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Week 7 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em

Fantasy Writer
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Nets guard Anthony Morrow has been a very good, albeit very limited sharpshooter during his four-year NBA career. He has developed a reputation as a light's out spot-up shooter who isn't capable of too much more than that; however he resembled so much more than that last Friday, as he went off for career-high 42 points against the Timberwolves.

There's nothing like going off for a career night to put a forgotten player on the map for Fantasy owners. Morrow hadn't exactly been off the grid prior to this performance, however with that game, he reminded Fantasy owners that there's more than one viable starting Fantasy option in the backcourt in New Jersey.

However, I'm not making him my Start of the Week for Week 7 (Feb. 6-12) solely on the strength of one good start. Morrow, who started the year ice cold, actually had one of the best months of his career in January, averaging 14.8 points per game before starting February off with his career-high outburst.

Morrow still isn't a must-start option with those numbers, as he does relatively little overall beyond scoring, however as long as he's got his scoring up (and especially if MarShon Brooks' lingering toe injury continues to keep him out), Morrow should be starting in most Fantasy leagues right now, despite being owned in a paltry 68 percent of leagues.

Guards

Start 'Em

O.J. Mayo, Grizzlies (SA, MIN, IND, UTA): After a promising first two seasons in which he started every game for the Grizzlies, Mayo has struggled to adapt to his role as the Grizzlies' sixth man over the last two seasons. However, he is starting to find his place on the team providing instant offense off the bench and has actually been a worthy starting Fantasy option over the last few weeks, ranking 19th in CBSSports.com Head-to-Head scoring over the last 14 days. He's been kind of a poor-man's James Harden in a way; however don't take that as an insult, as he's certainly a worthy start, especially with four home games, where Mayo and the Grizzlies' offense have fared far better this season.

Jordan Crawford, Wizards (TOR, NY, MIA, @DET): Crawford has one job for the Wizards, and it's similar to Mayo's with Memphis; come off the bench, play around 25 minutes, and keep the second unit afloat. While his success at doing this in real-life is debatable, his Fantasy impact in this role has actually been pretty solid, he's averaging 12.4 points, 3.9 assists and 0.9 steals per game over the last two weeks. While he still shoots the ball too much at a poor rate, limiting his positives in Rotisserie leagues, in Head-to-Head formats, Crawford should be worth starting for Week 7 with a pretty good schedule that doesn't feature any of the league's elite defenses.

Sleepers for Week 7
Player % Started
1. Rudy Fernandez, G, Nuggets 10
2. Mike Dunleavy, G, Bucks 22
3. Andrew Goudelock, G, Lakers 0
4. Tony Allen, G, Grizzlies 13
5. Jonas Jerebko, F, Pistons 13
6. Jordan Farmar, G, Nets 7
7. Amir Johnson, F, Raptors 13
8. Daequan Cook, G, Thunder 0
9. Luke Ridnour, G, Timberwolves 34
10. Channing Frye, C, Suns 21

Sleeper Alert: Greivis Vasquez, Hornets (SAC, CHI, POR): I can't say I particularly love the Hornets' matchups for Week 7, as they play just three games with two coming against top-eight NBA defenses, however it's so tough to find a guard that can do as much as Vasquez has been doing over the last few nights that as long as Jarrett Jack's knee is troubling him, Vasquez should be a decent option. Vasquez has scored in double figures in each of his last five games, averaging 14.2 points, 7.6 assists and 3.6 rebounds over that stretch. Especially in Roto formats, Vasquez is worth using with how well he's been playing.

Sit 'Em

Jason Kidd, Mavericks (@DEN, @MIN, POR): Time seems to have finally caught up with the seemingly ageless future Hall of Famer. After playing in 97 percent of his team's games -- just 11 missed games -- over the previous six seasons, injuries have already cost the 38-year old nine games this season. He appears to be on the verge of returning from a troublesome calf injury sometime this week, however with his age and durability concerns, there's no way of knowing whether that return will give him enough time to warrant a start with only three games on the schedule, so you'll want to stay away from him even if he appears to be on his way back.

