Fantasy Basketball: Championship Week starts and sits, plus position by position breakdowns

We’ve reached championship week in many Fantasy leagues, and fortunately, we’re treated to a loaded schedule in the week ahead. Only seven clubs are saddled with a three-game schedule, and there are plenty of teams still fighting for playoff positioning, which should keep rotations fairly stable across much of the league.

Contending teams tend to be more trustworthy, but even the bottom-feeders have plenty of appealing fantasy options. Several clubs that have no postseason aspirations still have young players getting extended opportunities as the season winds down, leaving them with plenty of motivation to showcase their talent.

TEAMS WITH FIVE GAMES: Cleveland Cavaliers

TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder , Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards

TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz

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

Guards

Start: Tre Mann, Thunder

28% start rate in CBS leagues

Mann has taken ownership of the starting shooting guard role during what is now confirmed to be a rest-of-season absence for Josh Giddey, averaging 16.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists during his current 14-game stint with the first unit. The 18th overall pick in 2021 is averaging an encouraging 14.4 shot attempts per game and shooting an efficient 88.5 percent from the free-throw line. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (ankle) already ruled out for at least Monday’s game, Mann should continue in a high-usage role. Over his last eight games, he’s averaging 3.4 made threes on 42.9 percent shooting from deep.

Start: Alec Burks, Knicks

45% start rate in CBS leagues

Burks is playing a key role in the Knicks’ slow march toward the finish line, averaging a very well-rounded 13.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.2 steals while shooting an impressive 43.8 percent from three-point range in his last 13 games . The veteran continues to operate as the starting point guard and should remain heavily involved on a four-game week that includes particularly favorable matchups against the Hornets and Magic.

ALSO CONSIDER: Immanuel Quickley, Knicks (38% start rate in CBS leagues); Lamar Stevens, Cavaliers (1% start rate in CBS leagues)

Sit: Seth Curry, Nets

46% start rate in CBS leagues

Curry has had his moments in Brooklyn thus far, but he could be a primary victim of Kyrie Irving’s ability to now play home games. The veteran sharpshooter has tallied 29 points over the last two games, but he’s added only two assists, one steal and one block in that span. Unless you’re in dire need of three-pointers, Curry is probably best left on the bench in a three-game week for Brooklyn.

forwards

Start: Aleksej Pokusevski, Thunder

31% start rate in CBS leagues

Pokusevski is another up-and-coming member of the Thunder who’s getting a chance to showcase his skills as OKC plays out the string. The 20-year-old Serbian has been particularly impressive during the post-All-Star-break portion of the season, putting up 12.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists across 26.9 minutes over his last 16 games. He’s also drawn starts in four of his last five games from him. With Darius Bazley sidelined to begin the week, Pokusevski should remain a viable streaming option.

Start: Marvin Bagley, Pistons

41% start rate in CBS leagues

Bagley certainly looks rejuvenated even as he’s toiling away on another non-contending team. The big man comes into Week 24 averaging 16.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists across his last 12 games, a stretch during which he’s logging 29.6 minutes per outing. He’s also drawn starts in half of those games, and with Jerami Grant currently suffering from a calf injury that already cost him Sunday’s game against the Knicks, it’s possible Bagley remains on the first unit to begin the week.

ALSO CONSIDER: Danilo Gallinari, Hawks (18% start rate in CBS leagues)

Sit: Andrew Wiggins, Warriors

80% start rate in CBS leagues

Conventional wisdom may dictate that Wiggins should benefit greatly from Stephen Curry’s absence, but that simply hasn’t been the case. The veteran wing is averaging 16.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.0 steal across the five full games Curry has missed – solid numbers but worse than his season-long averages, on the whole. Wiggins is capable of turning in a handful of solid performances during Golden State’s upcoming four-game week, but even though it may feel risky to give him a seat on your bench, it’s very possible his numbers are exceeded by a similarly talented four-game option.

centers

Start: Mo Bamba, Magic

52% start rate in CBS leagues

Bamba enters the week with back-to-back double-doubles and three in his last five games overall. The big man has been impressive since the All-Star break, averaging 12.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 45.6 percent from three-point range. Bamba’s floor-spacing ability and excellent rim-protecting skills give him those extra dimensions that could be especially valuable in a Fantasy championship week.

Start: Drew Eubanks, Trail Blazers

35% start rate in CBS leagues

Eubanks came through handsomely in Week 23 and is even a stronger Start suggestion this week, as the emerging big man has shown no signs of slowing down. Eubanks just recorded a career-high 16 rebounds Saturday night versus the Rockets, and he’s now scored in double figures in nine straight games while averaging 16.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in that span. As an added bonus, Eubanks is a good free throw shooter for a big man.

With backup center Trendon Watford out for at least a week with a leg injury, Eubanks’ playing time should be even more secure as Portland embarks on a four-game week that includes multiple favorable matchups for centers (Thunder, Pelicans, Spurs twice).

ALSO CONSIDER: Isaiah Stewart, Pistons (32% start rate in CBS leagues); Brook Lopez, Bucks (8% start rate in CBS leagues)

Sit: Deandre Ayton, Suns

86% start rate in CBS leagues

Ayton’s Suns have only three games on their schedule this week, and with Phoenix having already sewn up the top spot in the West, it’s possible the big man starts to get some more time off. Ayton’s numbers have been impressive throughout the season, but lately he’s not adding much outside of points and rebounds. Over his last 11 games, Ayton has amassed only five total steals and two blocks while averaging just 1.5 assists per contest. In category leagues, a four-game big man with better defensive numbers is worth considering over Ayton.

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