20/21 Week 20 Potential Shutdowns and Pickups

 In Pickups

This is not a traditional pickup list. Today, I am going to do something a little different. I will be going through all 30 teams and discussing who may get a rest day or two during Week 20 and who would benefit from those rest days. This is not meant to be a complete list. If your league plays to the buzzer, you need to be on the lookout for surprise starts. There are always a few 12th men/G League call-ups that post goofy lines during the final week of the season.

Just a quick administrative note. My wife is planning some birthday stuff for me tomorrow, so I’m going to be taking a half-day and won’t be putting out any articles. However, I will be doing projection updates, and I’ll be available to answer questions.

Atlanta Hawks

Shutdown Odds: Unlikely. The Hawks are not in serious danger of falling back into the play-in, and if they can stay in the 4/5 matchup, they will avoid the Bucks and potentially end up with a first-round matchup against the Knicks.

Players to Watch 

Onyeka Okongwu – Solid grab for big-man stats if Capela is rested, good steal rate for a big. Currently producing 9.2 RP36, 1.4 SP36, and 2.0 BP36 while shooting 63.7 percent from the field.

 

Boston Celtics

Shutdown Odds: It’s possible that the Celtics’ stud get a couple of games off towards the end of the week. They are two back of the Heat for the six seed and are extremely unlikely to drop lower than eighth. If you own the big names on the Celtics, cheer for a win on Tuesday in the team’s rematch with the Heat. If the Celtics lose that game, they will have nothing to play for.

Players to Watch 

Luke Kornet – Time Lord is down again and TT will likely get at least a night off. If Kornet gets a start or two, he’ll be good threes (1.9 3P36) and blocks (2.9 BP36) option.

Aaron Nesmith – Poor start to the season, but has looked good lately and should do good work in points, threes, and rebounds if he plays big minutes (18.2 PP36, 2.7 3P36, 7.9 RP36 over the last two weeks).

 

Brooklyn Nets

Shutdown Odds: The Nets do not have a ton to play for. I’m sure they’d prefer to have HCA in round 2 against the Bucks, but I doubt they are too worried about it. However, I do think that their studs will be active for most of Week 20 since they’ll want to get Kyrie and Durant some reps with Harden. I doubt that Brooklyn will want to go into a potential first-round matchup with the Heat or Celtics without the big-3 having played together in months.

Players to Watch 

Bruce Brown – We know he can put up monster lines if given the chance. Brown is a must-start if he plays some games late in the week without the big guns.

Nicolas Claxton – Likely will play a large role in the playoffs, so the Nets may give him a couple of big-minute games to get him ready. Excellent per-minute numbers in the big-man categories and a strong steal rate for a big.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrott – Doesn’t do much outside of shoot threes, but his nightly upside in the category is high (2.6 3PG). May be a good option if it looks like he’s going to play big minutes and you need a blowup performance.

Alize Johnson – The Nets end the season with a back-to-back against the Bulls and Cavaliers. There is a good chance that Johnson plays big minutes in one of those games. Dropped 20 and 21 two weeks ago and also has a 23 and 15 game on his resume this year. He could be a nice final day of the season play in DFS.

 

Charlotte Hornets

Shutdown Odds: Slim-to-none. The Hornets are only one game up on the Wizards for the nine seed and given how both teams have been playing lately, that is not an insurmountable deficit.

Players to Watch 

Malik Monk – Would have 20+ point upside if Rozier were to rest. Huge nightly upside in threes as well.

Vernon Carey Jr. – Has barely played this year, but his rebounding and block rates were outstanding at Duke. A solid final-day flier if he gets a start and some of the regulars are sitting out.

 

Chicago Bulls

Shutdown Odds: The Bulls are 2.5 out of the second play-in spot with four to go. It will just take one early-week loss to end their season. They don’t have a pick this year, so pointless late-season wins aren’t harmful, but they will probably give LaVine and Vucevic a couple of nights off once they are eliminated from playoff contention. Thad Young and Daniel Theis are likely to take a seat at some point this week as well.

