Fantasy Basketball: Start / Sit for the final week of the regular season, plus position by position breakdowns

We’ve reached the final week of an exciting NBA regular season, and many Fantasy leagues are now entering their championship week. The last few games of the season are always challenging for Fantasy purposes, considering the differing degree of incentive and motivation for each team entering the week, and the fact those can change throughout the course of the scoring period.

The good news is there are several non-contending clubs which have already provided clarity by shutting down veterans or injured stars, paving the way for clear minutes for many others on the roster. We also have a good number of teams still looking to solidify their playoff seeding, which gives us a good pool of streaming candidates.

TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Rurs

TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings

Without further ado, let’s examine some of the tougher start / sit decisions for Week 24:

Guards

Start: Theo Maledon, Thunder

17% start rate in CBS leagues

Maledon figures to continue playing a sizable role over the season’s final week with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (ankle) already shut down and Tre Mann (hamstring) still in limbo for the final few games. Maledon has responded to increased opportunity of late by putting up 20.5 points, 5.5 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.0 steals over his last six games. Just as encouraging has been the second-year pro’s vastly improved efficiency over that sample. Maledon is shooting 48.9 percent, including 41.9 percent from distance – significant boosts over his 37.5 percent and 29.3 percent season-long figures in those categories.

Start: Dillon Brooks, Grizzlies

27% start rate in CBS leagues

Brooks has stepped up in Ja Morant’s (knee) absence, one that’s projected to continue through the final week of the season. Brooks is averaging 22.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists across his last six games, scoring under 20 points just once during that span. He’s shown serious signs of regaining his stroke after a long layoff due to an ankle injury, shooting 49.4 percent over his last four outings. With Desmond Bane also dealing with ankle soreness to begin the week, Brooks could enjoy an even more elevated role over Memphis’ final four games.

ALSO CONSIDER: Keon Johnson, Trail Blazers (2% start rate in CBS leagues)

Sit: Kyle Lowry, Heat

69% start rate in CBS leagues

The Heat appear on the verge of clinching the No. 1 seed, as they boast a 2.0-game lead over the No. 2-seeded Celtics with three games to play for each team. While Miami will have to play its regulars for at least the first game of the scoring period, it’s certainly possible it builds in a rest night or two for Lowry.

Forwards

Start: Aleksej Pokusevski, Thunder

34% start rate in CBS leagues

Pokusevski came through nicely last week despite missing one of his four games due to illness, and he bounced back from that absence with a 17-point, 12-assist, 10-rebound triple-double Sunday against the Suns. The young big is right back in play to close out the season as OKC goes with a bevy of young players. Pokusevski has averaged a well-rounded 13.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.0 steal over his last 10 games, making him a valued asset in multiple categories as the Fantasy season comes to a close.

Start: Herbert Jones, Pelicans

37% start rate in CBS leagues

Jones makes for an intriguing streaming option if you particularly need to boost your steals in the final week, as he comes into the scoring period averaging 2.6 thefts per game over his last 10. Jones is also putting up 10.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists during that span while averaging a solid 30.2 minutes. While his scoring contributions undeniably fluctuate at times, Jones has put up double-digit point tallies in his six of his last 10 and will have four games to work with as the season winds down for a Pelicans team still fighting to lock in a play- in berth.

ALSO CONSIDER: Obi Toppin, Knicks (9% start rate in CBS leagues); Greg Brown, Trail Blazers (0% start rate in CBS leagues)

Sit: Wendell Carter, Magic

69% start rate in CBS leagues

Carter enters the Magic’s three-game week in the midst of a three-game absence due to a wrist sprain, and he’ll miss at least the team’s first contest. The big man has undeniably enjoyed a breakout season, but he’s looking at a maximum of two games played, so he’s far too risky to start if you’re in a close race over the final week.

Centers

Start: Isaiah Roby, Thunder

29% start rate in CBS leagues

Roby is yet another member of the Thunder worth rolling with over the final week. The young big has started eight straight games and is averaging 17.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steal over his last six while logging 32.5 minutes per outing. The 2019 second-round pick is doing a better job spacing the floor this season, draining 42.9 percent of his 3-point attempts. With his ability to contribute in virtually every Fantasy category, and OKC having every incentive to keep developing its young players in the last week, Roby makes for a very appealing streaming option.

Start: Drew Eubanks, Trail Blazers

44% start rate in CBS leagues

Eubanks makes a third consecutive appearance in this space after yet another highly productive week, one that saw him average 18.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals across 33.3 minutes. The big man should continue to see plenty of minutes as the ultra-short-handed Trail Blazers close out a forgettable season, so feel confident in rolling out Eubanks as he gets four final chances to make a case for a bigger role in Portland – or elsewhere – next season.

ALSO CONSIDER: Damian Jones, Kings (8% start rate in CBS leagues); Andre Drummond, Nets (52% start rate in CBS leagues)

Sit: Evan Mobley, Cavaliers

71% start rate in CBS leagues

Mobley enters the week still struggling with a left ankle sprain that’s already cost him four games. The big man may therefore miss at least Tuesday’s game against the Magic, which would leave him with only two other opportunities to take the court the rest of the week. Considering the Cavs are already uncertain as to Jarrett Allen’s availability for the early portion of the postseason due to his finger issue, they may be particularly cautious with Mobley – at least for a very winnable matchup against Orlando to start the week.

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