In-Season Strategy: Week 11 Schedule Considerations

In-Season Strategy: Week 11 Schedule Considerations

This article is part of our In-Season Strategy series.

Week 11 Schedule Considerations

This is a pretty light week in the NBA due to the holiday season, with only two teams playing four games this week, the Lakers and the Blazers. Nearly everyone else plays three games, though both the Pacers and the Grizzlies are limited to two games this week.

Four Games: LAL, POR

Three Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAC, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOR, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHO, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS

Two Games: IND, MEM

With so many teams playing only three games, it's not quite as punitive to start your two-game stars, unless it keeps a Laker or Blazer with four games on your bench. The same decision tree still applies - start your two-stars, but sit guys on the margin. In this specific case, Victor Oladipo is an obvious player to keep rolling with in most instances, but the player for the Pacers that demands a start is Myles Turner, who has been on a roll. He has 14 blocks over his last three games and has put together strong fantasy efforts overall in seven of his last eight games. That one poor game in that stretch was on the 14th against the Sixers, when he was limited to 17 minutes due to foul trouble. He gets a road game against the Falcons and then they host the Pistons for their first meeting of the season. More marginal starts include Thaddeus Young and Bojan

Week 11 Schedule Considerations

This is a pretty light week in the NBA due to the holiday season, with only two teams playing four games this week, the Lakers and the Blazers. Nearly everyone else plays three games, though both the Pacers and the Grizzlies are limited to two games this week.

Four Games: LAL, POR

Three Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, HOU, LAC, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOR, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHO, SAC, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS

Two Games: IND, MEM

With so many teams playing only three games, it's not quite as punitive to start your two-game stars, unless it keeps a Laker or Blazer with four games on your bench. The same decision tree still applies - start your two-stars, but sit guys on the margin. In this specific case, Victor Oladipo is an obvious player to keep rolling with in most instances, but the player for the Pacers that demands a start is Myles Turner, who has been on a roll. He has 14 blocks over his last three games and has put together strong fantasy efforts overall in seven of his last eight games. That one poor game in that stretch was on the 14th against the Sixers, when he was limited to 17 minutes due to foul trouble. He gets a road game against the Falcons and then they host the Pistons for their first meeting of the season. More marginal starts include Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic, and I'd avoid starting Darren Collison and Domantas Sabonis in most formats.

As for Memphis, it's a little trickier. Mike Conley(hamstring) has played in the last two games, but missed the one prior to that. Their two games are spaced out next week, so as long as he doesn't have a setback Sunday, you can probably get away with starting him. Just check our latest updates on him before you finish setting your lineup Monday. Marc Gasolremains a solid start, especially if your other options at center aren't so great. Normally I'd lean away from Jaren Jackson due to his minutes lately, but JaMychal Green is day-to-day with a hamstring injury. If Green doesn't play Sunday, that could portend more minutes for Jackson. I'd lean away from the likes of Garrett Temple, Kyle Anderson and Shelvin Mack this week.

On the other side of the equation, who are some of the extra Lakers and Blazers that we might be able to start? Brandon Ingram played 33 minutes in his return from an ankle injury on Friday night, tallying 18 points and seven rebounds. He's not going to give you much in the way of steals and blocks, and he has been dishing fewer assists this season as well. Still, the four games this week should help make up the stagger. Rajon Rondoalso returned from a lengthy absence in that game, collecting 22 minutes in his first game back. His return hurts Lonzo Ball's playing time, as well as that of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who logged only 15 minutes.  Rondo could be a sneaky assists play in categorical leagues. Be wary of using Ivica Zubac based on his 32 minutes Friday night - he got a spot start with JaVale McGee was out with an illness and Zubac was a better matchup against the Pelicans than Tyson Chandler. He could easily regress back to playing single-digit minutes.

Meanwhile, the Blazers have just three players averaging 30 minutes per game - Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Al-Farouq Aminu. You're starting Lillard and McCollum anyhow, and almost never starting Aminu - one extra game typically isn't going to be enough, unless you're starving for rebounds. With lesser minutes, Jusuf Nurkic is likely an automatic start for you, too. The player that might benefit the most from the extra game is Evan Turner, though even then his production is so unreliable that you really need to be in a bind to roll with him.

Let's look at a few other players with interesting schedules/stories this week outside of the number of games.

Emmanuel Mudiay, Knicks - The great New York Knicks Point Guard War of 2018 appears to have been settled, with Mudiay emerging the victor. Trey Burke's sprained knee helped settle the playing time and Mudiay took advantage of the opportunity. The fourth-year player has been tearing it up over his last five games, averaging 25.4 points, 5.8 assists and 1.6 assists while logging 34 minutes per game over that stretch.

Tyler Johnson and Justice Winslow, Heat - Watch this situation carefully. Johnson started three games in a row with Goran Dragic (whose last name auto-corrects to "Tragic") out until the All-Star break, but then played only 18 minutes and giving way to Winslow in the starting lineup on Saturday. Pay close attention to the playing time between Johnson and Winslow to see if one eventually wins out.

Wesley Matthews, Mavs - With all the justified attention that Luka Doncic has received, it's easy to overlook the production of his teammates. Matthews came into Saturday night's game questionable with a sore foot, but not only did he play, but he had a big game in the loss to the Warriors, scoring 25 points - hitting seven three-pointers in the process. He's shooting a career-high 40.7% from three-point range this season as the Mavs have quietly become a fun watch.

Reggie Bullock, Pistons - Bullock missed five games with an ankle injury, only to return with a flourish last week. The journeyman from North Carolina finally averaged double-digits in scoring last year in his fifth season, and he's on a slight uptick from that this season, highlighted by his "best shooter in the league" game against Minnesota on Wednesday, when he hit seven three-pointers. He's now averaging six three-point attempts on the season, including 37 over the last four games.

Darius Miller, Pelicans - Nikola Mirotic has missed the last four games with an ankle injury and was listed as doubtful heading into Sunday's game against the Kings. Miller has been the recent beneficiary of the extra playing time, hitting 30+ minutes each of the last three games. He's not going to light up the scoreboard, not with the likes of Anthony Davis, Julius Randle and Jrue Holiday around, but he does a little of everything. He's the type of player that can be helpful in deeper eight-category leagues.

John Collins, Hawks - This one is tough - I own Collins in my most important league, and I've been loving his recent production, averaging 19.4 points and 13.6 rebounds per game over his last five games. He's been blossoming into the player that virtually every expert was touting that he'd become during draft season. But he's been ruled out with an ankle injury for Sunday's game against the Pistons. The Hawks don't play until Wednesday, so if he's truly day-to-day then there's a reasonable expectation that he'll play then against the Pacers. But if not, you could be left with a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking.

Thomas Bryant, Wizards - Bryant, a second-year player out of Indiana, played very little for the Wizards last year, averaging just 4.8 minutes per game. But the Dwight Howard injury has created some opportunities for him, and he came up huge in Saturday's triple-overtime game against the Suns, scoring 31 points on 14-of-14 shooting while piling on 13 rebounds. He hasn't yet added shot-blocking as a major skill-set yet, averaging 0.7 blocks per game. But with more playing time could improve in that area with more experience. Just don't be fooled by the 36 minutes he played Saturday - 20-25 minutes per game is a more reasonable expectation.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Erickson
Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He's also in the FSWA Hall of Fame. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).
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