Matchups for Saturday, Dec. 29
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.
Antonio Daniels, PG, Wizards (knee)
T.J. Ford, PG, Raptors (spinal cord)
Desmond Mason, SF, Bucks (thumb)
Alonzo Mourning, C, Heat (knee)
Chris Quinn, PG, Heat (ankle)
Antoine Wright, SG/SF, Nets (ankle)
Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
On Wednesday, T-Mac guessed he'd be out for another week, so feel free to bench him for the time being. Shaq's hip is ailing him (insert "Golden Girls" theme music here) and Zo's out for the season, so look for Udonis Haslem to pick up the rebounding slack. Haslem has double-digit rebounds in six of his past nine games. Chris Quinn is also out, so Ricky Davis is starting and Daequan Cook should get a decent look off the bench. The Sonics-Wolves contest should be a high-scoring affair that could total 200-plus points between the two teams. Wally Szczerbiak is proving he can still shoot with the best, as he's averaging 15 points and 1.7 3-pointers in December. I expect him and Kevin Durant to bomb away against the Wolves. Marko Jaric came off the bench while recovering from the flu Wednesday, and still scored 15 points with 8 rebounds and 5 assists in 25 minutes off the bench. It's safe to start him again. The Rockets are a strong rebounding team and the Raptors aren't, so expect Chuck Hayes and Luis Scola to have above-average nights on the boards. Ronnie Brewer hurt his finger in his most recent game, so if you've got a better option it might be a good idea to bench him until it's clear that his shooting stroke isn't significantly affected. Charlie Villanueva had 17 points, six rebounds, a steal, a block and a 3 in his return from an ankle injury Wednesday. If you were starting him before he went out, get him back in your lineup.
Roger Mason dropped six 3s Wednesday night, and is a short-term option until Antonio Daniels returns. Even if he cools off, he at least distinguished himself from Nick Young and Mike Wilks, and should have flashes of productivity throughout the season. Devean George has been getting more minutes for the Mavs recently, but so far his season has been hampered by injuries. He's been one of the Mavs' key bench players recently, and if you need an efficient spot start, George is a good option. Kareem Rush is averaging 14 points and 2.7 3-pointers in his past three games, and is a nice spot start even though the Pacers play the Pistons. Josh Boone is definitely worth an add in deep leagues as long as he's starting at center. He's averaging 11.8 points and 8.3 rebounds with 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks while shooting 54 percent from the floor as a starter. His free-throw shooting is atrocious (26.4 percent!), so be prepared for that, but if you're dying for a center, there are much worse options out there. Keep an eye on Delonte West, who was just coming back from a foot injury when he sprained his ankle in practice on Wednesday. Then he went ahead and was the Sonics' best guard against the Celtics Thursday, with 19 points and eight assists. If he can stay healthy, I love West's prospects from here on out and recommend him as a spot start Saturday night. He has all the opportunity in the world, with Earl Watson and Luke Ridnour being the only obstacles between him and a starting job (which isn't saying much). Given his situation, West is one of the commonly available players that you should keep your eye on the most.
Josh Whitling is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.