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Week 20 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.

Atlanta Hawks
Schedule: LAL, @CHI, POR
Injury Report: Josh Smith (knee/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Al Horford, Joe Johnson
Toss Ups: Josh Smith, Jamal Crawford, Kirk Hinrich, Marvin Williams
Bad Plays: Jason Collins, Jeff Teague, Zaza Pachulia
Notes: Smith hurt his knee on Monday. The team decided there was no need for an MRI and listed him as day-to-day. He felt pain at Wednesday's shootaround and an MRI was scheduled. Have healthy alternatives prepared and closely monitor his progress over the weekend. We will have the latest as it happens. ... In Smith's absence, Collins gets to start. A former regular starter for the Nets, he has never had any statistical upside. Expect Williams to see a quick boost while Smith is out, but he remains merely a stopgap measure in Fantasy. ... Hinrich is now the starter at point guard, pushing Teague to the bench. His first effort was weak (3 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists vs. CHI), but he has dealt with a sore calf this week. We like him as a potential contributor in the long run, but right now he is a player to avoid activating. ... Crawford is getting steady shot volume (around 12 shots per game), but the scoring numbers have been all over the place. In a week where he will face three top defensive teams, our suggestion is to avoid him where possible.

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Boston Celtics
Schedule: LAC, @PHI, MIL
Injury Report: Glen Davis (knee/out until at least March 9), Shaquille O'Neal (Achilles'/mid-March), Jermaine O'Neal (knee/mid-April)
Good Plays: Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen
Toss Ups: Jeff Green, Glen Davis, Nenad Krstic, Troy Murphy
Bad Plays: Delonte West
Notes: Murphy was acquired this week and was able to make his Celtics debut on March 2 vs. Phoenix. He played just 14 minutes and was not productive, but remember that he had not played since early January. Give him another week or so to get some conditioning back before activating him, but we still view him as worthy of a pickup off the waiver wire where available. ... Things do not look promising for Green's Fantasy value in Boston. In his first three games, he has averaged just 18.0 minutes per game, 5.7 shot attempts and 6.0 points with 1.3 rebounds. Potentially, the knee injury Davis suffered on Wednesday night could help give him more playing time and touches. Monitor that situation over the weekend. ... Davis has been diagnosed with a strained patella tendon and could miss a few games. He could return by the team's first game of the upcoming scoring period, but do not plan on activating the big man in Week 20. ... Krstic has some value in deeper leagues. He has the ability to churn out about 10-13 points and around five boards per game in his current role and the Davis injury would only benefit him. ... Shaq is still at least another week away from returning to action and would probably be limited when he does return.

Charlotte Bobcats
Schedule: LAC, CHI, POR, @TOR
Injury Report: Tyrus Thomas (knee/mid-March)
Good Plays: Stephen Jackson
Toss Ups: D.J. Augustin, Boris Diaw, Gerald Henderson
Bad Plays: Kwame Brown, Shaun Livingston, Tyrus Thomas, Dante Cunningham, Joel Przybilla
Notes: Jackson is said to be dealing with lingering hamstring issues. He is playing through them, but it is something to monitor if he has another game like Wednesday's 7-3-2 clunker. ... Thomas is getting closer to a return from torn knee cartilage. He has been cleared to practice fully by the team. Add him if he is available in your league with Gerald Wallace out of town, but do not expect an immediate impact considering the severity of his injury. ... The Bobcats play three teams that allow over 100 points per game in Week 20. ... Augustin, who is averaging 15.0 points and 4.6 assists over his last five games, should benefit from an increase in possessions this week against teams that like to run. ... Diaw could also benefit, but has been highly inconsistent. In a high-volume game against the Kings on Feb. 25, he managed only two points, three rebounds and two assists. However, against a tougher opponent in Orlando, he managed 11-9-3. He managed only 2-6-4 the next game at Denver. ... Henderson, one of the most added players in CBSSports.com leagues, has locked down the starting job at shooting guard the rest of the way. He has averaged 14.2 points over his last five games, but is a one-dimensional player who does not provide any 3-point shooting or assists. View him as a potential sleeper this week in Head-to-Head with the high-volume matchups ahead, but his value in category play is limited.

