- Tony Targan
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Matchups for Friday, Dec. 28
All times ET. Statistics from 2007-08 regular season.
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.
Manu Ginobili, SG, Spurs (finger)
Willie Green, SG, 76ers (groin)
Corey Maggette, SG/SF, Clippers (knee)
Tracy McGrady, SG/SF, Rockets (head)
Tim Thomas, SF/PF, Clippers (knee)
Charlie Villanueva, PF, Bucks (ankle)
Luke Walton, SF, Lakers (knee)
Jason Williams, PG, Heat (knee)
Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
The late games could be great: The Jazz-Lakers and Nuggets-Warriors matchups have triple-digit potential for all four teams. However, Denver's relative health complicates their fantasy fortunes -- Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony and Marcus Camby are the only sure things. Nene's return cuts into the value of Kenyon Martin and Linas Kleiza. Also, Anthony Carter takes a hit with Chucky Atkins back and J.R. Smith out of Coach Karl's dog house (for now). Memo to self: Get Mehmet Okur back in the lineup ASAP. He returned Wednesday after a two-week layoff and should be ready to roll against the Lakers on Friday. I don't have to tell you to start Chris Paul, but maybe I should remind you not to trade him for anyone! Based on my rankings, Paul is the No. 1 fantasy player overall, and that was before his 40-point game against the Grizzlies on Wednesday. Look for CP3 to continue his hot streak against the Bobcats on Friday. Ricky Davis went off for 21 points in 43 minutes on Wednesday, making the most of his start in place of the injured Jason Williams. The Heat are without any healthy point guards, which makes it harder for Shaquille O'Neal to get shot attempts. The Big Fella managed only five points on 2-for-4 shooting from the field in 29 minutes on Wednesday. With back-to-back games against the Pistons -- who only allow about 80 points a game lately -- you might want to park all your Pacers on Friday and Saturday.
Waiver Wire pickups
Let's face it: the Spurs are about as boring a team as there is from a fantasy perspective. Other than their big three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, no one has been playable in San Antonio for years. However, with Ginobili nursing a sprained finger, Michael Finley has some short-term value. Finley has averaged 14.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.2 3-pointers in 32 minutes his past five games. Antonio McDyess' ownership percentage has doubled in one week, up to 56 percent of ESPN leagues, after averaging 13.0 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals while shooting 56 percent from the field his past five games. OK, so a block every once in a while would be nice, but "Dice" has definitely got game. Rodney Stuckey tallied seven points, three assists and two steals in just 11 minutes on Wednesday. If he ever plays 30 minutes a game, look out. But it's probably premature to own him unless you're in a keeper league. After consecutive career high games of 20 and 24 points, Roger Mason will get snapped up, but don't get too excited with Antonio Daniels due back soon. While he's not consistent enough to rely on, Kyle Lowry's 15-point, seven-rebound, eight-assist game on Wednesday might earn him more minutes at point guard for Memphis.
Tony Targan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com
Tony Targan analyzes the best and worst fantasy plays for Friday.