By Juan Blanco, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
As we approach Week 5 of the fantasy basketball season, the key injuries continue to pile up around the league. That naturally leads to plenty of waiver-wire scrambling for many fantasy managers, but as usual, it also opens up plenty of opportunities for other fantasy assets.
A couple of those players who make our Start list this week, and we also have a nice selection of four- — and even one five-game — weeks to capitalize on.
Without further ado, let’s delve into some candidates trending both upward and downward as the new week approaches.
TEAMS WITH FIVE GAMES: Phoenix Suns
TEAMS WITH FOUR GAMES: Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz
TEAMS WITH THREE GAMES: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards
TEAMS WITH TWO GAMES: Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Orlando Magic
Start: Spencer Dinwiddie, BKN (four games)
Dinwiddie comes into the week already riding high in his usual high-usage role off the bench, and he’ll be in even better shape if Kyrie Irving is forced to miss any more game with his shoulder injury. Dinwiddie scored 24 points starting in place of Irving versus the Bulls on Saturday night, and he’s averaging an impressive 22.8 points, 4.4 assists and 2.2 rebounds across his last five contests overall while putting up 15.8 shot attempts per game. Favorable matchups against the Hornets, Kings, and Knicks certainly help his outlook this coming week, as does Brooklyn’s fast pace of play.
Start: Lou Williams, LAC (four games)
Williams also currently finds himself in an advantageous opportunity due to Landry Shamet’s ongoing ankle issues. Shamet has already missed three games with the injury, and given the lingering nature of such an ailment, he could be in for more absences this coming week. Meanwhile, Williams is coming into the week in impressive form, having scored between 20 and 34 points in each of his last six games while putting up 18.8 attempts per contest over that span. Williams is also currently posting career-bests in points (23.0), assists (5.8) and rebounds (4.0), making him less of a scoring-dependent contributor than in seasons past.
Sit: Malcolm Brogdon, IND (two games)
First and foremost, Brogdon comes into the week dealing with a back issue that may cost him additional games. However, even if he does suit up, Brogdon will likely be limited to some extent and also draws the dreaded two-game schedule this coming week. The fourth-year pro has been a catalyst for the Pacers’ attack when healthy, but if you have three- or four-game candidates this week, this is one of those rare instances where sitting Brogdon is prudent.
Sit: Evan Fournier, ORL (two games)
Fournier is actually in the midst of his best shooting stretch of the young season, so this designation is much more related to his two-game schedule than any aspect of his recent performances. However, it’s also worth noting Fournier has proven time and time again that he can potentially go into the tank shooting-wise without warning, which gives him additional risk. A couple of thorny matchups versus the Raptors and Pacers don’t help his outlook this week either, so consider putting him on the bench in favor of options with more favorable circumstances.
Start: PJ Washington, CHA (four games)
Washington is enjoying a fine rookie season overall, and with a busy week ahead, he’s well deserving of a starting nod. The lottery pick is making solid contributions across the stat sheet, even averaging an impressive 1.2 steals per contest. He’s also proven highly efficient on the shooting end, draining 52.1 percent of his attempts, including 50.0% from three-point range. Charlotte gets favorable matchups this week against the Nets, Wizards, and Bulls, enhancing Washington’s already-strong appeal.
Start: Kelly Oubre, Jr., PHO (five games)
Oubre’s production has been a bit up and down at times in the early going, but his high points have been pretty spectacular. You’d have to look no further than his last game for an example, as Oubre lit up the Hawks for 30 points over 36 minutes last Thursday night. The fifth-year pro already boats career bests in points (16.9), rebounds (5.5) and assists (1.6), while also shooting a career-high 48.1%. Oubre shapes up as a strong complementary asset in the Suns’ attack, with 12.3 shot attempts, while his 22.7% usage rate coming into the five-game week ranks second on the team behind only Devin Booker’s.
Sit: Aaron Gordon, ORL (two games)
Gordon is also on a two-game schedule this week and has seen a downturn in his rebounding production this season. Gordon’s 6.3 boards per game are his lowest figure since the 2016-17 campaign, and he’s also shooting an inefficient 43.6%, including a 29.8% three-point range. Plus, consider Gordon has seen a notable drop in usage this season, with his 11.7 field goal attempts per game representing his lowest figure over the last three years. Given his inconsistency, Gordon would be a shaky play on a three-game week, but with the Magic having just two games, sitting him down is an easy call.
Sit: Jaren Jackson, MEM (two games)
Jackson held the opposite designation last week, but with a two-game week — plus some game-to-game volatility — send him to the bench in Week 5. The second-year big has scored in single digits or gone scoreless in four of his last eight games, and he continues to battle foul trouble on a consistent basis. Jackson has topped 30 minutes just twice on the season, and he most recently fouled out of Friday’s game against Utah in 28 minutes. On the whole, Jackson naturally has plenty of upside, but he can be avoided on the two-game week in favor of other bigs with more opportunity.
Start: Aron Baynes, PHO (five games)
Baynes is another Suns player who’s an excellent candidate for a starting nod this week, as he’ll get five opportunities to continue building on the career-best numbers he’s putting up in the ongoing absence of DeAndre Ayton (suspension). The big man saw a nine-game streak of double-digit scoring snapped in his last contest against the Hawks last Thursday, but foul trouble limited him to just 18 minutes in that contest. Otherwise, Baynes has been making excellent use of his 9.5 shot attempts per game, draining 57.1% of them, including an outstanding 46.8% of the 4.3 tries per contest he’s putting up from distance. Baynes’ abundance of opportunities in the coming week and his track record thus far make him a very strong start candidate this week.
Start: Mitchell Robinson, NYK (four games)
Robinson has a solid four-game schedule this coming week, and he also seems to be hitting his stride in his second-unit role while Taj Gibson does some of the heavy lifting against opposing starters at center. Robinson is set to sit out Sunday’s practice with a sore ankle, but he’ll open the week facing the vulnerable Cavaliers on Monday. The rim-protecting seven-footer has 16- and 17-point efforts in his last two games, and he finally appears to be getting a (slightly) longer leash in terms of his minutes load. It’ll be an uphill battle for Robinson to live up to preseason expectations, but at least he appears to be moving in the right direction heading into Week 5.
Sit: Steven Adams, OKC (three games)
Adams is one of two veteran centers to get saddled with the Sit designation this week, a combination of injury and poor play have him trending downward overall compared to previous years. The most notable decline has been on the offensive end, where Adams’ 8.3 points per game rank as his lowest figure since the 2015-16 season. The big man has also seen an eight-percentage-point drop in shooting over last season, and he’s putting up just 7.3 attempts per game while posting a pedestrian 16.2% usage rate. Given his body of work and a couple of tough matchups with the Lakers and the JaVale McGee/Dwight Howard duo, Adams can be avoided.
Sit: Marc Gasol, TOR (three games)
Gasol is our second veteran big man to earn a benching this coming week. Even with Kyle Lowry (thumb) and Serge Ibaka (ankle) both still out of action, Gasol is struggling to capitalize. The long-time reliable big man is averaging just 6.7 points on a career-low 6.7 attempts per game and career-worst 32.5% shooting. Plus, he’ll come into the week with five consecutive single-digit scoring efforts. Gasol’s rebounds are also down to 6.8 per contest, and even with three games on his docket this week, you can feel confident looking elsewhere to fill your center position this coming week.