, despite occasional volatility in his playing time. Achiuwa has done a nice job over his last three games despite logging under 20 minutes in two of those contests, averaging 12.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals across 20 minutes per contest. The big man can also stretch the floor on occasion – he went 3-for-5 from deep in the first game during that sample – and he’s scored in double digits in 10 games (out of 19 played) despite logging under 20 minutes in half of them.
ALSO CONSIDER: Naz Reid, Timberwolves (24% roster rate)
74% start rate
What was said earlier about LaVine largely applies here to Vucevic, who’ll also only have one opportunity to take the floor. Ironically, the big man just went off for a 43-point, 13-rebound double-double against the Warriors on Sunday, but he’d been under 20 points in four of the five games prior. Additionally, DeMar DeRozan is believed to have a very good chance of returning from a three-game absence due to a quadriceps injury when Chicago faces off with Detroit in Paris on Thursday, which would lead to a certain hit to Vucevic’s usage during his one chance to take the floor this week.
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.