- Brian McKitish, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Tuesday, Feb. 3
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.
Corey Brewer, SF, Timberwolves (knee)
Luther Head, SG, Rockets (foot)
Yi Jianlian, SF, Nets (hand)
Kevin Ollie, PG, Timberwolves (elbow)
Michael Redd, SG, Bucks (knee)
Delonte West, PG/SG, Cavaliers (wrist)
Vince Carter, SG/SF, Nets (ankle)
Samuel Dalembert, C, Sixers (ankle)
Kevin Garnett, PF, Celtics (flu)
Drew Gooden, PF/C, Bulls (groin)
Tracy McGrady, SG/SF, Rockets (ankle)
Bobby Simmons, SF, Nets (abdomen)
Start 'em, sit 'em
With Delonte West out, Mo Williams has assumed a larger role in Cleveland's offense and has averaged 25.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 3.6 3-pointers and a steal in his past five games. These were the types of numbers many folks expected from Mo when he first joined forces with LeBron James, but the Cavs didn't need him to be as active on the offensive end with West sharing the load. With that said, Williams will continue to thrive while West mends. Anderson Varejao had a nice run as a starter with Zydrunas Ilgauskas on the shelf, but he has returned to the bench with Big Z back in action. Varejao is still a fine option in 14-team leagues or deeper, but he cannot be relied upon in standard or shallow leagues as long as Ilgauskas is on the court. The Pacers like to play with a smaller lineup, which bodes well for Minnesota's front line of Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. Jefferson dominates teams with great interior defenses, so one can only imagine what he'll do to this Indiana defense. Love, meanwhile, is averaging a double-double in his past five games with 13.6 points and 10.2 rebounds and should have no problem matching those numbers Tuesday. If Kevin Garnett is forced to miss another game with the flu, the Celtics will rely heavily on the rest of their regulars to pick up the slack. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are the obvious benefactors, and both should put up big numbers if Garnett can't take the court. The Sixers don't have a great matchup Tuesday, but they might catch a break if Garnett is out. Elton Brand has had a tough time adjusting to the Sixers' faster pace and has played just 20.2 minutes per game in his past five. Philadelphia might be forced to give him some more run if Samuel Dalembert misses time with an ankle injury, and Brand still has the talent to do some damage if he's on the court long enough. The Bucks got Andrew Bogut back last week, but the good news was short-lived, as they learned Michael Redd would miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. With Redd out, Charlie Villanueva will assume the role as the Bucks' go-to scorer on the offensive end. Villanueva hasn't disappointed in the role thus far with 22.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.4 3-pointers in his past five games. After missing 10 games with a fractured hand, Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points in 30 minutes in his return to the court on Saturday. His minutes will be limited for the first week or so, but Melo's return will cut into the production of Linas Kleiza and J.R. Smith. Kleiza and Smith will still have their moments, but neither can be relied upon to provide consistent value as long as Carmelo is healthy.
Despite averaging 10.4 points, 6.1 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 3-pointers in January, Sebastian Telfair is still available in plenty of fantasy leagues. He won't light up the scoreboard, but he will provide enough assists, steals and 3-pointers to be a useful commodity in most fantasy leagues. After going 10-4 in the month, the Timberwolves like the direction that they are headed with Telfair at the point, so he should continue to receive ample playing time for the balance of the season. Michael Redd's season-ending knee injury has opened the door for Ramon Sessions to start in Milwaukee. Sessions is a true point guard, but he'll slide over to shooting guard alongside Luke Ridnour in the Bucks' backcourt. He is averaging 15.2 points, 4.2 assists and a steal in his past five games and is a fine pickup candidate off the waiver wire. Though he'd be only a short-term pickup, Glen Davis could make for a solid streaming option Tuesday. KG is questionable but likely will play fewer minutes than usual even if he does suit up. With that said, expect to see plenty of Davis on the court against the Sixers.
Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
7hEthan Sherwood Strauss