By Juan Blanco, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
We inch ever closer to the fantasy postseason with a robust Week 20, one that sees every team playing at least three games. That offers us plenty of options at each position, and with multiple players recently bouncing back from slumps and/or gaining extended opportunity due to injuries, we have an appealing selection of players this week.
Without further ado, let’s examine some of the tougher start/sit decisions for Week 20:
TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors
Start: Coby White, CHI (four games)
White’s surge this past week has been nothing short of impressive, with everything seemingly starting to click for the rookie on an injury-ravaged Bulls squad. White heads into the new week having averaged an eye-popping 30.8 points (on 53.8 percent shooting, including 56.4 percent from three-point range), 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals across 32.5 minutes over the last four games. White is still coming off the bench, but he’s logged no fewer than 29 minutes, and as many as 35, in six consecutive contests. White also has four opportunities this coming week, including a pair of particularly favorable matchups in the Nets and Timberwolves.
Start: Kendrick Nunn, MIA (four games)
Nunn has emerged from a recent shooting slump in fine fashion, averaging 20.0 points on the strength of 55.6 percent shooting, including 45.9 percent from distance, over the last six games. In contrast, the rookie had drained an abysmal 26.5 percent overall in the five contests prior to that stretch, but that appears to have been just a bump in the road this point. Nunn retains a firm hold on the starting point guard job going into the new week and has logged at least 31 minutes in four of the last five contests. In addition to the offensive numbers, Nunn is offering serviceable contributions in assists.
ALSO CONSIDER: Shake Milton, PHI (three games); Seth Curry, DAL (three games)
Sit: Patrick Beverley, LAC (three games)
Beverley recently returned from a five-game absence due to a groin injury, but he enters Sunday’s game against the 76ers still saddled by a minutes limit and not having done much in the three contests he’s played since returning. The defensive-minded veteran failed to score altogether in his most recent game Friday night against the Nuggets, and he’s averaged 5.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists across 21.3 minutes overall since jumping back into action. Beverley does have his starting point guard job back, but with the rest of the squad at full health at present, his contributions on a three-game week appear easily replaceable by another guard with three or four games on their docket.
Sit: Fred VanVleet, TOR (three games)
VanVleet enters Sunday’s game versus the Nuggets dealing with a left shoulder strain that has him listed as questionable, an injury that naturally is suboptimal from a shooting perspective. For what it’s worth, VanVleet was also struggling in the two games prior to his absence, shooting a combined 8-for-26 against the Pacers and Bucks. Given his health-related concerns and the fact he draws one game less than a full schedule this week, consider sitting VanVleet in Week 20.
Start: Mikal Bridges, PHO (three games)
Kelly Oubre (knee) is out for the next several weeks, at minimum, which will increase the opportunities of the remainder of the Suns’ starting five. Bridges should be one of the primary beneficiaries, and he’s already started showing encouraging signs of a usage bump in the first three games Oubre has missed. Bridges has averaged 12.7 points (on 51.9 percent shooting, including 50.0 percent from three-point range), 3.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks across 38.3 minutes in those contests, and his 9.0 field-goal attempts per game, including 6.0 from three-point range, are markedly higher than his season-long figures. Bridges’ extended role should continue over the coming three-game week, making him worthy of consideration for a starting spot.
Start: Caris LeVert, BKN (four games)
LeVert is finally healthy again and playing like it. He’ll head into the new week having averaged 22.5 points, 5.0 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.0 steals across 32.7 minutes over his last 11 games, a stretch during which he’s also draining an impressive 40.0 percent of his 6.4 three-point attempts per contest. LeVert’s role should remain locked in for the remainder of the season with Kyrie Irving (knee) out of action, and his four-game week this week only further cements his case as a multi-category asset for your roster.
ALSO CONSIDER: Thaddeus Young, CHI (four games); Eric Paschall, GSW (three games)
Sit: Marcus Morris, LAC (three games)
Morris has been serviceable since joining the Clippers, but it’s clear that he’ll play a much more complementary role in Los Angeles than he did in New York when both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are available. Morris already has a pair of single-digit scoring tallies since arriving and is averaging a modest 10.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 block across his first seven games with the team. Those numbers are over an average of 30 minutes per contest, leaving you with plenty more efficient options to consider before inserting Morris into your lineup.
Sit: Carmelo Anthony, POR (four games)
Anthony has underwhelmed in his last three games despite the absence of Damian Lillard (groin), and with the star point guard’s absence potentially not extending past Monday, Anthony’s outlook is even more muted. Anthony went for 20 and 32 points in his first two games without Lillard in the lineup, but he’s averaged a much more modest 12.7 points (on 42.9 percent shooting), 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists over the subsequent three contests, despite logging 35.7 minutes during that stretch. Those numbers, while serviceable, are certainly far from indispensable, even with a four-game week on tap for the Blazers.
Start: Daniel Theis, BOS (four games)
Both Theis’ grasp on the starting job and his playing time are arguably at their peak in recent games, as he’s averaging 28.8 minutes and 13.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists over the last eight games. That sample includes a six-game streak of double-digit point totals, a pair of double-doubles and three double-digit rebounding tallies overall, including a season-best 25-point, 16-rebound effort at the expense of the Timberwolves on Feb. 21. Theis is also averaging 9.0 shot attempts across that sample -- compared to 6.5 for the season -- lending further credence to the notion he could pay off nicely in your lineup on a four-game week.
Start: Wendell Carter, CHI (four games)
Carter returned from his latest extended absence Saturday afternoon versus the Knicks and hit the ground running. The second-year big posted six points, nine rebounds, two assists and one block across just 18 minutes, a productive outing relative to his modest playing time. Carter’s minutes should naturally bump up over the course of the coming four-game week. Given the solid scoring and rebounding contributions he was making prior to his 22-game layoff, his outlook is bright now that he’s regained full health, especially for any additional games frontcourt mate Lauri Markkanen misses.
ALSO CONSIDER: Al Horford, PHI (three games)
Sit: Ian Mahinmi, WAS (four games)
Mahinmi has enjoyed extended run and produced with it at times this season, but he’s trending in the wrong direction of late. The veteran has scored in single digits in 13 of the last 15 games, and he has just one double-digit rebounding effort during that span as well. The fact Mahinmi still retains a hold of the starting job and backup Thomas Bryant can’t seem to muster the consistency to take it from him might tempt some fantasy managers to stick with the former. However, even with four games on the schedule, Mahinmi’s recent production and minutes load make him easily replaceable.
Sit: Cody Zeller, CHA (three games)
Another center who appears to be increasingly losing opportunity is Zeller, who went into Sunday’s game versus the Bucks with two straight DNP-CDs. Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez both appear to be ahead of the veteran for the moment. Neither Biyombo nor Hernangomez is providing irreplaceable production thus far, so Zeller could well find himself back in the thick of things; however, with only three games on the schedule, he’s too risky to have in your lineup at a critical time of the fantasy season.