Matchups for Friday, Jan. 4
All times are expressed in Eastern Time. Statistics from 2007-08 regular season.
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's all about matchups Friday. There are some major mismatches to exploit, which could offer greater fantasy returns than usual. The Celtics-Grizzlies game could get grisly, so upgrade your expectations for Rajon Rondo (coming off a 13-point, 9-assist game Wednesday) and consider a spot start for Kendrick Perkins, given the huge rebounding differential Boston should enjoy over Memphis. … The Mavericks should dominate an undermanned Heat squad, so expect big numbers from the Mavs' regulars and look for Jason Terry to light it up from beyond the arc, despite his recent slide.
… The Spurs-Knicks game is totally one-sided, so expect Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Michael Finley (if Manu Ginobili remains out) to do their damage early and rest late. Jamal Crawford (averaging 40 minutes a game) is the only constant for the Knicks. … The Nuggets-Timberwolves game is the only "double-triple" on the schedule, as both teams allow more than 100 points per game. Go for the gold with all available Nuggets including Linas Kleiza, who is their third leading scorer (averaging 10.8 points on the season and 13.2 in his past five games) despite playing only 23 minutes a game. …
Nazr Mohammed has played fewer than 22 minutes in three straight games, so you should bench him until he turns his game around, or sell high if you can trade him.
With Tracy McGrady out of the lineup, it's time for some booster Rockets to fire up in Houston. Candidates for short-term success include Rafer Alston, who is averaging nearly 20 points and shooting almost 50 percent from the field the past three games, and Bonzi Wells, who tallied a season-high 25 points Wednesday. … Francisco Garcia is picking up the slack in Ron Artest's absence, scoring 30 and 22 points in consecutive games. Garcia is also averaging 2.2 3-pointers, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks in his past five games. … Antonio Daniels scored a season-high 18 points upon returning to the Wizards' lineup after missing seven games due to a knee injury. Daniels' arrival probably means the end of the Roger Mason era. … Ryan Gomes won't make anyone in Minnesota forget Kevin Garnett, but Gomes is averaging 13.4 points and 7.8 rebounds in his past five games, including back-to-back double-doubles. … Mike Conley is back running the point in Memphis after missing 20 games due to a shoulder injury. His six-rebound, eight-assist, three-steal game in Wednesday's win over the Pacers could be a sign of things to come. … Louis Williams has scored 19 and 17 points in consecutive games and is benefiting from Kyle Korver's trade and Willie Green's injury. … Nate Robinson is averaging 18.0 points and 2.4 3s in his past five games. Robinson is a risky pick with Stephon Marbury back, but so is everyone in the Knicks' lineup, so enjoy the ride while you can. … Carlos Arroyo has been starting ahead of Jameer Nelson lately in Orlando. Arroyo is averaging nearly 15 points and five assists in his past four games, but his low steal and 3-point totals give him limited long-term value.
Tony Targan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.