Chicago Bulls
Schedule: NO, @CHA, ATL, UTA
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Good Plays: Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah
Toss Ups: None.
Bad Plays: Taj Gibson, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, Kurt Thomas
Notes: Noah is ready to go. In five games since returning from his thumb injury he has averaged 10.8 points, 12.8 rebounds and a block per game. Consider the rust of his 30-game layoff shaken off. ... Gibson is averaging just 16.2 minutes per game since the return of Noah. ... Rose is averaging 25.6 points and 8.1 assists over his last 10 games.

Sergio's Sleepers for Week 20
* Sleepers are players started in less than 70 percent of CBSSports.com leagues
Player Start %
1. Andrei Kirilenko, F, Jazz 57
2. Jameer Nelson, G, Magic 53
3. John Salmons, F, Bucks 58
4. Marcus Thornton, G, Kings 24
5. Jason Terry, G, Mavericks 61
6. Shawn Marion, F, Mavericks 41
7. D.J. Augustin, G, Bobcats 64
8. Thaddeus Young, F, 76ers 29
9. Wesley Johnson, F, Timberwolves 29
10. Tyler Hansbrough, F, Pacers 19

Cleveland Cavaliers
Schedule: GS, @MIL, OKC
Injury Report: Baron Davis (knee/day-to-day), Daniel Gibson (quadriceps/day-to-day), Antawn Jamison (pinkie/likely out for the season), Anderson Varejao (ankle/out for the season)
Good Plays: J.J. Hickson, Ramon Sessions
Toss Ups: Baron Davis, Daniel Gibson, Anthony Parker, Samardo Samuels
Bad Plays: Christian Eyenga, Manny Harris
Notes: The Cavaliers lost Jamison, most likely for the season, this week. In his absence, Samuels shined on Wednesday night vs. San Antonio with 23 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes. Expect the minutes and touches to be there for him down the stretch, if not that type of production. ... Davis should debut for the Cavaliers on Friday night, but he continues to deal with a sore knee and is a serious shut-down candidate at the first sign of any trouble. Positive matchups against the Warriors and Thunder make him worth taking a shot with this week if he can make it through the weekend. ... Sessions is likely to lose some minutes and touches to Davis, but coach Byron Scott has said that he will find him playing time. He is averaging 21-8-4 over his last five games and the Cavaliers have to make the most of his skill set, given their lack of capable options on the roster right now. ... Expect Davis' return to take a good chunk out of Gibson's minutes and touches rather than Sessions. ... Parker enjoyed a brief spike in Fantasy appeal over the last week with solid efforts against the Lakers, Rockets and Knicks. He followed that up with just five points and 10 rebounds combined in two games against the Sixers and Spurs this week. So much for that.

Dallas Mavericks
Schedule: @MIN, @NO, NY, LAL
Injury Report: Tyson Chandler (ankle/out until at least March 7), Caron Butler (knee/likely out for the season)
Good Plays: Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd
Toss Ups: Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler, Brendan Haywood
Bad Plays: Peja Stojakovic, Corey Brewer, Jose Juan Barea, Roddy Beaubois
Notes: Chandler is expected to miss a couple of games after spraining his right ankle on Tuesday night. He will be re-evaluated on Monday, making it advisable to have alternatives prepared. ... In Chandler's absence, expect Haywood to become a very attractive Fantasy option for the short term. He averaged 9.8 points and 10.4 rebounds with 2.1 blocks per game last season for Washington. ... Expect Terry and Marion to benefit from very high-volume games against Minnesota and New York this week. ... Stojakovic is just 6 of 21 from the field in his last three games and the addition of Corey Brewer threatens to cut into his playing time. ... Beaubois is averaging just 6.4 points over his last five appearances.

