Matchups for Thursday, Nov. 27
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.
Gilbert Arenas, PG, Wizards (knee)
Keith Bogans, SG/SF, Magic (thumb)
Brendan Haywood, C, Wizards (wrist)
Steven Hunter, PF/C, Nuggets (knee)
Jameer Nelson, PG, Magic (hip)
Sonny Weems, C, Nuggets (groin)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Jameer Nelson's injury is worse than previously thought. It's also something other than what was initially diagnosed. Nelson was said to have a groin strain, but on Tuesday an MRI revealed a strained hip flexor. He'll miss at least a week, and veteran Anthony Johnson will start in Nelson's absence. While Johnson produced some big games in a handful of starts with the Hawks last season, he has little fantasy value, even as a spot play. Logically, the player to watch with Nelson sidelined is Hedo Turkoglu. While Turkoglu is a brutal 36.8 percent from the field this season, he has some recent experience picking up for Nelson. When a foot problem caused Nelson to miss most of nine games in January and February, Turkoglu surged, averaging 24.2 points and 6.2 assists over that span. On the subject of struggling shooters, there's Peja Stojakovic. While he's still averaging 2.3 3-pointers for the Hornets, Stojakovic is shooting just 37.4 percent from the floor this season. Of course he can find it at any time, but with Nuggets opponents shooting less than 43 percent and making only six 3s per game, don't expect Peja to fill it up in Denver. One more big name who's missing the mark: Carmelo Anthony. Despite a 6-of-11 night (and a terrific overall line) Sunday against the Bulls, Anthony is shooting just 35.9 percent from the floor in his past seven games. However, Melo is also averaging 10.0 boards in that span.
As of this writing, Andray Blatche is a free agent in 98 percent of ESPN leagues. That shouldn't be the case for long, not after the 22-year-old's astonishing 25-point, 12-rebound, 5-assist, 5-block and 2-steal effort Tuesday against the Warriors. Blatche wasn't a favorite of ex-coach Eddie Jordan, so the change on the bench can only help him. Ed Tapscott gave Blatche 29 minutes Tuesday. Not only was that a season-high, it was just the second time since opening night Blatche played more than 22 minutes. While Tapscott wants his team to get after it defensively, believe it when you see it. Fantasy owners should continue to exploit matchups with the Wizards, who allow the fourth-most points and the second-most 3-pointers. With that in mind, J.J. Redick is worth a flyer for deep leaguers. With Keith Bogans out, Redick has played 27 and 25 minutes, respectively, the past two games, making a total of four 3s. Another team that's weak against the 3-pointer is the Hornets, who yield better than seven treys per game. So if J.R. Smith or, especially, Linas Kleiza are on the end of your bench, get them active for Thursday.
Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.