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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
Warriors big man Marreese Speights seeks return for finals
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:12 am ET) Warriors backup center/forward Marreese Speights, who missed his seventh playoff game with a right calf sprain, plans to be back by the start of the NBA Finals on June 4, assuming his team advances, per the Contra Costa Times.

Speights only averaged 7.6 minutes per game in seven playoff games before going down. He played 17 minutes per game in the regular season.


Warriors F Draymond Green doubles up in loss to Rockets
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Warriors forward Draymond Green posted a double-double in Monday night's 128-115 loss to the Rockets in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. 

Green scored 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field. He also brought down 15 rebounds and recorded four assists. Green made two of his five three-point attempts as well. 

This is Green's 10th double-double of the postseason and second in a row. 


Rockets G James Harden drops 45 in Game 4 win
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Rockets guard James Harden had a magnificent game to help keep his team alive in the playoffs. 

Down 3-0 entering Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, Harden scored 45 points on 13-of-22 shooting from the field in Houston's 128-115 win over Golden State. This marked the second time Harden has scored over 40 times during the postseason. 

Harden made 7 of 11 three-pointers and made sank 12 of his 13 free-throw attempts. He also had nine rebounds and five assists. 


Warriors G Stephen Curry (head) returned to Game 4 vs. Rockets
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Warriors guard Stephen Curry was able to return to Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against the Rockets after sustaining a head contusion in the second quarter. 

It was a scary moment for Curry, who hit his head on the court after flipping over Trevor Ariza under the basket. Curry was forced to exit the game but was able to walk under his own power with some assistance. 

Curry was tested for a concussion and then did some jogging in the tunnel by the locker rooms. After the game, Warriors general manager Bob Myers was asked if Curry did sustain a concussion. 

"If he did, he wouldn't have played," Myers said, via ESPN. "That's pretty hard line"

Curry finished the game with 23 points on 7-of-18 shooting from the field. He made six of hi 13 three-point attempts. After the game, he said he would be ready for Game 5 on Wednesday.

"It's all kind of minor stuff compared to how it looked," Curry said. "I'll get some good rest tonight and be ready to go. Since it happened to now, nothing's gotten worse. I expect that to continue in the hours leading to Wednesday."


Warriors G Stephen Curry injured during Western Conference finals
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Warriors guard Stephen Curry was injured during the second quarter after falling on his head during the second quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. 

Curry is questionable to return due to a head contusion

On a fast break, Curry trailed down the court and jumped in the air to contest a shot from Rockets forward Trevor Ariza, who was pump-faking under the basket. Curry connected with Ariza's back and rolled over him, hitting his head on the court. 

Team trainers came on to the court to evaluate him. He was able to walk off of the court with some assistance. 

When he was injured at the 5:52 mark of the second quarter, Curry had scored 11 points.


Lebron James: Cavaliers should keep Tristan Thompson
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Cavaliers forward LeBron James made a pitch for the team to hold onto center Tristan Thompson.

The Cavs passed on the chance to extend Thompson prior to the season, but, after he averaged 8.5 points and 8.0 rebounds this year, James is ready to endorse him for the long term.

"Tristan should probably be a Cavalier for his whole career," James said on Monday, per Cleveland.com. "There's no reason why he shouldn't. This guy is 24 years old. He's played in 340?plus straight games, and he's gotten better every single season. It's almost like, 'What more can you ask out of a guy?'" 


Hawks' Al Horford won't face additional discipline after ejection
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) There will not be any additional discipline subjected to Hawks forward Al Horford following his ejection from Sunday's Game 3 loss to the Cavaliers, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Horford was tossed afterd delivering an elbow above the shoulders of Cavs guard Matthew Dellavedova after the two were tangled up with one another. This appeared to be in retaliation after Dellavedova dove toward Horford's knees.

Horford received a Flagrant 2 and Dellavedova received a technical foul. 

With the NBA making this decision, Horford will be available for Game 4. The Cavaliers lead the series 3-0. 


Report: Paul Pierce may opt out with Wizards to join Clippers
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) There was talk last week, after the Wizards' elimination from the playoffs that Paul Pierce might choose to retire instead of playing another season. 

On Monday, NBA.com's David Aldridge reported that Pierce may opt out of his Wizards' contract this offseason to sign with either the Clippers or Celtics. 


Kyrie Irving practices for Cavaliers, still a game-time decision
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving participated in practice on Monday, per the Associated Press.

Irving is hampered by a knee injury that kept him out of Game 3. 

Coach David Blatt said that Irving is still a game-time decision for Wednesday's Game 4. Blatt said that the team's medical staff wants to see Irving have several good days of work in a row. 


LeBron James gets treatment on leg at Cavaliers' practice
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Cavaliers forward LeBron James got some type of treatment on his leg on Monday, per the Associated Press.

James had a wrap on his right leg and appeared "physically drained" after receiving some type of treatment on the leg. James wouldn't give any details on the issue or the treatment, however. 


 
 
 
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