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Week 5 Fantasy Basketball Planner

Sergio Gonzalez
Fantasy Writer

Our weekly Fantasy Basketball Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming scoring period. Every week, we provide you with news and notes for each team, tracking hot and cold players, injuries and rotation changes.

Listen to our latest Fantasy Basketball Podcast!

Atlanta Hawks
Schedule: BOS, @NJ, WAS, @NY, @TOR
Good Plays: Al Horford, Josh Smith, Joe Johnson
Bad Plays: Jeff Teague, Zaza Pachulia
Toss Ups: Jamal Crawford, Mike Bibby, Marvin Williams
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Notes: Five games! That's right, five games. Fantasy owners in cumulative leagues should be licking their chops. Crawford's numbers are down this year and he is averaging just 11.0 points over his last five games. Avoid him in average-based leagues this week unless that type of production appeals to you. In cumulative leagues, however, the five games still make him a viable play as a low-end starter. ... Bibby had a promising game this week at Indiana with a 16-7-4 stat line. He had been highly unproductive before that. Like Crawford, avoid him in average-based play unless he really heats up over the weekend. You may consider him a viable one-week stopgap in cumulative formats, however. ... Williams averaged just 8.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in his first three games back from his knee injury. Same situation as Crawford and Bibby here. Avoid him in average-based play at all costs. Consider him if you are looking for a one-week replacement option off the waiver wire in a cumulative-scoring league.

Boston Celtics
Schedule: @ATL, NJ, TOR
Good Plays: Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett
Bad Plays: Nate Robinson, Delonte West, Glen Davis, Semih Erden
Toss Ups: Ray Allen, Shaquille O'Neal
Injury Report: Jermaine O'Neal (knee/December), Kendrick Perkins (knee/February)
Notes: The Celtics play a three-game slate with two games against teams that allow less than 96 points per game (@ATL, NJ). ... Allen has been hit or miss lately with a couple of low-end scoring outputs mixed in with three games of over 15-plus (including a 35-point effort on Nov. 11 at Miami). He is more of a low-end play this week, but is a viable start in any format. ... With Jermaine O'Neal sidelined, Shaq's numbers have gone up this week to the point you can expect around 13-15 points and six rebounds per game out of him. He is still seeing under 25 minutes per game, however. ... Glen Davis has cooled off, averaging 6.6 points and 5.6 rebounds over his last five games. ... West put together a solid 12-4-5 stat line in his return from a 10-game suspension this week. He saw a lot of playing time that he will not normally see due to the game being a blowout, however. Unless he backs it up over the weekend, avoid him. We anticipate him playing just around 20 minutes per game off the bench.

Sergio's Sleepers for Week 5
* Sleepers are players started in less than 70 percent of leagues
Player Start %
1. D.J. Augustin, G, Bobcats 59
2. Jameer Nelson, G, Magic 60
3. Dorell Wright, F, Warriors 52
4. Tyson Chandler, C, Mavericks 52
5. Daniel Gibson, G, Cavaliers 29
6. Serge Ibaka, F, Thunder 64
7. Taj Gibson, F, Bulls 51
8. Channing Frye, C, Suns 38
9. Andris Biedrins, C, Warriors 40
10. Boris Diaw, F, Bobcats 38

Charlotte Bobcats
Schedule: @NY, NY, HOU, @MIL
Good Plays: Gerald Wallace, Stephen Jackson
Bad Plays: Kwame Brown
Toss Ups: D.J. Augustin, Boris Diaw, Tyrus Thomas, Nazr Mohammed
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Notes: The Knicks allow 106.5 points per game. ... The Rockets allow 107.3 points per game. ... Brown is back from an ankle injury, but he is looking at merely 10-15 minutes per game for now. Avoid him. ... Augustin's scoring has been erratic, but his assist totals have been consistent. Entering the weekend, he notched 10-plus assists in three straight. His scoring could also see a nice boost with favorable matchups against the Knicks and Rockets. ... Look for Diaw to be in the 10-15 ppg range in the three games against the Knicks (twice) and Rockets. That goes with his usual five rebounds and three assists per game. ... Coming off a 20-and-10 performance against the Timberwolves, Thomas looks like a strong play in Week 5. He entered the weekend averaging 13.5 points and 7.8 rebounds over his last five games. ... With Brown not yet a factor at center, Mohammed should continue to see favorable playing time. He remains a No. 3 center in standard formats, but can be used in a pinch this week -- especially given the favorable matchups.

Chicago Bulls
Schedule: @LAL, @PHO, @DEN, @SAC
Good Plays: Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng
Bad Plays: C.J. Watson
Toss Ups: Taj Gibson, Kyle Korver, Keith Bogans, Ronnie Brewer
Injury Report: Carlos Boozer (hand/December)
Notes: The Bulls will face four teams that allow 102-plus points per game in Week 5. Expect high-scoring, high-volume totals all week. ... The favorable matchups makes deep sleepers like Korver, Bogans and Brewer possible targets off the waiver wire as emergency one-week replacements. We rank them in that order for Week 5. Korver and Bogans have appeal for their 3-point shooting. Brewer is enjoying the most playing time of the three. ... Gibson's numbers have been down this past week due to poor shooting efforts. There will be plenty of chances for him to get going on that end in Week 5.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Schedule: @IND, MIL, @ORL, MEM
Good Plays: The Cavaliers have no must-starts at this time.
Bad Plays: Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Ryan Hollins
Toss Ups: Antawn Jamison, J.J. Hickson, Daniel Gibson, Mo Williams, Ramon Sessions, Anderson Varejao
Injury Report: Mo Williams (groin/day-to-day)
Notes: The Pacers and Grizzlies each allow 100-plus points per game. The Bucks and Magic, however, rank among the top three defensive teams in the NBA entering the weekend. ... Jamison has slowly regained the upper hand in the power forward battle for minutes in Cleveland, but Hickson has not completely faded away. Right now, the split makes both players merely low-end starters in standard Fantasy leagues. ... Williams is practicing and looks to be a game-time decision going into the weekend. Williams had cooled off significantly after his hot start and scored just 11 points with 11 assists combined over his last two games before getting hurt. We recommend healthier alternatives barring a resounding display over the weekend. ... Williams' situation also influences the potential output of Gibson and Sessions, but Gibson has been able to stay very productive even alongside Williams. Gibson is playing in the 30-minute range and is getting consistently around 10-13 shots per game, including several looks from beyond the arc. ... Varejao entered the weekend averaging 8.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 33.8 minutes over his previous five games. He remains a low-end play.

