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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
Pacers' Hibbert officially out for Wednesday against the Spurs
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:20 pm ET) Pacers center Roy Hibbert (ankle) is officially out for Wednesday against the Spurs, according to the team's website. 

Hibbert, who is averaging 13.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, missed Monday against the Mavs as well. 


Dwyane Wade 'hopeful' to play Sunday in New York
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:59 pm ET) Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade said Wednesday that his goal is to "hopefully" play Sunday against the Knicks after missing seven straight games with a strained left hamstring, according to the Sun Sentinel

Wade, who is averaging 19.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, has missed more than half of the Heat's games so far.


Heat G Chalmers leaves Wednesday practice with illness
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:38 pm ET) Heat guard Mario Chalmers was excused from Wednesday practice early due to an illness, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel. He will have plenty of time to recover - his team does not play another game until Monday at New York.

Chalmers is averaging a career-high 14.6 points a game


Raptors' Hansbrough considered game-time decision Wednesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:13 pm ET) Raptors coach Dwayne Casey said Wednesday forward Tyler Hansbrough's shoulder is still sore and he will be a game-time decision against the Hawks, according to TSN Sports.

Hansbrough, who is averaging 3.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, has missed three straight games with the same shoulder injury.


Report: Dwight Howard a no-go again Wednesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:05 pm ET) Rockets center Dwight Howard is set to miss a fourth straight game with a strained right knee. He has been ruled out for the Wednesday game against Sacramento, per the Houston Chronicle.

The ailment is taking longer than expected to heal enough for Howard to play. He was reportedly a possibility to be active Monday against New York, but remained sidelined.

Howard was off to a strong start, averaging 18.8 points and 11.3 rebounds a game before going down.


Hornets' Hairston expected to play Wednesday against the Blazers
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:57 am ET) Hornets guard P.J. Hairston (ankle sprain) is expected to play Wednesday against the Blazers, according to the Charlotte Observer

Hairston, who is averaging 5.4 points and 1.4 rebounds per game, has missed the past four games for the Hornets.


Celtics' Marcus Smart will practice Wednesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:52 am ET) Celtics point guard Marcus Smart will return practice Wednesday, according to the Boston Globe.

Smart, who is averaging 6.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game, has missed the last seven games with an ankle injury. The Celtics play Friday against the Bulls. 


Pistons send forward Tony Mitchell to D-League
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:27 am ET) The Pistons have sent forward Tony Mitchell to their D-League affiliate, Grand Rapids Drive.

Mitchell had yet to see any action this season after appearing in 21 games for the Pistons last year, averaging 1.0 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.


Timberwolves to be short-handed again Wednesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:00 am ET) The injury-plagued Timberwolves could be without four key players when they host Milwaukee on Wednesday, including shooting guard Kevin Martin and point guard Ricky Rubio, who will be out for a while.

The more immediate issues revolve around center Nikola Pekovic, who is dealing with wrist and foot injuries. Fellow center Ronny Turiaf has also been ruled out with a hip issue. Guard Mo Williams could also be sidelined with an illness.


Report: Lakers working to sign former Rockets F Clark
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:42 am ET) The Lakers are negotiating a one-year deal with veteran forward Earl Clark, according to Yahoo Sports. Clark is averaging nearly 30 points a game for the Rockets D-League squad.

He was waived before the season by Houston after playing for three other teams last year and averaging 4.8 points and 2.6 minutes in 14 minutes per game.


 
 
 
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