- Josh Whitling, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Sunday, Dec. 14
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.
Anthony Parker, SG, Raptors (ankle)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Mike Miller returned to the lineup Friday night and was disappointing once again, scoring three points in 32 minutes. I still think he'll snap out of this funk at some point. But there's no way I'm starting him Sunday against the Lakers, since he's still likely favoring his ankle and has done nothing to warrant a starting spot on a fantasy team this season. After averaging 6.5 rebounds per game in November, David West is averaging 10 boards per game in four December contests and had 14 to go along with 23 points and three blocks Friday night. The Raptors are not a strong rebounding team, so another big rebounding night should be in store for West, who has disappointed owners with his meager boards and blocks this season but appears to be turning it around. Kevin Love has double-digit rebounding efforts in five of his past six games and is a worthy start if you need rebounds, though he won't provide you with much else. Nick Collison's value just increased because Chris Wilcox is out for a couple of weeks, and he'll get as many minutes as his tendency to foul will allow. He should be close to a double-double most nights with good percentages and handful of steals and blocks. Collison is a worthy short-term addition in all formats and should be starting if you own him.
Joel Anthony is blocking shots like mad in limited minutes (1.3 blocks per game in 20 minutes), and he's started the past seven games. He's truly a one-trick pony but is an excellent bet to block a shot or two every night. Speaking of swat specialists, Ronny Turiaf has a favorable matchup against Minnesota, which allows 6.3 blocks per game, second most in the league. He's another guy who will get you nothing else, but in deep leagues every block counts. Anthony Parker has missed the past two games, and Jason Kapono has been successful starting in his place. Even if Parker returns, I'd start Kapono and ride the hot hand (20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 3s in past two games) while it's blazing. Michael Finley played 28 minutes Friday night, scoring 12 points with seven rebounds and two 3s. He should have a field day against the hapless Thunder, who allow 103.3 points per game on 47.7 percent shooting. Start any and all of your Spurs, including Matt Bonner, who continues to start at center and is averaging 11.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 3s in December. You'll have to compensate for the lack of "big-man stats" elsewhere in your lineup, although Bonner provides gobs of 3s from the center slot. Luke Walton has been in the starting lineup for the past two games, as Vladimir Radmanovic has found his way onto Phil Jackson's "naughty" list. Walton instantly becomes a fantasy option because of the assists he provides from the forward position, and Sunday he faces the Timberwolves' horrid defense. If you have a droppable player and need assists, Walton is a good pickup, since the rest of your free agent pool is likely sparse.
Josh Whitling is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
21hEthan Sherwood Strauss