The NBA has a relatively standard schedule during the first full week in December, with all but two teams playing at least three games. However, injuries are still piling up around the league, which has led to increased roles for some players who might not normally enter starting lineups in most fantasy leagues.
While stars from the teams with two games should still start in most fantasy leagues, it's best to consider players with four games instead of some of the less reliable contributors.
Teams with four games: ATL, CHA, DAL, DET, IND, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIL, ORL, PHX, TOR
Teams with three games: BKN, BOS, CHI, CLE, DEN, GSW, HOU, MEM, MIN, NOP, NYK, OKC, PHI, SAC, UTA, WAS
Teams with two games: POR, SAS
All roster and start percentages via CBS Fantasy Basketball
Consider starting: Cameron Payne, PHX (68% rostered, 48% start)
Opponents: @DAL, BOS, @NOP, @NOP
Payne has served as the Suns' starting point guard with Chris Paul sidelined due to a heel injury, and Paul doesn't yet have a timetable for his return. Payne has shown some scoring upside since taking on a starting role but has been held to single-digit scoring totals in three of the last four games while shooting 37.5 percent from the floor.
However, he's been consistent as a distributor and has displayed some production in rebounds and steals. The Mavericks and Pelicans rank in the bottom half of the league in field-goal percentage allowed to opposing point guards, so Payne should have a chance to bounce back during the Suns' four-game week, especially if Paul remains sidelined.
Consider sitting: Devin Vassell, SAS (98% rostered, 60% start)
Opponents: HOU, @MIA
Vassell had three consecutive performances with 20-plus points between late November and early December, but he recorded just 14 points during Sunday's loss to Phoenix. While the Spurs have a favorable matchup against the Rockets on Thursday, they play just two games this week, which significantly hinders Vassell's fantasy outlook. The 22-year-old has certainly taken a significant step forward over the first few months of the 2022-23 campaign, but he's a relatively lackluster option during San Antonio's two-game week.
Consider starting: Andrew Nembhard, IND (18% rostered, 10% start)
Opponents: @GSW, @MIN, WAS, BKN
Nembhard has started the last three games, and he saw an increased role Sunday against the Trail Blazers with Tyrese Haliburton sidelined due to a groin injury. Nembhard has been a well-rounded contributor over his last two appearances, averaging 14.5 points, 9.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds in 36.0 minutes per game during that time.
Haliburton will be unavailable for Monday's game against the Warriors, which should allow Nembhard to remain involved. The Pacers hope Haliburton can return as early as Wednesday, but that's far from a guarantee. Even if that happens, Nembhard would likely retain a starting job and continue to see increased involvement if Haliburton faces any limitations.
Consider sitting: Malcolm Brogdon, BOS (89% rostered, 58% start)
Opponents: @TOR, @PHX, @GSW
Brogdon has been productive off the bench for the Celtics early in the season and is among the top contenders for Sixth Man of the Year, but he's displayed some inconsistency over the last few weeks. In addition to being held to single-digit scoring totals in two of the last six games, he's been held under five rebounds in two of those matchups.
The Celtics play all three of their games on the road this week, and Brogdon shoots just 38.0 percent from the floor during away games compared to 59.8 percent at home. Especially in shallower fantasy leagues, it's worth considering other options ahead of the Celtics' road trip.
Consider starting: Caleb Martin, MIA (48% rostered, 25% start)
Opponents: @MEM, DET, LAC, SAS
The Heat have one of the lengthiest injury reports in the NBA, which has led to an increased role for Martin over the last several weeks. The 27-year-old has played at least 35 minutes in eight of the last 10 games, and he's logged double-digit scoring totals in nine of those appearances.
Over that 10-game span, he's averaged 15.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 36.6 minutes per game. While the team has gotten a few players back over the last several games, Miami has a four-game week ahead, so Martin should have plenty of chances to contribute.
Consider sitting: RJ Barrett, NYK (98% rostered, 75% start)
Opponents: ATL, @CHA, SAC
Barrett has shown glimpses of dominance early in the 2022-23 season, but he's struggled to display much upside in recent matchups. He's been held under 20 points in three of the last four games and was also limited to fewer than five rebounds in two of those appearances.
The Knicks play just three games this week, including matchups against Atlanta and Charlotte, two teams that tend to perform well against opposing small forwards. Given New York's schedule and Barrett's recent lack of upside, it's worth considering other options this week.
Consider starting: Jalen Johnson, ATL (8% rostered, 3% start)
Opponents: OKC, @NYK, @BKN, CHI
Johnson recently missed two games due to a sore ankle, but he returned to the court Friday and started since De'Andre Hunter and Justin Holiday were sidelined. Johnson stepped up with his first double-double of the season, posting 10 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes.
Hunter is slated to miss at least the first two games of the week, and even though Holiday will return to action Monday, Johnson could have a chance to remain involved. The Hawks will also be without John Collins (ankle) for at least another week.
Especially in deeper fantasy leagues, Johnson merits starting consideration in case he can maintain his increased production during Atlanta's four-game week.
Consider sitting: Keldon Johnson, SAS (99% rostered, 67% start)
Opponents: HOU, @MIA
Johnson posted a team-high 27 points Sunday against Phoenix, but he hasn't been very efficient from the floor recently, converting just 30.7 percent of his field-goal attempts over the last eight matchups. He was limited to 15 or fewer points in five of those games, and he was held under five rebounds in three of those appearances. While Johnson has proven to be a strong fantasy contributor at times early in the 2022-23 season, he's a less-appealing option this week given his recent lack of efficiency and the Spurs' two-game schedule.
Consider starting: Isaiah Stewart, DET (78% rostered, 40% start)
Opponents: @MIA, @NOP, @MEM, LAL
Stewart missed seven games due to a toe injury over the second half of November, but he's been back in action over the last three matchups. He hasn't appeared to have many limitations over that stretch, as he's averaged 12.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in 30.0 minutes per game. While the Heat are one of the best defenses in the league against opposing centers, the Pistons have some more favorable matchups later in their four-game week. Fantasy managers shouldn't have reservations about starting Stewart this week given his involvement over the last three games.
Consider sitting: Alperen Sengun, HOU (98% rostered, 77% start)
Opponents: PHI, @SAS, MIL
Sengun had one of his best performances of the season with 21 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists against Oklahoma City on Nov. 26, but he's had a limited role over his last four appearances. He's shot 61.9 percent from the floor over the last four games but has averaged just 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 24.0 minutes per game during that time.
The Rockets play just three games this week, including matchups against the 76ers and Bucks – teams that tend to perform well against opposing centers. Although Sengun has been efficient recently, he hasn't displayed much upside over the last few games and is a candidate to leave on the bench this week.