Dallas Mavericks
Schedule: DET, @OKC, @SA, MIA
Good Plays: Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry
Bad Plays: Shawn Marion, Brendan Haywood, Jose Juan Barea, Roddy Beaubois
Toss Ups: Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler
Injury Report: Roddy Beaubois (foot/out indefinitely)
Notes: Butler did not look to be at full strength in his return from back spasms. His numbers (especially scoring) have been down across the board this season. We recommend letting him prove healthy and productive before activating him. ... Marion saw a spike in production while Butler was out, but his numbers dipped just as as sharply once Butler returned. Avoid him. ... Chandler is getting around 30 minutes per game, resulting in averages of 10.2 points and 9.0 rebounds over his last five games. He also offers plus production in blocks. He should flourish against the Thunder and the Heat. In fact, the Heat have been torched by opposing centers all season.

Denver Nuggets
Schedule: @GS, CHI, PHO
Good Plays: Carmelo Anthony, Nene
Bad Plays: J.R. Smith, Ty Lawson, Shelden Williams
Toss Ups: Chauncey Billups, Al Harrington, Arron Afflalo, Gary Forbes
Injury Report: Carmelo Anthony (groin/day-to-day), Chris Andersen (knee/December), Kenyon Martin (knee/January)
Notes: Anthony appeared to tweak his groin on Tuesday night, but was able to play on Thursday night. ... Billups' production is down in the early going, he is averaging 13.0 points, 4.2 assists and 2.4 assists over his last five games -- hardly "must-start" numbers. ... Lawson came back down to earth this week after a pair of strong performances in high-scoring games last week. He'll get his chance eventually, but not yet. ... At shooting guard, Afflalo and Forbes are getting minutes over Smith as coach George Karl and Smith continue to be at odds with each other. Afflalo is the most appealing Fantasy option of the three for the time being, but he remains just a low-end play for Week 5. Forbes has some sleeper appeal for deeper leagues. This situation is far from settled. ... Harrington saw a spike in shot attempts this week against high-volume teams in the Suns and Knicks. He saw 15 shots in each game. He'll get the Suns again in Week 5 and another high-volume team in the Warriors. Harrington is worth activating in any average-based format and most standard cumulative leagues as a No. 3 or 4 forward.

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Detroit Pistons
Schedule: @DAL, @MEM, MIL, NY
Good Plays: Rodney Stuckey
Bad Plays: Greg Monroe, Jason Maxiell
Toss Ups: Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye, Charlie Villanueva, Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon
Injury Report: Tracy McGrady (ankle/day-to-day),Jonas Jerebko (Achilles'/February)
Notes: Prince is back to his usual, steady, boring numbers. He is averaging 12.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists over his last five contests. He does not stray far from those numbers. Use him in those leagues where that type of production may be useful. ... Daye was temporarily removed from the starting lineup and received an odd DNP-CD on Nov. 14 at Sacramento, but that was reportedly just due to matchups. He was right back in there for the team's next two games and did not skip a beat. He is playing around 25 minutes and is offering around 13 points and five boards per game. ... Villanueva remains the power forward with the most upside on the roster. He is averaging 26.6 minutes, 15.0 points and 4.2 rebounds over his last five contests. We expect more of the same. ... Hamilton has become a low-teens scorer with only pedestrian contributions in rebounds and assists. He is a very low-end play. ... Gordon has not been able to rekindle his early-season success. He is capable of double-digit scoring, mostly in the mid-teens, off the bench, but is not very consistent at the moment. He should only be viewed as an injury replacement for now.

Golden State Warriors
Schedule: DEN, @HOU, @MEM, @MIN
Good Plays: Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry
Bad Plays: David Lee
Toss Ups: Dorell Wright, Andris Biedrins, Reggie Williams
Injury Report: David Lee (wrist/out indefinitely)
Notes: The Warriors will play four teams that allow 104-plus points per game. ... Lee is to be re-examined this upcoming Tuesday. We will then know an exact timetable for a return, but he is not going to be a safe play in weekly formats as a result of the uncertainty. ... Thanks to the favorable high-volume matchups all week, Wright looks like a strong low-end play. His production has cooled since his red-hot start, but he remains capable of consistent mid-teens scoring and is a plus 3-point producer. ... The matchups could also provide a much-needed scoring boost to Biedrins, who has been rebounding steadily without much success on the offensive end. ... Consider Williams -- who has scored 11 or more points in three of his last four games -- a deep sleeper for larger formats given the matchups. He attempted 10-plus shots in back-to-back games going into the weekend and should see more opportunities in games we expect to be high volume.

