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Week 24 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: SA, @IND, @WAS /// MIA, @CHA
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Good Plays: Josh Smith, Al Horford
Toss Ups: Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, Kirk Hinrich, Marvin Williams
Bad Plays: Jeff Teague, Zaza Pachulia
Notes: Johnson finally looked like himself again Wednesday vs. Orlando, posting 18-2-6 vs. Orlando. However, that type of production has been rare from him lately. Injuries have had something to do with it, so if he can prove healthy over the weekend you will definitely want to activate him in any format. ... Crawford is far too spotty. He scored 18 on March 26 vs. New Jersey and followed that up with 14 points combined over his next two games. The minutes are there, but the shot attempts are not. ... Hinrich has some appeal as a potential stopgap in deeper formats because of his consistent playing time and shot volume, but mostly just in an emergency. Even then, exhaust all other possible alternatives first. ... Williams surged while Johnson sat, posting 31-2-7 vs. Cleveland last Sunday. He came back down to what you should expect from him on Wednesday with 10-1-6-0-1. Use him in leagues where that type of production is of value. He could see a small spike against the Pacers and Wizards in high-volume affairs.

Boston Celtics
Schedule: PHI, @CHI, WAS, @MIA /// @WAS, NY
Injury Report: Shaquille O'Neal (Achilles'/out indefinitely), Nenad Krstic (knee), Troy Murphy (knee/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen
Toss Ups: Jeff Green, Glen Davis, Nenad Krstic
Bad Plays: Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, Troy Murphy, Delonte West
Notes: Green will continue to play about 20-25 minutes per game with only about 5-7 shot attempts. The results have been pedestrian statistically since his move to Boston. He is averaging just 8-1-3 over his last five. Avoid him, clearly. ... Davis is appealing as a low-end play in cumulative formats this week with the full slate of games. He should thrive with favorable inside matchups against Washington and Miami if your league plays through March 10. If your league plays through March 13, he will get a couple more favorable matchups against the Wizards (again) and Knicks. Consider Davis a favorable stopgap measure where needed, especially in leagues where he is eligible at center. ... Krstic is not cutting it and is now hurt after leaving Thursday night's game in San Antonio. An MRI is scheduled. ... Expect to see coach Doc Rivers try to give the two O'Neals some conditioning time over the final few games of the season to try to get them game ready for the playoffs. The playing time will not be enough to make them viable Fantasy options, however. You will not want to trust them given their long layoff and low upside at this stage. ... Do not expect the O'Neal's to cut into Davis' playing time significantly.

Charlotte Bobcats
Schedule: @CLE, ORL, @MIA, DET /// @NJ, ATL
Injury Report: Stephen Jackson (hamstring/day-to-day), Tyrus Thomas (knee, ribs/day-to-day), Shaun Livingston (back/day-to-day)
Good Plays: No must-starts.
Toss Ups: Stephen Jackson, D.J. Augustin, Boris Diaw, Gerald Henderson
Bad Plays: Kwame Brown, Tyrus Thomas, Shaun Livingston, Dante Cunningham
Notes: Jackson has tried his best to play through a hamstring injury, but a re-aggravation of the ailment on Wednesday night could do him in. Charlotte is very much in the mix for a playoff spot, so Jackson will certainly make every effort to play on through the very end, but right now he is too untrustworthy in weekly formats where he cannot be replaced. The risk/reward factor is tempting, but there is too high a possibility that you get left hung out to dry. ... Thomas is dealing with a knee issue that threatens to, at the very least, limit his playing time. Expect Diaw to continue to benefit with added minutes and touches at the four. Diaw has reached 20 points in two of his last three games and can also be a stat stuffer for category-league owners when going well. With Jackson banged up, he should be counted on more and is a solid sleeper for the stretch run. ... The matchups are not extremely favorable for Augustin, but Fantasy owners should expect him to be around 14-5-3, as he has through all of March. ... Count on Henderson for scoring in the 13-15 point range, but little else.

