- Seth Landman, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Sunday, November 4
All times are expressed in Eastern Time.
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 average and the average they've allowed to opposing teams.
Elton Brand, PF, Clippers (Achilles)
Randy Foye, PG/SG, Timberwolves (knee)
Lamar Odom, SF/PF, Lakers (left shoulder)
J.R. Smith, SG, Nuggets (suspension)
Dwyane Wade, PG/SG, Heat (shoulder, knee)
Renaldo Balkman, SF, Knicks (sprained ankle)
Chris Bosh, PF/C, Raptors (knee)
Speedy Claxton, PG, Hawks (knee)
Richard Hamilton, SG, Pistons (ankle)
Zaza Pachulia, PF/C, Hawks (knee)
Robert Swift, C, SuperSonics (knee)
Kurt Thomas, PF/C, SuperSonics (hamstring)
Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
I'd be wary of starting the Raptors' Andrea Bargnani, as he will probably be matched up against Celtics' big-man Kevin Garnett. The Celtics perimeter defense held the Wizards to an 0-for-16 showing from behind the 3-point line on Friday night, and I would expect the good perimeter defense to continue. On the other side, Rajon Rondo should have no trouble penetrating against Raptors' point guards T.J. Ford and Jose Calderon; look for Rondo to have a big day in assists and probably steals as well. Not that you were considering benching him, but the Clippers don't have anyone with the right combination of size and speed to guard Kevin Durant, and Seattle's big man tandem of Chris Wilcox and Nick Collison is going to have a huge day against the Clips' decimated front line. Seattle's defense, on the other hand, will be sub-par as usual, and Corey Maggette is a good bet to have a big day against the Sonics. Shaquille O'Neal will be a monster for Miami against Charlotte if he can get Emeka Okafor into foul trouble early. Shaq's had a couple bad games in a row, but I think he could break out against Charlotte, and I would start him. I'm less certain about Ricky Davis; Gerald Wallace will probably be guarding Ricky, and Wallace is bigger, stronger, and just as quick. Keep rolling with Tayshaun Prince, who is going to keep having big games for Detroit until Richard Hamilton is totally healthy. You should absolutely start Peja Stojakovic against Denver. He looked great for the Hornets against Sacramento and Portland, and while Denver has a better team, they also give up a ton of points. In that same game, most fantasy owners will have to start David West, but if you have another option, consider it, because Kenyon Martin and Marcus Camby should make it tough for West to get his shot off. The Suns' Leandro Barbosa should have a great game against Cleveland. The Cavs don't have enough speed in their backcourt to deal with Steve Nash and Barbosa, and they will focus on Nash. You'll want to keep Ronnie Brewer on your bench against the Lakers. He's going to spend the game chasing Kobe Bryant around, which should leave him spent on the offensive end.
Reserve forward James Posey should be a good bet for the Celtics against the Raptors. The Sixers were able to shoot a high percentage against the Raps from long-range, and Posey's a great shooter who is probably available in your league. If you could use a point guard, take a look at Eddie House for the same reason. While Minnesota's Randy Foye is out, take a flier on Rashad McCants; he's a talented scorer, and he should get a chance to produce, especially against the Knicks defense. Ryan Gomes is a good pick-up from the T-Wolves as well; there should be enough minutes to go around in Minny, and when Gomes plays, he produces. Pick up recently-signed Cavalier Sasha Pavlovic. Now that he has a deal in place, he's immediately one of the Cavs' best scoring options; it's an oversight that no one owns him yet in fantasy.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com
Seth Landman analyzes the best and worst fantasy plays for Friday's NBA games.