Houston Rockets
Schedule: PHO, GS, @CHA, OKC
Good Plays: Luis Scola, Kevin Martin
Bad Plays: Yao Ming, Shane Battier, Courtney Lee, Chase Budinger, Chuck Hayes, Ishmael Smith
Toss Ups: Kyle Lowry, Brad Miller, Jordan Hill
Injury Report: Aaron Brooks (ankle/December), Yao Ming (leg/out until at least Nov. 22), Chase Budinger (ankle/out until at least Nov. 19)
Notes: The Rockets face three favorable matchups against teams that allow 102-plus points per game (PHO-108.1, GS-102.7, OKC-105.4). ... Yao has yet to play since Nov. 10. He did not go on the team's current road trip and the earliest he might return is Monaday against Phoenix. Monitor his progress, but he would likely be very restricted even if he does return. Do not count on activating him. ... If Yao's status remains undetermined, that means players who have stepped up in his absence (Miller, Hill, Hayes) will be too risky to activate. ... Lowry is averaging 31.4 minutes over his last five games in Brooks' absence, but just 6.6 points. He is averaging 5.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds in that span, but remains useful only in the deepest of leagues. ... Smith's playing time has become very inconsistent since Lowry's return. Too inconsistent to trust in anything but the most dire of emergency situations, actually.

Most Added Players
* as of Nov. 19
Player % Change
1. Wesley Matthews, G, Trail Blazers 36
2. Landry Fields, G, Knicks 35
3. Sonny Weems, G, Raptors 29
4. Brad Miller, C, Rockets 28
5. Kris Humphries, F, Nets 27
6. Nazr Mohammed, C, Bobcats 25
7. Tyson Chandler, C, Mavericks 20
8. Drew Gooden, F, Bucks 19
9. Mike Dunleavy, F, Pacers 18
10. Travis Outlaw, F, Nets 17

Indiana Pacers
Schedule: @MIA, CLE, OKC, @LAL
Good Plays: Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert
Bad Plays: Josh McRoberts, Tyler Hansbrough, Paul George
Toss Ups: Darren Collison, T.J. Ford, Mike Dunleavy, Brandon Rush
Injury Report: Darren Collison (ankle/day-to-day)
Notes: Collison goes into the weekend listed as "day-to-day." Coach Jim O'Brien said that his injury is a bit more severe than originally believed, but he should be back soon -- possibly over the weekend. Monitor his progress. Ford remains a very low-end play even if Collison were to be ruled out. ... Dunleavy is averaging an 18-3-4 stat line over his last five games, getting 32.6 minutes per game. He missed Thursday's game to be with his wife for the birth of his child. ... Rush has enjoyed only sporadic success. With Dunleavy in the mix, Rush should be avoided in all but the deepest of leagues.

L.A. Clippers
Schedule: NO, SAC, @PHO, UTA
Good Plays: Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon
Bad Plays: Rasual Butler, Ryan Gomes, Craig Smith, Randy Foye
Toss Ups: Eric Bledsoe, Al-Farouq Aminu, DeAndre Jordan
Injury Report: Baron Davis (knee/late November), Chris Kaman (ankle/December), Blake Griffin (ankle/day-to-day), DeAndre Jordan (finger/day-to-day)
Notes: Griffin appeared to roll his ankle during Thursday night's game in Indiana. He played on, but monitor his progress over the weekend for potential setbacks. We expect him to be a safe start. ... Davis has been ruled out through Thanksgiving. He may return late in Week 5, but he is a player to avoid. ... Bledsoe will get at least two starts in the four-game week. We suspect Davis would be very limited upon a possible return and still view Bledsoe (averaging a 12-5-5 stat line in his last five games) a viable low-end start in any format. ... With Kaman still out, Jordan will continue to start. He jammed a finger Thursday night and finished 0 for 7 from the field. He has been far too inconsistent to trust in Fantasy play. ... Aminu has taken over the small forward role over Gomes and is looking at double-digit shot attempts on a regular basis, including a decent workload from beyond the arc. He is worth activating in deeper leagues and should benefit from three games against opponents that allow 100-plus points.

L.A. Lakers
Schedule: CHI, @UTA, IND
Good Plays: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom
Bad Plays: Matt Barnes, Derek Fisher, Steve Blake
Toss Ups: Ron Artest, Shannon Brown
Injury Report: Andrew Bynum (knee/December)
Notes: Artest is playing through some lingering soreness in his hip area and has even been receiving some treatment on the bench in recent games when he is subbed out. He followed a recent string of four straight double-digit scoring efforts with 10 points combined over his last two games entering the weekend. Avoid activating him for now. ... Brown is seeing a considerable workload from beyond the arc, going 9 of 20 from beyond the arc in his last five contests. He has some appeal in deeper category leagues for help in that area, but little else while Kobe remains healthy.

Memphis Grizzlies
Schedule: DET, GS, @CLE
Good Plays: Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley
Bad Plays: Darrell Arthur, Xavier Henry, Hasheem Thabeet, Greivis Vasquez
Toss Ups: O.J. Mayo
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Notes: Conley is not quite maintaining his early-season pace, but the 13.0 points, 5.8 assists and 1.6 steals he has averaged over his last five games going into the weekend are more than useful in any format. ... Mayo is averaging a very pedestrian 12-2-3 stat line over his last five games. He is still getting 30-plus minutes per game and around 13-15 shots on most nights, but is in a bit of an offensive lull. He is still a worthy play, but not a must-start during this stretch.

Miami Heat
Schedule: IND, @ORL, PHI, @DAL
Good Plays: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh
Bad Plays: Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Carlos Arroyo, Mario Chalmers, Eddie House
Toss Ups: Udonis Haslem, James Jones
Injury Report: Mike Miller (thumb, ankle/January)
Notes: Bosh finally appears to be hitting his stride in Miami. A 35-point outburst against Phoenix on Wednesday night pushed his scoring average to 20.0 over his last five contests. His rebounding still leaves much to be desired, but he is doing enough to remain viable in any format. ... Haslem, despite not starting, is averaging 31.6 minutes over his last five games. He has managed a respectable 10.0 points and 9.2 rebounds in that span and makes for a good play in any format, especially in a four-game week. ... Jones remains just a one-category Fantasy option, helpful only for 3-point shooting in Rotisserie or category-based Head-to-Head.