Players to Watch

Lauri Markkanen – Has phoned it in since moving to the bench, but if he starts, he may be motivated to put up one last big line before he hits restricted free agency. Big upside in points and threes with usable boards.

Coby White: Unlikely to be rested and there will be a million shots available if LaVine and Vucevic are out late in the week. A very strong Week 20 play.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

Shutdown Odds: Four teams currently have 20-to-22 wins. I’m sure the Cavaliers have noticed. I wouldn’t expect to see much of Kevin Love and Darius Garland this week given that both are beat up. Collin Sexton and Jarrett Allen will play some games, but don’t be surprised if the Cavaliers’ roster looks a lot like something the Thunder would throw out there over the last two or three games of the season.

Players to Watch

Cedi Osman – Usually good for a solid line when he plays big minutes. Currently dealing with an ankle sprain, so he may be limited this week.

Dean Wade – Was producing mid-round numbers for a couple of weeks at the beginning of April. Does a little bit of everything and has nice upside if Love and Sexton sit and a bunch of usage is made available.

Anderson Varejao – Mostly joking, but his rebounding rate has been bananas since he rejoined the Cavaliers. Maybe they give him a start as a thank you.

 

Dallas Mavericks

Shutdown Odds: Fairly low. It doesn’t look like Dallas is at risk of falling into the play-in, and they likely prefer to play Denver in the 4/5 matchup instead of the Clippers in the 3/6. I doubt we see much of Kristaps Porzingis this week.

Players to Watch

Dwight Powell – Absolutely rolling right now and producing some shockingly good numbers in the defensive categories. A very strong play with KP still down.

Jalen Brunson – Luka might get suspended and with the Mavericks’ final game coming against the Wolves, it’s possible that he misses that game as well (although that will depend on the standings). Brunson has mid-round upside anytime Doncic sits.

Willie Cauley-Stein – Hasn’t been playing much, but big upside in all of the big-man categories if he gets a 30-minute game.

Boban Marjanovic – If he gets a start, you start him. Per-minute numbers remain absurd.

 

Denver Nuggets

Shutdown Odds: Hard to say. Do they care about getting the three seed? Probably not. If they stay in the 4/5, they likely avoid both the Clippers and Lakers until the WCF (the Lakers losing the first play-in game would change that). That means that the Nuggets probably won’t have anything to play for over the second half of the week. I could see this one going either way.

Players to Watch

Shaq Harrison – Will be an elite steals streamer if given big minutes (2.1 SP36).

JaVale McGee – Jokic may want to play all 72, but if he does get a night off, McGee will be a must-start. Per-minute numbers are goofy (17.9 PP36, 12.3 RP36, 2.8 BP36).

 

Detroit Pistons

Shutdown Odds: The Pistons are part of that four-team group that currently has 20-to-22 wins. I wouldn’t expect more than a game from the veterans. Unfortunately, Detroit only plays three games in Week 20, so Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey, and co. will only be low-end plays, even if they have staring roles.

Players to Watch

Saben Lee – Most of the young guys have been playing for a while and may already be rostered. Lee has not, but he may get a chance with Frank Jackson, Josh Jackson, and Hamidou Diallo all hurt. Very nice upside in dimes (8.2 AP36) and steals (1.5 SP36).

Killian Hayes – Coming off of a big 21 and 7 game, but is very risky as he’s been terrible most nights and the Pistons only have three games. Only for eight-category leagues due to his issues with turnovers (5.3 TOPG over this last four in only 29.1 MPG).

 

Golden State Warriors

Shutdown Odds: Low-to-zero. The Warriors and Grizzlies will be battling until the final day of the season for the eighth seed and the right to have two cracks at the playoffs.

