In-Season Strategy: Week 5 Schedule Considerations

In-Season Strategy: Week 5 Schedule Considerations

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

Week 5 of the NBA season presents a diverse schedule. As usual, most of the league plays three or four games, but the Hornets, Cavs, Pacers and Bucks have only two games on the ledger. Meanwhile, the Warriors (five games) and the Pistons (one game) are the two extremes.

Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and the rest of the Warriors' core are more valuable than ever, while Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, productive as they are, shouldn't be started in most formats.

Five games: GSW

Four games: BKN, CHI, MEM, MIA, MIN, NOR, ORL, PHI, SAS, TOR, UTA, WAS

Three games: ATL, BOS, DAL, DEN, HOU, LAC, LAL, NY, OKC, PHO, POR, SAC

Two games: CHA, CLE, IND, MIL

One game: DET

Here are this week's players to consider starting, sitting or even plucking from the waiver wire:

Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin, DET
Just a quick note on the Pistons' All-Star duo: Unless somehow your only other options are players from the Hornets, Cavs, Pacers or Bucks, Drummond and Griffin shouldn't be started in weekly leagues in almost any case. Even if Drummond goes for 25 points and 20 rebounds in the Pistons' lone game -- that feels like the best-case scenario against a tough Raptors team -- there's a great chance you can pick up a center from one of the teams with four or five games and easily exceed that production. At forward, Griffin should be even more replaceable in Week 5.

Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kings
Bogdanovic made his season debut Wednesday night against Toronto and finished with seven points, two rebounds, an assist and a made three in 18 minutes of action. He sat out Friday's game to rest and returned Saturday to play 20 minutes in a loss to the Lakers. While Bogdanovic has already shown he can be an all-around producer -- 6pts, 4reb, 2ast, 1stl vs. LAL -- he may be best kept on the bench in Week 5, especially with the Kings playing a Friday/Saturday back-to-back.

Quinn Cook, Warriors
The Warriors were without Stephen Curry on Saturday night, which allowed Cook to move into the starting lineup and go for 27 points, five assists and three rebounds in 30 minutes. Curry's status for the upcoming week hasn't been clarified, but Cook will remain viable as a daily streamer, if your league allows it. Locking him into a weekly lineup obviously carries some inherent risk, but that risk is mitigated by the Warriors' five-game Week 5. Even if Curry were to play in all five contests, Cook would likely see enough backup minutes to avoid tanking a lineup. He scored 15 points in 19 minutes Thursday against Milwaukee and 13 points in 19 minutes Monday against Memphis.

Mo Bamba, Magic
Bamba has lived up to his billing as the No. 6 pick in the 2018 draft, but the Magic continue to cap his workload in the range of 20 minutes on most nights. That's kept him from being a dependable fantasy option in most leagues, but on a four-game week starting Bamba is justifiable -- particularly if you're in need of blocks. Entering Sunday, Bamba had six blocks over his last four games, including two apiece in his previous two games, despite playing just 31 combined minutes over that span. While he was overshadowed by Mitchell Robinson -- nine blocks (!!!) -- on Sunday, Bamba put up 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocks in an efficient 18 minutes off the bench.

Terrence Ross, Magic
After missing most of last season with injuries, Ross has quietly reasserted himself as a key piece in the Magic's wing rotation. He entered Sunday on a four-game double-digit scoring streak, and he also added seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals in Friday's win over the Wizards. He then went off for 22 points (with five threes) on 8-of-12 shooting in Orlando's win over New York.

For the most part, Ross is a points/threes specialist -- he has at least one three in his last eight games -- with very limited upside in other categories. But Orlando heads into a four-game week, making Ross, who's available in 85 percent of Yahoo leagues, a viable weekly streaming option.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
This is the rare situation in which it may make sense to bench one of the best overall players in fantasy basketball. Antetokounmpo isn't a must sit by any means, but in shallower formats it's worth considering. With two games on the Bucks' schedule, Antetokounmpo's upside is capped, and one of those games coming against the Bulls means owners could ultimately only end up getting closer to a game-and-a-half worth of production.

On the other hand, if you prefer to think optimistically, Antetokounmpo could give you 60 points, 25 rebounds, 15 assists and a handful of blocks/steals across two games. Even over the course of four games, that's not easily replicable by the average role player, so if you're thinking about sitting Antetokounmpo, make sure it's in favor of someone you feel pretty good about topping that production.

Ryan Arcidiacono, Bulls
I can't believe we're here, but Arcidiacono is the starting point guard for the Chicago Bulls and looks like he could be a viable fantasy option until Kris Dunn returns. Arcidiacono has topped 30 minutes in each of the last two games, and he turned in his best performance of the season Saturday night against Cleveland, finishing with 15 points, four rebounds and a pair of assists. The former Villanova standout has six made threes over his last two games, and as long as he's locked into around 30 minutes per night, he can be started in most leagues on a four-game week.

Jimmy Butler, 76ers
The Sixers officially acquired Butler on Saturday, and the hope is that they'll be able to get him in uniform for Monday's game in Miami. Even if trade complications keep Butler out of that contest -- the official trade call is slated for Monday -- he'll almost certainly be available for Wednesday's game in Orlando, and three games of Butler, even in a new setting, are enough to warrant starting. He should immediately slot into the starting five and be locked into 30-35 minutes per night for what's suddenly a very top-heavy Sixers roster. The only concern is Philly has a back-to-back on Friday/Saturday. Butler has already sat out one-half of multiple back-to-backs this season, but it remains unclear whether those absences were truly health-related or more tied to his desire to get out of Minnesota.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Whalen
Now in his 10th year with the company, Nick is RotoWire's Senior Media Analyst, a position he took on after several years as the Head of Basketball Content. A multi-time FSGA and FSWA award winner, Nick co-hosts RotoWire's flagship show on Sirius XM Fantasy alongside Jeff Erickson, as well as The RotoWire NBA Show on Sirius XM NBA with Alex Barutha. He also co-hosts RotoWire's Football and Basketball podcasts. You can catch Nick's NBA and NFL analysis on VSiN and DraftKings, as well as RotoWire's various social and video channels. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @wha1en.
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