Milwaukee Bucks
Schedule: @CLE, @DET, CHA
Good Plays: Andrew Bogut, Brandon Jennings
Bad Plays: Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Toss Ups: John Salmons, Drew Gooden, Corey Maggette
Injury Report: Andrew Bogut (elbow/day-to-day), Corey Maggette (leg/day-to-day), Carlos Delfino (neck/late November), Chris Douglas-Roberts (eye/late November), Michael Redd (knee/February)
Notes: Bogut survived an injury scare late in Tuesday's game when he hit his elbow against the floor. He said he was sore on Wednesday, but is not expected to miss any time. He remains a strong play. ... Maggette was hurt on the same play as Bogut when the big man landed on Maggette's leg. He is also expected to play on and stands to continue to benefit from Delfino's absence due to his own injury. ... Salmons is still struggling with his shot, hurting owners in category formats in field-goal percentage, but he is slowly coming around and is averaging 15.0 points, 3.8 assists and 3.0 rebounds over his last five games. He is just a low-end play for now, but has the upside of a No. 2 option down the line.

Best Fantasy Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Hawks BOS, @NJ, WAS, @NY, @TOR
2. Warriors DEN, @HOU, @MEM, @MIN
3. Bulls @LAL, @PHO, @DEN, @SAC
4. Suns @HOU, CHI, LAC, @DEN
5. Thunder MIN, DAL, @IND, @HOU

Minnesota Timberwolves
Schedule: @OKC, SA, GS
Good Plays: Kevin Love, Michael Beasley
Bad Plays: Wayne Ellington, Anthony Tolliver
Toss Ups: Wesley Johnson, Darko Milicic, Corey Brewer, Sebastian Telfair, Luke Ridnour
Injury Report: Kevin Love (knee/day-to-day), Jonny Flynn (hip/late November), Martell Webster (back/out indefinitely)
Notes: Love knocked knees with Clippers guard Eric Gordon on Wednesday night, but he appears to have avoided a serious injury after it appeared like he was in a lot of pain. Given his recent monster performances, even Kurt Rambis can't mess with Love's minutes going forward. ... Johnson is getting 30-plus minutes per game and has shown flashes of being a well-rounded Fantasy option in the future. For now, he remains merely a reserve and occasional stopgap measure. He is averaging 9.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists over his last five games, going 8 of 20 from beyond the arc in that span. ... Milicic is getting more involved offensively, even seeing 10-plus shots per game on a pretty regular basis. He scored in double figures in back-to-back games entering the weekend and is already a great source for blocks and a decent rebounder. He is worth considering as a stopgap center off the waiver wire. .... Brewer, a very streaky player throughout his career, scored in double figures in four straight games entering the weekend. He is a great source for steals in category play and now is less of a drag in scoring due to his recent surge. Make the most of it in deeper category leagues. ... With Flynn out at least another scoring period, Telfair and Ridnour will continue to split time at point guard. They have each managed to be productive enough alongside each other to consider using as potential low-end plays in deeper leagues.

New Jersey Nets
Schedule: ATL, @BOS, @PHI, POR
Good Plays: Brook Lopez, Devin Harris
Bad Plays: Troy Murphy, Terrence Williams, Derrick Favors, Jordan Farmar
Toss Ups: Kris Humphries, Travis Outlaw, Anthony Morrow
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Notes: Lopez has been called out by coach Avery Johnson on his lack of effort on the boards, but he is starting to come around both on the glass and on the offensive end after a slow start. ... Murphy has been bumped out of the rotation by Johnson and has become the subject of trade rumors. Clearly, he is a player to avoid in Fantasy, but a potential trade could be the best thing that happens to his dormant Fantasy value. He has averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds over the last two seasons. Keep him around. ... Murphy's loss has been Humphries' gain. Now the team's starting power forward, Humphries has been a rebounding machine. He is averaging 13.0 rebounds and 9.5 points with just over two blocks per game in four games since being made a significant part of the rotation. He is worth a pickup in any format, but especially in category play for his boards and blocks. ... Favors is still coming off the bench and could benefit in the long run if Murphy is moved, but he is averaging just 18.6 minutes over his last five games and just 5.0 points with 5.8 rebounds. ... Outlaw continues to be hot-and-cold, but when he's hot he's been really hot. He has three 20-plus scoring performances in his last five games. He has scored just eight points combined in the other two games. He is seeing heavy minutes on a regular basis, however, and looks to be a nice pickup off the waiver wire and can be inserted as a low-end starter for Week 5. He is a solid source for 3-point shooting. ... Much like Outlaw, Morrow has been hit-or-miss. He entered the weekend having scored 20-plus in two of his previous four games. He totaled just 12 points combined over the other two games. Pick him up as a potential stopgap measure, but expect inconsistency.

New Orleans Hornets
Schedule: @LAC, @UTA, @POR, SA
Good Plays: Chris Paul, David West, Emeka Okafor
Bad Plays: Marcus Thornton, Jerryd Bayless, Jason Smith, Willie Green, Peja Stojakovic
Toss Ups: Marco Belinelli, Trevor Ariza
Injury Report: Marcus Thornton (thigh/day-to-day)
Notes: Thornton is dealing with a minor thigh issue, but more imporantly he has been removed from the team's rotation for the time being, according to coach Monty Williams. ... Belinelli, meanwhile, has scored 17-plus points in two of his last three games entering the weekend. He is a plus 3-point shooter and looks to be taking off after an inconsistent start. He is a good play in category leagues for help in 3-point shooting and a viable low-end play as a stopgap in most standard leagues. ... Ariza's shot attempts per game remain well below the level they were last season and his scoring and overall Fantasy appeal remain down as a result. However, the 12-3-6 stat line he is averaging over his last five games qualifies him as a solid low-end starter in most formats. He is also a consistent source for 3-pointers and steals.

