- Seth Landman, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Wednesday, Dec. 5
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 and its opponents' rebounds per game.
Andrea Bargnani, SF/PF, Raptors (knee)
Chris Bosh, PF/C, Raptors (groin)
Sam Cassell, PG, Clippers (calf)
Mardy Collins, PG, Knicks (ankle)
Nick Collison, PF, SuperSonics (nose)
Austin Croshere, PF, Warriors (ankle)
T.J. Ford, PG, Raptors (stinger/thumb)
Dan Gadzuric, C, Bucks (nose)
Ryan Hollins, C, Bobcats (shoulder)
LeBron James, SF, Cavaliers (index finger)
Corey Maggette, SG/SF, Clippers (hamstring)
Joakim Noah, PF, Bulls (ankle)
Mickael Pietrus, SG/SF, Warriors (nose)
Al Thornton, SF, Clippers (ankle)
Ronny Turiaf, PF, Lakers (concussion)
Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
It should be a relatively good night for Phoenix against Toronto; the Raptors will be playing hobbled up front, with Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani both nursing injuries that affect their mobility. Grant Hill has been playing terrific basketball for Phoenix lately, and I'd expect him to have another great game against Toronto, with plenty of rebounds to go along with his scoring. Jamario Moon remains a good start for the Raptors, especially while Bosh and Bargnani are at less than 100 percent, and he should log heavy minutes against the Suns. Andre Iguodala is an automatic start for Philly in all games, but I wouldn't start anyone else against Boston, which has been playing exceptional defense all season. You'll want to start Antonio Daniels against Cleveland, and I expect him to be a tough matchup for Daniel Gibson on both ends of the floor. I'd look for Ben Wallace and Tyrus Thomas to have big nights for the Bulls against the Bobcats, as Charlotte's Emeka Okafor will be forced to help out on the Chicago scorers. That should leave Big Ben and Thomas open for putbacks and plenty of rebounds. The Bobcats also tend to have a lot of shots blocked, which should be a bonus if you need blocks out of Wallace or Thomas. Start Eddy Curry against the Nets. I'd expect New Jersey to focus more on Zach Randolph, leaving Curry with single coverage in the post. You can expect a great night out of Detroit's Rasheed Wallace, as well. The Hornets will need to keep Tyson Chandler near the basket, and if Rasheed gets out to the perimeter, the Hornets don't have anyone big enough to cover him. With Tim Duncan out of the lineup for the Spurs, I'd expect Dallas' Devin Harris to have an easy time getting to the rim. It remains to be seen which Spurs will benefit in Duncan's absence, but I would be very excited to start any good, penetrating point guard against them right now. I'd also be starting anyone I already owned for the Bucks and Warriors, but Yi Jianlian might be a particularly great option. Andris Biedrins should be tied up with Andrew Bogut, and Yi should be able to score on Al Harrington.
Eddie House should be in line for a nice night against Philly. The Sixers will have to go small to score points, and House should benefit if he ends up with Louis Williams on him against Philly's second unit. House will be streaky all season, but this will be a good night to play him if you need points and 3-pointers. I think it's time to pick up Washington's Andray Blatche again. The Wizards will have to go big against Cleveland's front line even if LeBron is out of the lineup. Blatche has the size and the quickness to defend Drew Gooden and help out on Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The Bulls don't defend shooting guards very well, which could mean good things for Matt Carroll of the Bobcats. He has been very accurate shooting the ball so far this season, but I'd expect him to get some more attempts against Chicago with Ben Gordon on him. I'd pick up Sean Williams for New Jersey if he's available in your league. The Nets will need help against the Knicks' big men, Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph, which should mean plenty of minutes for Williams. Jason Maxiell looks better and better for the Pistons as his minutes go up. He already is worth owning for his blocked shots, but with increased run, the points and rebounds should be there as well. He could get pretty good minutes against the Hornets defending David West. The Rockets' Steve Francis has played pretty well in limited minutes against teams that play a fast-paced style. He has put together good games against Phoenix, Denver and Golden State. Memphis will play that style, but with an even worse defensive effort than those three. Francis still has a lot of potential, and if he ever gets it going consistently, you'll be glad you own him. He might be worth a pickup just to find out. Derek Fisher should be a good spot start for the Lakers against Denver. He'll have Allen Iverson on him, and when Iverson plays the passing lanes, Fisher should have wide-open looks at 3s. Sonics rookie Jeff Green has been playing well of late, and the matchup against the Clippers should be a good one for him. The Clips are undersized at power forward, which should open things up for Green.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.