Denver Nuggets
Schedule: @PHO, DET
Injury Report: Arron Afflalo (ankle/day-to-day), Danilo Gallinari (toe/out indefinitely)
Good Plays: No must-starts.
Toss Ups: Nene, Wilson Chandler, Arron Afflalo, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin
Bad Plays: Raymond Felton, Ty Lawson, Al Harrington, Chris Andersen
Notes: The Nuggets are one of three teams to play just two games in Week 20. ... Both of Denver's Week 20 opponents allow over 100 points per game, making this a favorable scoring period in average-based play. ... Felton and Lawson have split duties nearly in half since last week's trade, limiting the Fantasy appeal of each. ... Afflalo rolled his ankle Wednesday night, but played on. Barring setbacks, he should be a safe play in average-based play for Week 20. The matchups favor Afflalo, who is averaging 14.4 points over his last five games. ... Smith is averaging 15.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists over his last five games and is enjoying one of the most direct Fantasy boosts on the new-look Nuggets. Consider him a good play in average-based leagues this week, but avoid him in cumulative formats. ... Martin looks as healthy and energetic as he has all season and is averaging 11.8 points with 7.8 rebounds over his last five games. Again, use him in average-based play this week and not in cumulative leagues. ... Gallinari fractured a big toe on Tuesday night and was expected to be sidelined for about 7-10 days. While he could return for the Detroit game, he is too risky to start in Fantasy this week. Expect Chandler to see a boost in touches in his absence.

Detroit Pistons
Schedule: @SA, @OKC, @DEN
Injury Report: Tayshaun Prince (back/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Rodney Stuckey
Toss Ups: Greg Monroe, Ben Gordon, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton, Charlie Villanueva
Bad Plays: Tracy McGrady, Will Bynum, Austin Daye, Ben Wallace
Notes: Prince has been out four games with a back injury. He has been able to practice, which is a good sign that he might be back over the weekend. He looks to be a risky play, at best, for Week 20. ... Hamilton is back in the Detroit rotation, for now, playing around 25 minutes per game as coach John Kuester has decided to open up competition for playing time. Once he shakes off some of the rust of not playing significant minutes over the last month, Hamilton could be of value again as a scoring threat. He has managed around 10 points, five assists and two rebounds in his first two games back in the mix. ... Gordon is averaging 13.6 points 3.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists over his last five games entering the weekend. ... Stuckey looks to be back on track, averaging 21.3 points, 6.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds with 2.0 steals over his last four appearances. ... McGrady is suddenly not playing and is clearly a player to avoid as the Pistons continue to shuffle their rotation.

Golden State Warriors
Schedule: @CLE, @NJ, ORL, MIN
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Good Plays: Monta Ellis, David Lee, Stephen Curry, Dorell Wright
Toss Ups: None.
Bad Plays: Ekpe Udoh, Andris Biedrins
Notes: The Warriors will play three teams that allow 100-plus points per game in Week 20. ... Coach Keith Smart made a switch at center, starting Udoh over Biedrins with underwhelming results. Neither player is worth activating in Fantasy right now, despite the favorable matchups.

Houston Rockets
Schedule: @SAC, @PHO, SA
Injury Report: Yao Ming (ankle/out for the season)
Good Plays: Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry
Toss Ups: Chuck Hayes, Chase Budinger
Bad Plays: Brad Miller, Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams, Goran Dragic
Notes: Two of Houston's three Week 20 opponents allow 100-plus points per game. ... Budinger has cooled significantly since his first two breakout games following the trade deadline, but he does seem capable of consistent double-digit scoring and some viable production in boards and 3-point shooting. He has taken over at small forward with Shane Battier out of town. ... Hayes is still playing big minutes, averaging 11.6 rebounds over his last five games. He is averaging just 7.0 points, but could see some inflation in that area this week against the Kings and Suns in high-scoring games.