New York Knicks
Schedule: CHA, @CHA, ATL, @DET
Good Plays: Amar'e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari
Bad Plays: Anthony Randolph, Timofey Mozgov
Toss Ups: Landry Fields, Toney Douglas, Ronny Turiaf
Injury Report: Kelenna Azubuike (knee/out indefinitely)
Notes: After two weeks worth of Fantasy-friendly matchups, the Knicks will play four games against teams that allow below 100 points per game in Week 5. ... Randolph, on top of looking lost every time he hits the floor, has virtually been ousted from the team's rotation. He was listed as a DNP-CD on Wednesday night. ... The Knicks have moved Turiaf into the starting lineup at center. A possible boost to the 30-minute range won't do much for his offensive game, but it will allow him to rack up blocks -- his specialty -- and a decent amount of rebounds. Make the most of it in category leagues while it lasts. ... Thanks to a prolonged shooting slump by Douglas that has recently been attributed to a strained back, Landry has been able to take control of the primary shooting guard role. The swingman has also been a very solid rebounder and is a real sleeper for significant help in that area for a guard. He entered the weekend averaging 8.8 rebounds over his previous five games. His production could take a hit in Week 5 given the predicted slower-paced games ahead for the Knicks and the possibility that Douglas could regain some of his lost role as his back improves, but Fields is worth a shot in deeper formats.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Schedule: MIN, DAL, @IND, @HOU
Good Plays: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook
Bad Plays: James Harden, Thabo Sefolosha
Toss Ups: Jeff Green, Serge Ibaka, Nenad Krstic
Injury Report: Jeff Green (ankle/day-to-day), Nick Collison (knee/mid-November)
Notes: The Thunder will play three teams that allow 100-plus points per game in Week 5. ... Green's status for Week 5 remains up in the air and may not be determined over the weekend. Continue to keep tabs on his progress, but have healthy alternatives prepared. ... For however long Green remains out, Ibaka will remain a starter. He has been playing in the 25-30 minute range even off the bench however and will be a strong play either way -- especially given high-volume matchups ahead of him during much of Week 5. ... Krstic would benefit more from Green's continued absence, but he has some low-end sleeper appeal for deeper formats anyway this week because of the Fantasy-friendly schedule. He has averaged 9.0 points and 5.8 rebounds over his last five games while seeing 31 minutes per contest.

Orlando Magic
Schedule: @SA, MIA, CLE, @WAS
Good Plays: Dwight Howard
Bad Plays: Mickael Pietrus, Marcin Gortat, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Chris Duhon, J.J. Redick
Toss Ups: Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, Brandon Bass
Injury Report: J.J. Redick (back/day-to-day), Jason Williams (foot/day-to-day)
Notes: Carter is averaging a career-low 10.9 shot attempts per game, resulting in a rather mediocre 15.2 scoring average. He is also averaging just 2.2 assists and 2.2 rebounds over his last five games and while he still makes for a decent No. 3/4 guard in most standard formats, his days as a "must-start" appear to be over. ... Nelson is averaging a very solid 16-7-4 stat line with great numbers in 3-point shooting and steals over his last five contests. He should be active in more than the 60 percent of leagues he is currently active in. ... Lewis has scored in double figures just twice in his last five contests. He is merely a category-league starter at this juncture for his help in the 3-point categories. ... Bass has enjoyed 24.4 minutes per game over his last five contests, resulting in 10.2 points per game and 4.6 rebounds. He is good for about a block and a steal per game. Start him in leagues where that kind of production may be helpful. We do not anticipate a spike in numbers.

Philadelphia 76ers
Schedule: @WAS, @TOR, @MIA, NJ
Good Plays: Elton Brand, Jrue Holiday
Bad Plays: Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes, Andres Nocioni, Marreese Speights
Toss Ups: Andre Iguodala, Evan Turner, Lou Williams
Injury Report: Andre Iguodala (Achilles'/Out until at least Nov. 23)
Notes: Iguodala's situation gets more concerning by the day. One of the iron men of the NBA, Iggy is being rested over the weekend in the hopes that he may be able to return for Tuesday's game in Washington, but Fantasy owners will be asked to take a leap of faith with that game coming after lineups lock on Monday. He has indicated that this could be a troublesome injury that could keep him out longer and may affect him even when he does return, so our recommendation is to avoid him where possible. ... Nocioni has been only mildly productive as a starter in Iguodala's absence. He entered the weekend averaging 11.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists over his previous five games. He has very little appeal in Fantasy at the moment despite his role as a starter. ... Turner is benefitting most from Iguodala's absence and makes for a quality low-end play in Week 5, but beware of a potential dropoff in production if Iguodala returns. ... Williams has averaged just 16.2 minutes over the last week. He is a player to avoid until further notice.

Phoenix Suns
Schedule: @HOU, CHI, LAC, @DEN
Good Plays: Jason Richardson
Bad Plays: Josh Childress, Jared Dudley
Toss Ups: Steve Nash, Goran Dragic, Channing Frye, Grant Hill, Hedo Turkoglu, Hakim Warrick
Injury Report: Steve Nash (groin/day-to-day), Robin Lopez (knee/December)
Notes: Nash is likely to return over the weekend, but his lingering groin issue really seemed to bother him on Wednesday night in Miami when he managed just two assists. If he can prove healthy enough over the weekend, activate him. We recommend adding insurance off the waiver wire where possible. Dragic becomes a decent handcuff option for deeper leagues. ... The injury that will sideline Lopez into December has opened up playing time for Frye and he has made the most of it. He entered the weekend averaging 14.8 points and 6.3 rebounds over his previous four games. He is a rare center-eligible option for help in 3-point shooting as well. ... Hill has some mild sleeper value for deeper leagues as well thanks to the Fantasy-friendly slate and a recent surge. He entered the weekend averaging 16.7 points over his previous three games. He is not likely to help you much outside of some cheap scoring, however. ... Turkoglu's struggles have continued. He is averaging a weak 9-5-3 stat line over his last five games. Even with the favorable slate, he should only be active in truly deep leagues at this point. ... Warrick remains capable of dropping 20 points one night and five the next. View him as no more than a potential flier to take a chance on off the waiver wire.

