Matchups for Saturday, Nov. 8
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
Without Mike Dunleavy's 19.1 points around, T.J. Ford has taken it upon himself to score more, averaging 17.3 points and 5.7 trips to the foul line per game. But that's dropped his assists to just 4.0 per game, despite playing on a team with a faster pace than all but two teams. Danny Granger has seen a similar boost in scoring while sacrificing other statistics; until Dunleavy gets back, there aren't exactly many scoring options in Indiana besides Ford and Granger, so plan for a temporary short-term boost in points and free-throw percentage for both players. Since a great season opener in which he scored 20, Mickael Pietrus has yet to reach 35 minutes of playing time or come close to 16 field-goal attempts. He also scored 20 points against the Kings, but logged 31 minutes and nine shot attempts. Fouls have also killed him, with four or more in three straight games before racking up just one on Thursday. Fouls have been a problem his whole career and make it hard to depend on him for 30-plus minutes. If he can't get the problem under control, he's just a 3-point specialist. Through five games, Kirk Hinrich is averaging 26 minutes off the bench, but it's going to get worse when Larry Hughes returns. Without Hinrich logging 35-plus minutes, you see how limited his production really is; it's time to give up on him. It hasn't taken long for head coach Scott Skiles to see a difference on defense with his new team, as the Bucks have limited opponents to 92 points since allowing 108 to the Bulls in the season opener. They're holding opponents to 32 percent shooting from beyond the arc, so you may want to second-guess the merits of playing Suns sharpshooters Matt Barnes (2.3 3s per game) and Raja Bell (2.2).
Marquis Daniels has increased his points and shot attempts in every game this season, and is averaging a respectable 14.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in three games filling in for Mike Dunleavy. There's little news on Dunleavy's injury, and as long as Daniels receives heavy minutes on a run-and-gun team, he's a must grab. Mario Chalmers averaged 2.6 and 2.5 steals per game in two seasons at Kansas, so the 15 steals in four games show he's going to keep up that skill in the NBA. In fact, teammates Dwyane Wade and Shawn Marion also net a lot of steals; steals led to transition opportunities, and transition opportunities lead to easy assists, which would help explain Chalmers' early 6.0 average. Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman has hinted that he's looking to shake up the starting lineup, which could mean a starting gig for Sebastian Telfair, who logged 30 minutes off the bench Wednesday in his first start back from suspension. Deep leagues should be ready to pounce now; those in shallow leagues should learn more after looking at Saturday's box score. Thankfully, it seems Travis Outlaw has been working on his outside J, as he's averaging 1.8 3s per contest and shooting an otherworldly 64.3 percent from long range. Shooting that well is a fluke, of course, but even one 3-pointer per game adds a lot of value to Outlaw's game, enough to take him from borderline pickup to fringe starter.
Adam Madison is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.