Players to Watch

Jordan Poole – The FG% will be ugly, but big upside in points and threes if Steph gets a game off.

Juan Toscano-Anderson – Already worth considering in standard leagues for his Roto-friendly line. Can do a little bit of everything with his best contributions coming in rebounds and dimes.

 

Houston Rockets

Shutdown Odds: Outside of Christian Wood, the Rockets do not have anyone to shut down and they don’t need to shut down anyone anyway. They have the worst record in the league locked up. I think Wood will play at some point last week, but I’d be surprised if he played the whole week.

Players to Watch

Kenyon Martin Jr. – Should already be owned with Wood out and questionable for Week 20.

Khyri Thomas – Not much of a track record here as Thomas was a bit player in his first two years in the association, but he has produced two first-round lines in two games for the Rockets. Risky with high upside.

Armoni Brooks – A nice points and threes option with the Rockets down most of their guard rotation. Stay away if KPJ comes back.

 

Indiana Pacers

Shutdown Odds: The Pacers do not have the tie-breaker with the Hornets, so they are really three games back of the eight seed with five to play. The Pacers likely won’t have much to play for over the second half of the week, so expect a rest day or two for the regulars to keep them fresh for what they hope will be two play-in games.

Players to Watch

Oshae Brissett – Not much value when the Pacers have most of their regulars out there, but has elite upside when they don’t. Keep an eye out for news as he has the potential to swing your championship.

Goga Bitadze – Projects as a fantasy god in a major role. Produces a stupid 4.0 BP36.

 

Los Angeles Clippers

Shutdown Odds: The Clippers has never cared about seeding and play the Raptors, Hornets, Rockets, and Thunder in Week 20. The Hornets and Rockets games are part of a back-to-back set and the Thunder game is on the final day of the season, so don’t expect more than two games from Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Marcus Morris will likely sit at least one game as well.

Players to Watch

DeMarcus Cousins – Hasn’t been bad in Los Angeles (his defensive metrics have been surprising solid) and his per-minute numbers in the counting categories remain excellent. A great points league option if he gets a start or two.

Luke Kennard – Nice potential in the scoring categories on nights when he’s playing 30 MPG. Currently producing 15.0 PP36 and 3.0 3P36.

 

Los Angeles Lakers

Shutdown Odds: The Lakers are likely going to make health a priority in Week 20. Being in the play-in isn’t ideal, but they likely don’t have a choice, and moving up to sixth may lead to a tougher first-round matchup anyway. All four games are part of back-to-back sets, so LeBron James will play two games at most. This could easily be a two-game week for Anthony Davis as well, although three games is possible.

Players to Watch

Talen Horton-Tucker – Only an option for the final game of the season. Nice upside in points, dimes, and swipes anytime he starts.

Montrezl Harrell – Stay away unless Drummond sits. Big upside in points and FG% if the Lakers’ starting center does get a night off.

 

Memphis Grizzlies

Shutdown Odds: Low-to-zero. The Warriors and Grizzlies will be battling until the final day of the season for the eighth seed and the right to have two cracks at the playoffs.

Players to Watch

Xavier Tillman – I doubt the starters get more than one game off, so Tillman will likely be a one-game stream at best. Solid big-man categories option that comes with a nice steal rate. Role is very limited at the moment, so he’s just a watch.

De’Anthony Melton – Not much to say here. You know what he can do. An elite per-minute player, so he’s a must-start anytime he gets major run.

Brandon Clarke – Jenkins has gone away from him but his per-minute numbers have remained very strong. A good boards and defensive categories streamer who could go off if JV and JJJ get a night off.

 

Miami Heat

Shutdown Odds: Low. The Heat will be fighting until the final day to avoid a potential first-round matchup with the Nets or Bucks. They are currently in the six spot but have the same record as the fifth-seeded Hawks.

Players to Watch

Kendrick Nunn – Useless the last three games, but we know that he has top-50 upside anytime Butler sits. Final game of the season against the Pistons screams big line if it ends up meaning nothing to the Heat.