Chicago Bulls
Schedule: PHO, BOS, @CLE, @ORL /// @NY, NJ
Injury Report: Joakim Noah (ankle/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer
Toss Ups: Joakim Noah
Bad Plays: Taj Gibson, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer
Notes: Noah is dealing with a sprained right ankle. With the Bulls so close to the playoffs, there is a potential that he could be restricted in the final scoring period of the season. The Bulls currently hold a 2 1/2 game lead over Boston for the No. 1 seed in the East, but they have the firepower to hold Noah back and still hold off Boston. Use caution here where possible and continue to monitor his status. ... Korver has averaged just 15.6 minutes over his last five games and is not playing enough or taking enough shots to help owners even as a cheap source of 3-point shooting. ... Gibson has averaged 18.0 minutes over his last five games, but could enjoy a spike if Noah remains sidelined. Leave him for daily-lineup leagues, barring a setback with Noah.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Schedule: CHA, @TOR, CHI, @MIL /// @DET, WAS
Injury Report: Samardo Samuels (wrist/day-to-day), Antawn Jamison (pinkie/out for the season), Anderson Varejao (ankle/out for the season)
Good Plays: J.J. Hickson
Toss Ups: Baron Davis, Ramon Sessions
Bad Plays: Daniel Gibson, Samardo Samuels, Ryan Hollins, Alonzo Gee, Anthony Parker
Notes: Davis is back in the starting lineup, but Sessions has remained highly productive off the bench. Sessions posted 24-4-5 off the bench on Wednesday in Charlotte. That level of scoring production could be a stretch to expect, but his production across the stat line will remain significant. Consider him a solid play even in a reserve role. ... Davis is playing only about 25 minutes as a starter. That could increase some over the final games of the season, especially now that he is starting again, but a stat line of about 14-6-3 is sustainable in his current role. ... With Davis back in the mix, Gibson has fizzled. ... Samuels is dealing with a wrist injury that could keep him sidelined through the weekend. His playing time and overall production had already begun to decline prior to the injury. Avoid him in all leagues. ... Hollins is starting at the five with minimal results. ... Gee is getting about 25 minutes per game and has been able to chip in about 8-10 points with 4-5 rebounds per game, but is a last-ditch option at best.

Dallas Mavericks
Schedule: DEN, LAC, PHO /// @HOU, NO
Injury Report: Caron Butler (knee/out for the season)
Good Plays: Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry
Toss Ups: Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, Peja Stojakovic, Roddy Beaubois
Bad Plays: Jose Juan Barea, Corey Brewer
Notes: Four of the Mavericks' five final games will be against high-volume opposition. Only the Hornets allow fewer than 100 points per game. ... Chandler makes for an excellent play as a No. 2 center this week, given the matchups. He is averaging 11.0 rebounds over his last five games to go with 9.6 points. Those numbers could each rise this final scoring period. ... Marion is averaging 12-2-8-1-2 over his last five. Given the matchups, he should be considered a solid play in most leagues. He will continue to get about 32 minutes per game and 10-11 minutes. ... The high-volume matchups could provide a decent boost for fringe options like Stojakovic and Beaubois, but they should only be used in dire situations. Stojakovic could be a decent play in Rotisserie formats if the only thing you are after is 3-pointers.

Sergio's Sleepers
* Sleepers are players started in less than 70 percent of CBSSports.com leagues
Player Start %
1. Boris Diaw, F, Bobcats 44
2. Anthony Morrow, G, Nets 27
3. Ramon Sessions, G, Cavaliers 48
4. Jared Dudley, F, Suns 24
5. Carl Landry, F, Hornets 35
6. Spencer Hawes, C, 76ers 12
7. James Harden, G, Thunder 48
8. Raymond Felton, G, Bobcats 52
9. Glen Davis, F, Celtics 29
10. Kendrick Perkins, C, Thunder 18

