Matchups for Monday, Dec. 15
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.
Carmelo Anthony, SF, Nuggets (elbow)
Michael Beasley, PF, Heat (flu)
Charlie Bell, SG, Bucks (ankle)
Carlos Boozer, PF, Jazz (quad)
Dwight Howard, C, Magic (knee)
David Lee, PF/C, Knicks (back)
Corey Maggette, SG/SF, Warriors (hamstring)
Kenyon Martin, PF, Nuggets (wrist)
Kevin Martin, SG, Kings (ankle)
Mike Miller, SG/SF, Timberwolves (ankle)
Jameer Nelson, PG, Magic (flu)
Anthony Parker, SG, Raptors (ankle)
Nate Robinson, PG/SG, Knicks (groin)
Start 'em, sit 'em
The fantasy gods teased with the initial reports following the Jason Richardson-Boris Diaw/Raja Bell trade. Early reports had Raymond Felton sliding over to shooting guard, thus moving D.J. Augustin to starting point guard. Unfortunately, Saturday revealed Bell starting at the two, with Augustin still on the bench. Gerald Wallace returned in grand fashion Saturday (22 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals), and should be improved from here on out with the additional touches post-Richardson. On Saturday night, Marvin Williams had his best outing (19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 3-pointers, 2 blocks) since Josh Smith came back from his ankle injury. He needs to hit his 3s to retain real fantasy value, but the blocks were a nice bonus. The Wizards are the basketball equivalent of batting practice, allowing opposing teams to shoot 48 percent from the field. Vince Carter followed up his horrid 0-for-13 outing Friday with a 39-point explosion Saturday. All seems fine, play with impunity. Jamario Moon is back in the starting lineup in Toronto, and has put up nice back-to-back box scores. He's a player whose value isn't tied to his scoring, making him a nice fill-in for your lineups. Carlos Boozer could finally be back in action on Monday; great news for Boozer owners, bad news for Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko enthusiasts. Ronnie Brewer (personal) should be back in Utah's lineup in time for Monday's game. Kevin Garnett has been awesome over his past five games averaging 17 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. Trade him. Look for the Knicks-Suns matchup to be a veritable fantasy cornucopia. Both teams allow more than 100 points a game. For a team loaded with big names (Wade, Marion, Beasley), you have to count the Heat as a fantasy disappointment so far this season. Both Beasley (flu) and Udonis Haslem (personal) should be back on the floor by Monday night. Carmelo Anthony's elbow continues to be a long-range concern. It'd be hard to trade him after back-to-back gonzo outings, but I'd listen to a good offer if it came my way. Grant Hill has been stellar as of late, showing he can still produce given starter's minutes. He's had seven steals over his past two games, but it will be interesting to see how he meshes with Jason Richardson long term. Maybe having Kevin McHale at coach will finally put Randy Foye over the top in the world of fantasy. It's long past time for him to start turning all that athletic upside into production. If Kevin Love keeps putting up double-digit rebounds every night, you'll have to start him and suffer through the off shooting performances, which occur about every other game. Dwight Howard continues to send shivers through the fantasy world with his day-to-day status. He's questionable for Monday night, so keep an eye on ESPN.com for any updates.
Boris Diaw logged 27 minutes in his Bobcats debut -- a good sign -- and should easily top 30 minutes per game in what was a vacuum at power forward. He's a great across-the-board contributor and could be just what Larry Brown ordered for ailing fantasy squads; not flashy, but solid in multiple categories. On the other hand, I would not rush to pick up Raja Bell. He's a one-trick pony (3s) at best, and will find his minutes docked at the expense of D.J. Augustin at every turn. If you have the luxury to handcuff T.J. Ford, I'd look at scooping up Jarrett Jack. Jack's flashed fantasy potential in the past and is watching his minutes increase. Mike James could get another shot at fantasy relevance in Washington, but he'll have to beat out Juan Dixon, who's been surprisingly productive as of late. Still, I'd bet James eventually becomes the starter, at least until/(if?) Gilbert Arenas returns. Paul Millsap's Carlos Boozer impersonation will return to the bench in the near future, perhaps as soon as Monday. He's been a great short-term add, but I'd look to deal him as soon as Boozer gets back in the lineup. Kendrick Perkins remains a nice short-term add for squads searching for blocks and rebounds. Luke Ridnour has been solid all month, proving a nice source of assists and steals. He's currently owned in six percent of leagues. You could do worse at backup guard. Charlie Villanueva has been dominant off the bench (16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 3-pointer) over his past five games. He's getting starter's minutes and isn't going to be available for long in your league. The question is how long will it last. I'm scratching my head as to how Chris Duhon is still unowned in 11 percent of leagues and why Wilson Chandler is owned in only 59 percent of leagues. Both are prime examples of the Mike D'Antoni Effect, which is like the Don Nelson Effect, only on prescription antidepressants. Speaking of Don Nelson, he made Rob Kurz his latest King for a Day on Saturday to the tune of 20 points, 7 rebounds, 3 3-pointers, 2 blocks and 2 steals. It's just a mirage, but those numbers demand we pay him some attention over the next couple of games. Craig Smith is finally going to get solid consistent minutes under Kevin McHale. Watch very closely. Francisco Garcia should be a solid fill-in for Kevin Martin owners for the near future. He has the added benefit of dual eligibility at small forward, and could average close to two blocks a night until Martin comes back.
John Cregan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.