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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
Warriors' Draymond Green tallies career-high six steals Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:17 am ET) Warriors small forward Draymond Green racked up a career-high six steals in his team's 110-97 win over the Timberwolves Saturday.

It was an interesting all-around night for Green, who scored just four points on 2 of 5 shooting but added eight rebounds, six assists and four blocks to his six steals in 32 minutes of action. According to the team, Green is the first player in franchise history to deliver at least five rebounds, five assists, five steals and four blocks in the same game. His next opportunity to rack up stats will come Tuesday against the 76ers.


Warriors PG Stephen Curry scores team-high 25 Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:13 am ET) Warriors point guard Stephen Curry scored a team-high 25 points on 9 of 18 shooting, including 4 of 9 shooting from three-point range, in his team's 110-97 win over the Timberwolves Saturday.

Curry helped put a stop to the team's two-game losing streak Saturday, tallying six assists, three rebounds and three steals in 31 minutes in addition to his fourth performance with at least 25 points in December. He's set to square off with the 76ers Tuesday.


Timberwolves PG Zach Lavine doubles up vs. Warriors
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:10 am ET) Timberwolves point guard Zach LaVine scored 12 points on 4 of 12 shooting while dishing out a season-high 14 assists in his team's 110-97 loss to the Warriors Saturday.

LaVine has seen regular playing time with Ricky Rubio on the shelf most of the season, but Saturday's double-double was just his second of the season. He also chipped in four rebounds and one steal in 31 minutes while turning the ball over five times. The Timberwolves will look to end an eight-game losing streak Tuesday against the Jazz.


Wolves SF Thaddeus Young scores team-high 17 Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:06 am ET) Timberwolves small forward Thaddeus Young scored a team-high 17 points on 7 of 10 shooting in his team's 110-97 loss to the Warriors Saturday.

Young delivered his most efficient shooting performance of the season but it wasn't enough to save the Timberwolves from dropping to 1-13 in December. He tallied six rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 27 minutes in the loss. Young is set to square off with the Jazz Tuesday.


Kings PG Darren Collison scores season-high 27 vs. Knicks
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:03 am ET) Kings point guard Darren Collison scored a season-high 27 points on 9 of 10 shooting, including 3 of 3 shooting from behind the arc, while dishing out 10 assists in his team's 135-129 overtime win over the Knicks Saturday.

Collison nailed a three-pointer with less than 90 seconds remaining in overtime to break a 126-126 tie and help key an 11-0 run that decided the outcome of the high-scoring affair. He also tallied two steals in 43 minutes while posting his third double-double of the season. Collison will square off with the Nets Monday.


Kings C DeMarcus Cousins scores season-high 39 vs. Knicks
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:58 am ET) Kings center DeMarcus Cousins scored a season-high 39 points on 14 of 27 shooting while grabbing 11 rebounds in his team's 135-129 overtime win over the Knicks Saturday.

Cousins missed Friday's game due to gastroenteritis but was back in action Saturday, playing 32 minutes and topping his previous season high of 34 points. He also picked up four assists and two blocks in the win, just the Kings' second in their last nine games. Cousins is slated to face the Nets Monday.


Knicks C Cole Aldrich scores career-high 18 points vs. Kings
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:55 am ET) Knicks center Cole Aldrich scored a career-high 18 points on 8 of 9 shooting in his team's 135-129 overtime loss to the Kings Saturday.

Aldrich has earned consistent playing time over the last five games, and he started and saw 24 minutes of action Saturday while delivering an efficient shooting performance. He also managed seven rebounds, two blocks, one assist and one steal before fouling out early in the overtime period. He'll match up with the Blazers Sunday.


Knicks SF Carmelo Anthony delivers 36-11 line vs. Kings
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:53 am ET) Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony scored a team-high 36 points on 13 of 29 shooting while grabbing 11 rebounds in his team's 135-129 overtime loss to the Kings Saturday.

Anthony's 36 points were his most since scoring 46 against the Jazz in mid-November, and the double-double was his third of the season, with all three coming in December. He added six assists and one steal in 46 minutes of action in the loss, the team's seventh straight. The Knicks will look to get back on track Sunday against the Blazers.


Report: Timberwolves expect Ricky Rubio back in mid-January
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:49 am ET) The Timberwolves expect point guard Ricky Rubio to return from his severe ankle injury in mid-January, Yahoo! Sports reports.

Rubio was able to take part in running exercises at three-quarters speed and shooting drills before Saturday's game. He has been sidelined since spraining his ankle on Nov. 7, but if he receives favorable results from an upcoming MRI, he could begin contact drills next week.

"I am trying to do my best," Rubio said. "Sometimes it is a little bit painful. I got to get through that. Some things are mentally [challenging]. I just push myself and try to come back as soon as a I can."

Rubio is one of three starters sidelined for the 5-23 Timberwolves.


76ers PF Nerlens Noel gets X-rays on injured ankle
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:25 am ET) 76ers power forward Nerlens Noel underwent X-rays after injuring his ankle in Saturday's loss to the Jazz, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Noel was able to return to Saturday's game after the initial injury, but the team is running tests to get a better idea of the severity of the injury. He finished with five points on 2 of 5 shooting as well as 10 rebounds, two assists and one steal in 32 minutes.


 
 
 
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