Nemanja Bjelica – Hasn’t had an opportunity with the Heat, but his game is fantasy-friendy still, and his upside would be significant if he got a start late in the week.

 

Milwaukee Bucks

Shutdown Odds: The Bucks won’t get the one seed, but they do have a solid shot at the two-seed and HCA against the Nets. Given how tough that series will be, I would expect the Bucks to chase it. I doubt we see any rest days unless it starts to look like it won’t be possible to catch Brooklyn.

Players to Watch

Bobby Portis – Still a top-25 per-minute player and an automatic must-start if Giannis sits a game. Five games this week, so worth gambling on in weekly leagues as well.

Bryn Forbes – No upside outside of the scoring categories, but he’s the type of player who could have a five threes night. Currently producing 4.1 3P36.

 

Minnesota Timberwolves

Shutdown Odds: The Wolves should be trying to keep their pick (they keep it if it lands in the top-4), but right now, there have been no signs that they plan on shutting down Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. I think it’s possible that they change their mind, especially with a game against the Pistons on Tuesday, but I wouldn’t lock it in.

Players to Watch

Naz Reid – Too risky to be worth gambling on when KAT is active, but he’s a no-brainer start if Towns sits. Very strong per-minute numbers in the big-man categories (51.9 FG%, 8.6 RP36, 2.0 BP36) and nice upside for a big in points (20.8 PP36) and threes (1.7 3P3G).

Jarred Vanderbilt – Could be a difference-maker in swipes if he plays 30+ MPG. Producing 2.0 SP36 on the year and 3.1 SP36 over the last two weeks. Would also be a nice blocks option if given an extended look (1.6 BP36).

Jaylen Nowell – Unlikely to be relevant because Edwards is very unlikely to be shut down, but Nowell does have some nice upside in points and threes as we saw earlier in the season (17.8 PP36, 2.3 3P36).

 

New Orleans Pelicans

Shutdown Odds: High. The Spurs are horrendous and catchable, but not with Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson out. Steven Adams likely won’t play much in Week 20, and Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe could have a light week.

Players to Watch

Nickeil Alexander-Walker – A must-own if his minutes ramp up fast and he starts to see 30+ a night. That’s not a lock as he is coming off of a serious ankle injury. Has significant upside in the scoring categories (17.9 PP36, 2.8 3P36) and steals (1.7 SP36) and is a sneaky source of out-of-position blocks (0.9 BP36).

Jaxson Hayes – A must-start as long as Adams is out. Coming off of a massive six-block game and has averaged 13.5 PPG on 63.2 FG%, 7.3 RPG, 1.0 SPG, and 2.5 BPG over his last four.

Willy Hernangomez – Hayes isn’t a big-minutes player, so Hernangomez should still get enough run to post a double-double. He is currently starting and has averaged 10.3 PPG on 54.0 FG%, 11.3 RPG, and 1.3 SPG in his eight starts this season.

James Johnson – A must-own player if you need defensive numbers with Zion and Ingram down. Currently producing an excellent 1.6 SP36 and 1.6 BP36.

Naji Marshall – Johnson is the preferred play, but Marshall should be a decent source of boards (7.1 RP36) and steals (1.3 SP36) in Week 20.

Kira Lewis – Decent chance that the Pelicans give him a start or two this week. Would be a nice source of dimes (5.1 AP36) and steals (1.6 SP36) if they do.

 

New York Knicks

Shutdown Odds: Low-to-none. The Knicks need to avoid dropping to the six seed, and I’ll believe Thibs giving Julius Randle, R.J. Barrett, and friends a rest day when I see it.

Players to Watch

Taj Gibson – Noel is fragile and more likely to be rested than most of the other Knicks. The last time that Taj started, he grabbed 12 boards and blocked five shots. Over the last two weeks, in only 22.9 MPG, he’s managed 5.7 RPG and 1.6 BPG.

