Matchups for Monday, March 2nd
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
Tyson Chandler is letting bygones be bygones, averaging 13 points, 12 rebounds and a block since his trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder was rescinded and since he recovered from an ankle injury. His shot-blocking numbers are still a little behind schedule, but he looks to be safe to start for the near future (which is all you can really ask out of Chandler). Thaddeus Young is coming off impressive back-to-back games of 23 and 18 points. He's still rebounding at an anemic rate (3.6 per game over his past five), but his hidden strength lies in his defensive numbers. Young is capable of two steals and a block every night given the minutes. A good source (my son's pediatrician) just told me that this year's flu bug has been late to arrive, which means we may be seeing more statistical derailments such as the one that befell Mike Bibby this week. Bibby is back, but might need an extra game to get his legs back. I'm still starting him Monday and hoping for the best, as the Hawks are playing the Wizards, which should be target practice for Bibby. Al Horford should also see visions of double-doubles when he looks at Wizards' starting center Darius Songaila. I'm not nearly as high on Marvin Williams, who should complete his return to earth in the wake of the returns of Bibby and Josh Smith. Easily in my top-5 for most frustrating fringe players of the season. Anderson Varejao was hyped in the aftermath of Ben Wallace's injury, but it's been Zydrunas Ilgauskas who has stepped up his play. He's posted back-to-back double-doubles and should be on the rise in March. Michael Beasley has been relatively productive as of late, but is about to run into a statistical buzz saw in the form of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sit him if you've got other options. It sounds as if Tim Duncan will return to the Spurs' lineup by Monday, but keep checking ESPN.com for updates running up to locking your roster. Signs point to Eric Gordon returning to the Clippers' lineup when the Clippers return to Staples Center on Monday. As one who owns both Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook, I have to say I'm simultaneously excited and terrified at the prospect of their new roles in the wake of Durant's ankle injury. Their numbers are going to skyrocket, but the idea of Westbrook getting the green light to shoot outside of three feet is making my field goal percentage tremble.
I'd always preached that the Bulls were sapping some serious fantasy potential from Thabo Sefolosha. Well, it took a trade and an ankle injury to Durant, but Sefolosha's finally getting a steady diet of minutes, and it's starting to pay off. Any shooting guard that can go for a double-double, two steals and a block (like he did against Memphis on Saturday) deserves a pickup. He should be a great start as long as Durant is on the shelf, which could be as long as a month. Rasual Butler is still holding onto some value despite the recent return of Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler. Butler's averaging 17.6 points over his past five games, and (more importantly) 34.6 minutes. We're well aware he's penciled in for at least two 3-pointers a night, but being streaky, he also possesses the potential to hit five or six and by hitting a gargantuan 42 percent of his 3-pointers, he's the rare long-range bomber that won't undercut your field goal percentage and he's averaging 1.2 blocks per game over his past five and he's only owned in four percent of all leagues. Which means he's owned 91.3 percent less than the less-productive Peja Stojakovic. I'd certainly rather have Butler than the 7.2 percent-owned Lou Williams, who's all points and no bite. When Williams' shot isn't falling -- as it didn't against Orlando on a zero-point Saturday night -- his value craters. I'd like to tell you Sixers fans to grab Marreese Speights instead (for his upside), but I can't in good conscience. There are few real-life NBA teams with more fantasy disappointments than the Sixers. If you're looking for more diversification in your roster, the unheralded Dominic McGuire has had a nice little run over the past couple of weeks. He's had double-doubles in two of his past three and is very effective distributing the basketball. Most impressively, he's averaged almost three blocks and a steal per night over his past five games. Andray Blatche is still getting his conditioning back following his return from injury, but could be a reasonable spot start if you've got a divot at center. Delonte West has been inconsistent in his comeback from a wrist injury, but anyone who gets 30 minutes in a backcourt alongside LeBron James deserves roster consideration. Look for him to be a productive add over the last third of the season. This side of Dwyane Wade, I don't like any of the Heat's chances against the Cavs, but Jamario Moon looks to be the starter at small forward from here on out. He was one of fantasy's most pleasant surprises in the 2008 season and should get an opportunity to shine under Eric Spoelstra. Brandon Bass isn't good for night-in, night-out numbers, but has a nice matchup against the defenseless Thunder on Monday night. With Jason Terry still out, he's been receiving more touches of late. Finally, good old Kurt Thomas is briefly returning to fantasy consideration thanks to injuries to Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. If Duncan sits on Monday, Thomas will scrape a double-double and a block.
John Cregan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.