Denver Nuggets
Schedule: OKC, @DAL, @OKC, MIN /// GS, @UTA
Injury Report: Kenyon Martin (flu/day-to-day), Arron Afflalo (hamstring/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Nene, Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari
Toss Ups: Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin, Al Harrington
Bad Plays: Arron Afflalo, Chris Andersen, Timofey Mozgov
Notes: Lawson has taken hold of the point guard position, averaging around 35 minutes per game. He is averaging 18-6-4 rebounds and there should no longer be any concerns about Felton or his playing time regarding Lawson. ... Felton is playing around 30 minutes per game and has been able to maintain a significant distribution role. He is averaging 7.7 dimes over his last three appearances. Scoring numbers will be very erratic for him down the stretch, but high-volume games against the Thunder (twice), the Timberwolves, Warriors and Jazz should help in that regard. View him as a quality play for the final scoring period. ... Chandler is averaging 10-5-2 over his last four appearances, but he could enjoy a small spike given favorable matchups. A split role with Gallinari will continue to lead to inconsistency. ... Gallinari is rolling, scoring 17 or more in three of his last five. Expect solid 3-point production out of him to go with around five boards per game. ... Afflalo, who has missed four straight games with a hamstring injury, is expected to return over the weekend. His return could water down playing time for Smith and Harrington. Monitor this situation over the weekend as each are possible flier options given the matchups. ... Martin should average around 10 points and seven rebounds per game if he can make it through the week in one piece, which is always a question mark with him.

Detroit Pistons
Schedule: @WAS, NJ, MIL, @CHA /// CLE, @PHI
Injury Report: Ben Wallace (knee/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Greg Monroe, Richard Hamilton
Toss Ups: Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince
Bad Plays: Tracy McGrady, Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Austin Daye, Ben Wallace, Will Bynum
Notes: Monroe is about as stable a Fantasy option as the Pistons have had all season. He is averaging 13.5 points and 9.2 rebounds with 1.6 steals in March and he has been the only constant in the team's rotation since January. ... Hamilton is now in the mix as a constant in John Kuester's hectic rotation. He has averaged 31.3 minutes per game in March and is averaging 18-4-3 over his last five games. Consider him a solid play in any format despite the fact that he was a non factor for a good part of this season. ... Stuckey's potential for high-end numbers has not really been an issue the past two seasons, but the way he has been used is always a matter of debate. He produced a 24-9-7-0-2 gem on Wednesday in Indiana, playing 36 minutes off the bench and has been getting that type of playing time in a reserve role with McGrady becoming less of a factor. With Kuester, you never know, but right now the waters appear calm and this type of production is hard to pass up. ... Prince is putting up his usual totals of about 13-3-3. Count on him for that level of production over the final stretch of the season as his situation is pretty stable right now. ... Gordon has averaged just 15.4 minutes and 3.4 shot attempts over his last five games. Avoid him at all costs.

Golden State Warriors
Schedule: @POR, LAL, SAC /// @DEN, POR
Injury Report: Monta Ellis (ankle/day-to-day), Andris Biedrins (ankle/day-to-day)
Good Plays: David Lee, Stephen Curry, Dorell Wright
Toss Ups: Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh, Reggie Williams
Bad Plays: Andris Biedrins, Al Thornton
Notes: Ellis suffered a high ankle sprain on Wednesday night in Memphis, which significantly puts his remaining games in doubt with the team having nothing left to play for. Continue to monitor his progress, but have alternatives prepared. ... If Ellis is ruled out for an extended amount of time, Williams would see a significant boost. He has averaged 16-4-3 with just under a steal per game in seven starts this season. He could be your best bet as a handcuff option for Ellis. ... Owners looking for a center off the waiver wire might not be able to do much better than Udoh at this stage. He is getting about 30 minutes per game and can scrape together about 10 points and 5-7 rebounds per game. He is not an ideal option by any means, but he might be one of your only available viable stopgap measures.

Houston Rockets
Schedule: SAC, @NO, LAC // DAL, @MIN
Injury Report: Yao Ming (ankle/out for the season)
Good Plays: Kevin Martin, Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola
Toss Ups: Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson, Chase Budinger
Bad Plays: Courtney Lee, Brad Miller, Goran Dragic
Notes: Scola appears to be a safe play again after some early struggles following his knee injury. He does not seem quite 100 percent yet, but the production has been quality. ... Expect more of the same from Hayes, who has averaged a useful 8-5-10 over his last five. ... As Scola gets healthier, Patterson's production has declined. He has the ability to put up about 8-10 rebounds per game even with only 20 minutes of playing time, but his numbers will be shaky going forward. Use him mainly just in deep Rotisserie leagues to help close a rebounds gap.

