- Seth Landman, Fantasy Basketball
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Matchups for Sunday, Dec. 23
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.
Carlos Arroyo, PG, Magic (foot)
Marcus Camby, C, Nuggets (hip/back)
Austin Croshere, PF, Warriors (back)
Steve Francis, PG/SG, Rockets (flu)
Rashard Lewis, SF, Magic (neck)
Stephon Marbury, PG, Knicks (personal)
Kenyon Martin, PF, Nuggets (hamstring)
Tracy McGrady, SG/SF, Rockets (knee)
Rodney Stuckey, PG/SG, Pistons (left hand)
Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
Go ahead and expect a monster game from Lakers center Andrew Bynum against the Knicks. New York's interior defense is shameful, and Bynum will be able to beat Eddy Curry up the floor whenever he wants. Actually, you probably should start anyone you own for the Lakers, as the Knicks don't really defend any position well. Richard Hamilton should be able to have a great game for Detroit against Houston. Tracy McGrady is day-to-day for the Rockets, and if he misses time, Houston will have to go small at the 2 with Luther Head, which means Hamilton will be able to shoot over the top easily. Although the Cavaliers turned it on a bit in the second half and won the game, Cleveland's defense looked pretty lax Thursday night against the Lakers, and that was a home game for the Cavs. Teams are shooting better than 46 percent against them from the floor. Let's put it this way: If you own players on the Cavs or the Warriors, you'll want to start them for the matchup Sunday. The Celtics versus Magic matchup is extremely intriguing, as Orlando is one of only three teams to beat the C's so far this season. In that game, Boston lost in Orlando because it fouled too much (44 free-throw attempts for Orlando) and gave up the ball (19 turnovers). For this matchup, I'd play the point guards. I think Rajon Rondo and Jameer Nelson present interesting matchup problems for each other and both could have good fantasy games. I'd sit Brad Miller for the Kings against the Nuggets. He has played much better than I thought he would so far, but I don't think he can keep up with Denver, and Marcus Camby -- as long as he's healthy -- is a matchup nightmare for Miller.
Until Tracy McGrady's injury resolves itself, it's probably worth owning Luther Head and Rafer Alston. Both are going to get a ton of 3-point attempts, and Head actually might hit some of them. Alston is worth owning because he'll accumulate a lot of assists and steals in T-Mac's absence. Anderson Varejao had his first great game of the season for Cleveland on Thursday night against the Lakers. He put up 11 points and 15 rebounds along with four steals. He was extremely active and showed none of the rust that characterized his first six post-holdout games. I think he's a good pickup, although there will be some nights in the immediate future when his hustle game fails him or when Drew Gooden simply plays too well to come out of the game. It's worth picking up Sacramento's Francisco Garcia while Kevin Martin remains out of the lineup with a pulled groin muscle. Against Denver, Sacramento should be able to score a lot of points, and I'd expect Garcia to get into the act plenty, as he's tailor-made for the up-and-down style.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
Seth Landman analyzes the best and worst fantasy plays for Sunday.