By the end of Week 5, the 2023-24 season will have completed its first month. Depending on where your fantasy team is in the standings, evaluating your rosters could result in either standing pat or looking to make wholesale changes in an attempt to salvage something. Schedule-wise, sandwiched in between loaded Wednesday (14 games) and Friday (10) slates is a day off for the entire league as the NFL takes over Thanksgiving. Let’s take a look ahead at Week 5, beginning with the number of games each team is scheduled to play.
Week 5 Games Played
4 Games: ATL, BOS, CHI, CLE, DEN, LAC, MIA, MIL, MIN, NOR, ORL, PHO, SAS, TOR, WAS
3 Games: BKN, CHA, GSW, HOU, IND, LAL, MEM, NYK, PHI, POR, SAC, UTA
2 Games: DAL, DET, OKC
Week 5 Storylines
– How will managers make sense of the Pistons’ rotation?
With Jalen Duren (ankle) sidelined for Detroit’s last three games and Jaden Ivey and Alec Burks returning from injury, Pistons coach Monty Williams has juggled his rotation over the last week. Regarding playing time, only Cade Cunningham has played at least 30 minutes in each of Detroit’s last three games. Early fantasy favorite Ausar Thompson took a hit in Friday’s loss to the Cavaliers, playing 17 minutes due to foul trouble, and he isn’t the only player whose minutes have fluctuated. Kevin Knox II started for the injured Duren on Friday, and while he was productive, this came at the expense of Marvin Bagley III. With the Pistons only playing two games in Week 5 (Monday and Friday), their fringe fantasy options are likely to land on the waiver wire in many leagues.
– Mavericks, Thunder only play two games in Week 5
Dallas and Oklahoma City are also scheduled to play two games in Week 5, with both in action on Wednesday and Saturday. No one will drop a Luka Doncic or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander; they’re far too valuable and among the best players in fantasy basketball (and the NBA, period). But what happens with a Dereck Lively II (51% rostered in Yahoo leagues) or even a Tim Hardaway Jr. (68%)? While a very good argument can be made for holding onto both, especially Hardaway, given his start to the season, will some managers have wandering eyes? Obviously, that depends on factors such as roster makeup, injuries, and the options available on the waiver wire. But two-game weeks can be tough, especially with half the NBA playing four games in Week 5.
– Hawks and Cavaliers scheduled to play multiple back-to-backs
Atlanta and Cleveland are among the 15 teams set to play four games in Week 5, but they’ve also got two back-to-backs to navigate. The Hawks have been relatively healthy, so there shouldn’t be much trouble on that front. Conversely, Cleveland has seen its starting backcourt (Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell) miss time with hamstring injuries, and backup point guard Ty Jerome (ankle) remains sidelined. Add in Isaac Okoro (knee), and four rotation players have recently been impacted by health issues. If the Cavaliers happen to be shorthanded, those back-to-backs could further boost the value of a Max Strus or Caris LeVert, both of whom are rostered in less than 75% of Yahoo leagues.
– The Clippers have settled on a starting lineup
Clippers guard Russell Westbrook approached Tyronn Lue earlier this week and volunteered to come off the bench in an attempt to improve the team’s continuity. The team’s six-game skid did end on Friday against the Rockets, with James Harden’s four-point play determining the outcome. The Clippers play four games in Week 5, providing fantasy managers with a solid sample size to evaluate the rotation changes and how they’ll impact fantasy basketball. Westbrook and Terance Mann (who’s now starting) could see their respective values boosted, and the Clippers also added a new backup center in Daniel Theis. The team’s four-game week includes a Friday/Saturday back-to-back against the Pelicans and Mavericks, with both games being played at home.
– Is it once again “Jonathan Isaac time” in Orlando?
The day many have been waiting for finally arrived on Friday, as Isaac played 20 minutes off the bench in the Magic’s win over Chicago. And he was effective, posting a line of 18 points, nine rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block, and two 3-pointers. Rostered in 11% of Yahoo leagues, he’s been a top 75 player over the last two weeks, according to Basketball Monster. So, would this be a good time to take the plunge and add Isaac, especially with Orlando playing four games in Week 5?
One can certainly make that argument; Isaac’s skill set is such that he only needs 20 minutes or so to provide a solid return. However, Orlando begins its Week 5 slate with a home back-to-back against the Raptors (Tuesday) and Nuggets (Wednesday). Isaac did play both ends of Orlando’s most recent back-to-back (November 14-15) but logged 29 minutes total. Orlando remains without Markelle Fultz (knee) and Wendell Carter Jr. (finger), and Jalen Suggs also missed a game recently, so players like Anthony Black, Goga Bitadze, and Moritz Wagner remain on the fantasy radar.
– Draymond Green will finish his suspension in Week 5
Green will serve the final three games of his five-game ban during Week 5, matching the number of contests the Warriors will play. The player who has benefitted the most in Green’s absence has been Dario Saric, who’s providing 7th-round per-game value in 9-cat formats over the last week. Whether as a reserve or a starter, he’s played himself onto the radar in many fantasy leagues.
Another Warriors player to keep an eye on is rookie Brandin Podziemski, who has been a 7th-round player over the last week. His extended minutes have come as a result of Stephen Curry missing time with a sore knee, and Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after Tuesday’s loss to the Timberwolves that Podziemski would remain in the rotation. Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins’ early-season struggles have also strengthened the need for players like Podziemski to get an opportunity to contribute. Also, the Warriors will have to account for the absence of Gary Payton II, who injured his foot during Thursday’s loss to the Thunder.
Light Game Days
Tuesday: 5 Games
TOR vs. ORL
IND vs. ATL
CLE vs. PHI
POR vs. PHO
UTA vs. LAL
Thursday: 0 Games
Week 5 Back-to-backs
Tuesday-Wednesday: ATL, CLE, IND, LAL, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, TOR, UTA
Friday-Saturday: LAC, MIA, NOR, WAS
Saturday-Sunday: ATL, BKN, CLE
Sunday-Monday (Week 6): DEN