- John Cregan, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Monday, April 13
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.
Marquis Daniels, SG/SF, Pacers (wrist)
Luol Deng, SF, Bulls (leg)
Monta Ellis, PG/SG, Warriors (ankle)
Manu Ginobili, SG, Spurs (ankle)
Allen Iverson, PG/SG (back)
Corey Maggette, SG/SF, Warriors (concussion)
Thabo Sefolosha, SG/SF, Thunder (finger)
Al Thornton, SF, Clippers (shoulder)
Gilbert Arenas, PG, Wizards (knee)
Raja Bell, SG, Suns (calf)
Rodney Carney, SF, Timberwolves (hip)
Tyson Chandler, C, Hornets (ankle)
Nick Collison, PF/C, Thunder (thigh)
Jamal Crawford, PG/SG, Warriors (back)
Randy Foye, PG/SG, Timberwolves (hip)
Devin Harris, PG, Nets (shoulder)
Josh Howard, SF, Mavericks (ankle)
Kenyon Martin, PF, Nuggets (ribs)
Kevin Martin, SG, Kings (ankle)
Yao Ming, C, Rockets (foot)
Start 'em, sit 'em
All signs point to Gilbert Arenas' making one final appearance for the season at home versus the Raptors, thereby making it an event by current Wizards standards. This means good news and heavy minutes for Arenas speculators as well as Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler owners. Andrea Bargnani was a percentage destroyer Friday in his return from a heel injury (4-of-16 on field goals), but he should get plenty of open looks Monday night against the Wizards, who rank among the league's worst in 3-point defense. Study your matchups long and hard before starting your Pacers (beyond Danny Granger). The Pacers have featured some nice individual box scores in the past couple of weeks but have a tough assignment at home against the stingy Cavaliers. With the Nets out of playoff contention, both Devin Harris and Vince Carter will be very risky starts for the duration of the season. Russell Westbrook is one of my favorite fantasy stories of the season (along with the rest of the Thunder), but I'd be positively terrified starting him Monday night if I were in a league that counted turnovers or if I were in a dogfight in field goal percentage. Beyond that, feel free to give him a go. Randy Foye sounds very iffy for Monday night. (If you're looking for a Timberwolf, I'd stick to Rodney Carney.) It's looking as if both Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis will take Monday off. It may be safe just to cut them loose for better late-season options. Dallas' jockeying for playoff position is getting in the way of Rick Carlisle's plan to rest Josh Howard. If Dallas puts Minnesota away early (a good probability), Howard will probably be hard-pressed to crack 25 minutes. Be careful. At this point, the Clippers' frontcourt situation has reached a saturation point where everyone effectively cancels one another out. If I were to own Marcus Camby or Chris Kaman, I would stop reading this, go onto the waiver wire and replace them with all haste. I'd rather have Joel Przybilla or Brendan Haywood going into Monday night. Zach Randolph's lackluster line Saturday night was due more to horrendous shooting than the Clippers' logjam. I'd avoid the entire franchise save for Eric Gordon.
Brendan Haywood swatted five blocks versus the Raptors on Friday night and should be in for another multiple-block performance as they close out the home-at-home. If you're looking for some upside in steals and blocks, Dominic McGuire could constitute a nice roll of the dice. He's hit-or-miss, but the Wizards should be in for a nice game Monday night in their final home game of the season. Jason Kapono hit six 3s Friday night and should be a lock for a couple more Monday. Roy Hibbert has proven a nice under-the-radar pickup at center, showing that, when he can limit his fouls, he can be productive. At this point, he's getting only boards and points, so if you're in the market for blocks, buyer beware. You can draw a clear correlation between Chicago's late-season tear and the exponentially improved play of Tyrus Thomas. He has gone from being a fantasy bust to underrated sleeper to probably someone who will go a round or two too early in fantasy drafts come October. Will Bynum has been a popular plug, play and cut option the past month, but he's a little too statistically unstable to trust in a championship situation. If you take a look beyond the nice point totals, you'll see Bynum's assists have been down the past few games. Plus, his two 3-pointers Friday night were his first since, um, November. You need more than points out of your waiver-wire pickups at this stage. If you're looking for more diversified stats out of an available guard, I'd much rather scoop up D.J. Augustin. He has cracked 20 points in two of his past three games and is a lock for a steal and multiple 3-pointers. Roger Mason is another attractive option at shooting guard. He has drained three 3-pointers in three straight games and should be in line for heavy minutes and touches from here on out. It's hard to find solid performers at power forward sitting on the wire at this late date. However, Ryan Anderson has been fantasy-worthy in four of his past five games and will log 30-plus minutes at home versus Charlotte. Ryan Gomes has been very effective down the stretch and is a nice play if you have a power forward slot to fill and are trailing in the 3-point department. Someone has to score for the Warriors, who still should scrape 100 points despite a date with the Spurs. Rob Kurz and C.J. Watson should both be in line for 30-35 minutes and 15-20 points. Luke Ridnour will start at point guard again on Monday, meaning increased value for Ridnour (and a demotion for Ramon Sessions).
John Cregan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
John Cregan previews the Monday night schedule in the NBA and notes that Gilbert Arenas should make his final start for the season against Toronto.