Two teams, Oklahoma City and Phoenix, play only twice. Sit all your Suns in weekly-lineup formats, but depending on your league and your alternatives, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook may still worth starting. Their teammates, not so much.
Twelve teams play just three games, while 16 teams have four-game slates.
Four isn’t always a good thing. For the Wizards, it’s four in five nights, three on the road, the last two against the Lakers and Heat. Jordan Crawford is fine to use; Bradley Beal and Kevin Serpahin are OK and anyone else is at your own risk.
The Nets also play their four in five nights, alternating at home and away. Hosting the Knicks first is huge, and finishing in Chicago won’t be easy. How inspired they are in Toronto and home to Detroit remains to be seen. The possible return of Brook Lopez (foot) complicates matters. The clock could strike midnight for Andray Blatche, who has been excellent while filling in.
Cleveland might prefer a two-game week. Their four in five nights will be a test of stamina. There are rumors that Kyrie Irving (finger) and Dion Waiters (ankle) could return as early as Tuesday, but neither has been cleared yet by a doctor. Anderson Varejao has been a machine, but I can’t recommend anyone else with confidence.
The endless trip East for Golden State concludes in the South, as they visit Charlotte, Miami, Orlando and Atlanta. They are playing well enough to earn a split, and so far David Lee and Stephen Curry have seemed immune to fatigue. The Lakers play four on the road as well; they should handle Cleveland and Washington but will need their best against the Knicks and Sixers. If you own Pau Gasol, my sympathy. You can only hope he returns. Hard to believe that Antawn Jamison is the safer play.
On a more positive note, Houston has its first three games at home then visits Toronto, with no back-to-backs. The Rockets play up-tempo and even if they don’t beat the Spurs or Celtics, James Harden will get his numbers. Chandler Parsons is another must-start. It’s a tougher call on Jeremy Lin, who is rapidly losing minutes to Toney Douglas.
Denver has three winnable road games and hosts Memphis. It should be a good statistical week for the Nuggets’ starters, and their second unit has recently begun producing on a regular basis. If he isn’t already owned, consider Corey Brewer as a possible streamer.
Toronto has a four-game week, the last three at home. They wrap up a long Western trip tomorrow against the possibly-shorthanded Blazers, then host the Nets, Mavs and Rockets. Given the Raptors’ defense, all could be high-scoring games. Kyle Lowry would be an automatic start had he not jammed his ankle on Friday. If he looks healthy on Sunday afternoon, go for it. Mickael Pietrus is worth starting, and he’s owned in only 10% of Yahoo leagues. DeMar DeRozan has been consistent against tough opponents.
Of course, three games isn’t always a bad thing. The Heat don’t have to leave Miami all week, and after an important test Monday against the Hawks, will be fully rested when they host the tired Warriors and the Wizards. You should get more production from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade than most players achieve in four games. Chris Bosh is kind of a tossup.