By Juan Blanco, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
Week 14 is another highly attractive one for fantasy purposes, as we’ll see a whopping 20 teams draw four-game schedules. We have just two teams at the opposite end of the spectrum, as only the Hornets and Bucks are saddled with a two-game schedule. Therefore, there will be plenty of opportunities for players at all positions to rack up some serious production. As usual, we’ll try to focus on some of those that might constitute the tougher start/sit decisions of the week.
TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz
TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: Charlotte Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks
Without further ado, let’s delve into some candidates you should consider either rolling with or giving a breather to in Week 14:
Start: Derrick Rose, Detroit Pistons (four games)
Understandably, rumors are surrounding Rose as the trade deadline approaches, but for the time being, he’s a member of the Pistons and set for a four-game week as the starting point guard. That puts him firmly in play if you have the veteran on your roster, especially considering both his recent performances and upcoming matchups. Rose has put up 22 and 27 points in his first two starts, respectively, but he’s eclipsed 20 points in eight straight, and in 10 of his last 11 overall. Rose’s efficiency has been off the charts during that stretch as well, as evidenced by his 53.4 percent success rate from the floor. The coming week presents appealing matchups against the Wizards, Grizzlies, and Nets.
Start: Jarrett Culver, Minnesota Timberwolves (four games)
The Timberwolves have found a starting five they like that features Culver at two-guard and Andrew Wiggins at the three, and the former is taking full advantage of his opportunity. Culver just scored a team-high 26 points Saturday versus the Raptors, and he’s rattled off double-digit points in 11 straight games overall. Culver has also offered complimentary production in that span. In addition to averaging 15.9 points (on 13.9 attempts per contest), he’s also contributed 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.4 steals.
Sit: Devonte’ Graham, Charlotte Hornets (two games)
Graham has been one of this season’s stellar sophomores, but with a two-game week on tap, it’s time to consider a temporary benching. The 24-year-old has most recently been thriving with his point guard duties, having dished out double-digit assists in six of his last 12 games alone. Nevertheless, a two-game schedule, which opens with a particularly tough matchup against the Magic, certainly isn’t the best recipe for a strong fantasy week.
Sit: Mike Conley, Utah Jazz (three games)
Conley just returned Saturday from an extended absence due to a hamstring injury and logged 15 minutes against the Kings. His playing time is naturally expected to jump back up over the next few contests, but with just three games on the schedule and the lingering possibility he suffers a setback, it’s best to wait and see on Conley this week before getting him back into your lineups.
Start: Davis Bertans, Washington Wizards (four games)
Bertans is set to continue holding down the starting power forward spot over the next week with Rui Hachimura (groin) without a timetable for return. The floor-spacing big has put together double-digit scoring efforts in all four of his games since returning from a nine-game absence and is averaging a well-balanced 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists during that stretch. Bertans has managed to accomplish those scoring numbers with an extremely rusty shot as well, as he’s drained just 33.3% of his 12.8 attempts over that span. That figure is likely to rise the more he plays, and the four opportunities he’ll get this week make him a player you’ll want in your lineups.
Start: Sekou Doumbouya, Detroit Pistons (four games)
Doumbouya, and not the proven Markieff Morris, has taken over starting power forward duties for the time being with Blake Griffin sidelined due to his ongoing knee issues. The young big has proven to be worthy of the responsibility, having managed double-digit scoring seven of his first nine starts and averaging 12.9 points and 5.1 rebounds over that span while shooting 50.6% (including 39.4% on 3.7 three-point attempts per contest). Doumbouya is capable of doing a bit of everything, and with an average of 30.2 minutes during his starting tenure, plus favorable matchups against the Wizards, Grizzlies, and Nets, he’s an easy start candidate if you’ve got him.
Sit: Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas Mavericks (three games)
Porzingis appears set to return from his 10-game absence Tuesday to start the Mavericks’ three-game week, as he was able to turn in a full practice Sunday. However, there are a couple of concerns at play that could make him worthy of a seat on your bench. To begin with, Porzingis will likely be brought back slowly, considering how cautious the Mavs have been with his recovery thus far — they announced him available twice before games this past week before making him a late scratch. Additionally, he’ll be on less than a full schedule this week and will also draw a couple of difficult matchups against the Clippers and Jazz.
Sit: Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks (two games)
Middleton simply falls victim to the dreaded two-game schedule this week, as otherwise, he’s offering his usual solid level of across-the-board contributions. The veteran wing is shooting a career-high 49.3% overall, including 41.5% from distance. While he’s likely been a bedrock of your lineup thus far, consider making the tough decision of sitting him this week, with the 40-45 points and 10-12 rebounds he’s likely to provide you in two games certainly reachable (and beatable) by forwards with more opportunities.
Start: Luke Kornet, Chicago Bulls (four games)
Kornet is currently the last man standing at center for the Bulls, who are still going to be missing Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle) and Daniel Gafford (thumb) for the foreseeable future. The former Knicks draft pick has performed well thus far, averaging 12.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks across his first pair of starts. Kornet actually started to flash several games before that, as he’s scored in double digits in four of his last five contests. With four opportunities this coming week to further settle into the top role, he’s a worthwhile starter if you’ve plucked him off the waiver wire.
Start: Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers (four games)
The Lakers have given Howard more run in recent games, and the multi-time All-Star has validated that opportunity with some strong returns off the bench. Howard has double-digit boards in five of his last six games going into the new week, and he’s also scored in double digits in four games since the calendar flipped to 2020. Just as important is the fact that Howard is averaging 22.6 minutes over the last seven games, logging fewer than 21 minutes just once during that span.
Sit: Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks (two games)
Lopez continues to put together solid production on most nights and is averaging a career-high 2.5 blocks, which has buoyed his fantasy production on many nights. Nevertheless, Lopez will be handicapped by a two-game week. Both of his upcoming opponents, the Bulls and Hornets, are ranked in the bottom five in rebounding rate and offensive efficiency rating allowed to centers. Lopez could be comfortably outpaced by a three- or four-game option.
Sit: Al Horford, Philadelphia 76ers (three games)
Horford is still slated to fill in as the starting center during the three games the 76ers play, as Joel Embiid (finger) reportedly won’t be reevaluated until the latter part of the week. Horford has been solid in the six games Embiid has missed thus far, but ultimately his 13.5 points and 7.0 rebounds during that span are only marginally better than his season-long figures of 12.5 points and 6.6 boards. Moreover, Horford’s usage has only risen to 20.0% (up from 18.4%), and his matchups against the Raptors and Lakers this week are less than appealing.