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Fantasy Basketball Week 17 Start/Sit: Now might be the time to trust Walker Kessler

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Heading into the All-Star break, a total of 24 teams play twice during Week 17, while 5 teams will suit up three times, leaving the remaining team with just one game. Knowing who to sit and start could be tricky. Sitting players who only go three times has its advantages, but Fantasy managers still have to make smart decisions when figuring out who to play, regardless of game count.

  • Three Games: GSW, MEM, MIL, MIN, UTA
  • Two Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, DET, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MIA, NOP, NYK, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, SAC, SAS, TOR, WAS
  • One Game: OKC

Here are four potential starts and four potential sits entering the 17th week of the NBA season. Just keep in mind that this is based on games played for the week. If you play in a rotisserie league, the number of games played each week may not matter in your format. 

Guards

Consider starting: Vince Williams, MEM (90% ROS, 70% START)

Opponents: NOP, HOU, MIL

Although we have no reason to trust what the Grizzlies might do from one night to the next, it does appear as though Williams is going to be a must-roster player for the remainder of the season. While he has missed two of the past seven games, he has also scored double-digits in 13 consecutive appearances. He has been the 55th-ranked player in nine-category leagues over the past month, with averages of 15.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.3 3-pointers in 34 minutes per game. With three games on the register for this week, he should probably be on most starting rosters.

Consider starting: Keyonte George, UTA (51% ROS, 23% START)

Opponents: GSW, LAL, GSW

Despite continuing to come off the bench, George has seen an uptick in playing time over the past week. He has logged at least 25 minutes in three straight games, 15.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 0.7 steals and 3.0 3-pointers. He still presents as more of a stash candidate as opposed to a must-roster player. However, with a favorable schedule and an upward trend in both minutes and production, he is worth considering for Week 17.

Consider sitting: Jrue Holiday, BOS (98% ROS, 65% START)

Opponents: @BKN, BKN

In what has been an underwhelming season thus far, Holiday has looked a little more aggressive of late. He has scored at least 15 points in each of the past two games, adding a combined 10 rebounds and 11 assists. While this has been a welcome sight for managers, in a shortened week, he is someone to consider moving to the bench. The Celtics play the Nets twice on consecutive nights, meaning there is a chance Holiday misses one of the two games as they continue to manage their players through to the playoffs. Taking everything into consideration, don’t be afraid to leave him out of your active roster this week.

Forwards

Consider starting: G.G. Jackson, MEM (44% ROS, 25% START)

Opponents: NOP, HOU, MIL

We head back to Memphis, where another young upstart is making a name for himself. Much like Vince Williams, Jackson has come out of nowhere to earn himself a significant role. He has scored at least 16 points in four straight games, recording at least one steal in each of the four. Perhaps more importantly, he has played in 17 consecutive games, somehow avoiding the wrath of the injury bug. He remains a fringe option in 12-team leagues, but those who are in a favorable position could certainly give him a run during what is a low-volume week for many teams.

Consider sitting: Keegan Murray, SAC (93% ROS, 51% START)

Opponents: @PHO, @DEN

Despite being a top-60 player this season, Murray has scaled back his production over the past two weeks, scraping together borderline top-120 value in nine-category leagues. He has scored fewer than 15 points in five of the past six games, adding a combined four steals in that time. As a player whose value is built primarily on points, 3s and steals, any dip in efficiency is going to have a meaningful impact on his overall value. If you can afford to risk missing out on a potential scoring binge, Murray’s lack of variable production makes him a viable bench candidate heading into the break.

Consider sitting: Jeremy Sochan, SAS (81% ROS, 43% START)

Opponents: @TOR, @DAL

After a strong showing during the month of January, Sochan has struggled over the past four games, failing to score more than 10 points in any game. In that span, he is averaging just 6.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 0.5 steals. Although he has played at least 28 minutes in all four games, the fact is his production has been well below where it needs to be to warrant must-roster status. While he is worth holding in certain situations, benching him for this week feels like a straightforward decision.

Centers

Consider starting: Walker Kessler, UTA (85% ROS, 55% START)

Opponents: GSW, LAL, GSW

Having played at least 27 minutes in two of the past three games, managers will be hoping this is a sign of things to come for Kessler. Across those three games, he is averaging 9.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, two assists and 3.3 blocks. Following a string of games during which he was relegated to a bench role, Kessler moved back into the starting lineup following the trade deadline. Although it is only a one game sample size, the early signs are encouraging. While there is a small amount of risk involved given the fact his minutes could fluctuate, perhaps we are about to see Kessler reward all of those who held him in standard leagues.

Consider sitting: Ivica Zubac, LAC (80% ROS, 31% START)

Opponents: MIN, @GSW

Of all the suggestions, Zubac is quite possibly the easiest of the bunch. Having recently returned from a calf injury that cost him nine games, he remains on a strict minutes limit. In his three appearances since returning, Zubac has played 18, 21 and 20 minutes, averaging 7.3 points to go with 5.3 rebounds and 0.7 blocks. Add to that the fact the Clippers play only twice this week and we have ourselves a clear cut decision for managers.

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