Portland Trail Blazers
Schedule: NO, @NJ
Good Plays: None.
Bad Plays: Brandon Roy, Rudy Fernandez
Toss Ups: LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Miller, Wesley Matthews, Marcus Camby, Nicolas Batum
Injury Report: Brandon Roy (knee/out indefinitely), Joel Prybilla (knee/out until at least Nov. 26), Greg Oden (knee/out for the season)
Notes: The Trail Blazers are the only team in the NBA slated for just two games in Week 5. ... Roy is simply too risky to count on for Week 5. He is to be re-evaluated at some point during the week and his status will likely not be determined before lineups lock on Monday. ... Aldridge, Miller, Matthews, Camby and Batum all make for quality plays in average-based leagues, but only Aldridge is really worth considering in cumulative formats. As is always the case in these situations, weigh your options carefully. Aldridge entered the weekend averaging 17.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists with over a block and a steal over his previous five games.

Sacramento Kings
Schedule: @UTA, @LAC, CHI
Good Plays: Tyreke Evans
Bad Plays: Francisco Garcia, Jason Thompson, Omri Casspi, Luther Head, Donte Greene
Toss Ups: Carl Landry, Beno Udrih, Samuel Dalembert, DeMarcus Cousins
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Notes: The Kings made a couple of adjustments to their lineup this week, moving Head and Thompson into the starting lineup over Udrih and Casspi. ... Head has gained just mild Fantasy appeal for deep, deep leagues with the move, managing 13-2-3 in his first start. He managed a nearly identical stat line in his previous game after seeing very little action to that point in the season. ... Udrih still put up a solid 18-4-2 stat line even off the bench. He remains a quality low-end starter in Fantasy. ... Thompson was a non factor in his 12 minutes as a starter. He remains a player to avoid. ... Coach Paul Westphal is likely to continue to rotate players at small forward and Greene could be next in line. This situation is something Fantasy owners should avoid at all costs. ... Dalembert is averaging a solid 8.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks over his last five games, but just 7.0 points. ... Cousins posted a very solid 15-10-2 stat line with two blocks and a steal Wednesday against the Knicks, but should remain reserved in Fantasy barring a continued surge over the weekend. He had been held to single digits in each of his previous four games.

Worst Fantasy Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Trail Blazers NO, NJ
2. Celtics @ATL, NJ, TOR
3. Wizards PHI, ATL, ORL
4. Knicks CHA, @CHA, ATL, @DET
5. Nets ATL, @BOS, @PHI, POR

San Antonio Spurs
Schedule: ORL, @MIN, DAL, @NO
Good Plays: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili
Bad Plays: Antonio McDyess, Tiago Splitter, Matt Bonner, Gary Neal
Toss Ups: Richard Jefferson, DeJuan Blair, George Hill
Injury Report: Matt Bonner (back/day-to-day)
Notes: Divorce drama aside, Parker has managed to keep his personal matters from affecting his play on the court, averaging 20.4 points, 6.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds over his last five games entering the weekend. ... Duncan endured the first three-game, double-digit scoring drought of his NBA career over the past week. He bounced back in a big way with 16 points and 18 rebounds against the Bulls on Wednesday, but the days of Duncan being a no brainer in Fantasy may be nearing an end. He remains a good play for now and should benefit from a four-game slate without any back-to-back games. ... Jefferson has cooled off after a strong start. He is averaging 13.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists over his last five games. He is merely a low-end starter for the moment. ... Blair has scored very well but has been a good cheap source for rebounds in category leagues and is also good for about a steal per game. ... Hill has been very erratic, but has put together a few decent outings over the past week. He is worth taking a gamble on in deeper leagues if you are in a pinch as a possible source of low-end double-digit scoring and steals, but not much else.

Toronto Raptors
Schedule: PHI, @BOS, ATL
Good Plays: Andrea Bargnani
Bad Plays: Linas Kleiza, Leandro Barbosa
Toss Ups: Jarrett Jack, Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson, Reggie Evans
Injury Report: Leandro Barbosa (shoulder/day-to-day)
Notes: Jack and Calderon have been splitting playing time almost evenly. Neither player has been a very reliable Fantasy option as a result. We recommend reserving both until someone can emerge. ... DeRozan remains very spotty. He followed back-to-back 20-point efforts with 16 points combined over his next two games. The playing time is there, but the consistency just is not. His main problem seems to be his inability to play agressively on a consistent basis. In the back-to-back 20-point games, he got the foul line 12 and 11 times. In his next two clunkers, he got to the foul line just four times. Avoid him until he can show more reliability. ... Even with the return of Kleiza from injury, Weems kept his recent hot streak going with an outstanding 25-point effort at Philadelphia on Wednesday night. He has averaged an 18-3-3 stat line over his last five games and appears to be a real steal off the waiver wire. It may not last, so make the most of it while you can. ... After four straight games scoring in double figures, Johnson totaled just nine points over his next two games. ... Reggie Evans is averaging 11.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals in November. Do not count on him for anything else, however, and also consider that he is shooting just 24.1 percent from the field during the month and is a horrible free-throw shooter.

Utah Jazz
Schedule: SAC, NO, LAL, @LAC
Good Plays: Deron Williams, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap
Bad Plays: Raja Bell
Toss Ups: Andrei Kirilenko, C.J. Miles
Injury Report: Al Jefferson (back/day-to-day), C.J. Miles (back/day-to-day), Mehmet Okur (Achilles'/late November)
Notes: Jefferson was held out of practice on Thursday as a precaution due to a sore back. He should be just fine going forward, but monitor his progress in case it begins to affect his productivity. ... Miles is likely to return over the weekend, barring setbacks. He continues to be good for mid-teens scoring, but little else. ... Okur is still likely over a week away from returning. ... Kirilenko is seeing heavy playing time, averaging 36.6 minutes over his last five games. The result has been a very well distributed stat line of 13.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks. He is also averaging about a 3-pointer per game and just one turnover, making him very useful in category-league play again.