DeMar Derozan, Raptors (@WAS, MIL, BOS, LAL): The good news is that in his third NBA season, Derozan has managed to improve his three-point shooting. The bad news is absolutely everything else about his game. The 22-year old has struggled mightily with his consistency, especially with the absence of Andrea Bargnani forcing him to try to be more of a creator. Over Derozan's last 10 games, he has made more than half of his shots just two times, while failing to top double digits in scoring in four of those contests. While the Wizards are a mess and even Derozan should be able to take it to them, the rest of his matchups are against tough-minded defensive units that make life difficult for limited offensive players like him. Derozan continues to tantalize with his athleticism and raw potential, but Week 7 doesn't look like a good time for him to harness those things, so get him on the bench.

Bust Alert: Chauncey Billups, Clippers (@ORL, @CLE, @PHI, @CHA): At this point, Billups' reputation is stronger than his play demands; the veteran has become not much more than a high-volume, low-efficiency scorer, and he ranks just 46th among all guards in Fantasy scoring, however he is currently owned in 95 percent of leagues. He gets to play arguably the worst defensive team in the league at the end of the week, but he starts with two of the toughest in Philadelphia and Orlando as well as a feisty, young Cleveland team that is allowing just 91 points per game since giving up a season-high to Atlanta eight games ago. Don't let the big name fool you, Billups isn't a must-start anymore, and you should consider benching him if you have better options.

Forwards

Start 'Em

Ersan Ilyasova, Bucks (CLE, @ORL, @WAS, @ATL): It's a mixed bag in terms of matchups for the Bucks this week, so I'm not recommending Ilyasova for matchup reasons. It is because since Andrew Bogut went down with a potentially season-ending injury, Ilyasova is rebounding just about everything in sight, averaging 9.6 rebounds and topping double-digits in three of seven contests in just 26 minutes per night. He is only scoring 8.3 points per game over that span, but with the rebounds and a mixed-bag of front courts coming up, he's got a decent shot of approaching a double-double for Week 7 if he can keep it up.

Gordon Hayward, Jazz (@NY, @IND, OKC, @MEM): Hayward came into the league known as a strong shooter after his performance at Butler in college and largely lived up to that reputation as a rookie last season. His shot, however, had abandoned him for much of the early going this season, as he shot just 37.5 percent from the field over the season's first 17 games. However in his last five games, Hayward has managed to score in double figures in four games while shooting 44 percent, so he seems to have found the stroke that made him a lottery pick. Hayward still isn't a full-time player; however he's putting up solid numbers in his 28 minutes per game so far, and should be a useful low-end Fantasy option for the week with just one truly tough matchup on the slate.

Sleeper Alert: Linas Kleiza, Raptors (@WAS, MIL, BOS, LAL): Kleiza has been totally up-and-down this season, alternating solid double-digit scoring performances with single-digit stinkers on a seemingly nightly basis. However, the Raptors still need someone to step up in Bargnani's absence and as the 27-year old Lithuanian works his way back into shape from knee surgery, he could provide a passable Bargnani imitation in stretches with his size and ability to hit the three. While he obviously won't be able to reach Bargnani's elite scoring levels, he is skilled enough to do some good work and act as a fringe starting option in a pinch.

Sit 'Em

Shawn Marion, Mavericks (@DEN, @MIN, POR): With Dirk Nowitzki's struggles this season with consistency and injury, Marion spent the better part of the last half of January stepping up to fill the void. However, the real Dirk appears to have returned over the last couple of games, to the detriment of Marion's Fantasy value. The veteran forward has managed to score just 12 points over the team's last two games as Nowitzki has reasserted his offensive dominance. It doesn't necessarily mean Marion is taking a permanent step back; however it's a troubling sign heading into a week in which the Mavs play just three times against some solid defenses. One or two stinkers would drastically impact his value for the week, so look to better options.