Most Added Players
* as of March 3
Player % Change
1. Chase Budinger, F, Rockets 55
2. Gerald Henderson, G, Bobcats 32
3. George Hill, G, Spurs 25
4. Marcus Thornton, G, Kings 23
5. Samardo Samuels, F, Cavaliers 23
6. Wesley Johnson, G, Timberwolves 20
7. James Harden, G, Thunder 10
8. Kenyon Martin, F, Nuggets 9
9. Anthony Parker, G, Cavaliers 9
10. Will Bynum, G, Pistons 9

Indiana Pacers
Schedule: PHI, @MIN, @TOR, @NY
Injury Report: Mike Dunleavy (thumb/mid-April)
Good Plays: Danny Granger
Toss Ups: Darren Collison, Roy Hibbert, Tyler Hansbrough
Bad Plays: Josh McRoberts, Mike Dunleavy, Brandon Rush
Notes: Expect fringe starters like Collison and Hibbert to benefit this week from excellent matchups. The Timberwolves, Raptors and Knicks each allow over 104 points per game. ... Hansbrough has been getting the majority of the playing time at power forward, pushing aside McRoberts. He is averaging 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds over his last five games and could easily match that level of production in Week 20 given the matchups.

L.A. Clippers
Schedule: @CHA, @BOS, @NJ, @WAS
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Good Plays: Blake Griffin
Toss Ups: Chris Kaman, Mo Williams, Eric Gordon
Bad Plays: Randy Foye, DeAndre Jordan
Notes: Gordon did not skip a beat in his return from a wrist injury on Wednesday night, scoring 24 points in 35 minutes. Clearly, he is safe to be activated again. ... As anticipated, Foye became nearly obsolete with Gordon back, scoring just two points with five assists in 20 minutes. His run has come to an end. ... Chris Kaman is back and ready to be activated as well. After shaking off some rust in his first few games back, he is averaging 14.6 points and 7.2 rebounds over his last five games while playing only 23.8 minutes. His minutes, and production, should each increase. ... Much like Foye with Gordon back, Jordan is no longer a viable Fantasy play with Kaman nearing full strength. ... Williams averaged 16.5 points, 8.0 assists and 3.0 steals in his first two games for the Clippers this week. Activate him across the board.

L.A. Lakers
Schedule: @ATL, @MIA, @DAL
Injury Report: Matt Barnes (knee/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol
Toss Ups: Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom
Bad Plays: Ron Artest, Shannon Brown, Matt Barnes, Derek Fisher
Notes: Odom has finally seen his production cut following the return of Bynum. It did not happen all at once, but he is averaging just 10.6 points and 6.5 rebounds over his last 10 games, which is still more than viable in many leagues. ... Bynum is averaging 11.7 points and 8.6 rebounds over his last 10 games. ... Barnes is expected to return from knee surgery for the first time on Friday vs. Charlotte. He averaged just 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game prior to getting hurt. Do not expect him to see much more than 20 minutes per game even at full strength.

Memphis Grizzlies
Schedule: OKC, NY, @MIA
Injury Report: Rudy Gay (shoulder/mid-March)
Good Plays: Zach Randolph
Toss Ups: Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, Darrrell Arthur
Bad Plays: O.J. Mayo, Shane Battier, Sam Young
Notes: Gay will be re-evaluated after Week 20, at which point it will be decided whether or not he will return at all this season. ... Battier has totaled just 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in three games since joining the Grizzlies via trade, playing in Gay's absence. ... Mayo has averaged 10.2 shots in his last five games, but has not been efficient. He remains a player to avoid. ... Allen has picked up much of the slack offensively, averaging 15.2 points over his last five games. He should benefit from high-volume matchups against the Thunder and Knicks in Week 20, as should Conley and Gasol. ... Consider Arthur a solid stopgap in deeper leagues, especially in average-based play, this week. He lacks consistency due to erratic playing time, but has managed 17-plus points in two of his last three games.

