- John Cregan, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Monday, Jan. 12
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.
Gilbert Arenas, PG, Wizards (knee)
Carlos Boozer, PF, Jazz (knee)
Brendan Haywood, C, Wizards (wrist)
Kirk Hinrich, PG/SG, Bulls (thumb)
Yi Jianlian, SF/PF, Nets (finger)
DeShawn Stevenson, SG, Wizards (back)
Martell Webster, SF, Blazers (foot)
Jose Calderon, PG, Raptors (hamstring)
Eddy Curry, C, Knicks (knee)
Marquis Daniels, SG/SF, Pacers (groin)
Luol Deng, SF, Bulls (ankle)
Rudy Fernandez, SG, Blazers (foot)
T.J. Ford, PG, Pacers (back)
Devin Harris, PG, Nets (hamstring)
C.J. Miles, SG, Jazz (ankle)
Jermaine O'Neal, PF/C, Raptors (knee)
Brandon Roy, SG, Blazers (hamstring)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Andrew Bogut made it back on the court Saturday (following a bout with back spasms) and performed reasonably well (14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks in 28 minutes). Barring a setback before Monday night, he appears safe to start. Jamario Moon has proved to be one of fantasy's lesser-known disappointments this season (6.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game) and is witnessing the unthinkable: He's losing playing time to Andrea Bargnani. You'd think he could get it going in the absence of Jermaine O'Neal, but the high-energy game he displayed last season has been MIA. It's an NBA truism: As Rondo goes, so do the Celtics. His numbers in his past five games (7.8 points, 8.2 assists, 1.8 steals on 36 percent shooting) have matched the team's recent swoon. You just need to keep running him out there, though, keeping in mind he still produces in other areas (13 assists Friday) even when his shot is nonexistent. Note to Thunder coach Scott Brooks: Russell Westbrook (5-for-20 from the floor) at the shooting guard spot is not the right fit. Let's hope Brooks keeps his word that this was just a (terrible) one-game experiment. Nets coach Lawrence Frank "promised" Devin Harris will "almost probably kinda sorta" be back on the court by Monday. Not exactly a ringing prognosis, but Harris owners will take it. When Harris returns, it should mean a return to Earth for Vince Carter's assist totals (11 per night since Jan. 5.). You'd have to think Chris Duhon is in line for big minutes Monday as the Knicks' sole point guard, even though he's battling the flu. If you need empirical evidence as to how name value falsely inflates fantasy value, look at how Peja Stojakovic can average only 12.6 points a night -- with little else -- and still be owned in 93.2 percent of all leagues. I've long believed that there is a little bit of Chris Bosh inside LaMarcus Aldridge just dying to burst out, but it's hard to be greedy with a rotation like Portland's. Brandon Roy's recent injury gave the "Unspellable One" (my private nickname for Aldridge) the impetus he needed to shoot more (98 attempts in his past five contests). What gives me even greater hope is the 18 attempts he had with Roy back on the court. It was against the abhorrent Warriors defense, but it's a good sign. Don't fret, Paul Millsap owners. He bumped his other, less-questionable knee against Kyle Korver on Saturday and sat only because the game was a blowout. With Carlos Boozer officially out another month, the forecast calls for a heavy dose of "Millsapian" goodness all the way through All-Star Weekend.
Run, don't walk, to scoop up Mike Dunleavy Jr. (22 points Friday night) if he's still available in your league. He's still rounding into form, but Marquis Daniels' injury woes are giving Dunleavy a great opportunity to reassert himself in the Pacers' offense-rich rotation. Those of you acquainted with Charlie Villanueva know you're actually dealing with two "Charlie V's," the one who scores 27 points in 24 minutes, and the one who seemingly wants to be an overgrown J.J. Redick. The latter made an appearance Saturday (seven points, two blocks), but I'd give him another chance against the Wizards, who have a rehabilitative effect on slumping frontcourt players. Luke Ridnour currently has the upper hand over Ramon Sessions in Scott Skiles' time-share at point guard. He's not statistically flashy but rebounds well for a 1 and is a lock for at least five assists per game. The fact that Andray Blatche is playing well and qualifies at center should be enough to at least warrant a look from owners in deeper leagues. He notched a double-double Saturday and should be in line for big minutes against the Bucks. Nick Young has 40 points in his past two games but will need to step it up in other categories to garner a recommendation. I know he has burned you in the past, but Bargnani has put it all together (20.8 points per game in his past five games) to the point where I can heartily advertise him as a one-game add Monday night. Hey, you have to start somewhere. Nick Collison obviously has been feeling inspired since Nenad Krstic arrived from parts unknown to take his job. He has logged 46 points and 29 rebounds in his past three contests and is clearly on the upswing. Long-term, Krstic still probably will gain the starter's job, meaning you should watch this situation. Bobby Simmons nailed five 3-pointers Friday night, which is a gentle reminder that Yi Jianlian is out for a month and Simmons will be stepping up in his absence. Here's a stat that might interest those of you in need of a center: In alternating games since New Year's Eve, Brook Lopez has averaged 17.3 points per start. The other half of those games played? Six points per game. Lucky for you, the 17.3-point version is due up next, and he'll face Oklahoma City. I normally don't recommend preternaturally streaky one-trick ponies, but Rasual Butler has drawn a fantastic matchup against the Knicks at home. Pencil him in for at least three 3-pointers and enjoy. I know Tyrus Thomas put up one of his patented team-killing stat lines Saturday -- against the Thunder, no less -- but I have a hunch he'll produce against Portland. Keep in mind this is based on nothing other than what my neighbor (the one who sleeps in his van several nights a week) refers to as "vibes."
John Cregan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
John Cregan previews Monday night in the NBA and spots an oddity in Brook Lopez's game log.