- Brian McKitish, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Tuesday, Dec. 23
All times Eastern
Key: Opp. PPG = Points per game allowed to opponents. Opp. FGP = Field goal percentage allowed to opponents. RPG Diff. = The difference between a team's rebounds per game and its opponents' rebounds per game.
Rafer Alston, PG, Rockets (hamstring)
Marquis Daniels, SG/SF, Pacers (flu)
Danny Granger, SF, Pacers (flu)
Willie Green, SG, Sixers (ankle)
Stephen Jackson, SG/SF, Warriors (hand)
Troy Murphy, PF/C, Pacers (flu)
Peja Stojakovic, SF, Hornets (back)
Tyrus Thomas, PF, Bulls (concussion)
Start 'em, sit 'em
As expected, Boris Diaw has averaged a solid 16.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers per game since joining the Charlotte Bobcats. With that type of statistical versatility, Diaw is a must-start until further notice. With 20.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.0 3-pointers in his past five games, Tracy McGrady has been on fire since returning from a knee injury. He'll face a tough matchup against a stingy Cavaliers defense but should be able to keep the hot streak going. Devin Harris and Vince Carter should have their way with the Pacers' defense that has allowed an average of 104.1 points per game this season. Brook Lopez is coming off a big 22-point, 13-rebound, 5-block performance on Saturday and should be able to continue the hot streak against an undersized Pacers frontcourt. Mario Chalmers may not be an every-night starter on your roster, but you should get him in the lineup when he faces the league's worst defense Tuesday. In fact, almost everyone in Miami should be in your starting lineup against the Warriors. Samuel Dalembert finally showed signs of life with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks on Saturday, but he's unlikely to repeat the effort against a tough Celtics defense. Put him on your bench for this one, even though he'll see more minutes with Elton Brand out. Since joining the starting lineup, Rodney Stuckey has averaged 13.9 points, 7.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.1 3-pointers. Stuckey is here to stay, so get him active in all formats. Meanwhile, Stuckey's emergence has put a damper on Tayshaun Prince's value in Detroit. Prince is averaging just 9.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and a block in his past five games. Feel free to bench him if you have better options. Charlie Villanueva has returned to his old inconsistent tricks, and I'm sure you'll be able to find better options who have 12 games on the docket.
Philadelphia's new head coach Tony DiLeo has found his instant offense off the bench in the form of Lou Williams. Williams can play a similar role for your fantasy team, as he is averaging 20.8 points, 1.3 steals and 1.5 3-pointers in his past five games. He'll have a tough matchup against the Celtics on Tuesday but should be a nice option for points, steals and 3-pointers going forward. Warriors guard Marco Belinelli has stepped up his game with both Corey Maggette and Stephen Jackson out of action. Averaging 18.8 points, 4.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.8 3-pointers in his past five games, Belinelli is a fantastic short-term pickup candidate, as is teammate Kelenna Azubuike. Azubuike is a bit inconsistent, but he did go off for 21 points, 13 rebounds and 3 3-pointers in his most recent outing. With Drew Gooden out and Tyrus Thomas questionable, the Bulls will be forced to turn to Joakim Noah for help under the glass. Noah is a fine gamble as a short-term big man while Gooden mends. Matt Bonner of the Spurs has been playing well for a few weeks but is still flying largely under the radar in fantasy leagues. Averaging 11.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 3-pointers in his past five games, Bonner is a quality-add candidate in most deep formats. Mike James, not Juan Dixon, has taken over as the starting point guard in Washington. James won't offer typical assist numbers for a point guard, but he will score and hit some 3-pointers as a starter.
Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
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