Indiana Pacers
Schedule: WAS, ATL, NY /// @ORL
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Good Plays: Danny Granger
Toss Ups: Roy Hibbert, Darren Collison, Tyler Hansbrough
Bad Plays: Josh McRoberts, Mike Dunleavy, Paul George, Brandon Rush
Notes: The Pacers have the fewest scheduled games over the final nine days of the regular season. Keep that in mind in cumulative formats. ... Hibbert has been turning in some more lazy efforts on the glass, but his overall production is still enough to consider him a viable No. 2 center option. ... Collison is coming off a couple of strong performances, but his playing time has been capped at about 25-30 minutes per game for the most part and the amount of games do you no favors in cumulative formats. Weigh your options carefully. ... Hansbrough has faded, managing less than 10 points in three of his last four games. His playing time has been cut into recently by McRoberts and it seems the Hansbrough ship has sailed in many formats for the remainder of the Fantasy season. ... McRoberts put up a strong double-double effort on Wednesday against Detroit, but his split role with Hansbrough figures to cut into his consistency. Barring a repeat effort over the weekend, he should be avoided.

Most Added Players
* as of March 31
Player % Change
1. Jared Dudley, F, Suns 18
2. Anthony Randolph, F, Timberwolves 16
3. Carl Landry, F, Hornets 15
4. Jordan Crawford, G, Wizards 8
5. George Hill, G, Spurs 7
6. Nicolas Batum, F, Trail Blazers 6
7. Ekpe Udoh, C, Warriors 6
8. Carlos Delfino, G, Bucks 5
9. Marvin Williams, F, Hawks 5
10. Ed Davis, F, Raptors 5

L.A. Clippers
Schedule: @MEM, @OKC, @DAL, @HOU /// MEM
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Good Plays: Blake Griffin, Mo Williams, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman
Toss Ups: DeAndre Jordan
Bad Plays: Randy Foye, Eric Bledsoe, Ryan Gomes
Notes: Williams is on track again, averaging 19-7-4 over his last five games. ... Gordon is enjoying about 15 shots per game and does not seem to be bothered by his wrist injury. He can be counted on for about 15-5-2 consistently. ... Kaman has taken over the primary center role following Jordan's bout with pneumonia and has not looked back. He has averaged 17.2 points and 1.0 rebounds with two blocks over his last five contests. ... Jordan is playing only about 20 minutes per game now. He is still a quality source for blocks in category leagues and can scrape together decent stat lines in high-volume games against Memphis, Oklahoma City, Houston and Memphis down the stretch.

L.A. Lakers
Schedule: UTA, @GS, @POR, OKC /// SA, @SAC
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Good Plays: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Toss Ups: Lamar Odom, Ron Artest
Bad Plays: Shannon Brown, Derek Fisher, Matt Barnes
Notes: As usual, Odom posted a couple of huge stat lines while Bynum served a two-game suspension last week. His next two stat lines (9-2-7 and 8-4-5) serve as another reminder of what his production level stands at as a reserve. Those numbers can be useful in deeper formats. ... Artest is averaging 12-3-2 over his last five games. He remains a low-end play for deeper formats, but could enjoy a scoring surge in high-volume games against Utah, Golden State, Oklahoma City and Sacramento down the stretch.

Memphis Grizzlies
Schedule: LAC, SAC, NO /// @POR, LAC
Injury Report: Rudy Gay (shoulder/out for the season)
Good Plays: Zach Randolph, Mike Conley
Toss Ups: Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, O.J. Mayo
Bad Plays: Shane Battier, Darrell Arthur, Sam Young
Notes: Gasol has stepped up his productivity and is averaging 11-3-8-2-1 over his last five games. In most formats, that is more than useful. ... With Gay out for the season, expect Allen to remain a steady source for mid-teens scoring. He can also chip in about four bourds and two or three dimes per game. ... Mayo might be good for the occasional outburst in high-volume games, but he is far too inconsistent to trust in most formats at this time.

Miami Heat
Schedule: MIL, CHA, BOS /// @ATL, @TOR
Injury Report: Mike Miller (knee/day-to-day), Mario Chalmers (knee/out until at least April 6), Udonis Haslem (foot/out indefinitely)
Good Plays: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh
Toss Ups: Mike Bibby
Bad Plays: Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Joel Anthony
Notes: Bibby is averaging 32.4 minutes over his last five games, averaging 3.0 3-pointers made per contest. He could have some of that playing time taken away when Chalmers returns to the mix, possibly for the team's first game of the scoring period. Bibby is best saved for deep, deep Rotisserie formats and only for cheap 3-point production. ... The Heat will face four teams that allow 95 points or fewer among their final five games of the regular season.

