Matchups for Thursday, Nov. 5
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.
Start 'em, sit 'em
It appears Thaddeus Young has extended his range. He has nailed seven 3-pointers in his first four games -- one more than he managed for his entire 74-game rookie campaign. Jameer Nelson and Mickael Pietrus share an ability to torment fantasy owners, and nothing has changed now that they're teammates in Orlando. Nelson is shooting just 38.6 percent from the field so far. It would be surprising if he warmed up against the Sixers, who are holding opponents to 41.3 percent shooting. Pietrus has a pair of 20-point outings but followed each good game with a clunker, and he hasn't displayed the defensive skill that coach Stan Van Gundy wants. Keith Bogans, who played 27 minutes Monday, could squeeze him for playing time. Luis Scola had his best game of the early season Tuesday, going for 21 points and 9 boards against the Celtics. Scola owners shouldn't count on big offensive numbers, but he should be able to maintain his current production (12.0 points, 8.3 rebounds) at least until Shane Battier returns. Owners are warming to Rudy Fernandez, who's now claimed in 37 percent of ESPN leagues. However, if you're in a head-to-head league with weekly games limits, seriously consider sitting him for this one. The Rockets have been suffocating on the perimeter, allowing just seven 3-pointers in their first four games. And this is no fluke: Houston was fourth-best in the league in limiting treys in 2007-08. So far, Fernandez's fantasy value is pretty much limited to his 2.0 3s per game.
Louis Williams and Willie Green aren't great plays, but with a light Thursday schedule, you could tap some offense here. Though Williams is under 40 percent so far, he's coming off his best game -- 17 points on 7-of-13 from the floor. That was against the woeful Kings, however. Green is actually shooting 64 percent from the field, though again, he has feasted on yielding defenses, going 5-of-6 versus the Kings and 8-of-10 against the Knicks. Orlando is allowing only 4.3 3s a game, but the Sixers, who were last in the NBA in 3-pointers made in 2007-08, will keep working on their perimeter game. Rafer Alston has six field goals total through four games, but maybe he gets going against the Blazers, who are allowing opponents to shoot 52.3 percent. As long as Greg Oden remains sidelined, Joel Przybilla is a decent spot-starter for teams in need of rebounds. He's averaging 9.0 boards a game, though, oddly, he doesn't have a block yet.
Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.