Matchups for Friday, March 7
All times are ET.
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.
Andris Biedrins, C, Warriors (appendectomy)
Caron Butler, SF, Wizards (hip)
Zach Randolph, PF, Knicks (foot)
Tyrus Thomas, SF/PF, Bulls (suspension)
Gerald Wallace, SG/SF, Bobcats (concussion)
Chris Webber, PF, Warriors (knee)
Dorell Wright, SG/SF, Heat (knee)
Ron Artest, SF, Kings (foot)
Chris Bosh, PF/C, Raptors (knee)
Yi Jianlian, SF/PF, Bucks (ankle)
Andrei Kirilenko, SF/PF, Jazz (hip)
Kevin Martin, SG, Kings (thumb)
Thabo Sefolosha, SG/SF, Bulls (groin)
Tim Thomas, SF/PF, Clippers (groin)
Bonzi Wells, SG, Hornets (Achilles)
David West, PF, Hornets (ankle)
Mo Williams, PG, Bucks (abdomen)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Of Friday's dozen games, several stand out as high-octane fantasy-fueled affairs. The Jazz and Suns both score and allow 100 points per game, so expect a ton of assists from Deron Williams (17.0 dimes his past three games), and a rebounding bonanza for Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur (19.8 points and 10.8 rebounds his past five games). For Phoenix, Amare Stoudemire has been on fire lately (25.4 points in his past five games) and could cash in at the free-throw line against a Jazz team that allows the second-most free throws made in the NBA. Speaking of "foul" shots, Shaquille O'Neal has almost as many free-throw attempts (47) as field-goal attempts (54) in his eight games with the Suns, which is a bad sign given his 46.9 free-throw percentage this season. Ron Artest has been the focal point of the Kings' offense lately, averaging 25.7 points on 22.7 field-goal attempts in his past three games, while Kevin Martin has made his living at the line, sinking 33 of 36 free throws in his past three games, but both missed Wednesday's game, so be sure to check before starting them Friday. It's been nearly two months since the Warriors failed to score at least 100 points in a game, and that high-scoring trend will continue in a shootout against the Heat. Al Harrington is due for a breakout game if he can avoid his recent foul troubles. The Pistons struggled against the Celtics, so expect them to take out their frustrations on the Knicks, who allowed LeBron James to score 50 points on Wednesday. Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace should dominate the paint against a Knicks team whose top shot-blocker is Renaldo Balkman (0.5 per game), especially if leading rebounder Zach Randolph remains out.
Matt Carroll is making the most of his minutes with Gerald Wallace out. Carroll has averaged 15.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.4 3-pointers and 1.8 steals in 37.2 minutes in his past five games for the Bobcats. Teammate Jared Dudley is also worth a look after averaging 10.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in 31.0 minutes in his past five games, including 18 rebounds against the Warriors on Wednesday. Multicategory contributor Boris Diaw is available in more than half of ESPN leagues despite averaging 13.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.4 steals, while shooting 65.0 percent from the field and 92.3 percent from the line in his past five games. While C.J. Miles started at small forward for Andrei Kirilenko Wednesday, Kyle Korver might also benefit if AK-47 remains out. Korver is averaging 15.3 points and 2.3 3-pointers in his past three games, and could nail several 3s against the run-and-gun Suns. With Dorell Wright done for the season, Ricky Davis could see some more minutes for the Heat. Davis is averaging 14.0 points and 1.8 3-pointers in 30.2 minutes in his past five games and has a good matchup against the Warriors on Friday. Nenad Krstic recorded season highs for points (16) and minutes (34), and added nine rebounds Wednesday night. Krstic is owned in only 5 percent of ESPN leagues, but won't be available long if he can continue to play 30-plus minutes a game. If you need 3s, J.R. Smith is your man. Smith scored 20 points in 21 minutes Wednesday, going 6-for-8 from behind the arc.
Tony Targan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.