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Courtside Seat: Can Bargnani still help you?

Senior Fantasy Writer
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We're always concerned with a player of two whenever we set our lineup each week. You know it's easy to start LeBron James, Kevin Love and Deron Williams, but what about those second- and third-tier options? What about guys coming back from injuries?

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The Fantasy playoffs are here in some leagues, and making the wrong decision with your lineup could ruin your season. With that in mind, we've identified 10 players who could make the difference between a Fantasy title and a first-round exit.

The hope is all of these players can be relied upon if you start them, but there is no guarantee they will perform at a high enough level to make your Fantasy roster successful.

Andrea Bargnani, center, Raptors
Key stats for the past five days: 16.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, four 3-pointers
Start percentage Week 14: 73 percent
Bargnani has played 12 games since being out for the previous 20 with a calf injury, and he is starting to come around. He had 26 points against Denver on Wednesday, which was highest total since his return, and he has at least 17 points in three of his past four outings. He needs to rebound better even though that's not his strong suit, but he should be serviceable as a No. 2 Fantasy center now that he's back at 100 percent.

DeJuan Blair, center, Spurs
Key stats for the past five days: 13.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals
Start percentage Week 14: 22 percent
Blair is a risky starting option in the majority of leagues because you never know when Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is going to let Tim Duncan play 30-plus minutes, something that has happened just four times in his past seven games. When Duncan is rested, Blair has the chance to shine. Now, the good thing with Blair is the Spurs will likely rest Duncan as the NBA playoffs approach, but since nothing is guaranteed, that's a gamble for Fantasy owners.

Gordon Hayward, small forward, Jazz
Key stats for the past five days: 15.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists
Start percentage Week 14: 33 percent
Hayward is finally starting to look like a solid Fantasy option with his recent production. He has at least 18 points and seven rebounds in three of his past five games, and he has at least five assists in four of his past five outings. The Jazz are counting on Hayward with an average of 38 minutes per game of late, and he is rewarding Fantasy owners. He has the chance to be a quality option in the playoffs as a No. 3 forward or guard depending on his eligibility.

Antawn Jamison, small forward, Cavaliers
Key stats for the past five days: 14.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, five 3-pointers
Start percentage Week 14: 87 percent
Jamison is in a mini-funk since he has no double-doubles or 20-point games in his past four outings. We were concerned about Jamison earlier in the year and considered him a sell-high candidate, and hopefully those of you who stuck with him can still get quality production. He won't completely disappear, but you have to hope he can turn things around as the season comes to a close, especially with the Cavs falling out of playoff contention.

Chandler Parsons, small forward, Rockets
Key stats for the past five days: 15.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, 10 3-pointers
Start percentage Week 14: 26 percent
Parsons has continued to improve all season, and he has become one of the best rookie options this year. He has benefited with Kevin Martin (shoulder) out, and he has two double-doubles in his past four outings. The Rockets are giving Parsons plenty of playing time since he is averaging over 40 minutes a game, and he is rewarding Fantasy owners. He should remain active in all leagues as long as he continues to get this much playing time.

Luke Ridnour, point guard, Timberwolves
Key stats for the past five days: 13.2 points, 6.8 assists, 3.0 rebounds
Start percentage Week 14: 67 percent
Ridnour's Fantasy value is tied to Jose Juan Barea. With Barea (thigh) out, Ridnour has done an excellent job as the starter in Minnesota. He had a double-double at Charlotte on Wednesday, and he has scored in double figures in three of his past four games. But when Barea is healthy, Ridnour tends to disappear. Both point guards are trying to replace the injured Ricky Rubio (torn ACL), but Ridnour should only start for Fantasy owners in all leagues if Barea remains out.

Zach Randolph, power forward, Grizzlies
Key stats for the past five days: 11.4 points, 7.6 assists, 1.2 steals
Start percentage Week 14: 66 percent
Randolph has struggled since his return from a torn MCL, and he is still finding his rhythm. He has just one double-double in his past seven games and one game with more than 15 points. He should come around soon, and Fantasy owners should keep him active in the postseason. Once he gets close to 100 percent he is going to start playing at a high level, and we're confident he can get there prior to the end of the season.

Ramon Sessions, point guard, Lakers
Key stats for the past five days: 15.2 points, 6.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds
Start percentage Week 14: 61 percent
Sessions has fit in well with the Lakers. He has four games with double digits in scoring in his past five outings and one double-double over that span. He is averaging 32 minutes per game, and the Lakers needed the type of boost he can provide. Fantasy owners who held onto him are likely reaping the benefits as well, and he should be a starter in most formats for the postseason. He is a good source of points, assists and 3-pointers and should close the season playing well.

