- Seth Landman, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Friday, Dec. 12
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.
Elton Brand, PF, 76ers (hamstring)
Jamal Crawford, PG/SG, Warriors (ankle)
Samuel Dalembert, C, 76ers (knee)
Stephen Jackson, SG/SF, Warriors (hand)
Corey Maggette, SG/SF, Warriors (hamstring)
Kevin Martin, SG, Kings (ankle)
Mike Miller, SG/SF, Timberwolves (ankle)
Shaquille O'Neal, C, Suns (personal)
Anthony Parker, SG, Raptors (ankle)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Last season against the Cavaliers, Andre Miller averaged 20.7 points, 6.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.3 steals on better than 53 percent shooting from the floor. Against this year's Cavs on Wednesday night, Miller went for 22 points, eight dimes and five boards while shooting 7-of-11 from the floor in a loss. You could probably get away with not starting any of Philly's front line the way the Cavs are playing defense right now, but make sure you have Miller and Andre Iguodala in your lineup. Before I looked anything up, I was going to suggest sitting Rajon Rondo against Chris Paul when the Celtics go up against the Hornets on Wednesday night, but after doing a bit of research, I think Rondo needs to stay in your lineup. He had extremely efficient games against the Hornets both times last season, averaging 20 points, 5.5 assists, and 72 percent shooting from the floor. Paul played well in those games too, but it seems that -- at least last season -- stopping Rondo has not been the Hornets' focus. The Bulls' game against the Grizzlies on Friday night looks like a particularly good matchup for Drew Gooden. Gooden killed the Grizzlies last season, and they aren't defending power forwards well at all in the early part of this season. I'm pretty excited to see Dwight Howard go up against Rejuvenated Shaq on Friday night. Shaq got the night off Wednesday, and the Suns don't have another game until Monday against the Knicks, so feel free to have Shaq in your lineup; even with the tough matchup, he's playing too well to bench right now, sitting at 14th in the league overall in PER (Player Efficiency Rating).
Neither the Raptors nor the Nets are very good when it comes to defending the 3, and Jason Kapono is coming off a night in which, filling in for Anthony Parker, he lit up the Pacers for a team-high 25 points, including three 3-pointers. Kapono still doesn't take enough 3s on a regular basis, but if he's going to start and play heavy minutes, he probably will make at least a few of them. Carl Landry has been a pretty sure bet to get at least 20 minutes lately (he's passed that threshold in 10 of the past 11 games). Against the Warriors last Friday night, he had just six points and nine rebounds, but shot an uncharacteristic 1-for-6 from the floor. If he had managed 3-for-6 he would have had 10 points and nine rebounds in just 24 minutes. I'd expect a double-double out of him this Friday night against those same Warriors, so if you need the points and rebounds, don't hesitate to pick him up. The Spurs brought Manu Ginobili off the bench against the Hawks on Wednesday night, and it went superbly well, with Ginobili going for 27 points in 28 minutes. It also went well for Roger Mason, who returned to the starting lineup, had 10 points and six boards, hit two 3s and only had one turnover. If he can average those numbers, he'll continue to have some value in fantasy leagues. As the season goes on, we could actually see Mason usurp some of Michael Finley's minutes, as Mason has been far more productive so far this season.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
Seth Landman previews Friday's NBA games from a fantasy perspective.