By Juan Blanco, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
We head into an interesting Week 10, one that features the NBA’s traditional Christmas Day extravaganza, along with a bit more teams than usual saddled with the unfavorable two-game week. That gives us more Sit candidates to consider than usual and sets up some potentially tough decisions in that regard. The good news is we also have our usual solid array of four- and three-game weeks in play, and as customary, some injury situations opening up opportunities for players around the league.
Without further ado, let’s delve into some candidates you should consider either rolling with or giving a breather to in Week 10:
TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards
TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers
Start: Josh Richardson, Philadelphia 76ers (four games)
Richardson has started to round back into form after a multi-game absence due to a hamstring injury, and he now draws a coveted four-game week to work with. The fifth-year guard has started the score the ball better of late, and he offered some serviceable complementary production in rebounds, assists, and steals. He should have plenty of opportunities to rack up production this week, especially with Matisse Thybulle set to miss at least the next week or two.
Start: Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies (four games)
Brooks continues to build on his career season, most recently scoring at least 15 points in seven of his last eight contests while shooting an impressive 38.8% from behind the arc on 6.1 three-point attempts per contest. The third-year wing has been more active on the rebounding front over the last three contests, too — Brooks is averaging 6.3 boards over that span — and the Grizzlies have some appealing matchups versus the Spurs and Thunder on tap as well to start his week off.
ALSO CONSIDER: Dennis Schroder, OKC
Sit: Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets (two games)
Rozier has mostly been a hit as Kemba Walker’s replacement in Charlotte, and while he’s been outshined by Devonte’ Graham, he’s made for a more than serviceable fantasy asset. However, he’ll get just two games this week, and he’ll have to deal with Chris Paul’s defense in one of those contests. Additionally, don’t discount the fact Rozier is good for a clunker or two from a shooting perspective from time to time — he’s shooting just 41.3% for the season, a risky percentage when also factoring in the sparse number of games he’ll get.
Sit: Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (two games)
LaVine is enjoying a very strong season overall, making it all the more difficult to bench him. However, he has just two games on the docket and one comes against the stingy Magic. Like Rozier, LaVine can go into an occasional shooting slump, and the production he might offer over two games, which could be impressive relative to opportunity, could still likely be outpaced by a four-game option you may have elsewhere on your roster.
Start: Brandon Clarke, Memphis Grizzlies (four games)
Clarke is starting to gain momentum in his high-usage bench role behind Jaren Jackson, Jr., who’s liable to get into foul trouble on any given night. Jackson has been whistled for at least four fouls in 10 of his last 12 games, which recently afforded Clarke four straight tallies of 22 minutes or greater. While there’s some risk attached due to his backup role, the rookie has four games to work with this week and has proven to be a particularly reliable rebounder (9.8 boards per 36 minutes) while shooting an impressive 64.6%, including 44.8% from three-point range.
Start: OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors (four games)
Anunoby has shown considerable improvement across the board this season, and he now has a chance to benefit from the multi-game absences of Norman Powell (shoulder), Pascal Siakam (groin) and Marc Gasol (hamstring). Anunoby already boasts career highs in points (11.6), rebounds (5.7), assists (1.7) and steals (1.2), and he’s taken double-digit shot attempts the last two games, the most recent with all three of his aforementioned teammates out of action. Anunoby will have four games on the schedule this week, including a pair of tilts against the rebounding-challenged Celtics.
Sit: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers (two games)
There’s always a series of tough decisions to make throughout a long fantasy season, and this certainly qualifies as such. The good news is that Leonard shouldn’t be subject to any load management days, but he’s sitting out Sunday and has just two games on the slate. As with other stars on two-game weeks, it’s not that Leonard won’t produce in those opportunities, but take a realistic assessment of how the cumulative numbers might match up to a player with more games before deploying him.
Sit: Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons (three games)
Griffin is another big name who finds himself in unfamiliar territory this week for a couple of different reasons. His schedule isn’t optimal, but it’s not prohibitive either, as the Pistons have three games on the docket. But Griffin has been struggling with both consistency and injury lately. He’ll enter the new week having missed the last two contests with a knee issue, and he could well end up sitting Monday against the 76ers. Griffin’s numbers are also down across the board this season, with his 37.3% shooting, including 27.3% from three-point range, and his three single-digit point tallies over his last five healthy games quantify the extent of his struggles.
Start: Serge Ibaka, Toronto Raptors (four games)
Ibaka is primed for an extended run at center with Marc Gasol (hamstring) out indefinitely, and with four games on his slate this week, he’ll be poised to reward fantasy managers immediately. Ibaka is also a beneficiary of Pascal Siakam’s indefinite absence due to his groin injury, as that will presumably give the veteran big man more scoring and rebounding opportunities. Ibaka already heads into the week with back-to-back 20-point efforts — the second coming in his new starting role against the Wizards. He’ll be poised for more success this week with matchups against the Pacers and a pair of contests versus the Celtics as well, which have struggled with rebounding rate all season.
Start: Derrick Favors, New Orleans Pelicans (four games)
Favors finally made his return from an extended absence due to injury and a personal matter, and he’s progressively starting to build his stamina and minutes back up. The veteran worked up to 27 minutes in his most recent game against the Warriors on Friday, which also netted a double-double performance. A big chunk of the Pelicans’ offense will still naturally run through the likes of Jrue Holiday and Brandon Ingram, but now that Favors is back and ready to log a normal allotment of minutes, he’s worthy of a start over bigs with fewer games this coming week.
Sit: Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets (two games)
Allen has certainly taken a step forward this season, but the impressive young big is worthy of a benching this week for scheduling reasons. Allen will face the Knicks and Rockets in his two opportunities this week, which are also tough matchups for centers with the likes of Mitchell Robinson and Clint Capela to deal with down low. Even a player like Alex Len, on a three-game week, could prove more valuable than Allen.
Sit: Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets (two games)
Zeller has been thriving recently in both a backup center and starting power forward role, but a two-game week dampens his outlook. Zeller doesn’t even take the court again until Friday against the Thunder, and he’ll have to do battle with some powerful bigs in Steven Adams, Jaren Jackson, Jr. and Jonas Valanciunas in his pair of contests. Zeller’s 14.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists over the last nine games is solid, but it’s also production that could be eclipsed by a big with three or four games this coming week.