Washington Wizards
Schedule: PHI, @ATL, ORL
Good Plays: Andray Blatche, Gilbert Arenas
Bad Plays: Yi Jianlian, Nick Young
Toss Ups: John Wall, Kirk Hinrich, JaVale McGee, Al Thornton
Injury Report: John Wall (foot/day-to-day), Yi Jianlian (knee/day-to-day), Josh Howard (knee/December)
Notes: Wall remains day-to-day after missing two games. His status for Week 5 may come down to the wire. Be prepared. ... Hinrich has become a decent, cheap source for assists in larger category formats. A lengthy absence for Wall could make him appealing for any format as a low-end stopgap measure. ... McGee is averaging close to 25 minutes per game and has yet to become very consistent in the scoring or rebounding departments, but he is offering high-end block production. ... Thornton dealt with an illness over the past week that may have been the main culprit for his being held to single digits in three straight games. He bounced back on Wednesday night in Boston with 15 points. If he can back that up with another strong outing over the weekend, feel safe activating him as a No. 3/4 forward again in deeper leagues, but a three-game slate with two matchups against tough defensive teams in the Hawks and Magic does not bode well for a big week.

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Player News
Omer Asik ready to clean up in return to starting role
by Chris Towers |
(5:39 pm ET) Last season was a rough one for Omer Asik, who had to deal with returning to a reserve role after really shining as a starter the previous year. He should be much happier with his role this season, as the Pelicans acquired him this offseason with the intention of installing him as the starting center.

The Pelicans should have a fearsome frontcourt with Asik starting next to Anthony Davis, and Davis' presence should free Asik up to do the kind of work he excels at. Asik isn't a great offensive player, but he can be a dominant offensive rebounder, and should have many chances to clean up the boards with teams keying in on Davis offensively. Among players who have logged at least 5,000 minutes in the NBA, Asik is 22nd all-time in offensive rebounding percentage.

Asik had trouble staying healthy last season, but that was the first time he had ever missed a regular-season game in his career, so we can probably write that off as a fluke. He averaged a double-double with 1.1 blocks per game in 30.0 minutes per game two years ago, and should be capable of similar production as he returns to a starting role.

Asik should be viewed as a starting Fantasy option this season, though he may not have the upside of some other younger centers at this point. 

Tobias Harris' Fantasy value a mystery at this point
by Chris Towers |
(5:00 pm ET) Perception is a funny thing. Just ask Magic forward Tobias Harris, who enjoyed by far the most productive season of his career in 2013-14 but was somehow viewed as a Fantasy disappointment.

Part of that stemmed from Harris' issues with availability, as he missed 20 games and got off to a slow start to the season as a result. It really took until January for Harris to find his stride, but he averaged 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game from Jan. 1 on, without missing a contest.

Harris was probably better than the general perception of him a year ago, but the power of expectations hurt him. And now he enters his fourth season as something of a career crossroads, and it is hard to say just how Fantasy owners should approach him this season.

The Magic added Channing Frye and Aaron Gordon to the roster this season, further confusing what was already one of the most crowded frontcourts in the league. Harris can play both forward spots, but he is probably best used as a small-ball power forward; the presence of Frye, one of the league's elite stretch-fours certainly complicates matters for Harris, then.

At just 22, Harris still has a world of potential ahead of him. However, he probably profiles best as a reserve Fantasy option heading into the season, given concerns about his role.   

Hype may be too high for Giannis Antetokounmpo
by Chris Towers |
(4:41 pm ET) No matter what he accomplishes in his second NBA season, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is likely to be a historical outlier, given his age. The question is, how much of a leap can the now-20-year-old take next season.

Only 15 players in NBA history have logged as many minutes in a single season as a teenager as Antetokounmpo's 1,897, so he is occupying fairly rarified air already. His age is a big part of why he is considered a big-time breakout prospect for Fantasy purposes, but he has a long way to go from a statistical standpoint.

Antetokounmpo was good for a 19-year-old rookie, but his season averages of 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game left a lot to be desired. It is easy to dream about a Antetokounmpo taking a big step forward, but that next step is never guaranteed -- for every Anthony Davis there is a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist whose development follows a slower, less linear path. 

Antetokounmpo was very good -- for a 19-year-old. However, Fantasy owners don't get extra points, rebounds or assists if the degree of difficulty is higher, so you are betting on Giannis taking a huge step forward at the age of 20. Antetokounmpo has become something of an internet darling, and his play in Summer League and the FIBA World Cup dominated much of the offseason discussion, which only helped build the hype to potentially unsustainable levels. 

He is a lottery ticket, for sure, but he is one that might not be worth the cost at this point. 

Improved jump shot all Jimmy Butler needs
by Chris Towers |
(3:51 pm ET) Bulls guard Jimmy Butler had the breakout season many expected from him a year ago, but there were still plenty of flaws apparent in his game as he finished his third NBA season. With a better team around him, Butler just might have enough help to vault him to stardom.

Butler's jump shot abandoned him last season, especially after a toe injury forced him to miss 11 games in November and December. He was shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from three-point range prior to the injury, but connected on just 39.3 percent of his shots overall and 27.1 percent from three-point range from that point on.

We can blame Butler's season-long shooting slump on the injury or his increased offensive role, but he should have neither excuse available for him this season. Butler should be healthy, and the Bulls added plenty of offensive firepower this offseason, in the form of Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott, not to mention a hopefully healthy Derrick Rose. Butler took 154 shots off the dribble last season, per, and made just 30.7 percent of them. With a better team around him, Butler should get many more opportunities to shoot with his feet set.

