Boy did injuries ever rear their ugly head last week. The NBA and fantasy basketball worlds lost multiple star players for extended periods of time, in some cases extending out as long and the remainder of the season. Now, a whole host of virus-related protocols and cancellations are further complicating matters. All of the commotion certainly makes for an intriguing fantasy basketball start/sit outlook for Week 4 of the season.
Just like fantasy football, managers are advised to stay calm and resort to a next-man-up approach. With every injury, virus quarantine, and whatever else that may knock a reliable star out of the lineup, there are always going to be young guys waiting in the wings. The results may not be there right away. It’s important to remember that fantasy basketball is all about volume and opportunity. As the roster turmoil continues throughout the NBA, here are some of my start/sit calls to hopefully provide fantasy owners with some clarity as we begin the new week.
*All stats are taken on the morning of Monday, Jan. 11*
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Week 4 Fantasy Basketball Schedule Breakdown
Five games: IND, PHI
Four games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CLE, DAL, MEM, NOP, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHX, POR, SAC, UTA, WAS
Three games: BRO, CHI, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIL, SAS, TOR
Two games: MIN
Week 4 Fantasy Basketball Start/Sit
Point Guards | Fantasy Basketball Start/Sit
Consider Starting: Mike Conley Jr., Utah Jazz
Opponents: CLE, WAS, ATL, DEN
The difference between Mike Conley this year compared to last is night and day. The 33-year-old has been a much more reliable fantasy basketball start/sit contributor on a nightly basis through the first three weeks. He has been filling the stat sheet in numerous areas, averaging 17.8 points, 5.7 assists, and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 42.5% from long range. Week 4 promises more of the same. The Jazz have four games on deck this week. Three are against teams who rank in the bottom six in fantasy points allowed to point guards. Conley should be locked into your starting lineups without question.
Consider Sitting: Coby White, Chicago Bulls
Opponents: BOS, OKC, DAL
**Note: The Bulls’ game against the Celtics has been postponed and may not be played this week**
A bad schedule week for Coby White and his fantasy basketball start/sit owners got even worse when the NBA announced a postponement of Tuesday’s game against Boston for virus reasons. Now, Chicago may only play two games in Week 4. Neither are inspiring fantasy matchups for White either. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks are both top-six in fantasy points allowed to point guards. The Mavs are actually the toughest defense for PGs to face, surrendering just over 39 fantasy points per game to the position. White has had a strong first three weeks to be sure, but Week 4 is shaping up to be a sit for the second-year pro.
Shooting Guards | Fantasy Basketball Start/Sit
Consider Starting: Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
Opponents: SAC, GSW, POR, PHX, LAC
Victor Oladipo and the Pacers have a loaded schedule this week, with five games upcoming in the next seven days. More games mean more opportunity for fantasy production. The schedule also sets up nicely for Oladipo with a pair of games coming against Sacramento and Golden State teams that are allowing over 43.5 fantasy points per game to the position. While Oladipo is somewhat of a hybrid shooting guard given that he has technically been starting at the three spot, it’s hard to not get excited about locking him in over other SGs based on the Week 4 schedule. Oladipo is also eligible at the small forward position in fantasy basketball start/sit, giving owners multiple avenues by which to get him in their lineups this week.
Consider Sitting: Malik Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves
Opponents: MEM (twice)
Aside from the fact that Malik Beasley and the Timberwolves only play two games this week, both come against the Memphis Grizzlies. Through three weeks, Memphis is in fact the toughest defense for opposing shooting guards to face, as they only allow 33.26 fantasy points per game to the position. Add in the ever-lurking threat of Anthony Edwards waiting in line behind Beasley for more playing time and the 24-year-old is a hard pass in fantasy basketball start/sit this week.
Small Forwards | Fantasy Basketball Start/Sit
Consider Starting: De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks
Opponents: PHI, PHX, UTA, POR
An injury to Danilo Gallinari has opened the door for last year’s No. 4 overall draft choice De’Andre Hunter to log hefty minutes in the Hawks rotation on a nightly basis. He has made good on the extra playing time, averaging 16.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists entering Week 4. Hunter will have a great chance to pad his stats this week with a quartet of games. Atlanta hosts Philadelphia before traveling west for a road trip later in the week. Two of the Hawks’ opponents this week (PHL, POR) are among the five worst teams in terms of fantasy points allowed to small forward, giving up more than 46 per game. A third (UTA) is just behind at nearly 45 fantasy points allowed to the position. The sky’s the limit for Hunter in fantasy basketball start/sit this week.
Consider Sitting: Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets
Opponents: DEN, NYK, ORL
Caris LeVert is already at a disadvantage for fantasy basketball start/sit purposes this week, given that the Nets are only scheduled to play three games. When you dive deeper into those matchups, there is even more cause for concern. LeVert will go up against two tough small forward defenses in the Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets. Brooklyn’s third game this week comes against the crosstown rival New York Knicks. Believe it or not, the Knicks are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to SFs on a per-game basis at 35.43. While LeVert is somewhat of a hybrid backcourt player, the matchups plus the reduced games call for sit consideration this week.
Power Forwards | Fantasy Basketball Start/Sit
Consider Starting: Mike Scott, Philadelphia 76ers
Opponents: ATL, MIA (twice), MEM, OKC
How about a little deep dive action in the power forwards section? With the 76ers roster depleted due to virus issues, there’s a real opportunity for Mike Scott to be a fantasy basketball start/sit contributor this week. Philadelphia is essentially cobbling whatever available players they can together right now. Starting PF Tobias Harris is one regular who will be out at least until January 16th. Scott has been cleared from a knee contusion injury and will be on the court to start off a busy Week 4 schedule for the Sixers. Five games in seven days include four against teams in the bottom five in fantasy points allowed to opposing power forwards. He may be a dart throw, but you can’t beat five games and the matchups that Scott has this week.
Consider Sitting: Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs
Opponents: OKC, HOU (twice)
Keldon Johnson has a strong start to Week 4 with a matchup against Oklahoma City. From there, the only opponent he and the Spurs will face is a Houston Rockets team that is allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing PFs on the season (35.1). He lacks a significant fantasy basketball start/sit production ceiling this week.
Centers | Fantasy Basketball Start/Sit
Consider Starting: Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
Opponents: WAS, ATL, GSW, IND
With a whole new fleet of talented players joining the Suns this offseason, Deandre Ayton’s fantasy basketball numbers aren’t quite what many owners had hoped for. Nonetheless, he is still averaging a double-double (12.9 points, 11.7 rebounds) in 30.7 average minutes of game action. Ayton has a schedule that shapes up in his favor this week as well. The Suns’ four-game week is highlighted by a contest against a Washington Wizards team that allows 60.51 fantasy points per game to centers, the second-highest mark in the NBA. The former No. 1 overall draft choice is still a great fantasy play, and he carries added upside this week.
Consider Sitting: Christian Wood, Houston Rockets
Opponents: LAL, SAS (twice)
Christian Wood has been a major bright spot for the Rockets after an offseason wrought with angst and turnover. After scoring 23 points against the Los Angeles Lakers over the weekend, Wood has now reached the 20-point threshold in all seven games he’s played in this season. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been quite as reliable in other categories. On top of this, Wood and the Rockets only play three games this week. Two come against a San Antonio team that is allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing centers. Wood isn’t going away anytime soon when it comes to a season-long fantasy basketball start/sit outlook, but you can likely find better options at center in Week 4.