Milwaukee Bucks
Schedule: @ORL, @MIA, @DET, CLE /// TOR, @OKC
Injury Report: Ersan Ilyasova (head/out indefinitely), Larry Sanders (back/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Andrew Bogut, Brandon Jennings
Toss Ups: John Salmons, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Carlos Delfino
Bad Plays: Corey Maggette, Ersan Ilyasova, Drew Gooden, Keyon Dooling
Notes: Mbah a Moute has become a steady producer for the Bucks, playing about 30 minutes per game. He has averaged 10-5-1 over his last five games and could be a viable pickup off the waiver wire in deeper leagues with Gooden and Ilyasova non factors. ... Redd is finally back on the floor after missing the better part of the last two years due to a knee injury. He is not ready for big minutes. ... Salmons and Delfino have been inconsistent, but what is constant is their heavy playing time and solid shot volume. Low-volume matchups against Orlando and Miami to begin the scoring period will be tough, but the team's final four games will all be high-volume. ... Maggette is not getting playing time as he deals with linger knee issues.

Best Fantasy Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Nets MIN, @DET, NY, @TOR /// CHA, @CHI
2. Thunder @DEN, LAC, DEN, @LAL, /// @SAC, MIL
3. Nuggets OKC, @DAL, @OKC, MIN, /// GS, @UTA
4. Timberwolves @NJ, PHO, @DEN /// @PHO, HOU
5. Mavericks DEN, LAC, PHO /// @HOU, NO

Minnesota Timberwolves
Schedule: @NJ, PHO, @DEN /// @PHO, HOU
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Good Plays: Kevin Love, Michael Beasley
Toss Ups: Luke Ridnour, Darko Milicic, Anthony Randolph
Bad Plays: Wesley Johnson, Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington
Notes: After much concern regarding his status, Love returned from his groin injury on Wednesday night against Chicago. He did not manage a double-double, which is a rarity for him, but 16-and-9 over 27 minutes in his first game back is certainly enough to want to get him back active where possible. ... With Love back, Darko and Randolph take a step back in terms of possible use as low-end plays. ... Ridnour could thrive in high-volume matchups down the stretch. All five games in the final nine days come against teams that allow 100-plus points per game.

New Jersey Nets
Schedule: MIN, @DET, NY, @TOR /// CHA, @CHI
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Good Plays: Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries
Toss Ups: Deron Williams, Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Sasha Vujacic, Travis Outlaw
Bad Plays: Johan Petro
Notes: The Nets will face four very high-volume matchups in Week 23. Minnesota, New York and Toronto each allow over 105 points per game and could be playing even less defense than usual over the final days of the regular season. ... Higher volume matchups will do wonders for Morrow, who has very quietly emerged as a go-to scoring threat for the Nets. He is averaging 15.6 shot attempts over his last five games, leading to a very respectable 18.6 scoring average. Count on him for solid scoring and good 3-point shooting, but little else. ... Williams returned from his wrist injury and looked plenty healthy on Wednesday against the Knicks. He remains on shut-down alert, so Fantasy owners will have to continue to have alternatives available. ... If Williams is shut down, Farmar could become a very strong play given the high-volume matchups. Count on him as a solid handcuff measure for Williams. ... Vujacic and Outlaw are sleeper options for deep formats given the high-scoring games expected. Vujacic could average double-figures in scoring with good 3-point production.

New Orleans Hornets
Schedule: HOU, PHO, @MEM /// UTA, @DAL
Injury Report: David West (knee/out for the season)
Good Plays: Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor
Toss Ups: Carl Landry, Trevor Ariza
Bad Plays: Jarrett Jack, Marco Belinelli, Willie Green
Notes: West is done for the season after suffering a torn ACL. In his absence, Landry is in position to play a significant role down the stretch. He has averaged 38 minutes, 21.3 points and 7.3 rebounds over his last three games. The minutes will be there for him to continue this type of production down the stretch. ... No more lingering oblique issues for Okafor, who is averaging 11.4 points and 10.0 rebounds over his last five. ... Ariza is averaging 10-3-6-1-2 over his last five games, a solid stat line for category-league owners even if his scoring tends to be spotty.

