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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
Rockets G James Harden dishes 12 assists in loss to Clippers
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(12:46 am ET) Rockets guard James Harden scored 20 points and distributed 12 assists in Monday night's 117-101 Game 1 loss to the Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals. 

Harden scored his 20 on 6 for 13 shooting from the field, while going 3 for 6 from behind the arc. Harden also went 5 for 6 from the free-throw line. Harden, however, contributed nine turnovers in 37 minutes of playing time. 

Harden also added five rebounds and four steals. 


Rockets C Dwight Howard doubles up in Game 1 loss
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(12:43 am ET) Rockets center Dwight Howard scored 22 points and brought down 10 rebounds in Tuesday night's 117-101 loss to the Clippers. 

Howard made 9 of 13 shots from the field and went 4 for 9 from the free-throw line. He added five blocks, one steal and one assist in 39 minutes of playing time. 


Clippers F Blake Griffin posts second straight triple-double
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(12:39 am ET) Clippers forward Blake Griffin posted a triple-double in Monday night's Game 1 117-101 victory over the Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals. 

Griffin scored 26 points, brought down 14 rebounds and posted 13 assists. He did this with guard Chris Paul sidelined with a hamstring injury. This is Griffin's second consecutive triple double. 

Griffin shot 9 of 19 from the field and 8 of 10 free-throw attempts. 


Cavs G Kyrie Irving scores 30 in Game 1 loss to Bulls
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/4/2015) Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 30 points in Monday night's 99-92 Game 1 loss to the Bulls. 

Irving, along with Iman Shumper (22 points) and LeBron James (19 points), shouldered a heavy load with Kevin Love and J.R. Smith out for the game. Love is out for the playoffs with a dislocated shoulder and Smith is suspended for the first two games of the season. 

Irving made 10 of 23 shots from the field. He made 1 of 5 three-point attempts and sank all nine of his free-throw attempts. He posted six assists and two rebounds in 44 minutes. 


Bulls F Pau Gasol posts double-double in Game 1 victory
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/4/2015) Bulls forward Pau Gasol scored 21 points and posted 10 rebounds in Monday night's 99-92 Game 1 victory over the Cavaliers. 

Gasol scored his 21 on 10 of 16 shooting from the field. He made his lone free-throw attempt of the night. Gasol also had four assists in the game. Gasol did a great job in the game hitting the mid-range jumper. 


Bulls G Derrick Rose suffers shoulder stinger in Game 1
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/4/2015) Bulls guard Derrick Rose sustained a right shoulder stinger in Monday's 99-92 Game 1 victory over the Cavaliers. 

"Just a stinger. My first one. They said I'm fine, so I should be all right," Rose told CNN's Rachel Nichols in a walk-off interview after the game

Rose scored 25 points in the game on 11 of 25 shooting. He made 3 of 5 three-pointers in the game. He also had five assists and four rebounds. Rose was able to play 39 minutes against the Cavs. 


Clippers guard Chris Paul out for Game 1 with hamstring injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/4/2015) Clippers point guard Chris Paul is out for Monday's Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets, coach Doc Rivers said per the L.A. Times.

Paul suffered a hamstring injury in Game 7 of Los Angeles' opening round series against the Spurs, but was able to remain in the game. Rivers said it was not worth the risk to play Paul, particularly in the series opener.

Paul is averaging 22.7 points and 7.9 assists per game in the postseason this year. The Clippers are currently 7-point underdogs against Houston.


Warriors' Klay Thompson makes history with MVP Stephen Curry
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/4/2015) Warriors guard Stephen Curry was named this year's MVP of the NBA. However, he had some serious help in the backcourt. 

Making history was guard Klay Thompson, who averaged 21.7 points per game this season. This marks the highest scoring average for any player sharing the backcourt with an NBA MVP, according to the Contra Costa Times

"I think we all do just because we all work hard with Steph every day," Thompson said. "He pushes us to be a great team so I think we've all got a hand in it."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr credited Thompson's presence on the court in allowing Curry to further excel as a basketball player. 

"Klay being an All-Star, being his backcourt mate, and the incredible shooting range and prowess is one of the reasons Steph has as much room to roam and attack as he does because defenses have to worry about Klay, too," Kerr said. "Klay should absolutely understand he's a big part of this."


Grizzlies' Mike Conley upbeat about Game 2 status
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/4/2015) Grizzlies guard Mike Conley is confident about the chance of suiting up for his team's Game 2 matchup against the Warriors. 

Conley suffered a facial fracture in Memphis' first-round series and missed the opning game of the second-round series against Golden State. 

"I believe I will (play in Game 2)," Conley said, via FOX 13 Memphis

The Grizzlies' medical team has cleared Conley to play, though they're letting him decide when he's ready to get back on the court. During the regular season, Conley averaged 14.6 points and 6.1 assists in 80 games. 

Game 2 between the Grizzlies and Warriors is on Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. EST. 


Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert, forward Mike Miller to start Monday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/4/2015) Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert and forward Mike Miller will start Monday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in place of J.R. Smith and Kevin Love, according to Cleveland.com.

Smith is suspended for the first two games of the series after getting ejected for punching Jae Crowder in Game 4 of their opening round series. Love will miss the rest of the playoffs with after undergoing shoulder surgery. 

Shumpert averaged 8.0 points and 3.6 rebounds in 62 games this season. Miller averaged 2.1 points and 1.8 rebounds in 52 games. The Cavaliers are currently 4 1/2-point favorites against the Bulls.


 
 
 
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