- Neil Tardy, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Thursday, March 26
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.
Leandro Barbosa, SG, Suns (knee)
Andrew Bynum, C, Lakers (knee)
Luol Deng, SF, Bulls (shin)
Allen Iverson, PG/SG, Pistons (back)
Amare Stoudemire, PF/C, Suns (eye)
Martell Webster, SF, Trail Blazers (foot)
Richard Hamilton, SG, Pistons (groin)
Jermaine O'Neal, PF/C, Heat (hip)
Travis Outlaw, SF/PF, Trail Blazers (finger)
Derrick Rose, PG, Bulls (wrist)
Tim Thomas, SF/PF, Bulls (back)
Rasheed Wallace, PF/C, Pistons (calf)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Derrick Rose said he could barely turn a doorknob Tuesday, and that opened the door for Kirk Hinrich. With the rookie missing his first game of the season, Hinrich started and went for 24 points and eight assists against the Pistons. And, given the swelling in Rose's right wrist (he hurt it while attempting a dunk Monday against the Wizards, but it didn't bother him until the next day), it looks like Hinrich, who's available in nearly 40 percent of ESPN.com leagues, could get at least one more start. The vet should be worth at least a couple of 3-pointers against the Heat, who allow the fifth-most triples. Speaking of Miami, Jermaine O'Neal figures to be available for the game against the Bulls. For that matter, he should play Wednesday, when he makes his return to Indiana. O'Neal's bruised hip kept him out Monday in Memphis.
Thursday's schedule showcases some of the more underappreciated players in the ESPN.com universe, starting with Tyrus Thomas. Thomas somehow remains available in more than 70 percent of leagues, even though he's 12th in the league in blocks. On top of that, he's averaging 14.2 points and 10.0 boards in his past five games. Steve Blake has topped 20 points -- and totaled nine 3-pointers -- in consecutive games, and he's available in more than 80 percent of leagues. Add him for Phoenix, which surrenders the third-most 3s. And keep adding Trevor Ariza, who's averaging 13.9 points, 2.4 steals and 1.4 3s since joining the Lakers' starting lineup seven games ago. Remember when the Pistons started the same five guys every game for, like, years? Now the majority of Detroit's starters are injured. And Rasheed Wallace, Richard Hamilton and Allen Iverson are all expected to remain sidelined against the Lakers. While Detroit is getting some production from Arron Afflalo (who's starting for Rip) and Will Bynum, neither has been consistent. Bynum led the Pistons with 20 points in Chicago, but he was only 2-of-9 in his previous game. Affalo, meanwhile, is only 6-of-23 in his past three games. But between the two, deep-leaguers might prefer Affalo against the Lakers; he can hit some 3s, and L.A. yields the seventh-most buckets from downtown.
Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.