New York Knicks
Schedule: TOR, @PHI, @NJ, @IND /// CHI, @BOS
Injury Report: Ronny Turiaf (ankle/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups
Toss Ups: Toney Douglas
Bad Plays: Landry Fields, Shelden Williams, Shawne Williams
Notes: Williams started at center for the Knicks on Wednesday with Turiaf banged up. He played just 17 minutes and was even less of a factor than Turiaf normally is. ... Fields is averaging just 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds over his last five as his playing time has dipped to about 20-25 minutes per game. ... Douglas has scored 15-plus in three of his last five games. He scored a combined 13 points in the other two games. Owners in deeper formats looking for some cheap scoring could get an outburst or two with high-volume games against the Raptors, Nets and Pacers.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Schedule: @DEN, LAC, DEN, @LAL /// @SAC, MIL
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Good Plays: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka
Toss Ups: James Harden, Kendrick Perkins
Bad Plays: Nazr Mohammed, Thabo Sefolosha, Nick Collison, Nate Robinson
Notes: Four of Oklahoma City's six final games will come against teams that allow 100-plus points per game. ... Harden should benefit from the high-volume games, pushing him to about 11-13 shots per game in those contests. He has averaged 13.6 points over his last five games and scored 22 points on Wednesday in a similar high-volume matchup in Phoenix. ... Perkins has slowly begun to see his playing time increase, playing 30-plus minutes in two of his last three games. With that type of playing time, he should generally rack up about 10 rebounds. He could also approach 10 points per game over the course of the week thanks to the matchups.

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Orlando Magic
Schedule: MIL, @CHA, CHI /// @PHI, IND
Injury Report: J.J. Redick (abdomen/day-to-day), Quentin Richardson (back/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Dwight Howard
Toss Ups: Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson, Brandon Bass, Ryan Anderson
Bad Plays: Gilbert Arenas, J.J. Redick, Quentin Richardson
Notes: The Magic will play four of their final five games against teams that allow below 100 points per game. ... Richardson is averaging 12.8 shot attempts per game over his last five games, leading to 13.2 points per game. He scored 24 in a high-volume affair against the Knicks, but was held to three points in a low-scoring game against the Hawks on Wednesday. Fantasy owners should certainly not be looking for him to increase his productivity given the matchups in Week 24. ... Turkoglu, finally rid of back issues that slowed him last month, is averaging 16-7-5 over his last five games. Even with low-volume matchups, he should be activated in any format -- especially in category play. ... Nelson has dealt with a knee issue this past week, but Wednesday's game in Atlanta (20-5-3) against a tough defensive opponent is a good indication that he should remain active in most formats. ... Bass is getting big minutes again, leading to solid scoring numbers. Over his past five games, he has averaged 15.4 points and 5.2 rebounds. He might fall just shy of those numbers this week given the matchups, but makes for a decent low-end play. ... Anderson has averaged 10.6 points and 5.8 rebounds over his last five, but his biggest asset to Fantasy owners remains his 3-point shooting.

Philadelphia 76ers
Schedule: @BOS, NY, TOR /// ORL, DET
Injury Report: Elton Brand (illness/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Jrue Holiday
Toss Ups: Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, Jodie Meeks, Spencer Hawes
Bad Plays: Evan Turner, Marreese Speights
Notes: Iguodala's knee remains an issue, so once the Sixers lock up their playoff seeding (they currently stand two games ahead of New York for the sixth seed and four games behind Atlanta for the fourth seed), he could be rested over the course of the final couple of games as could other veterans like Brand. This is a non-issue in average-based play, but owners in cumulative formats should take this into account. ... Despite averaging just 21.8 minutes per game, Williams has averaged 14-4-3 over his last five games. If some of the team's go-to players are rested late this season, it will be players like Williams and Meeks who benefit most. ... Hawes is very quietly putting up solid numbers, averaging 13.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks over his last five games. He has scored in double figures five consecutive times for the first time this season. He is not the most reliable of players, but right now he's worth taking a chance on as a No. 2 center option if you don't have a suitable solution.