Butler has the skill set to be a tremendously efficient offensive player, given how often he bullies his way to the free-throw line. Last season, Butler filled up the box score extremely well, but his poor shooting limited his Fantasy value somewhat. If a new role helps his efficiency, he could be one of the very best guards in the league in category-based formats. 

Lance Stephenson set for bigger role in new setting
by Chris Towers |
(3:02 pm ET) Though there were fits and starts, Lance Stephenson finally began to live up to his considerable promise last season. Now in a new home in Charlotte, will Stephenson take another step forward in 2014-15?

By the end of last season, the Pacers were a mess, and Stephenson caught plenty of the blame for that. Still, he might have been arguably the team's most consistent player throughout the season, averaging between 25.8 and 29.7 Fantasy points per game from before and after the All-Star break as well as the playoffs. For as much of a mess as that team was, Stephenson emerged as something of a rock, at least for Fantasy purposes.

The Hornets are actually built in a somewhat similar way to the Pacers, so there wont' be much of a stylistic shift for Stephenson to get used to. Per, 11.8 percent of the then-Bobcats' possessions ended in post-ups, actually down from the 13.2 percent mark the Pacers' posted. Stephenson struggled at times with his post-entry passing, though his off-target feeds might find their mark more often when being lobbed in to the soft hands of Al Jefferson, as opposed to Roy Hibbert.

The Hornets might lean even more heavily on Stephenson than the Pacers did, since Indiana liked to spread the ball around with their starting five. The Hornets, on the other hand, look to be extremely top-heavy, and Stephenson will get plenty of chances to be the second or third option. We have him projected for 29.1 Fantasy points per game, and consider Stephenson a borderline top-50 Fantasy option for this season.  

Move to Houston won't alter Trevor Ariza's trajectory
by Chris Towers |
(2:09 pm ET) Trevor Ariza parlayed a career-year into a lucrative free-agency contract with the Rockets this offseason -- stop me if you've heard this story before.

Ariza was largely a disappointment in his first stint with the Rockets, though it did lead him to the best per-game numbers of his career. Still, Ariza was obviously miscast as a primary offensive option the last time he was in Houston, and that won't be a problem this time around.

Ariza joins a Rockets team with two established stars, and will likely spend much of his time trying to fill the departed Chandler Parsons' role. That should suit him nicely, as Ariza has just enough of an off-the-bounce game to serve as the team's third ballhandler when the shot clock gets deep. Ariza attempted 11.1 field-goal attempts per game last season, and should see a boost given Parsons' role; he attempted 13.3 shots per game.

Ariza's improved three-point shot seems legitimate, as he is shooting 38.6 percent from long range over 738 attempts since 2012. However, he will no longer have John Wall feeding him for juicy corner 3-pointers; Wall to Ariza was the league's most productive corner-three combination last season. His shooting numbers may take a hit with his move.

Even acknowledging the loss of Wall's help, we know the Houston offense is set up to get every player the most efficient shots possible, so Ariza shouldn't see much of a dip in his efficiency. His ability to fill up the box score makes him a perfect No. 2 option at forward in category-based leagues, especially now that he is a high-volume shooter. 

Despite new role, don't write off Isaiah Thomas entirely
by Chris Towers |
(12:28 pm ET) Suns guard Isaiah Thomas might see one of the biggest dropoffs in his Fantasy value from last season to this, as he joins the crowded Suns' backcourt.

The Suns might have three All-Star caliber guards in the backcourt now, with Thomas likely to backup Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe this season. That should put a serious dent in Thomas' value; Thomas finished 13th in Fantasy scoring among guards a year ago, but is projected to finish just 43rd this season.

Still, Thomas is definitely someone you'll want to add to your team when drafting, and almost certainly before the rest of the No. 4-type guards he is grouped with. Thomas is likely to see his numbers fall off from the 20.3 points and 6.3 assists he averaged a year ago, at least at first. However, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him end up starting upwards of 25 games throughout the year, given Bledsoe's injury-proneness. Bledsoe has missed at least 25 games in two of the last three seasons for knee issues.

Thomas probably profiles as more of a bench option for Fantasy purposes next season, but you'll be targeting him much earlier than nearly any other reserve. His upside as a handcuff option for either Bledsoe or Dragic is sky-high, and will make him well worth your attention on Draft Day. 

Eric Gordon cleared for contact
by Chris Towers |
(11:34 am ET) Pelicans guard Eric Gordon has been cleared to take part in full-contact offseason drills ahead of training camp, The Times-Picayune reports.

Gordon underwent season-ending knee surgery last April, but is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. 

Jrue Holiday cleared for contact ahead of camp
by Chris Towers |
(11:26 am ET) Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday was able to participate in full-contact offseason drills last week, the first time he has done so since undergoing season-ending surgery last January.

"Getting out playing has been a joy," Holiday told The Times-Picayune. "I've been running and jumping and stuff, but getting my rhythm back on the court is definitely a big thing right now for me."

The Pelicans open training camp Sept. 30, and Holiday is not expected to have any limitations as the team prepares for the start of the season. Holiday averaged 14.3 points, 7.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game last season prior to the injury.

Kent Bazemore focused on conditioning in recovery
by Chris Towers |
(11:18 am ET) Newly signed Hawks guard Kent Bazemore did not pick up a basketball until August, preferring to focus on conditioning in his recovery from foot surgery in April.

"I think the injury was definitely a blessing," he told the Daily Press, "because I was able to step away from the game of basketball. I took myself out of my element all summer. I did stuff I'm not used to doing."

Bazemore signed a two-year deal with the Hawks this offseason, and is expected to compete for playing time on the wing immediately, as he is fully recovered from the surgery. 

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