- Neil Tardy, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Thursday, March 19
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 a team's rebounds per game and its opponents' rebounds per game.
Andris Biedrins, C, Warriors (ankle)
Andrew Bynum, C, Lakers (knee)
Jamal Crawford, PG/SG, Warriors (coach's decision)
Devean George, SF, Mavericks (knee)
Josh Howard, SF, Mavericks (ankle)
Ben Wallace, C, Cavaliers (leg)
Martell Webster, SF, Trail Blazers (foot)
Marvin Williams, SF, Hawks (back)
Shawne Williams, SF, Mavericks (foot)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Fantasy owners who have been disappointed with Jamal Crawford in Oakland are growing despondent. Crawford apparently will be a healthy scratch again Thursday, as coach Don Nelson is set to grant Marco Belinelli another start at point guard. The Warriors, however, will have Stephen Jackson back. He served the mandatory one-game suspension Tuesday after getting his 16th technical foul of the season on Sunday. In case you're wondering, Captain Jack trails only Rasheed Wallace in technicals. At least Monta Ellis, who a couple of weeks ago was rumored to have given up on the team, had solid performances against Dallas and Phoenix (55 points total). Of course, if you're in any sort of a league with nonzombie owners, Ellis already is on a roster. But incredibly, Ellis is still available in about 15 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Take a moment to check your free-agent list. The odds of landing Ellis are far better than what you'd get from the lottery.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson did fantasy owners a favor when he finally put Trevor Ariza in the starting lineup. Although on most nights Ariza probably will give you 10-12 points and one or two steals, he certainly can do better against the Warriors, who in addition to giving up a league-worst 112.2 points per game allow the fifth-most steals. Given this matchup and Thursday's sparse schedule, Ariza, who is available in 94 percent of leagues, is a great add. Ronny Turiaf will start again for the injured Andris Biedrins. The 93 percent-available Turiaf should be worth a couple of blocks against his former team. Teams looking for 3-pointers could profit from filling in with the 99 percent-available Belinelli, who averages 1.7 triples as a starter. The Lakers allow the sixth-most 3s, although they hold opponents to the seventh-lowest shooting percentage from beyond the arc. Despite his recent struggles, I maintain that Delonte West is seriously underowned. His shooting accuracy from downtown is better than 40 percent, and the Blazers allow opponents to shoot 38.5 percent from beyond the arc. Sounds like a good spot for West, who's available in 70 percent of leagues. Deep leaguers could get some boards from James Singleton, who is averaging 12.7 points and 8.7 rebounds in his past three games.
Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
Neil Tardy previews Thursday night's NBA action from a fantasy perspective.