March 2, 2023, 5:13 pm
With the fantasy basketball playoffs upon us, many are wondering who to start and who to sit. There are obvious choices atop everyone’s roster, but filling out those last spots in your lineup can be difficult and can often determine whether or not you move onto the next round.
There is no way of knowing for sure who will perform in the upcoming week – past is not always prologue – but if you want to know what the numbers say, here are the top-10 points league players whose combination of per game average over the last week and team games in the upcoming week projects them to be in the top-100 for Week 20, despite them not being there overall for the year:
Jalen Williams has been on fire for the last week, taking full advantage of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s absence. With 4 games next week and Gilgeous-Alexander in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, not to mention dealing with both an abdominal and an ankle injury, Jalen Williams should be started wherever possible.
Walker Kessler’s numbers over the last week gives him the highest per game average of any player on the list. His consistent playing time and starting job with the Utah Jazz makes him a good bet to contribute, even with only 3 games on the schedule.
Mark Williams and Cameron Johnson each have 4 games next week and can be started if needed. Johnson, in particular, has been playing well of late, putting up big numbers in his last three games with Brooklyn. Mark Williams has been worthy of a start ever since Mason Plumlee’s trade to the Los Angeles Clippers, and looks set to continue his good run through the playoffs.
Marvin Bagley III, however, is another story. He has benefited over the last week from multiple injuries to his teammates, and with every returning member of the Detroit Pistons has seen his minutes, and so production, drop. Unless there are numerous Pistons out next week, Bagley should be passed over for better options if possible.
The two Houston Rockets on the list, Kenyon Martin, Jr. and Tari Eason, are in a similar situation. They not only have just 3 games next week, but also have to contend with the return of both Jalen Green and Kevin Porter, Jr. If you have other options, you may want to sit Martin and Eason in Week 20. Eason, in particular, saw a drop in production in the first game Green and Porter have played together since Porter returned from a foot injury, and Porter is likely to see an increase in minutes and usage going forward.
Xavier Tillman has been getting an opportunity to play more since the All-Star break, and has rewarded managers with decent numbers in three of his last four games, but he has only 3 games on the schedule and his minutes can fluctuate. Kevon Looney has been consistent but unspectacular and should probably be avoided at all costs.
Keegan Murray, however, is an interesting candidate to consider next week. It is easy to write-off his last three games as flukes. After all, De’Aaron Fox missed one of those games and the Kings played a double-OT barn burner against the Clippers in the other. But if you look at the game in-between those two, Murray played 32 minutes and posted his best fantasy line of the three. Even though Murray has only 3 games on the schedule next week, he could be worth considering for one of those final spots in your lineup and could potentially provide you with those few extra points you need to move on in the playoffs.