- Neil Tardy, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Thursday, Nov. 19
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.
Leandro Barbosa, PG/SG, Suns (personal)
Start 'em, sit 'em
The Pistons have always been a tough matchup for Rajon Rondo, because he always had to deal with the size of Chauncey Billups. Against the smaller Allen Iverson, Rondo has enjoyed far greater success. In two games against the Nuggets in 2007-08, Rondo averaged 18.0 points, 2.0 steals and 61.5 percent shooting. Of course, A.I. now plays for a much stronger defensive team than he did last season in Denver, and the Pistons still seem to play against Rondo's strength: Detroit opponents average just 6.1 steals per game, third-fewest in the league. And yes, just in time for the light Thursday schedule, Kevin Garnett returns from his one-game suspension. Derek Fisher is shooting significantly better (41.2 percent) from beyond the arc than he is overall (just 35.8 percent). With the Suns in the middle of the pack in field goal defense and 3-point defense, Fisher probably will continue to punish owners who keep him for his 1.6 3-pointers per game. As you'd expect, the once-beaten Lakers produce awesome numbers all around. They allow the second-fewest points and the third-lowest opponents' field-goal percentage. But Los Angeles is slightly vulnerable on the perimeter -- Lakers opponents make 6.8 3s per game, sixth-most in the league. So Raja Bell, if he isn't too tired from shadowing Kobe Bryant, should get you a couple from downtown.
What was said about the Lakers' vulnerability to the 3 also applies to the Suns' Matt Barnes, who's coming off a 19-point performance against Utah. Has Kwame Brown found a home? He has started the past three for the Pistons, producing consecutive 10-point games heading into Wednesday's action. Brown's biggest attribute for fantasy is his 0.7 blocks in only 15 minutes a game. However, Boston opponents average the fourth-fewest rejections per game, just 3.9. Not many other good plug-in options: With Detroit allowing the second-fewest 3s in the league, there's little reason to bother with Eddie House. But Kendrick Perkins, who went scoreless but with 10 rebounds and two blocks in Detroit on Nov. 9, could help in a head-to-head matchup.
Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
Neil Tardy previews Thursday in the NBA from a fantasy perspective.