Phoenix Suns
Schedule: @CHI, @MIN, @NO, @DAL /// MIN, SA
Injury Report: Mickael Pietrus (quadriceps/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Steve Nash, Marcin Gortat
Toss Ups: Channing Frye, Jared Dudley, Vince Carter, Grant Hill
Bad Plays: Aaron Brooks, Hakim Warrick, Robin Lopez
Notes: Gortat suffered a broken nose this past Friday, but it has not slowed him one bit. In the three games since, he has averaged 15.3 points and 12.0 rebounds. ... Nash does not appear to be 100 percent as he continues to deal with the lingering effects of a pelvic injury, but the 37-year-old is still offering premium assist totals on a nightly basis. If you can afford his poor offensive numbers (shooting 36.5 percent over his last five games), he remains a must-start in all formats. ... Frye has suffered a few spotty offensive efforts of late, but is capable of more stat lines like Tuesday's 21-1-9-2-1 effort against Sacramento down the stretch. He remains a quality play, especially where he is eligible at center. ... Dudley has taken over for Carter in the starting lineup, earning his way into a prominent offensive role. He has averaged 17.4 points and 5.6 rebounds over his last five games and is good for a 3-pointer or two per game. ... Carter dropped 28 points on the Thunder Wednesday in a bench role, attempting a team-high 19 shots. He had been playing under 20 minutes per game since the switch, so this remains a situation in flux. View him as a poor play unless he can back this up over the weekend. ... Hill should be used only as a low-end starter in deeper formats.

Portland Trail Blazers
Schedule: GS, @UTA, LAL /// MEM, @GS
Injury Report: Greg Oden (knee/out for the season)
Good Plays: LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Wallace, Andre Miller
Toss Ups: Welsey Matthews, Nicolas Batum, Marcus Camby
Bad Plays: Brandon Roy, Rudy Fernandez
Notes: Matthews has attempted fewer than 10 shots in three consecutive games, being held below 10 points in two of those contests. He has been a solid play in most formats, but could be losing steam and is a player to monitor over the course of the weekend before making a final decision. ... Batum has cooled since a pair of back-to-back 20-point outings last week, scoring a combined 18 points over his last three outings. Higher-volume matchups in Week 24 could help, but he seems to be a low-end play at best for the final scoring period. ... Roy is unable to play more than 20 minutes per game. He is a shell of himself right now and has totaled 28 points over his last five games. ... Camby should only be active in category leagues for help in rebounds and blocks at the moment. He has been scoreless in three of his last four appearances.

Sacramento Kings
Schedule: @HOU, @SA, @MEM, @GS /// OKC, LAL
Injury Report: No significant injuries.
Good Plays: DeMarcus Cousins, Marcus Thornton
Toss Ups: Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih, Samuel Dalembert, Jason Thompson
Bad Plays: Jason Thompson, Francisco Garcia
Notes: Evans has looked healthier with each game, playing more minutes each time out. Wednesday's 22-7-3 stat line against the Nuggets indicates he will be a safe play down the stretch. ... Udrih, Thornton and Evans have been able to co-exist, for now, with all three remaining productive. Continue to monitor this situation over the weekend as Evans begins to take on more minutes, but for now owners can count on activating all three. ... Dalembert has suddenly hit the skids, playing less than 15 minutes in back-to-back games. The Kings are playing a guard-heavy, small lineup now and Dalembert's minutes could suffer as a result. Keep tabs on this situation as Dalembert had emerged as a great play in all formats.

Worst Fantasy Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Pacers WAS, ATL, NY /// @ORL
2. Jazz @LAL, POR, @SA /// @NO, DEN
3. Heat MIL, CHA, BOS /// @ATL, @TOR
4. Magic MIL, @CHA, CHI /// @PHI, IND
5. Warriors @POR, LAL, SAC /// @DEN, POR

San Antonio Spurs
Schedule: @ATL, SAC, UTA /// @LAL, @PHO
Injury Report: Manu Ginobili (thigh/day-to-day), Tony Parker (knee/day-to-day), Tim Duncan (ankle/day-to-day)
Good Plays: No must-starts.
Toss Ups: Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, George Hill, Richard Jefferson, DeJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter
Bad Plays: Gary Neal, Matt Bonner, Antonio McDyess
Notes: The Spurs are notorious for resting their veterans down the stretch and have already begun to do so. Parker was held out of Monday's game after the team played Sunday. With back-to-back games twice over the final nine days, expect to see players like Parker, Ginobili and Duncan restricted or held out all together. Take that into account when setting lineups and consider going with alternatives who offer a better guarantee of playing a full slate of games. ... Players like Hill, Jefferson, Splitter and Blair should see a boost in playing time as the team's big three are rested, but they remain better saved as stopgap measures.

Toronto Raptors
Schedule: @NY, CLE, @PHI, NJ /// @MIL, MIA
Injury Report: Jose Calderon (hamstring/day-to-day)
Good Plays: No must-starts.
Toss Ups: Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Leandro Barbosa, Jerryd Bayless
Bad Plays: Ed Davis, Reggie Evans, Amir Johnson, James Johnson, Sonny Weems
Notes: Calderon is dealing with a sore hamstring that has him on shut-down alert. The Raptors have nothing left to play for and Calderon should be reserved in Fantasy barring a significant improvement over the weekend. If he plays, high-volume matchups against the Knicks and Cavaliers would play in his favor. If he does not play, Bayless becomes a sleeper for a solid final scoring period. ... DeRozan is averaging 15 shots over his last five games, leading to a solid 16-2-4 stat line. Consider him a solid low-end starter. ... Davis, Johnson and Evans are all healthy and playing for the Raptors for a change. The result is a logjam of power forwards who have been unable to provide much in terms of useful production in any category. Even Evans can no longer be trusted as a one-trick rebound machine. Owners in category leagues should look elsewhere.

Utah Jazz
Schedule: @LAL, POR, @SA /// @NO, DEN
Injury Report: Devin Harris (hamstring/day-to-day), Andrei Kirilenko (knee/day-to-day)
Good Plays: Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap
Toss Ups: Devin Harris, Earl Watson, Andrei Kirilenko, C.J. Miles
Bad Plays: Derrick Favors, Raja Bell
Notes: Harris is dealing with a strained hamstring that has kept him out of four games, but he is hoping to return as early as Friday's game. His return would push Watson out of the range of viability. Watson managed a very impressive 13-9-7 stat line against the Wizards on Monday. Monitor Harris' progress over the weekend, but he would be a must-start if he proves healthy. ... Miles remains a steady source of low-to-mid teens scoring, but he could be held in check this week by low-volume teams like the Lakers, Trail Blazers, Spurs and Hornets. Keep that in mind if choosing between him and a like option with better matchups. ... Kirilenko's knee does not appear to be getting any better and his chances of returning this weekend are slim, at best. He is on shutdown alert and is not an advisable play at this time.

Washington Wizards
Schedule: DET, @IND, @BOS ATL /// BOS, @CLE
Injury Report: Nick Young (knee/out until at least April 3)
Good Plays: John Wall,
Toss Ups: Jordan Crawford, Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, Nick Young
Bad Plays: Rashard Lewis, Trevor Booker, Josh Howard
Notes: Wall will serve a one-game suspension from the league over the weekend after throwing a punch at Heat C Zydrunas Ilgauskas. He will be a safe and quality play for the final scoring period. ... Young is on standby heading into the weekend thanks to a knee issue that has bothered him for some time. It has kept him out of two consecutive games and there is a chance he could be shut down with the Wizards having nothing left to play for. Monitor his status, but we would advise staying away unless he can get a game under his belt over the weekend and prove healthy. ... Crawford has gone off with Young sidelined, scoring 25 points on Monday in Utah and 39 points on Wednesday against Miami. His shot attempts balloon to the high 20s without Young in the lineup, but he still should see in the neighborhood of 17-20 shots per game -- with or without Young -- the rest of the way. He is just about a must-start the rest of the way, averaging 24-5-4 over his last five. ... Blatche looked healthy in his return from a shoulder injury on Wednesday, managing 14-and-8 against the Wizards even after a long layoff. As long as there are no setbacks over the weekend, he should once again be a fine start. ... Expect Blatche's return to take a significant chunk out of McGee's recent production. McGee, who has averaged around 17-and-13 over the last week, managed just 12 points and five rebounds on Wednesday against Miami with Blatche back. He did manage four blocks, however, and remains a premium source for help in that category.

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Player News
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. 


Eric Gordon cleared for contact
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) 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 | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) 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 | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) 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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