Klay Thompson, shooting guard, Warriors
Key stats for the past five days: 18.0 points, 3.4 assists, eight 3-pointers
Start percentage Week 14: 68 percent
Thompson has taken over with Monta Ellis traded to Milwaukee and Stephen Curry (ankle) out. There is a chance Curry could return for the end of the season, but Thompson owners shouldn't panic. He should continue to play at a high level, and he has been able to score at a high level for the Warriors. He is also a good source of 3-pointers, and his value would rise if he could rebound and pass at a higher level. As long as Curry doesn't come back in full force, Thompson should be fine.

Evan Turner, shooting guard, 76ers
Key stats for the past five days: 7.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists
Start percentage Week 14: 42 percent
Turner looked like he was headed toward a strong finish, but he has tailed off dramatically of late. Even with Andre Iguodala (knee) banged up, Turner has failed to step up, which would be huge for the 76ers and Fantasy owners. This is one player to shy away from for sure during the Fantasy playoffs based on his inconsistent production. Jrue Holiday, who has been inconsistent himself, looks like a much safer option than Turner to close the season.

Each week we will take a look at a variety of topics around the NBA. We will look at guys to trade, trade for, add off the waiver wire and also answer some of your social media questions, among other things. It's our CBSSports.com potpourri look at Fantasy Basketball.

Knick knacks

The Knicks are fighting for their playoff lives, and they are most likely going to do it without Amar'e Stoudemire (back), who is hopeful to return before the end of the regular season. Jeremy Lin (knee) has also missed the past two games, and that has allowed some of the Knicks reserves to step up, which is a benefit for Fantasy owners.

Here is a look at five players who could be worth a look for Fantasy owners to help Carmelo Anthony (he's obviously a no-brainer) and Tyson Chandler down the stretch.

Landry Fields, shooting guard
Ownership percentage: 52 percent

Baron Davis, point guard
Ownership percentage: 51 percent

J.R. Smith, shooting guard
Ownership percentage: 36 percent

Iman Shumpert, point guard
Ownership percentage: 33 percent

Steve Novak, small forward
Ownership percentage: 16 percent

If you were ranking these players to add with the injuries to Stoudemire and Lin, they would be in this order: Davis, Shumpert, Smith, Novak and Fields. Davis has stepped up with Lin out, and he is a great short-term investment. The same goes for Shumpert, who had 25 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a blowout victory against Orlando on Wednesday. Novak is a great source of 3-pointers, and he is going to see plenty of playing time, which was his biggest issue earlier in the year. And Smith should be able to help the Knicks with their bench production as a good scorer in reserve. Fields is a good player for the Knicks, but his Fantasy value is limited when he's not scoring at a high level.

Free agent watch

Here are five guys I am looking at in my leagues:

Mike Dunleavy, shooting guard, Bucks
Owned: 52 percent of leagues

Kawhi Leonard, small forward, Spurs
Owned: 38 percent of leagues

J.J. Hickson, power forward, Trail Blazers
Owned: 34 percent of leagues

Carl Landry, power forward, Hornets
Owned: 34 percent of leagues

Gary Forbes, small forward, Raptors
Owned: 4 percent of leagues

Dunleavy has quietly been a solid Fantasy option since the All-Star break. He is averaging 14.6 points and 3.4 rebounds in his past five games with 13 3-pointers over that span. Leonard is benefiting with the Spurs resting players, and he has four games with double digits in scoring in his past five games. Hickson has done a nice job since signing with the Trail Blazers last week, and Landry has stepped up with the Hornets dealing with injuries in their frontcourt. Forbes has taken advantage of injuries to DeMar DeRozan (ankle) and Jerryd Bayless (oblique) in Toronto, and he could be someone to target in deeper leagues.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyNews . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Kelly Olynyk practices for Celtics, ankle improving
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(1:35 pm ET) Kelly Olynyk made it through an entire practice on Saturday, and the center may be close to returning to the Celtics' lineup. 

Olynyk has missed the last 16 games with an ankle injury. After practice, he told MassLive.com's Jay King that his ankle is improving, although he stopped short of saying that it's ready for him to return to the team. 

Olynyk is questionable for Sunday's game against the Warriors. 


Tyson Chandler a game-time decision for Mavericks
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(12:35 pm ET) Mavericks center Tyson Chandler missed Wednesday's game with a hip contusion. Chandler is still coping with the hip and will be a game-time decision for Saturday's game against the Nets.

The Mavericks are 8.5-point favorites at home, Saturday.


Lakers' Wesley Johnson trying to be more consistent
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(12:12 pm ET) On Feb. 20, Lakers forward Wesley Johnson was benched. Coach Byron Scott decided to send Johnson a message with a DNP-CD. 

