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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
Report: Cavaliers G Kyrie Irving likely to miss start of season
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2015) Previous reports that Cavaliers premier point guard Kyrie Irving will be ready for training camp have been denied by sources telling the Northeast Ohio Media Group that chances are slim he will play in the regular season opener. One source has even claimed he could be out until January.

All reports state that his rehab from a left kneecap fracture sustained in Game 1 on the NBA finals is going smoothly, but that the cautious approach to his recovery will keep him sidelined for longer than first expected.


Hornets sign contract extension with SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2015) The Hornets have announced that they have signed small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to a contract extension.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Kidd-Gilchrist averaged a career-high 10.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in 28.9 minutes per game last season.


Jazz bring aboard C Jeff Withey
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/24/2015) The Jazz have announced the signing of free agent center Jeff Withey to a multi-year contract, the terms of which were not disclosed.

Withey averaged 2.6 points and 1.7 rebounds in 37 games for New Orleans last season.


Report: Cavaliers, J.R. Smith agree to two-year, $5 million deal
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(8/20/2015) The Cavaliers have reportedly agreed to a two-year contract with shooting guard J.R. Smith . Smith announced on his Instagram that he had reached a deal with the Cavs.

The deal, which has not been confirmed by the team, is for $5 million and contains a player option, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.


Timberwolves sign F Tayshaun Prince to help woeful defense
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/20/2015) What was reported has now been made official by the Timberwolves, who have announced the signing of veteran small forward Tayshaun Prince. The deal is reportedly one year for the veteran's minimum.

The 35-year-old Prince totaled 7.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 24 minutes per game for Memphis, Boston and Detroit a year ago.

He also shot 44 percent from the floor, but is far better known for his defense. Minnesota allowed a league-high 106.5 points per game last season.


Raptors sign C Jonas Valanciunas to contract extension
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/20/2015) The Raptors have insured that emerging center Jonas Valanciunas will be sticking around for a while by signing him to a four-year extension worth $64 million, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The 23-year-old Valanciunas boasts a career .553 shooting percentage. He peaked last season at 57.2 percent and averaged a career-high 12.0 points a game while leading the team at 8.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots.

Valenciunas also averaged 11.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in four playoff games.


Free-agent guard Jason Terry to return to Rockets
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(8/19/2015) Free-agent guard Jason Terry has agreed to return to the Rockets next season, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.

Terry, who will be 38 next season, averaged 7 points, 1.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game for Houston last season.


Hawks agree to terms with guard Jason Richardson
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8/18/2015) The Hawks reached a contract agreement with guard Jason Richardson on Tuesday, the team announced. Terms of the deal were not released.

Richardson averaged 9.1 points, 2.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 19 games for the 76ers last season. He has averaged 17.1 points in 14 seasons.


Sixers center Joel Embiid undergoes foot surgery
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8/18/2015) 76ers center Joel Embiid underwent foot surgery on Tuesday, the team announced.

"Moving forward, our sports performance staff will work with Joel to guide his return to play and monitor his progress against targeted benchmarks," 76ers president of basketball operations and general manager Sam Hinkie said. "Our team will work with Joel to create the best possible environment for healing so he can achieve his goals."

Embiid is expected to miss the entire 2015-16 season because of the foot issue. He also underwent bone graft surgery in May.


Report: PF Marcus Landry hooks up with Bucks
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/17/2015) Power forward Marcus Landry, who has not played an NBA game since 2010, is on the verge of signing with the Bucks, according to the Racine Journal Times.

Landry has bounced from one training camp tryout to the next without landing a roster spot. The brother of 76ers forward Carl Landry averaged 10 points and four rebounds in a top Spanish league last season.


 
 
 
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