Miami Heat
Schedule: POR, LAL, MEM
Injury Report: Udonis Haslem (foot/late March)
Good Plays: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh
Toss Ups: Mike Bibby
Bad Plays: Mario Chalmers, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, James Jones, Joel Anthony
Notes: The Heat will face three teams that allow below 100 points per game in Week 20. ... Bibby will be eased into the rotation off the bench initially, but the newest member of the Heat should be playing the big minutes at point guard soon. He could be a sleeper for 3-point shooting in category leagues down the stretch, but should be avoided while he settles in -- especially given these tougher matchups.

Milwaukee Bucks
Schedule: @WAS, CLE, PHI, @BOS
Injury Report: Andrew Bogut (ribcage/out until at least March 8), Ersan Ilyasova (head/day-to-day), Drew Gooden (foot/out indefinitely), Michael Redd (knee/late March)
Good Plays: Brandon Jennings, John Salmons
Toss Ups: Andrew Bogut, Carlos Delfino, Corey Maggette
Bad Plays: Earl Barron, Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Keyon Dooling
Notes: On Tuesday, it was announced that Bogut would miss "at least" a week with a strained ribcage. He may not be re-evaluated until after Monday's lineup deadlines, so make sure to have healthy alternatives prepared. Prior to getting hurt, he had been bothered by an elbow injury that could require surgery and has averaged just 9.8 points over his last 10 appearances. ... The Bucks are going with a center-by-committee approach in Bogut's absence, with minimal upside for Fantasy owners. Barron brought down nine boards in 16 minutes during his debut with Milwaukee, though, so keep an eye on him. ... Very quietly, Salmons has become Milwaukee's top Fantasy option. He is averaging 20.0 points, 3.2 assists and 3.2 rebounds over his last five games and is playing around 40 minutes per game. ... In a four-game week, Delfino and Maggette make for strong plays in cumulative formats.

Best Fantasy Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Pacers PHI, @MIN, @TOR, @NY
2. Magic POR, @SAC, @GS, @PHO
3. Timberwolves DAL, IND, UTA, @GS
4. Warriors @CLE, @NJ, ORL, MIN
5. Jazz @NY, @TOR, @MIN, @CHI

Minnesota Timberwolves
Schedule: DAL, IND, UTA, @GS
Injury Report: Martell Webster (back/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Kevin Love, Michael Beasley
Toss Ups: Luke Ridnour, Wesley Johnson
Bad Plays: Darko Milicic, Jonny Flynn, Anthony Randolph, Wayne Ellington, Anthony Randolph
Notes: Ridnour has had a firm grip over the point guard role over the last month, but Wednesday's game in Detroit could be the start of a change. Ridnour played just 18 minutes, while Flynn contributed 14 assists in 30 minutes off the bench. Ridnour remains the better Fantasy option for now, but this is a situation worth monitoring. ... Milicic is averaging just 5.3 points and 5.8 rebounds since the All-Star break. He left the team for a personal matter on Wednesday and looks to be a player to avoid for now. ... Johnson has been red-hot since the All-Star break and is averaging 17.5 points over his last four games. An increase in playing time since the departure of Corey Brewer should continue down the stretch as the team looks to develop one of the building blocks of their franchise.

New Jersey Nets
Schedule: GS, LAC
Injury Report: Deron Williams (wrist/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Brook Lopez
Toss Ups: Deron Williams, Kris Humphries, Anthony Morrow
Bad Plays: Travis Outlaw, Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic
Notes: The Nets are one of three teams to play just two games in Week 20. ... Williams is dealing with pain in both his shooting and non-shooting hand, but planned on playing in both the London games against Toronto over the weekend. His status for Week 20, however, is still very tentative as he may have to leave the team soon to be with his wife for the birth of his fourth child. Given the two-game slate, this makes Williams very risky. ... Humphries has picked up his production since the team traded away Derrick Favors, averaging 13.7 points and 10.7 rebounds over his last three games. ... Morrow is averaging 15.8 points over his last five games. ... Consider Lopez, Humphries and Morrow mostly just in average-based formats this week, where matchups against two teams that allow 100-plus points per should lead to high-volume games.