Message received. The next game, Johnson hit nine of 11 shots for a career-high 22 points. 

“I should sit him down again and not play him," Scott told Mark Medina of the LA Daily News. "He seems to come back and play better. ... If I do that every other game, he’ll probably average about 20.”

That inconsistency is part of the problem that Johnson is trying to solve. 

“We all have problems trying to understand Wesley. For three or four games, he plays terrific. The next game he’s not there,” Scott said. “If he thought about going out and saying, ‘I’m going to prove myself every single night,’ maybe he would be a different player.”

Johnson will be a free agent after the season and hopes to return to the Lakers. He knows that his ability to give a reliable performance every night will help make the team's decision easier. 

“I’m not always being aggressive,” Johnson said. “I’m trying to feel the game. (Scott) tells me to disrupt the game and take over.”


76ers not expecting Joel Embiid to play this season
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:00 am ET) 76ers coach Brett Brown is not planning on seeing rookie center Joel Embiid play this season while recovering from his stress fracture in his right foot.

"It would be misleading to say anything that's promising (about him playing this year)," Brown said.

Embiid has been doing standstill shooting and off-court cardio work to improve his conditioning.


Report: Rockets' Dwight Howard scheduled for MRI next week
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:32 am ET) Rockets center Dwight Howard has not played in over a month with a right knee injury and is continuing to rehab. However, he is not scheduled to start on-court activity yet and is set to receive an MRI next week, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Howard, who is averaging 16.3 points and 11.0 rebounds in 32 games, will meet with his doctor to determine whether or not he can advance to the next stage of rehab this week.


Scott on Clarkson: I don't think his instincts will ever be true point guard
by Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer
(9:27 am ET) Lakers coach Byron Scott gave his starting point guard Jordan Clarkson high praise Friday after the team's 101-93 win over the Bucks. Clarkson scored 16 points on 7 of 9 shooting from the field with five assists and four rebounds.

"I think more of the point guards that we have, especially the ones that are very successful, are all score-first-type point guards," Scott said according to the L.A. Times . "I think Jordan is in that same mold, where he's looking to score and he's looking for those opportunities."

In 13 starts, Clarkson is averaging 13.6 points, 3.7 assists and 3.2 rebounds. Scott thinks he is always going to be score first, assist later.

"He's still trying to find a way to be a true point guard," Scott said. "But I don't think his natural instincts are going to ever be that. But I think he can be very successful in being a point guard in this league because of all of the other guys that we've seen that's been able to do that as well."


Thunder's Russell Westbrook to be evaluated after blow to head
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:43 am ET) Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook will be evaluated Friday night after taking a blow to the head in his team's 115-112 loss to the Blazers, The Oklahoman reports.

Westbrook was kneed in the head late in the fourth quarter of Friday's game but remained in, eventually heading to the free-throw line to shoot three free throws with his team down three. He missed the first and made the last two, finishing the game with 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in his third straight triple-double.

The Thunder are scheduled to face the Lakers Sunday.


Bucks SF Jared Dudley has X-rays on knee after Friday's game
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:38 am ET) Bucks small forward Jared Dudley had X-rays taken on his left knee after Friday's 101-93 loss to the Lakers, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Dudley indicated that it was the same knee that troubled him last year with the Clippers. He finished Friday's game with five points on 2 of 7 shooting along with four rebounds, one assist and one steal in 23 minutes off the bench. The Bucks are set to face the Jazz Saturday.


Pistons' Van Gundy on Reggie Jackson: 'Tonight was not great'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:24 am ET) Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson had an off shooting night Friday, scoring 16 points on 5 of 24 shooting in his team's 121-115 double-overtime loss to the Knicks.

Jackson averaged 19.5 points on 42.4 percent shooting in his first two games with the Pistons but turned in his worst shooting performance of the season (min. 10 shots) despite the high volume.

"He makes the decisions he makes," coach Stan Van Gundy said after the game, per the Associated Press. "The last two games, he was great. Tonight was not great."

Jackson also racked up five rebounds and five assists in 41 minutes. The Pistons will square off with the Wizards Saturday.


Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge tallies 29-16 line vs. Thunder
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:15 am ET) Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge shared the team scoring lead Friday, racking up 29 points on 10 of 23 shooting while hauling in 16 rebounds in his team's 115-112 win over the Thunder.

Aldridge turned in his best scoring performance of February in his final game of the month, boosting his numbers by hitting nine of his 10 free throws. He also kicked in five assists, one block and one steal in 39 minutes. The Blazers will look for a third straight win Sunday against the Kings.


 
 
 
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