Matchups for Sunday, Jan. 6
All times are expressed in Eastern Time.
Key: Opp. PPG = Points per game allowed to opponents. Opp. FGP = Field goal percentage allowed to opponents. RPG Diff. = The difference between team's rebounds per game and its opponents' rebounds per game.
Erick Dampier, C, Mavericks (leg)
Tim Duncan, PF/C, Spurs (thumb)
Dan Gadzuric, C, Bucks (shoulder)
Manu Ginobili, SG, Spurs (index finger)
Drew Gooden, PF, Cavaliers (flu)
Willie Green, SG, 76ers (groin)
LeBron James, SF, Cavaliers (big toe)
Shaquille O'Neal, C, Heat (hip)
Vladimir Radmanovic, SF/PF, Lakers (ankle)
Michael Redd, SG, Bucks (thigh)
Darius Songaila, PF, Wizards (Achilles)
Tim Thomas, SF, Clippers (knee)
Dwyane Wade, PG/SG, Heat (pinkie finger/shoulder)
Jason Williams, PG, Heat (knee)
Dorell Wright, SG/SF, Heat (ankle)
Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
Washington big man Brendan Haywood has a very favorable matchup against Seattle's frontcourt, which is especially thin with Chris Wilcox out because of a dislocated right pinkie finger. I'd play the Wizards' point guard, Antonio Daniels, as well. He's back from injury and is owned is most leagues, but if he's still available in yours, he's a good pickup while Gilbert Arenas remains on the sidelines. There might not be a more obvious start in fantasy on Sunday than Dallas' Devin Harris against Sebastian Telfair and the Timberwolves. Point guards have been shredding the T-Wolves defense all season, and Harris is too big and too fast for Telfair on both ends of the floor. Of course, this means you'll want to sit Telfair; I'm expecting it to be a long night for him. With half the Miami roster banged up and/or listed as day-to-day, Ricky Davis has the chance to score a lot of points. He had 23 points against the Bucks on Wednesday and is averaging 20 point on 49-percent shooting over his past five games. He's a great matchup against Memphis, as teams shoot 47 percent and score almost 105 points per game against the Grizzlies. You'll want to keep riding Charlotte's Jason Richardson, who is on fire lately, against the Bucks. He's averaging 29 points per game over his past five games, and, until Friday night, he had hit at least three 3-pointers in a ridiculous eight consecutive games. Milwaukee allows teams to shoot 39 percent from long range. I've been saying this about Richardson a lot lately, but this game looks like another "perfect storm." You are obviously going to start Kobe Bryant against the Pacers, and you will be rewarded for having him. Indiana has no one to guard him. However, the Lakers have given up a lot of points at the small forward position this year, and Indiana has two great ones in Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy. I'd expect a lot of Indy's points to come from that pair, and I think they are both great starts Sunday.
Seattle center Kurt Thomas hasn't been scoring much, but he has had double-digit rebounds in five consecutive games and also is averaging almost two blocks over that stretch. He's widely available, and with Wilcox missing some time, he looks like a good short-term solution in those categories. Erick Dampier is day-to-day with a sore right leg. If he misses time, it could mean a return to big minutes for DeSagana Diop, who, like Thomas, is a great source of blocks and boards when he gets playing time. I don't like most players when they match up with the Spurs, but if you need scoring, a good option might be Clippers rookie forward Al Thornton. He has had three double-digit scoring games in his past five, including a 25-point outburst in 43 minutes against the Spurs in San Antonio. Thornton is the type of big small forward the Spurs sometimes have trouble matching up with, as he's a little too tall and too quick for Bruce Bowen. I'm extremely excited to see Philly's Louis Williams match up with Denver's Allen Iverson. They are both lightning fast and can get their shot off over much bigger guys. Problem is Williams has been missing a lot lately, shooting only 31 percent from the floor over his past five games. Still, I like this matchup for both guys, and I'm expecting them to go at each other a bit when Williams is on the floor. For now, pick up Williams only if you're desperate for points and foul shooting, but if he can score with some consistency, he looks like a great long-term pickup going forward in fantasy.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com