Richard Jefferson, Spurs (@MEM, @PHI, @NJ): The Spurs, led by fearless coach Gregg Popovich, are one of the most unpredictable teams in the NBA. Last week, displeased by the results from the unit, Popovich benched his starters in a game against Dallas. That same unpredictability that keeps his opponents on their toes constantly makes relying on anyone but the most elite options on the team something of a nightmare. Jefferson hasn't been an elite option in a few years and while he's still useful against the right matchups, Week 7 doesn't seem to provide them. The Spurs take on two top-10 defenses to start the week, and while the stop in New Jersey at the end of the week offers a respite, you don't want to be stuck relying on a 31-year old whose minutes are subject to the whims of an unpredictable coach with a short schedule.

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Bust Alert: Elton Brand, Sixers (LAL, SA, LAC, @CLE): If it wasn't bad enough that Brand threw up a goose-egg on Friday against the Heat, missing all three of his field goal attempts in a blowout loss, he missed the game the next night against Atlanta with a thumb injury. Such is life for an oft-injured 32-year old in a condensed schedule. Brand has seen his production fall off in a big way in recent games, as he has topped double-digits in points just once over his last five contests. While 97 percent of leagues still have someone hanging on to the former All Star, it's clear that he just isn't a reliable Fantasy option without great matchups. While he's got a couple towards the end of the week, they are teams that do feature strong, physical front courts. The added question of his status moving forward given the thumb injury makes Brand a player you'll want to stay away from.

Center

Start 'Em

Nikola Pekovic, Timberwolves (SAC, @MEM, DAL, NY): You saw Pekovic here last week as a sleeper, but nobody should be sleeping on the big man from Montenegro after his big week. He found himself in the starting lineup twice and averaged 14.8 points and 9.8 rebounds in the week, with the majority of his boards coming on the offensive glass to boot. He's not a particularly skilled big man, but his tenacity on the offensive boards makes him a decent offensive option even without creating on his own. He's clearly a better fit for the Wolves' offense and with Darko Milicic's struggles with a bevy of small injuries, Pekovic continues to be the man down low. Ride with him as long as he's hot and getting minutes, which could be a long time by the looks of it.

Sleeper Alert: Tiago Splitter, Spurs (@MEM, @PHI, @NJ): It might surprise you to find out that the offensively limited Splitter has actually been one of the best Fantasy centers over the last few weeks, ranking 14th in Fantasy scoring over the last 14 days despite playing just 24.8 minutes per game. That's partially an indictment of the perennially weak position but also a testament to the work the Spurs' backup has put in. He understands his limitations and works within them, shooting 68 percent over his team's last eight games while scoring 12.4 points with 7.0 rebounds per game. While the matchups for this week are not great and he still comes off of the bench, Splitter has been very productive recently and is worth starting.

Sit 'Em

DeJuan Blair, Spurs (@MEM, @PHI, @NJ): On the flip side of the Splitter recommendation is the guy who gets the starts ahead of him but who has been consistently outperformed in recent games. Splitter has actually managed to bridge the gap between the two in playing time and Blair has been relegated to a de-facto backup role as he's been seeing four fewer minutes on average than Splitter over the last two weeks. Blair has never been a strong Fantasy option, but he had started the season off strong and was looking like a legitimate starting option. Now that he's come back to earth, he's become the less-useful half of the platoon and shouldn't be relied on. He does not make a big enough impact when he's on the floor to make up for his lack of playing time.

Bust Alert: Emeka Okafor, Hornets (SAC, CHI, POR): Okafor has been a pleasant surprise this season from a Fantasy perspective, as he hasn't seen his production slip much in the aftermath of the Chris Paul trade. He has managed to remain a very useful No. 2 Fantasy option and his play put to rest any concerns about a platoon between himself and Chris Kaman. However, he's is still just a low-end No. 2 option as an offensively-limited big man, so you can get away with benching him against tough matchups. You wouldn't call Monday's game against the Kings that, but the later matchups against Chicago and Portland? Those are definitely tough games for him. He could find scoring even tougher to come by than usual against those stout frontlines and with just three games on the schedule, don't be afraid to look somewhere else if you've got the depth.

