- Brian McKitish, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Tuesday, Jan. 6
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)
Shane Battier, SF/PF, Rockets (foot)
Elton Brand, PF, 76ers (shoulder)
Corey Brewer, SF, Timberwolves (knee)
Eddy Curry, C, Knicks (knee)
Ricky Davis, SG/SF, Clippers (knee)
Luol Deng, SF, Bulls (ankle)
Jordan Farmar, PG, Lakers (knee)
Brendan Haywood, C, Wizards (wrist)
Kirk Hinrich, PG/SG, Bulls (thumb)
Chris Kaman, C, Clippers (foot)
Kevin Martin, SG, Kings (ankle)
Darko Milicic, PF/C, Grizzlies (hand)
Mickael Pietrus, SG/SF, Magic (wrist)
Zach Randolph, PF, Clippers (knee)
DeShawn Stevenson, SG, Wizards (back)
Luke Walton, SF, Lakers (foot)
Ron Artest, SF, Rockets (ankle)
Raja Bell, SG, Bobcats (groin)
Nick Collison, PF/C, Thunder (thumb)
Baron Davis, PG, Clippers (tailbone)
Drew Gooden, PF/C, Bulls (ankle)
Jason Hart, PG, Clippers (elbow)
Spencer Hawes, C, Kings (abdomen)
Tracy McGrady, SG/SF, Rockets (knee)
Start 'em, sit 'em
While everyone was caught up in Rajon Rondo's impressive breakthrough season, little has been said about Jameer Nelson's emergence in Orlando. Nelson averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.8 3-pointers during the month of December, and he should be in starting lineups until further notice. Don't be surprised if hot pickup Andray Blatche gets into early foul trouble Tuesday as the Wizards take on the Magic. In case you weren't aware, Dwight Howard has the tendency to ruin fantasy values. The Sixers have opened things up since Elton Brand went down, and almost every Sixer has benefited from the quicker pace. Get Andre Miller active against Rafer Alston and the Rockets on Tuesday, as Miller has averaged 18.4 points, 4.6 boards, 6.4 assists and 1.4 steals over his past five games. You might be tempted to bench Boris Diaw against the tough Celtics defense, but Diaw is averaging 15.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 0.7 steals and 1.2 3-pointers as a Bobcat. In other words, we're not benching him. Ever. Two of the league's worst defensive teams -- the Knicks and the Thunder -- will match up in what figures to be a high-scoring affair. Start everyone you own in this one. The lack of frontcourt depth in Memphis has allowed Marc Gasol to average 37.6 minutes per game over his past five games. Pretty much anyone could produce with minutes like that, and Gasol hasn't disappointed, putting up averages of 15.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and a steal during that time. With almost half of his team on the shelf, Eric Gordon has stepped up to supply a much-needed jolt of offense for the Clippers. Gordon is averaging 21.8 points, 1.6 steals and 1.6 3-pointers over his past five games and is a must-start until the Clippers get healthy again. The Lakers-Hornets game figures to be a defensive battle, so you should start only your studs here. Get Derek Fisher, Lamar Odom and Peja Stojakovic on your benches in this one. Since returning from injury last week, Kevin Martin has blown up, with 28.3 points and 1.8 3-pointers per game. Clearly, it is safe to get him back into your lineups.
Trevor Ariza should get an opportunity to start now that Luke Walton is out because of a foot injury. Ariza has always been a fantasy favorite thanks to his ability to create steals in bulk, but he has never really gotten an opportunity to secure extended minutes. The Lakers have a bunch of options on the offensive side, so you can't expect much scoring from Ariza, but you can expect a ton of steals since he's likely to play 25-30 minutes per game while Walton is out. If Ron Artest and Tracy McGrady are out of action, don't be afraid to grab Luis Scola or even Von Wafer in Houston. Scola has averaged a double-double over his past five games, while Wafer has had back-to-back double-digit-scoring games for the Rockets. Kevin Love is back on another hot streak, with 11.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game over his past five. Don't expect much consistency yet, but there's no harm in riding the hot streak for the time being.
Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
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