New Orleans Hornets
Schedule: @CHI, DAL, SAC
Injury Report: Trevor Ariza (thigh/day-to-day)
Good Plays: David West
Toss Ups: Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Carl Landry
Bad Plays: Willie Green, Marco Belinelli
Notes: Paul has been held below 10 points in three straight games, shooting just 7 for 29 from the field in that span. He has refused to blame his lingering knee issues for the struggles and has continued to play around 40 minutes per game despite the shooting funk. The assist totals and production elsewhere across the stat line is still there and unless you fear an early shutdown for an injury he says is not the issue, he should remain active. ... Okafor has not looked 100 percent since returning from a 10-game layoff, averaging just 6.3 points and 9.0 rebounds in four games. Unless he can pick up the pace over the weekend, he may be a player to reserve. ... Ariza is averaging just 10.8 points and 3.8 rebounds over his last five games. ... Landry is playing around 25 minutes per game for the Hornets, but has been seeing inconsistent shot totals with erratic production overall. Avoid him outside of deep, deep leagues.

New York Knicks
Schedule: UTA, @MEM, @DAL, IND
Injury Report: Chauncey Billups (thigh/day-to-day), Kelenna Azubuike (knee/out indefinitely)
Good Plays: Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups
Toss Ups: Landry Fields, Toney Douglas
Bad Plays: Corey Brewer, Ronny Turiaf, Shawne Williams, Shelden Williams
Notes: Billups is dealing with a deep thigh bruise that is likely to keep him out through Friday's game. He has not been able to practice since suffering the injury on Tuesday night. Monitor his progress before making a decision on him, but he has been outstanding since the move to New York. He has averaged 23.3 points, 4.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds in four games as a Knick. ... Add Douglas as a handcuff option for Billups where possible, or wherever he might be useful in a daily-lineup league. Douglas shined in Billups' absence on Wednesday, posting a 24-5-4 line. ... Fields is averaging just 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game over his last five contests, though his playing time has remained steady.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Schedule: @MEM, @PHI, DET, @CLE
Injury Report: Kevin Durant (ankle/day-to-day), Kendrick Perkins (knee/late March)
Good Plays: Russell Westbrook
Toss Ups: Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, James Harden, Nazr Mohammed
Bad Plays: Nate Robinson, Thabo Sefolosha, Nick Collison
Notes: Durant twisted his ankle on Wednesday night and was held out of practice on Thursday. He will very possibly be held out of Friday's game with the hope that he could return either Sunday against Phoenix or Monday against Memphis. The good news is that Durant has remained upbeat and optimistic that he will not miss significant time. Barring a setback, it seems he should be a safe play for Week 20. ... With Jeff Green now in Boston, Ibaka has seen a boost in minutes, leading to excellent rebound and block numbers. The scoring just has not been there for him, however. He is averaging 6.8 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks over his last five games. ... With Perkins out until later in the month, Mohammed was added by the Thunder to give the team some minutes at center. His first appearance with the team provided a sign of what Fantasy owners should expect: eight points, seven rebounds in 22 minutes.

Orlando Magic
Schedule: POR, @SAC, @GS, @PHO
Injury Report: Gilbert Arenas (knee/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Dwight Howard
Toss Ups: Jason Richardson, Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu
Bad Plays: Brandon Bass, Ryan Anderson, Gilbert Arenas, J.J. Redick
Notes: The Magic will play three teams that allow over 103 points per game in Week 20. ... Richardson has been held below 10 points in two of his last four games, including just eight points against a Knicks team that allowed the Magic to score 116 points. ... Nelson twisted his ankle on Tuesday against New York but played Thursday night against Miami. Nelson has begun to dominate the playing time at point guard again with Arenas dealing with an achy knee and is averaging 15.6 points and 5.0 assists over his last five games. He should be in for a very positive scoring period given the matchups. ... Turkoglu is averaging just 8.2 points over his last five games, scoring in double figures just once in that span, including a scoreless performance against the Knicks. ... Bass and Anderson both could have a decent game at some point in Week 20, but their timeshare at power forward has caused each player to be highly inconsistent.