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Player News
Hornets' Kemba Walker injures thigh, returns to game Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:42 pm ET) Hornets guard Kemba Walker suffered a thigh contusion in Wednesday's game against the Blazers, the team announced. Walker was able to return to the game after being checked out.

Hornets' Marvin Williams out Wednesday with shoulder strain
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:34 pm ET) Hornets power forward Marvin Williams has been diagnosed with a shoulder strain and will not return to Wednesday's game, the team announced. Williams played 11 minutes in the first half before exiting with the injury.

Hornets' Marvin Williams questionable to return Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:21 pm ET) Hornets power forward Marvin Williams suffered a left shoulder injury in Wednesday's game against the Blazers, the team announced.

Williams is having X-rays taken on the injured shoulder and is questionable to return. He missed his only shot in 11 minutes of action in the first half.


Nuggets' Darrell Arthur in, JaVale McGee out Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:04 pm ET) Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said that forward Darrell Arthur will "give it a go" Wednesday against the Suns, the Denver Post reports. However, center JaVale McGee will miss Wednesday's game.

McGee has "no real timetable" for his return but remains day-to-day with tibia injury. Arthur suffered a knee contusion Tuesday, but the issue appears to have been minor.


Pacers' C.J. Watson, David West ruled out Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:58 pm ET) Pacers guard C.J. Watson (foot) and forward David West (ankle) will not play in Wednesday's game against the Spurs, the team announced.

The pair will join Roy Hibbert (ankle) and George Hill (knee) on the sidelines. The quartet's next opportunity to play will come Friday against the Magic.


Magic PF Aaron Gordon: 'I'm on the road to recovery now'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:51 pm ET) Magic power forward Aaron Gordon said Wednesday that his surgery Friday to insert a screw in his foot was successful, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

"I'm on the road to recovery now," Gordon added.

Coach Jacque Vaughn praised Gordon before Wednesday's game. "I love his game," Vaughn said. "There's different segments of the game that are being pushed forward, I think, and I think energy-and-effort guys who bring it every night [are one of them]. He fits into that category. That's a skill these days now, where that used to be the 15th guy on the bench. That's a skill. He brings that on an everyday basis, and we miss that. We miss his versatility of guarding multiple positions ... So I look forward to him coming back, and I've told him I miss him, too."

Gordon has averaged 5.8 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting 58.1 percent in 11 games.


Suns' Isaiah Thomas unlikely to play Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:44 pm ET) Suns coach Jeff Hornacek doesn't expect point guard Isaiah Thomas to play Wednesday against the Nuggets, Suns.com reports.

Thomas suffered an ankle bruise Monday, putting his status for Wednesday's game in question. He'll try to return Friday when the Suns play the Nuggets again, this time in Denver.


Warriors SG Leandro Barbosa to miss Wednesday's game
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:09 pm ET) Warriors shooting guard Leandro Barbosa will miss Wednesday's game against the Magic, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Barbosa suffered a right knee sprain Sunday and played only four minutes Tuesday. The team could lean more heavily on Brandon Rush with Barbosa sidelined. His next chance to play will come Friday in Charlotte.


Timberwolves F Thaddeus Young activated Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:53 pm ET) Timberwolves forward Thaddeus Young returned from the inactive list Wednesday, the team announced.

Young missed five games after the death of his mother. He has averaged 14.3 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 44.8 percent in seven games.


Timberwolves G Mo Williams ruled out Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:47 pm ET) Timberwolves guard Mo Williams has been ruled out for Wednesday's game against the Bucks, the team announced.

Williams is battling an illness that caused him to miss practice Monday and Tuesday. He has averaged 8.5 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 36.4 percent from the field in 12 games.


 
 
 
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