The NBA schedule has teams playing between one to five games on any given week. This uneven distribution can alter the value of players quite a bit, particularly in weekly scoring formats. This planner highlights those teams playing an extra game or two and those playing a reduced amount.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers elected to rest Chris Paul due to a kneecap during their recent back-to-back. In his absence Eric Bledsoe averaged 16.5 points, 4.5 assists and two steals per game as a starter. While Bledsoe is far from an even replacement for Paul, he's a very capable point guard should CP3 continue to deal with swelling and miss more time.
Must start: Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan
A one-game suspension was handed down to Josh Smith by the Hawks for conduct detrimental to the team and caused him to miss Wednesday night's game. Zaza Pachulia picked up his eighth spot start of the season and logged a team-high 39 minutes. As a starter he's averaged 8.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and shoots 55.1 percent from the floor. Unfortunately, his playing time and averages drop significantly when he comes off the bench. However, Pachulia is just a front court injury away from relevance.
Must start: Jeff Teague, Josh Smith, Al Horford
Gerald Wallace got 15 minutes in his return from a recent rib injury. He's currently in a three-way dance with Andray Blatche and Kris Humphries for action off the bench at the power forward spot. Reggie Evans is hoarding rebounds but his inability to score should eventually lead to Wallace reclaiming a spot in the starting lineup.
Must start: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez
The month of January has seen increased action for rookie Jared Sullinger. In his last seven games he's averaged 8.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 0.7 blocks while getting 25 minutes of action per game. Even more playing time could be on the table if Sullinger can limit his high number of person fouls.
Must start: Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett
Richard Hamilton might be listed as the starting 2-guard but Marco Belinelli is still getting the playing time as the sixth man. Since going back to the bench Belinelli is getting nearly 25 minutes per game to Rip's 19.8 minutes, but his dreadful .369 field goal percentage will understandably keep him off your roster.
Must start: Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah
Rookie Andre Drummond might be awful at the free throw line but he has really come on over the last 10 games. In that span he's averaging 8.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 0.9 steals per game. Drummond is getting just a tick above 23 minutes a night and converting .656 of his field goals opportunities.
Must start: Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe
Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry missed Wednesday night's game with an ankle injury, the same one that has been surgically repaired twice. If Curry is back on the shelf Jarrett Jack, who has been getting a healthy number of minutes off the bench already, becomes the starting point guard. In 39 starts as a starter last year with the New Orleans Hornets, Jack averaged 16 points and 6.6 assists. Similar numbers to that aren't out of reach if Curry is out.
Must start: Klay Thompson, David Lee
Patrick Patterson is finally back in the starting lineup, supplanting Marcus Morris as the small forward. While Patterson made some noise to begin the month he has quickly cooled off. He's now gone six games without a double-digit scoring effort and has only cracked 21 minutes twice in that span.
Must start: Jeremy Lin, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Omer Asik
Los Angeles Lakers
With Pau Gasol out due to a concussion Earl Clark has picked up three consecutive starts but has actually been playing quite a bit over the last five contests. During that time he's put up 11.2 points, 10 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Clark has made a quick impression so he figures to continue to be a part of the rotation once Gasol is cleared to return.
Veteran Antawn Jamison is also playing well as of late with 13.3 points and 7.5 rebounds over the last four games.
Must start: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Dwight Howard
Over the last 13 games Mike Conley has been ice cold shooting the basketball. During that span he's shooting .347 from the floor and taking more than 11 shots per game. Conley is still collecting assists and steals but the field goal percentage is quite difficult to overcome.
Must start: Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol
Dante Cunningham has made six straight starts and will remain a starter with Kevin Love out 8-10 weeks with a fractured hand. While Cunningham is struggling with his shot, .377 field goal percentage in his recent starts, he's also averaged 9.2 points, seven rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks per game.
Must start: Andrei Kirilenko, Nikola Pekovic
New Orleans Hornets
Al-Farouq Aminu owns at least eight rebounds in each of his seven consecutive starts. He's also been averaging 1.5 steals and nearly a block per game after regaining his starting gig.
Must start: Greivis Vasquez, Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson
New York Knicks
Undrafted rookie Chris Copeland is coming off a 22-point effort that featured four threes in what was just his second start of the season. It remains to be seen if he can keep this up, but he's becoming the preferred stretch-4 over Steve Novak.
Must start: J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler
Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Martin is taking a lot of threes lately and has received more than 30 minutes off the bench in five of the nine games played by OKC so far this month. During that span Martin has launched six or more threes half a dozen times.
Must start: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka
Jared Dudley missed two games with a wrist injury but says he is ready to return. That move will bump Shannon Brown back to a reserve role despite a recent 21-point scoring affair. Dudley had been averaging 13.5 points, five rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 three per game in six January contests.
Must start: Goran Dragic, Luis Scola, Marcin Gortat
Portland Trail Blazers
There's not much to report when it comes to the Blazers as of late but their starting five should be universally owned and started in fantasy circles.
Must start: Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, J.J. Hickson
Tyreke Evans has made two straight starts and has scored 18 or more points in three of the last four games. He's coming off arguably his best game of the season: 21 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals in 40 minutes of action. Evans has seen his minutes ramped up lately after he missed an extended amount of time a knee injury but now looks safe to start going forward.
Must start: DeMarcus Cousins
San Antonio Spurs
If Tiago Splitter had managed to pull down one more rebound on Wednesday night he would own three double-doubles over the last six games. He's also averaging a block per game in that span and is shooting better than 58 percent from the field.
Must start: Tony Parker, Tim Duncan
John Wall is still coming off the bench but just recorded 14 points, 10 assists and three steals while playing a season-high 26 minutes. His return to the starting lineup may cut into Bradley Beal's opportunities but the team's first-round selection should continue to hold some value.
Must start: Bradley Beal, Emeka Okafor
Must start: O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki
Must start: Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried
Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a two-time award finalist. He's also made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts.