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Week 1 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em

Fantasy Writer
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Start 'Em & 'Em is our weekly look at players around the NBA we feel couldl help or hurt your Fantasy squad based upon matchups and other factors. Don't expect to read about why you should start LeBron James or sit Brian Scalabrine. In this space, we will try to help you make the call on players you could be on the fence about while pointing out some players you may not have thought about sitting, but should consider doing so.

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Who thought at the time that when Lakers center Andrew Bynum decided to act like a petulant child -- elbowing Jose Juan Barea -- in the final game of the Lakers' Western Conference semifinal loss to the Mavericks, that it would have major repercussions for the first week of the Fantasy basketball season?

Bynum's Lakers play six games in the opening scoring period, and Bynum will miss two-thirds of them because of his recklessness, and now the Lakers are left scrambling to fill two starting positions on opening day == not to mention dealing with the prospect of Kobe Bryant trying to play through a torn wrist ligament.

Bynum's absence shifts power forward Pau Gasol to the five and opens things up for recently acquired forward Josh McRoberts to start most of the week. McRoberts is known more for his dunking ability and past relationships with a reality-TV star than his consistent production, but in a pinch for the first week of the season, he's going to be a sneaky good option, making him my start of the week for Week 1.

McRoberts' career numbers are unimpressive, to say the least; 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game with fewer than a block and steal. However, he's also simply never had the opportunity to start and play extended minutes, as he has just 54 starts in his four-year NBA career. He has shown the ability to be productive on a per-minute basis, scoring 11.9 points and grabbing 8.8 rebounds per-36 minutes in his career while showing range out to the three-point line.

McRoberts is going to get to start four games, including a back-to-back-to-back to start the season against a tough Chicago defense and two much softer opponents in Sacramento and Utah. At 24, McRoberts has the kind of young legs that could keep him in the game for long stretches during the three-game stretch, and the Lakers have very little front court depth without Bynum to push him out of the picture.

The production won't last, but for Week 1, McRoberts should be a solid option at the forward position.

Guards

Start 'Em

George Hill, Pacers (DET, SAS, @TOR, CLE, @DET) -- The Pacers acquired the combo-guard from the Spurs to backup both guard positions, and he'll get a chance to prove his worth quickly against the three teams that finished 28th, 29th and 30th in the NBA last season in Defensive Efficiency. Hill is a very good scorer, and the the Indianapolis Star speculated that he could supplant Darren Collison as the starting point guard before long. He is likely to see more playing time than the 28.3 minutes per game he received last year, and his 14.8 points, 3.2 assists and 1.1 steals per-36 minutes numbers last year show a playing just waiting to breakout if given playing time. I think it could happen this week against these putrid defenses.

Arron Afflalo, Nuggets (@DAL, UTH, @POR, @LAL, LAL) -- I am a big fan of Afflalo's prospects in a five-game schedule, particularly because he averaged 15.3 points per game against these four teams last season in 12 games, better than his season average by 2.7 points per game.

Sleeper Alert: Jodie Meeks, 76ers (@POR, @PHO, @ UTH, @GSW) -- Meeks emerged as a double-digit scorer for the 76ers last season solely on the strength of his three-point shooting, as more than half of his shots last year came from behind the arc. In this matchup, he faces four teams that ranked No. 15, 26, 28 and 22 in the NBA in three-point field goals allowed last season. This seems like a good week for Meeks to do some long-range damage.

Sit 'Em

Jarrett Jack, Hornets (@PHO, BOS, PHO, @SAC) -- While we here at CBSSports.com love Jack as a breakout candidate following the Hornets' loss of Chris Paul this offseason, he is not a recommended start for Week 1 as he serves a one-game suspension to start the year. Maybe if the Hornets were scheduled for five or six games in this scoring period I'd like him still, but with a de-facto three-game schedule and a matchup against the fierce Celtics' defense in line, you should stay away, but only for this week.

Stephen Curry, Warriors (LAC, CHI, NYK, PHI) -- Normally I wouldn't even consider recommending that you bench Curry, even with tough games against the Bulls and Sixers on the schedule, but Curry's dealing with an ankle injury that is threatening to keep him out of the season opener and the Chicago game the next night. If he wasn't hurt, or if he didn't start the season on a back-to-back, I'd feel more confident in him, but for this week, you may want to look for safer options.

Bust Alert:Brandon Jennings, Bucks (@CHA, MIN, WAS) -- As the only team to play just three games in this scoring period, the Bucks are going to be well represent on this list. While they have decent matchups in all three games, they're playing fewer games than anyone else, and in many cases two fewer games. Jennings is going to have to be 40 percent more productive in his three games than your next best five-start option; considering his inconsistencies, it's tough to expect that.

Forwards

Start 'Em

My sleepers
Week 1
Player % Started
1. Jared Dudley, G, Suns 28
2. Devin Ebanks, F, Lakers 0
3. DeAndre Jordan, C, Clippers 49
4. Corey Maggette, F, Bobcats 35
5. Ed Davis, F, Raptors 24
6. Derrick Favors, F, Jazz 22
7. Lou Williams, G, 76ers 11
8. Ben Gordon, G, Pistons 11
9. Jerryd Bayless, G, Raptors 4
10. Kenneth Faried, F, Nuggets 3

Shawn Marion, Mavericks (MIA, DEN, @OKC, TOR, @MIN) -- While he does face the formidable Heat and Thunder defenses, Marion gets to pick on three other far inferior squads in his other three games, which is why I like him for the first week. Particularly in the final two games, against Toronto and Minnesota, he should be able to put up very solid numbers. Plus the five-game schedule means he should be able to produce in volume for the scoring period.

J.J. Hickson, Kings (LAL, @POR, CHI, NYK, NOR) -- Catching the tough Bulls defense doesn't bode well for Hickson in Week 1, but he does have a five-game schedule and three favorable matchups. He's coming off a career-high 13.8 point campaign and while he'll be splitting time in a pretty loaded frontcourt, I like his chances to score in double figures for all five games.

Sleeper Alert: Ryan Anderson, Magic (@OKC, @MIN, @MEM, DAL, PHO) -- There may be some concern about how the Magic will split time between Anderson and Glen Davis, their skillsets don't overlap much, and we could see them on the floor together at times. Because of this, it's likely that Anderson gets starter's minutes this season. I like him in a five-game schedule with two back-to-backs, as his conditioning advantage could see him out on the floor more than Davis in the second nights of those games.

Sit 'Em

Paul Pierce, Celtics (@NYK, @MIA, @NOR, DET, @WAS) -- He's got a handful of pretty nice matchups in this scoring period, but Pierce may not even play in two of them, as he is doubtful for the opener against New York with a heel injury and will likely rest plenty on the second night of the back-to-back when Boston plays New Orleans. Pierce on a three-game schedule is better than most forwards, but not when he's going to be limited by injury.

Stephen Jackson, Bucks (@CHA, MIN, WAS) -- I really like Jackson's matchups this week, I just wish there were more of them. The three teams finished 17th, 27th, and 24th in the league in defensive efficiency last season, but because of a lingering back injury and the low number of opportunities, Jackson could fail to produce well in Week 1.

Bust Alert: Paul Millsap, Jazz (@LAL, @DEN, PHI, @SAS) -- Millsap averaged just 13.3 points-per game in 12 games against this four teams in 2010-11, a full four points below his season average. Even if that wasn't so, a pair of back-to-backs, a deep Jazz frountcourt and Millsap's balky right quad make Millsap a questionable start. He's going to lose minutes this season to the developing Derrick Favors, and Tyrone Corbin may choose to rest him more when they play two in a row, something they do twice this week.

Centers

Start 'Em

Mehmet Okur, Nets (@WAS, ATL, @ORL, @ATL, @CLE) -- While I don't particularly love any of the matchups for the newest Net, I simply had to put him on here as he's owned in just 34 percent of leagues but is going to be the starting center in five games for the first scoring period. Okur is coming off an injury-plagued season, but I like the possibility of him finding the old spark with Deron Williams; he averaged between 18.0 and 13.5 points-per game in his five full seasons with Williams in Utah.

Jermaine O'Neal, Celtics (@NYK, @MIA, @NOR, DET, @WAS) -- The Boston Celtics have very little in the way of depth right now, and are ill-prepared for back-to-backs, the first of which they face this week, with Miami and New Orleans. Because of this and his reported health, O'Neal will likely see a decent number of minutes, at least early on in the season while he's healthy. He's not going to be a stud, but he blocks a good amount of shots and could be relied upon more this year than last, when he averaged just 5.4 points and 3.7 rebounds. He's only owned in 19 percent of leagues currently, but there are worse options at center than a guy playing five times per week.

Sit 'Em

Andrew Bynum, Lakers (Suspended four games; DEN, @ DEN) -- As stated in the opening, Bynum cost himself most of his first week with his showing during the playoffs, and he should be rewarded by Fantasy owners by being benched in all formats for the week. Even though he is one of the top centers in Fantasy, playing in just two games in a week kills his value. If you start him and lose Week 1, don't see I didn't warn you.

Andrew Bogut, Bucks (@CHA, MIN, WAS) -- It's kind of unfair to Bogut to put him here with Bynum, but his value is extremely limited this week by a lack of playing opportunities through no fault of his own. Bynum has two decent matchups, playing against the center-less Bobcats and the hapless Timberwolves, but with so many teams playing four or five games and with questions still remaining about his ability to bounce back following last year's subpar performance, you should feel okay about benching the talented Australian, but only for Week 1.

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Player News
Raptors G Kyle Lowry (shin) limps off court, does not return Tuesday
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(4/21/2015) Raptors guard Kyle Lowry left Tuesday's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Wizards with a left shin contusion and did not return, reports TSN Sports.

Lowry collided with Paul Pierce midway through the fourth quarter and limped off the court.

He finished with six points on 3-of-10 shooting.

Mavericks rule Chandler Parsons, Devin Harris out of Game 2
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(4/21/2015) The Mavericks will be without forward Chandler Parsons and guard Devin Harris for Tuesday's Game 2 contest at Houston, reports the Star-Telegram.

Parsons was dealing with a right knee injury and he re-aggravated the injury during the Game 1 loss. He will be reevaluated Wednesday and coach Rick Carlisle said he was very concerned with the injury, reports the team's official website.

Meanwhile, a toe injury will prevent Harris from playing in the contest.

The Mavericks are 6 1/2-point underdogs at Houston.


Report: Warriors F David Lee (back) will not play in Game 3
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(4/21/2015) Warriors forward David Lee has been ruled out of Game 3 on Thursday at New Orleans, reports the Bay Area News Group.

Lee has missed the first two playoffs games with a lower back injury.

The Warriors are 5-point favorites over the Pelicans on Thursday.


Grizzlies guard Mike Conley dealing with foot issue
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(4/21/2015) Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said his sprained right foot will continue to bother him as long as he stays in the lineup, reports NBA.com.

"It's going to flare up no matter what I do," Conley said. "I just go out there and play as if I'm not injured and see how much I can do and what I can do to help the team and the following day is just rehab and recover."

The injury caused Conley to miss the last four games of the regular season, but he was able to play 24 minutes and score 16 points in the Game 1 victory over the Trail Blazers.

Despite the injury, center Marc Gasol said he expects Conley to keep playing through the pain.

"I expect a lot out of him to be honest with you," Gasol said. "He's my little man. He's a great player, great guy. I knew he wasn't going to miss a playoff game. I can only ask him to give me whatever he has, and he's done it. And I'm going to ask the same next game."


Morris twins charged with felony assault
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(4/21/2015) Suns forwards Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris are facing charges for felony aggravated assault during a Jan. 24 incident in Phoenix, according to court documents obtained by The Arizona Republic.

The twins and three other men are charged with assaulting Erik Hood at a sports facility in Phoenix. Hood told police he was accosted and assaulted by the five men. Hood sustained a broken nose, bruises and abrasions during the incident.

Markieff Morris has denied being part the group that attacked Hood, but acknowledged he was at the sports complex.

The first court date for the twins is May 7.

"Markieff and Marcus are good men and I am confident that when all the facts come out, their names will be cleared," their agent Leon Rose said in a statememt, according to ESPN.com. 


Spurs' Tiago Splitter (calf) may see more minutes in Game 2
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(4/21/2015) After sitting out the team's final six regular-season games because of a calf injury, Tiago Splitter played only 10 minutes in the Spurs' Game 1 loss on Sunday but coach Gregg Popovich said the center will see more minutes in Game 2 on Wednesday, reports the Los Angeles Times.

"He didn’t go backwards, so that’s a good thing," Popovich said. "Maybe he can play a few more minutes [Wednesday] night, I’m hoping," Popovich said.


Despite big Game 1, Cavs' Kyrie Irving sees room for improvement
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(4/21/2015) In his first-career playoff game on Sunday, guard Kyrie Irving was the standout player for the Cavaliers in their Game 1 victory over the Celtics, scoring a game-high 30 points, but said afterwards there's room for improvement, reports Cleveland.com.

"Just limit all my mistakes is the biggest thing, just continue to have that attitude," said. "I'm going to do whatever it takes to win ... As well as you think you play, there are so many things you can improve on."

LeBron James added that he's always had confidence in Irving in important games.

"I knew how special the kid was and I know how special he is now still. He's going to be very key to our success," James said.

Blazers unsure if Arron Afflalo (shoulder) will play in Game 2
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(4/21/2015) Trail Blazers guard Arron Afflalo is listed as questionable for Game 2 at Memphis on Wednesday, the team announced.

Afflalo has not played since April 9 because of a right shoulder sprain. In 78 games, Afflalo averaged 13.3 points and 3.2 rebounds.

The Blazers are 6-point underdogs.


Spurs G Tony Parker says his ankle and thigh are fine
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(4/21/2015) Spurs guard Tony Parker said his left ankle and thigh are not an issue and he is good to go for Game 2 on Wednesday, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Parker sustained an ankle injury in the Game 1 loss to the Clippers, but he was able to practice Tuesday and will likely play in Game 2.

The Spurs are 1 1/2-point underdogs.


Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (back) says he is feeling great
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(4/21/2015) After scoring only seven points in the Game 1 loss to the Wizards, Raptors guard Kyle Lowry attributed the lack of success to having a bad game and not a back issue, reports the Toronto Sun.

Lowry has been suffering from back spasms, which caused him to miss a variety of games toward the end of the season, but Lowry said he is feeling great heading into Game 2 on Tuesday.

The Raptors are 5-point favorites for Game 2 against the Wizards.


 
 
 
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