The NBA features plenty of games this week, as just one team has a two-game schedule. The abundance of games should allow fantasy managers to focus more on recent performances when making lineup decisions rather than putting too much weight on how many games a team has on its schedule.
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, BOS, CLE, DAL, GSW, IND, LAC, MIA, MIN, OKC, POR, WAS
Teams with three games: BKN, CHA, CHI, DEN, DET, HOU, LAL, MEM, MIL, NOP, NYK, ORL, PHX, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA
Teams with two games: PHI
All roster and start percentages via CBS Fantasy Basketball
Consider starting: Killian Hayes, DET (76% rostered, 44% start)
Opponents: @CHA, SAC, BKN
Hayes has logged single-digit scoring totals in three of the last four games, but he's been a valuable fantasy contributor for those in need of assists. He's tallied at least five assists in nine consecutive appearances and has averaged 12.4 points, 7.7 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 28.7 minutes per game during that time. Despite his inefficiency from the floor, Hayes has remained productive as a passer and faces several favorable opponents this week.
Consider sitting: Bradley Beal, WAS (100% rostered, 50% start)
Opponents: BKN, @DEN, @LAC, @LAL
Beal will miss a fourth consecutive game due to a right hamstring injury Monday, and the Wizards haven't yet indicated when he'll be able to return to action. However, it's discouraging that he was immediately ruled out on Monday's injury report.
Although Washington has a four-game schedule this week that should give Beal time to offer fantasy value if he returns following Monday's matchup, it's also possible he's sidelined beyond Monday. Fantasy managers with other productive guards should consider leaving Beal on the bench this week.
Consider starting: Mike Conley, UTA (85% rostered, 27% start)
Opponents: NOP, NOP, @MIL
Conley returned from a nine-game absence during Friday's matchup against Minnesota, and he tallied 17 points, six assists and a rebound in 25 minutes during the loss. He rested for the second half of the back-to-back set Saturday against the Nuggets, but he should be back in action when the Jazz face the Pelicans on Tuesday.
Utah doesn't have any back-to-back sets this week, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Conley appear in all three of the team's games. If he doesn't have any minutes restrictions, he'll have the potential to be a strong fantasy contributor.
Consider sitting: Bennedict Mathurin, IND (94% rostered, 63% start)
Opponents: MIA, GSW, @CLE, NYK
Mathurin was a strong scorer early this season despite coming off the bench, but he's been inefficient from the floor in recent matchups. The rookie has been held under 15 points in five of the last six matchups and has averaged 13.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 31.2 minutes per game during that time.
Mathurin's rebounding offered a solid complement to his scoring abilities earlier this year, but the numbers on the boards haven't been enough to sustain his fantasy value during his recent cold spell. The No. 6 overall pick will likely see better days ahead eventually, but he's worth keeping out of fantasy lineups until he heats up, even with the Pacers' four-game schedule this week.
Consider starting: Jaden McDaniels, MIN (48% rostered, 23% start)
Opponents: @POR, @LAC, @OKC, CHI
McDaniels returned from a three-game absence at the beginning of December and has had somewhat inconsistent results since returning to the floor, as he's averaged 10.0 points and 1.8 rebounds in 29.0 minutes per game over his last four appearances. However, he shot 57.1 percent from the floor during that time and has an upcoming four-game week featuring several favorable opponents against small forwards.
McDaniels isn't a must-start player due to the inconsistency he's displayed for much of the season, but he has some upside if he can maintain his efficiency while getting more involved now that he's back to full health.
Consider sitting: Lauri Markkanen, UTA (100% rostered, 66% start)
Opponents: NOP, NOP, @MIL
Markkanen has missed the last three games due to a non-COVID illness, and it's not yet clear whether he'll be available for Tuesday's game against the Pelicans. Markkanen was productive before his absence, and he topped 20 points in his last four appearances. He'll be a must-start player once he's fully healthy, but his return date isn't yet known, and he's a risky play this week since the Jazz have just three games on the schedule. Risk-averse fantasy managers should consider other options this week given Markkanen's uncertain status.
Consider starting: Luguentz Dort, OKC (76% rostered, 43% start)
Opponents: @DAL, MIA, MIN, MEM
Dort missed a game last week due to a knee injury and had lackluster results during his return to the court Saturday. However, he was productive in the four games before his absence, averaging 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 32.3 minutes per game. He appeared to be on a slight minutes restriction Saturday since he played just 22 minutes against the Cavaliers, but he'll likely have more chances to be involved during Oklahoma City's four-game slate this week.
Consider sitting: Khris Middleton, MIL (99% rostered, 57% start)
Opponents: GSW, @MEM, UTA
Middleton made his season debut at the beginning of December and has had somewhat inconsistent results since returning to action. The 31-year-old also left Sunday's loss to the Rockets after just six minutes due to a left ankle sprain. The exact severity of his injury isn't yet clear, but it's certainly a discouraging development following his lengthy absence to begin the year. The Bucks play just three games this week, making Middleton especially risky to start since he won't have many chances to play if he misses any time.
Consider starting: Naz Reid, MIN (11% rostered, 7% start)
Opponents: @POR, @LAC, @OKC, CHI
The Timberwolves have been without Karl-Anthony Towns over the last five games, leaving a significant void in the team's frontcourt. Towns is expected to miss several more weeks, and Reid has seen increased playing time in Towns' absence. Reid has continued to come off the bench, but he's averaged 10.6 points and 7.0 rebounds in 19.0 minutes per game over the last five matchups. The 23-year-old has been efficient despite somewhat limited minutes and is worth start consideration during Minnesota's four-game week, particularly in deeper leagues.
Consider sitting: Nikola Vucevic, CHI (100% rostered, 89% start)
Opponents: NYK, NYK, @MIN
Vucevic has been a relatively consistent threat to post double-doubles this year, but he's displayed more inconsistency than usual during recent matchups. He's been held under 15 points in two of the last four games and has logged single-digit rebounds in three of those matchups. The Bulls have just three games on their schedule this week, including two matchups against the Knicks, who have one of the best defenses in the league against opposing centers. Despite the upside that Vucevic has displayed this season, he has an unfavorable outlook for this week.