Philadelphia 76ers
Schedule: @IND, OKC, BOS, @MIL
Injury Report: Elton Brand (finger/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Jrue Holiday
Toss Ups: Thaddeus Young, Lou Williams
Bad Plays: Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, Jodie Meeks, Marreese Speights
Notes: Brand dislocated his right pinkie finger and suffered another finger injury on Tuesday, but plans to continue to play on. He appears to be a safe play, barring setbacks. ... Young is averaging 17.2 points and 5.8 rebounds over his last five games and has been steadily productive since the week before the All-Star break. He is a strong play in any format and has proven it is no fluke. ... Lou Williams has cooled, scoring less than 10 points in three of his last four games.

Phoenix Suns
Schedule: HOU, DEN, ORL
Injury Report: Channing Frye (eye/day-to-day), Vince Carter (mouth/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Steve Nash, Channing Frye
Toss Ups: Marcin Gortat, Grant Hill, Vince Carter
Bad Plays: Aaron Brooks, Jared Dudley, Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick
Notes: Frye and Carter bumped heads in Wednesday's game against Boston. Frye suffered a bruised eye and Carter suffered a cut on his mouth. Expect both to play on. ... Gortat keeps chugging along and is averaging a double-double (15.4 points and 10.4 rebounds) over his last five games. ... Brooks burst out for 17 points and seven assists on Wednesday against Boston, but he got more playing time than normal in a blowout loss. As a backup to Nash, we do not anticipate this being a normal occurrence.

Portland Trail Blazers
Schedule: @ORL, @MIA, @CHA, @ATL
Injury Report: Rudy Fernandez (illness/day-to-day)
Good Plays: LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Miller, Gerald Wallace
Toss Ups: Wesley Matthews, Marcus Camby, Nicolas Batum, Brandon Roy
Bad Plays: Rudy Fernandez
Notes: Roy is averaging just 8.3 points in 19.8 minutes over four games since returning to action. He will be reserved on the back end of back-to-back sets as he was this week, which means he will not play on March 8 at Miami. There are far too many restrictions on Roy right now to consider activating him in Fantasy. ... Matthews has not been impacted much by Roy's return, averaging 16.0 points over his last five games. ... Camby has totaled just five points over three games since returning from injury and is only playing around 20 minutes per game. Monitor his progress over the weekend, but he appears to be a player to reserve outside of deeper category leagues where he can chip in nice rebound totals even in this restricted role.

Sacramento Kings
Schedule: HOU, ORL, @SA, @NO
Injury Report: Tyreke Evans (foot/mid-March), Francisco Garcia (calf/early March)
Good Plays: DeMarcus Cousins, Beno Udrih
Toss Ups: Samuel Dalembert, Marcus Thornton
Bad Plays: Jason Thompson, Omri Casspi, Jermaine Taylor, Francisco Garcia, Donte Greene
Notes: Cousins scored 28 points with 11 rebounds off the bench on Wednesday in a clear sign that he remains a viable Fantasy option, no matter what coach Paul Westphal decides to do with him. There is a chance Cousins returns to a starting role soon. ... Dalembert has also remained largely unaffected by whether or not he starts and continues to see steady minutes regardless. He is averaging a very suitable 11.6 points and 9.4 rebounds over his last five games. ... Thornton has pushed aside Taylor at the two-guard spot in the absence of Evans. He has averaged 21.0 points in his first four appearances for the Kings and has emerged as a legit scoring option while also producing plus numbers in steals and 3-point shooting.

Worst Fantasy Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Wizards MIL, LAC
2. Nuggets PHO, DET
3. Nets GS, LAC
4. Hawks LAL, CHI, POR
5. Lakers ATL, MIA, DAL

San Antonio Spurs
Schedule: DET, SAC, @HOU
Injury Report: Tony Parker (calf/mid-March)
Good Plays: Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan
Toss Ups: DeJuan Blair, George Hill, Gary Neal, Richard Jefferson
Bad Plays: Matt Bonner, Antonio McDyess, Tiago Splitter
Notes: With Parker out 2-4 weeks, Hill and Neal have a chance to climb the depth chart. ... Hill posted a 22-5-5 stat line on Wednesday in Cleveland while Neal has posted 14-1-4 stat lines in each of Parker's first two absences. ... Blair is averaging 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in his last five games, playing merely 20 minutes per game.