Immanuel Quickley – Unlikely to be relevant until the final game of the season, if at all. Would likely put up big numbers in points, threes, and FT% if he gets to start/be the man for a night. Currently producing 21.6 PP36 and 3.5 3P36 while shooting 88.9 percent from the line.

 

Oklahoma City Thunder

Shutdown Odds: Despite having one win since March, the Thunder are still in a tough battle for lottery positioning. Expect them to try to lose every game (not that they need to try). With only three games this week, I would stay away from the entire roster.

Players to Watch

None – Their rotation is unlikely to change this week. I’d stay away from Ty Jerome since the Thunder seem worried that he’ll cause them to lose by 25 instead of 35.

 

Orlando Magic

Shutdown Odds: The Magic are already rolling with a skeleton crew, but with lots of ping pong balls still on the line, expect them to play it safe with Wendall Carter.

Players to Watch

R.J. Hampton – Should already be owned and it would not be a surprise to see his minutes increase even further. Has averaged 17.3 PPG, 1.0 3PG, 6.8 RPG, and 5.3 APG in 31.3 MPG over his last four.

Ignas Brazdeikis – Struggled in New York, but has looked decent in Orlando. Has averaged 11.3 PPG, 1.0 3PG, 5.0 RPG, and 2.0 APG with the Magic. Just a deep-league streamer for now.

 

Philadelphia 76ers

Shutdown Odds: High. The Sixers have a cake schedule to end the season and only need a couple of more wins to lock in the one seed. They also end the season with two games against the Magic.

Players to Watch

Shake Milton – Could get a game or two at the end of the week where he is the top option. Currently producing 20.0 PP36 despite spending a large chunk of his minutes with Embiid. Huge upside in points if the Sixers rest their starters.

Tyrese Maxey – Same deal as Milton. He’s a points (18.5 PP36) and nothing else option who could put up some flashy numbers in his best category over the final couple games of the season.

 

Phoenix Suns

Shutdown Odds: The Suns have the tiebreaker on the Jazz, so the one-seed isn’t completely out of play, but two games is a lot to make up with only four games on the schedule. With a first-round matchup with the Lakers looking fairly likely, the Suns will want to give their regulars a night off.

Players to Watch

Frank Kaminsky – Playing a little more lately and would be a good bet for useful points (16.1 PP36), threes (1.7 3P36), and boards (9.2 RP36) if he sees big minutes for a game or two.

Dario Saric – Similar to Kaminsky. Needs Ayton, Crowder, and Bridges to get a night or two off but would be fairly valuable if that were to happen. Producing 18.1 PP36, 2.0 3P36, and 8.0 RP36.

 

Portland Trail Blazers

Shutdown Odds: The Blazers likely need a couple of more wins to lock in the six seed. They’ll get one on Monday against the Rockets, but the second could be tricky. Their final three games come against the Jazz, Suns, and Nuggets. The Nuggets likely won’t have anything to play for, however, so that could prove to be an easy one as well. If you own Blazers, cheer for the Lakers. If the Lakers don’t pick up some early-week wins in Week 20, the Blazers may not need that second win.

Players to Watch

Enes Kanter – Will put up mid-round numbers and a double-double anytime Nurkic sits. A no-brainer pickup in that scenario.

Anfernee Simons – Potentially an elite source of threes (4.0 3P36) if the starting backcourt gets a night or two off.

 

Sacramento Kings

Shutdown Odds: The Kings’ loss to the Spurs on Friday basically eliminated them for playoff contention, so I wouldn’t expect De’Aaron Fox to rush back. It’s very possible we do not see him again. The same goes for Harrison Barnes.

Players to Watch

Terence Davis – Playing really well right now and with Fox unlikely to come back, he’s fine to add in all leagues. Has averaged 17.5 PPG, 2.5 3PG, 4.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, and 1.5 SPG over his last four.

