What a week that was in the NBA! From a MASSIVE blockbuster trade to unfortunate injuries, there were major fantasy basketball implications attached to just about every headline. By now, most fantasy managers likely have a decent idea of how their squad is looking with four weeks of the season complete. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Explore some trade options and stay on that waiver wire grind! Of course, you still have to make sure you are setting an optimal lineup as well. Here are some notable players to consider for fantasy basketball start/sit in Week 5.
*All stats are taken on the morning of Monday, Jan. 18*
*Fantasy points data based on standard FanDuel scoring settings*
Week 5 Fantasy Basketball Schedule Breakdown
Four games: ATL, BKN, DAL, DET, GSW, HOU, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NYK, ORL, PHX, POR, SAS, TOR
Three games: BOS, CHI, CLE, DEN, IND, LAC, LAL, NOP, OKC, PHI, SAC, UTA
Two games: CHA, WAS
Week 5 Fantasy Basketball Start/Sit
Point Guards | Fantasy Basketball Start/Sit
Consider Starting: Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
Opponents: PHX, POR (twice), SAC
Ja Morant returned over the weekend, doing so in emphatic fashion with a solid 17-point, 6-assist effort in a win over Philadelphia. He should be inserted back into fantasy basketball lineups without hesitation in Week 5. The Grizzlies face the Portland Trail Blazers twice, a team giving up over 51 fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. Memphis’ final opponent this week, the Sacramento Kings, is the worst team defending the position in the entire NBA. Combine Morant’s ability with this juicy schedule and he could be in store for a monster week.
Consider Sitting: Russell Westbrook, Washington Wizards
Opponents: MIL, SAS
**Note: The Wizards’ games against the Cavaliers and Hornets have been postponed and won’t be played this week**
The Wizards continue to deal with a virus outbreak amongst the team. The NBA officially announced that their games against Cleveland and Charlotte would be postponed, leaving Washington with just two games this week. This puts Russell Westbrook well behind the eight ball in terms of fantasy basketball start/sit opportunity. If the Wizards are able to play those games, they both come against teams in the upper half of the NBA in fantasy points allowed to point guards. Westbrook (and all Wizards players for that matter) is a hard pass this week.
Shooting Guards | Fantasy Basketball Start/Sit
Consider Starting: Eric Gordon
Opponents: CHI, PHX, DET, DAL
With James Harden no longer occupying space in the Rockets’ backcourt, shooters like Eric Gordon could be in line for a major increase in fantasy basketball start/sit value moving forward. Gordon has been dealing with leg tightness and missed the last few games, but he has been cleared to play ahead of Houston’s first game against Chicago this week. While Victor Oladipo will be making his Rockets debut after coming over in the Harden trade, John Wall will remain sidelined for at least one more contest. The Bulls come in allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to shooting guards. It’s both a great matchup and personnel situation for Gordon to kick off a four-game week.
Consider Sitting: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Opponents: NOP (twice), GSW
Undisputedly the best player on the Jazz, many are still in debate as to whether or not Donovan Mitchell has truly reached superstar status on the greater NBA landscape. It will be tough sledding for the 24-year-old this week as Utah only plays three games. Two of those come against a New Orleans Pelicans defense that allows the sixth-fewest fantasy points to shooting guards on a per-game basis. Mitchell has the talent to overcome the tough schedule. With that said, you can likely find safer fantasy basketball start/sit options this week.
Small Forwards | Fantasy Basketball Start/Sit
Consider Starting: OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
Opponents: DAL, MIA (twice), IND
OG Anunoby is one of the more inconsistent players in fantasy basketball when it comes to capitalizing on his minutes. While the fourth-year pro certainly has an unpredictable element to his game, this week looks like a positive one for Anunoby on paper. The Raptors have four games on the schedule, three of which are against the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks. Those teams are allowing the third and eight-most fantasy points per game to small forwards, respectively. Despite averaging 34.8 minutes per game on the season, Anunoby is only putting up 13.1 points. He has everything in front of him this week as Toronto attempts to find its groove offensively after a slow start to the season.
Consider Sitting: Will Barton, Denver Nuggets
Opponents: OKC, PHX (twice)
Those in need of production at the small forward position this week would be wise to steer clear of Will Barton in fantasy basketball start/sit. The Nuggets are hoping to have Micahel Porter Jr. back later this week. His return would knock Barton out of the starting lineup. On top of that, two of Denver’s three games in Week 5 come against a Phoenix Suns defense that only allows 31.31 fantasy points per game to the position, the best mark in the NBA. It’s safe to say Barton has the chips stacked against him this week.
Power Forwards | Fantasy Basketball Start/Sit
Consider Starting: Jarred Vanderbilt, Minnesota Timberwolves
Opponents: ATL (twice), ORL, NOP
Despite our Mike Scott deep dive not exactly going according to script last week, we’re taking another shot here in the power forwards section. Meet Jarred Vanderbilt, the backup PF on a bad Timberwolves team. Nonetheless, the stars just might be aligning for the 2018 second-round draft pick to have a big fantasy basketball start/sit week. Three of Minnesota’s four games come against two teams who are allowing the third and fourth-most fantasy points to opposing power forwards respectively in the Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans. Like Scott last week, Vanderbilt should see increased minutes with starter Juancho Hernangomez currently on the virus list. You could definitely do worse than Vanderbilt at the position this week.
Consider Sitting: Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder
Opponents: DEN, LAC (twice)
Darius Bazley has been a key cog for the Thunder in the early going this season and a revelation for fantasy basketball start/sit performances. No matter how young the Thunder get, they seem to stay competitive. The emergence of players like Bazley is a big reason why. Unfortunately, the 20-year-old could be in for a rough go of it in Week 5. OKC only has three games on the schedule, two of which come against a Los Angeles Clippers team that allows the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards. Avoid Bazley in lineups this week.
Centers | Fantasy Basketball Start/Sit
Consider Starting: Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers
Opponents: BKN (twice), BOS
**Note: The Cavaliers’ games against the Wizards has been postponed and won’t be played this week**
Even with the Cavaliers set to lose one of their four games this week due to virus issues in Washington, Andre Drummond is a solid fantasy basketball start/sit play this week. Two of Cleveland’s remaining games come against the Brooklyn Nets. Entering the week, Brooklyn is giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing centers on a per-game basis. Of course, the majority of that data came with Jarrett Allen in the Nets’ lineup. Now a member of the Cavaliers himself, Allen won’t be helping Brooklyn contain Drummond and may even add to the frontcourt carnage himself. Good luck, DeAndre Jordan.
Consider Sitting: Tristan Thompson, Boston Celtics
Opponents: PHI (twice), CLE
Tristan Thompson is just two games removed from virus protocol in his own right, getting back into action with a pair of average games over the weekend. While the Philadelphia 76ers team he and the Celtics face twice this week has their own virus problems, that doesn’t change the fact that they are a top-five defense against opposing centers in fantasy this season. Kemba Walker may be on the way back, but that doesn’t change my fantasy basketball start/sit outlook for Boston’s center this week. Leave Thompson on the pine.