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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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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's jump shot 'going in a lot more'
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:13 pm ET) Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist worked with assistant coach Mark Price to rebuild his jump shot from ground-up, and the results are starting to show at the start of training camp, according to the Charlotte Observer. Kidd-Gilchrist shot 47.3 percent from the floor in 62 appearances last season.

"Does it feel that different? Well, it’s going in a lot more," Kidd-Gilchrist said. "I believe in the process. I started in April and it feels great."


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(3:03 pm ET) Because of a knee injury, Pistons rookie point guard Spencer Dinwiddie will take part in most of training camp, but will be monitored and limited in certain activities, head coach Stan Van Gundy told the Detroit Free-Press on Tuesday.

"He has been good, he has been able to do a lot," Van Gundy said. "He just hasn't been able to do anything live. Spencer has been diligent about his rehab. He has joined in a lot of stuff, conditioning-wise. The good part is he has been able to do things where we are teaching."


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(2:55 pm ET) Heat center Chris Bosh told reporters he expects Shannon Brown to be Dwyane Wade's primary backup this season, according to the Miami Herald. Brown signed a one-year deal in early September. He averaged averaged 2.2 points and 1.0 rebounds per game while shooting 36.4 percent from the field for the Knicks last season.

"He's pretty good. I'm surprised we were able to get him," Bosh said.


Kyle Korver expected to leave the team to attend the birth of his child
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:29 pm ET) Hawks guard Kyle Korver will travel with the team for the start of training camp at the University of Georgia. However, he may not be there for long, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Korver is expected to leave the team in the next few days for the birth of his child.

Bucks' Ersan Ilyasova fully healthy for the new season
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:06 pm ET) Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova told reporters on Tuesday that he's fully healthy and ready for the start of the season, per the team's official website. Ilyasova had his 2013-14 season cut short due to injuries to his foot and ankle.

In 55 appearances, he averaged 11.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists. He shot 40.9 percent from the floor and 28.2 percent from downtown over that span.


LeBron James: My back has been 'kind of iffy'
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:47 pm ET) Cavaliers forward LeBron James, who nursed a sore back last season with the Heat, told reporters his back has been "kind of iffy" at the start of training camp, but he doesn't expect be miss any practice time, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

"From the start of camp it's been kind of iffy. I'm doing everything to get it back, and I'm used to it, at the start of camp just getting back into basketball shape," James said. "It kind of comes and goes, but I've been able to practice and go full go every day without limitations, and that's a good sign."


Hawks say Al Horford will be at 100 percent for season opener
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:42 pm ET) Hawks center Al Horford didn't participate in contact drills Tuesday, but remains on track to be at 100 percent for the team's opening game Oct. 29 against the Raptors, per the team's official website.

Horford missed most of last season due to a torn right pectoral muscle. He posted career highs in points per game (18.6) and field goal percentage (56.7) in 29 contests.


Heat C Justin Hamilton undergoes heart surgery
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:10 pm ET) The Heat announced that center Justin Hamilton underwent a procedure to repair an atrial flutter on Monday, according to the Miami HeraldHamilton experienced light-headedness during practice which led to the diagnosis. He can participate in non-contact drills in a few days and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.

Julius Randle ready to come off the bench behind Carlos Boozer
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:13 pm ET) Lakers rookie forward Julius Randle, who was the seventh overall pick in this year's draft, told the Los Angeles Times that he's ready to come off the bench behind Carlos Boozer this season. 

"He deserves what he gets because he's put in the time and he's been successful," Randle said. "We're both going to be on the floor, whoever starts or not; that's not really my focus or worry."


Rockets' Dwight Howard finally healthy from 2012 back surgery
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:08 pm ET) Two years removed from a back surgery that limited his explosion in the paint, Rockets center Dwight Howard told reporters he's made significant strides over the offseason to return to a high level of play heading into the new season, according to the Houston Chronicle.

"When you have a serious injury – the back injury I suffered, it takes time to heal," Howard said. "I don't think a lot of people understood how serious the injury was. It was something that could have been career-ending. I decided to come back and play earlier than I was supposed to and I suffered a lot because of that."

Howard still managed to average a double-double in 2013-14, posting 47 of them in his first season with the Rockets. He averaged 18.3 points, 12.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 71 appearances. He shot 59.1 percent from the field and 54.7 percent from the free throw line -- his best percentages since 2010-11 when he was a member of the Magic.


 
 
 
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