Marvin Bagley – More of a points league add. The Fox and Barnes absences help, but he doesn’t have much upside in category leagues since he only contributes in points, rebounds, and FG%.

 

San Antonio Spurs

Shutdown Odds: There is a very good chance that the Spurs do not win another game. They are one of the worst teams in the league at the moment and their easiest remaining opponent is the Knicks. But due to who is behind them, they will still likely get into the 9/10 play-in game. Since their fate is more about what happens with the Pelicans’ C team than what they do, whether or not their big guns rests will come down to whether the Pelicans can pick up a win or two early in the week. If they don’t, all of the Spurs starters will likely be rested over the final two games of the season.

Players to Watch

Drew Eubanks – Has the potential to post a double-double (14.4 PP36, 11.0 RP36) with a couple of blocks (2.5 BP36) if Poeltl gets a night or two off.

Lonnie Walker – Just a points and threes option, but a potentially very good one if DeRozan and Murray sit. Producing 16.0 PP36 and 2.4 3P36 on the year.

Gorgui Dieng – Still an elite per-minute option. Top-35 on a per-minute basis on the season. Would do serious damage in even 25 minutes.

 

Toronto Raptors

Shutdown Odds: The Raptors have absolutely nothing to play for in the final week of the season. They are not going to make the play-in and are extremely unlikely to worsen their lottery odds. I wouldn’t expect more than a game or two from their top four – at most. It’s also possible that we don’t see Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anuonby, or Pascal Siakam at all. I would drop all four in standard H2H leagues. VanVleet is the most likely to play as he’s the only one not actually hurt, but I’d rather roll the dice on a low-end option with four or five players.

Players to Watch

Malachi Flynn – A must-own with VanVleet and Lowry possibly done. The rookie was playing like a mid-round player in the middle of April when both players were out of the lineup. As a starter, Flynn has averaged 12.9 PPG on 39.3 FG%, 2.4 3PG, 4.3 RPG, 5.6 APG, and 1.3 SPG.

Gary Trent Jr. – It’s possible that Trent gets a night off this week, but when he is in the lineup, he should be a monster source of points and threes. He’s produced 22.2 PP36 and 3.4 3P36 over his last eight and will be the team’s first option.

Jalen Harris – Lots of minutes and shots available with so many Raptors being rested. Hasn’t played much at the pro level, but his G League stats suggest he should do well in the scoring categories (17.6 PPG, 2.9 3PG).

 

Utah Jazz

Shutdown Odds: The Jazz are currently two games up on the Suns. If they can pull away early in the week, they’ll likely rest. If they can’t, their regulars may play until the final buzzer. I would expect Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley to get some reps this week to get their rhythm back, but they are unlikely to play enough minutes to be strong starts.

Players to Watch

Derrick Favors – The Jazz aren’t going to play him major minutes, but if Gobert gets a night off and Favors plays even 25, he’ll post a very useful line. A top-40 per-minute player with per-minute averages of 12.9 RP36 and 2.3 BP36.

 

Washington Wizards

Shutdown Odds: The Wizards will play their top dogs as long as they are within striking distance of the Hornets. They are only one back of Charlotte but do not have the tie-break, so there is a decent chance that the Wizards’ final couple of games do not matter. If they don’t, we may not see Bradley Beal until the play-in. He’s already been ruled out for Monday’s and Wednesday’s games, and teams tend to play it safe when players are dealing with hamstring issues.

Players to Watch

Raul Neto – Had some big games early in the year when Westbrook was sitting during back-to-back sets. A solid option in weekly leagues with Beal down and Westbrook potentially being rested late in the week.

Daniel Gafford – Impossible to trust, but if the final couple of games don’t matter to the Wizards, maybe Brooks lets him loose. Has the potential to post a first-round line if he sees even 25 minutes. Someone to gamble on if you need FG% and blocks this week.

 

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