NBA Fantasy: Starter/Sit Guide for Week 4

Jalen Suggs started the season strong, averaging 12.3 points per game.

We’re already gearing up for Week 4 of the NBA season, and this time around, we have the closest balance of teams in three- and four-game weeks. That narrows our pool of top candidates a bit, but there’s still a solid amount of under-the-radar options to consider at each position.

Each week, we aim to highlight a pair of starting candidates for your fantasy rosters that could be framed as some of the toughest calls of the week, typically focusing on players with a 50% starting or roster rate. Or less in the Yahoo leagues. In an effort to maximize opportunities for production, we typically develop players with four-game weeks.

Likewise, we’ll be spotlighting a seed candidate at each position that wouldn’t normally make your bench, focusing on players who will have less game time in the coming week.

Teams with four games: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Kings

Teams with three games: Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards

Teams with two games: Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers

Without further ado, let’s examine some tough start/sit results for Week 4:

Guards

Start: Kobe White, bulls

45% opening rate

It might have been a little easier to forget the last few seasons, but White was considered good enough by the Bulls to invest the seventh overall pick in 2019. Chicago tried to replace him on several occasions, but with Lonzo Ball experimenting with injuries that didn’t work out and both Ayo Dosunmu and Alex Caruso producing inconsistent results at point guard, White returned to a starting role. He struggles with his efficiency (39.1% shooting), but he’s still contributing 12.3 points, 4.7 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 32.2 minutes per contest. What’s more, he’ll be on a nice run heading into Chicago’s four-game Week 4, as he’s averaging 14.8 points on an improved 45.6% shooting, along with 5.4 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals over his last five contests.

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Start: Jalen Suggs, Magic

46% initiation rate

Suggs is another guard without a resurgent draft pedigree (fifth overall pick in 2021) after the 2022-23 campaign. The third-year pro is averaging 12.3 points per game from distance with the help of a career-best 35.1% shooting percentage, and he’ll head into the new week with 20-point efforts. . Suggs’ starting shooting guard role is secure, and he should continue to see additional use with Wendell Carter (finger) in Orlando’s four-game schedule.

Also consider: Malik Monk, Kings (42% initiation rate); Skyler Mays, Trail Blazers (20% starting rate)

to sit: Russell Westbrook, Clippers

68% initiation rate

Westbrook has so far averaged 14.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.9 steals while shooting a career-high 47.9% while operating within the Clippers’ star-studded first unit. Still, he’s stocked with a two-game schedule over the next seven days, and as well-rounded as the future Hall of Famer’s stat line is, it could see options that match or exceed three- and four-game options. His projected production with a reduced prospect.

Forward

Start: Sam Houser, Celtics

12% listing rate

Houser carries a little risk because he’s far from proven, but there’s no denying the third-year unit’s increasing role on the Celtics’ second unit, not to mention his long-range shooting prowess. The Virginia product heads into the new week with four consecutive double-digit scoring streaks, a stretch in which he drained a blistering 53.1% of his attempts, including 50.0% from 3-point range. Hauser wasn’t the only source of offensive production, pulling down at least four boards in four of nine games. You can get minimal contributions outside of those categories, and if you’re in a pinch, he’s an interesting option in a four-game week.

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Start: Tim Hardaway, Mavericks

46% initiation rate

Hardaway earned another starting job this week as the Mavericks’ busy early-season schedule continues. He played well in Week 3, averaging 17.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 28 minutes per contest in four games. Hardaway came back just shy of a double-double on Sunday against the Pelicans, and he’s currently averaging 13.9 shot attempts per game, his most since the 2018-19 season. With a second-unit role that consistently gives him minutes in the high 20s and an aggressive mindset every time he steps up, there’s certainly potential for another productive scoring season.

Also consider: Rui Hachimura, Lakers (24% listing rate)

to sit: Jabari Smith, Jr., Rockets

65% initiation rate

Smith would normally be a great starting candidate, and he showed improvement as a shooter with a 48.4% success rate from the field following his 40.8% rookie-season numbers. However, Smith will be working with just two games on his schedule this coming week, and he’ll enter that rare stretch in a bit of a slump — the second-year major has scored in single digits in two straight games, the first time this season. Smith’s solid-but-changeable production will earn him a spot next week.

centers

Start: Coca Bitatze, Magic

16% listing rate

Pitadze has been thrust into a starting role the past four games with Carter sidelined by the aforementioned finger injury, and the fifth-year big man has responded well to that opportunity. Pitatze is averaging 7.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.0 steals over 22.5 minutes per contest in his first four games with the starting unit. The scoring will be inconsistent with the Pitts, but he actually has a couple of double-digit points in that sample and can certainly give you some strong returns in the rebounds and defensive categories over a four-game ledger.

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Start: Andre Drummond, Bulls

9% listing rate

Finding centers with sub-50% start/roster rates in four-game weeks has been a challenge this week, but if you’re struggling to adequately fill a center spot on your roster, Drummond is a sneaky starting alternative. He is the only one now committed to a backup role behind Nikola Vucevic. Still, Drummond is averaging 7.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals in just 14 minutes per game over his last four contests, a testament to how active he’s been on the floor. His regular allocation of playing time, which includes minutes that have yet to cover the teenager this season, is a concern.

Also consider: Bismack Biyombo, Grizzlies (28% startup rate)

to sit: Ivica Zubac, Clippers

56% initiation rate

Zubac is off to another solid start this season, averaging 10.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per contest despite sharing the floor with more utility options. However, he has scored in single digits in four of his last six games and now has a two-game schedule heading into Week 4. As a result, leave Zubac on your bench in favor of a similar three- or four-game option.

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