Toronto Raptors
Schedule: UTA, IND, CHA
Injury Report: Reggie Evans (foot/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Andrea Bargnani
Toss Ups: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson
Bad Plays: Ed Davis, James Johnson, Leandro Barbosa, Jerryd Bayless, Reggie Evans
Notes: Evans, who has not played since Nov. 21 due to a broken right foot, is nearing a return. However, he is not expected to play significant minutes in the short term. ... With Evans gone, Johnson has emerged as a reliable rebounder, shot blocker and occasional scoring presence for the Raptors. We do not anticipate that changing much in Week 20. He is averaging 12.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks over his last five games. ... Calderon is averaging 11.8 assists over his last five games, though only 9.8 points per game. He remains a great play in any league that rewards assists heavily and a decent play in most standard formats.

Utah Jazz
Schedule: @NY, @TOR, @MIN, @CHI
Injury Report: Mehmet Okur (back/out indefinitely)
Good Plays: Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Devin Harris
Toss Ups: Andrei Kirilenko, C.J. Miles
Bad Plays: Derrick Favors, Raja Bell, Gordon Hayward, Earl Watson
Notes: The Jazz play three straight games against teams that allow over 104 points per game in Week 20. Expect high-scoring affairs. ... Kirilenko, who is on a tear, could have a huge week given the matchups. AK-47 is averaging a 18-5-5 stat line in four games since returning from an ankle injury. ... Miles has tailed off in his last three games with Kirilenko taking on a bigger role, but could still enjoy a trickle-down effect with higher volume matchups this week. He is a potential stopgap option for deep, deep leagues this week.

Washington Wizards
Schedule: MIL, LAC
Injury Report: Rashard Lewis (knee/out indefinitely), Al Thornton (ankle/out indefinitely)
Good Plays: John Wall
Toss Ups: Andray Blatche, Nick Young
Bad Plays: JaVale McGee, Rashard Lewis, Josh Howard, Yi Jianlian, Al Thornton
Notes: The Wizards are one of three teams to play just two games in Week 20. ... Lewis is mulling surgery options on his ailing right knee. He could be sidelined for the remainder of the season, but has not been productive enough to activate of late anyway. ... Blatche and Young remain viable options this week in average-based play, but should be avoided in most cumulative leagues.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can e-mail us your Fantasy Basketball questions to DMFantasyHoops@cbs.com . Be sure to put Fantasy Planner in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

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Player News
Lakers sign Wayne Ellington right before training camp
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/22/2014) With one week before the start of training camp, the Lakers have signed five-year veteran guard Wayne Ellington to a contract, the team announced. Ellington is now with his fourth team since June, after failing to crack the rotation with the Mavericks in 2013.

Ellington averaged 3.2 points on 43.7 percent shooting from the field over 45 games for Dallas.

Andray Blatche heading to China
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) Free-agent center Andray Blatche has signed a one-year deal with the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers in China. Blatche's deal with pay him almost $2.5 million, and he'll be able to rejoin an NBA team in March, Yahoo! Sports reports.

Report: Kings add Ramon Sessions
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) The Kings have agreed to a two-year, $4.2-million deal with free-agent guard Ramon Sessions , Yahoo! Sports reports.

The team is reportedly using its bi-annual exception provision to sign Sessions, who averaged 12.3 points, 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 83 games between two teams last season.


Omer Asik ready to clean up in return to starting role
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) 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 | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) 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 | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) 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 | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) 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 Stats.NBA.com, 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 | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) 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 MySynergySports.com, 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 | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) 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 | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) 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. 


 
 
 
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