The first full week of 2023 is here as the halfway point in the NBA season approaches. Most teams have four-game schedules this week, which should help make lineup decisions slightly easier. However, several players have struggled recently and may be worth benching despite having three or four games on the schedule this week.
While stars from the teams with two games should still start in most fantasy leagues, it's best to consider players with four games instead of some less reliable contributors.
Teams with four games: ATL, BKN, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DET, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MIA, MIN, NOP, OKC, PHI, PHX, POR, SAS, TOR, UTA
Teams with three games: BOS, DEN, GSW, MEM, MIL, NYK, ORL, SAC
Teams with two games: WAS
All roster and start percentages via CBS Fantasy Basketball.
Consider starting: Tim Hardaway, DAL (66% rostered, 36% start)
Opponents: @HOU, BOS, NOP, @OKC
Hardaway had an inconsistent role for the Mavericks to begin the season, but he's started in each of his last 18 appearances. The 30-year-old has had plenty of run as a starter, and he's played at least 32 minutes in his last seven outings. During that time, he's averaged 15.7 points and 4.9 rebounds in 35.7 minutes per game. Hardaway's 37.9 percent field-goal rate leaves something to be desired, but he should continue to see a significant role for Dallas while Josh Green and Dorian Finney-Smith remain sidelined.
Consider sitting: Marcus Smart, BOS (95% rostered, 63% start)
Opponents: @OKC, @DAL, @SAS
Smart has been productive as a distributor recently, but his scoring output leaves something to be desired. Over his last five appearances, he's averaged 8.0 assists per game but has also averaged just 8.4 points per game, down from his season average of 11.2 points. Part of Smart's struggles have stemmed from his lack of efficiency, as he's shot just 37.2 percent from the floor over the last five matchups. In addition to his assists, he's also averaged 1.8 steals per game since the start of December. Despite his ability to contribute as a distributor and defender, he's been lackluster in other areas and has a three-game schedule this week.
Consider starting: Immanuel Quickley, NYK (64% rostered, 34% start)
Opponents: PHX, SAS, @TOR
Quickley came off the bench in 33 of his first 34 appearances this season but has taken a starting role over the last three matchups with Jalen Brunson sidelined due to a hip injury. Quickley has been a force for the Knicks during his stint as a starter, as he's averaged 25.3 points, 9.7 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 44.7 minutes per game over his last three appearances. He'll likely see a slight decrease in playing time once Brunson is cleared to return, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Quickley maintain an elevated role given the dominance he's shown in recent games.
Consider sitting: Bradley Beal, WAS (100% rostered, 64% start)
Opponents: @MIL, @OKC
Beal would normally fall under the category of star players who can be started during two-game weeks, but he's missed the last three matchups due to a hamstring issue. The Wizards have a game scheduled fairly early in the week with a Tuesday matchup against the Bucks, and it's not yet clear whether Beal will be cleared to return to the court by then. Fantasy managers may not have a viable pivot and are willing to risk Beal playing one or zero games this week. However, despite his recent production when healthy, the 29-year-old is a candidate to sit this week given the uncertainty regarding his injury status.
Consider starting: Jaden McDaniels, MIN (53% rostered, 30% start)
Opponents: DEN, POR, LAC, @HOU
McDaniels has cooled off slightly over the last two matchups, but he recently had a stretch in which he scored in double figures in seven consecutive contests while averaging 14.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 33.7 minutes per game. He totaled just 12 points over two games following his hot streak, but he should have a chance to bounce back during Minnesota's four-game week which includes several opponents who struggle defensively against shooting guards.
Consider sitting: Michael Porter, DEN (97% rostered, 63% start)
Opponents: @MIN, LAC, CLE
Porter dropped 30 points against the Kings on Dec. 27, but he's been held in check more over his last few appearances. Across the last three matchups, he's averaged 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 31.0 minutes per game. The Nuggets have just three games on their schedule this week, including a matchup against the Cavaliers, who are one of the best defenses in the league against opposing small forwards. While Porter's recent results haven't been abysmal, it's worth considering some other options who may have increased opportunities this week.
Consider starting: Royce O'Neale, BKN (56% rostered, 27% start)
Opponents: SAS, @CHI, @NOP, @MIA
O'Neale returned from a two-game absence in mid-December and was held scoreless during his first game back on the court. However, he's been much more productive since then and has scored in double figures in five of his last six appearances. Across that span, he's averaged 12.2 points, 2.5 assists and 2.2 rebounds in 31.7 minutes per game while shooting 65.9 percent from the floor. He's also had increased production from distance over that stretch, converting 3.2 three-pointers per game. If O'Neale can stay hot, he can provide fantasy value in points, field-goal percentage and three-pointers made.
Consider sitting: Dillon Brooks, MEM (89% rostered, 52% start)
Opponents: @CHA, @ORL, UTA
Brooks was a well-rounded contributor for the Grizzlies earlier in the season but has been cold over the last several weeks. He's appeared in seven matchups since Dec. 20 and has averaged 13.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 29.6 minutes per game during that time. He's seen fewer looks from the floor recently, as he's attempted just 12.1 field goals per game compared to a mark of 15.7 for the season. The Grizzlies play just three games this week, and it's worth keeping Brooks benched in fantasy until he can turn things around.
Consider starting: Onyeka Okongwu, ATL (58% rostered, 29% start)
Opponents: @GSW, @SAC, @LAL, @LAC
Okongwu has had an inconsistent spot in the starting lineup while Clint Capela has managed a calf injury, but he's had increased production overall while Capela has been unavailable. Over his last nine appearances, Okongwu has averaged 12.2 points and 9.4 rebounds in 29.7 minutes per game. Capela will sit out once again Monday, and it's not yet clear when he'll be able to return to the court. The Hawks have a four-game week, and Okongwu at least represents a solid short-term option who can contribute in scoring and rebounds.
Consider sitting: Jonas Valanciunas, NOP (99% rostered, 83% start)
Opponents: @PHI, HOU, BKN, @DAL
Valanciunas has the potential to be among the elite centers in the game when playing up to his full potential, but he's experienced decreased production recently. He's been held to 12 or fewer points in four of the last five matchups and has averaged 11.6 points and 9.0 rebounds in 27.0 minutes per game during that time. While the 30-year-old still managed to post two double-doubles over that stretch, he'll have to go up against several strong frontcourts this week, making him a somewhat lackluster fantasy option given his recent decrease in production.