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Week 15 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em

Fantasy Writer
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By its very nature, basketball tends to not produce players with huge gaps between home and road production. When compared to the elements athletes in football and baseball have to contend with, the arenas NBA teams play in come off as mostly sterile environments, providing neither side a real advantage. There are exceptions to be sure (Denver's thin air allows their high-octane offense to really mess with opponents' conditioning), but for the most part, it doesn't matter which 18,000-seat arena the games are being played in.

For some reason, however, Ray Allen has taken to the Heat's home floor extremely well this season, his first in Miami. Allen has been pedestrian on the road, averaging 9.9 points per game on 41.0 percent shooting, including an uncharacteristically low 34.9 percent from three-point range. He is more than making up for that at the American Airlines Arena, upping his scoring to 13.0 per game, despite averaging slightly fewer minutes. He is doing so on the strength of 53.8 percent shooting from the field and a truly outrageous 53.0 percent mark on three-pointers.

With Miami playing on their home floor four times in Week 15 (Feb. 4-10), Allen looks like a good bet to put together a solid run of games. Once you break down into individual matchups, you have to like his chances even more, as three of the Heat's four opponents -- Charlotte, Houston and the Lakers -- rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the league in points allowed. The only above-average defense Miami is set to take on is the Clippers, a team that Allen put up 14 points on just six field-goal attempts earlier in the season.

At this point in his career, Allen provides little beyond scoring, but he should be able to catch fire in Week 15. Continue to rely on the future Hall-of-Famer.

Guards

Start ‘Em

Jason Terry, Celtics (@TOR, LAL, DEN): Terry has so far garnered the least interest among the Celtics' guards who might step up in Rajon Rondo's absence, but I still like his upside the most. When compared to Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley, Terry has the kind of track record that would easily make him the most appealing option, if he lived up to it. So far this season, he has been an unqualified disappointment, but there have been signs of life since Rondo went down with a torn ACL in Week 13. Terry has scored in double figures in each of the last three games and should be looking at a larger role this week. Each of Boston's Week 15 opponents ranks among the eight worst scoring defenses in the league, so Terry could get going very soon.

Nate Robinson, Bulls (@DEN, @UTA): Robinson has been one of the hottest players in basketball recently, averaging 18.2 points in just 24.4 minutes per game over the last five. We have long known Robinson can get hot and stay hot offensively, and he is giving the Bulls a big boost right now. Derrick Rose's return looms over Robinson's long-term value, as Robinson might not even be with the team when Rose gets back. For now, however, Robinson is more than worth riding in most Fantasy formats. The Bulls play just twice in Week 15, which limits his value, however each of their opponents ranks in the bottom 11 in scoring defense, so expect him to remain useful.

Sleeper Alert: Jerryd Bayless, Grizzlies (PHX, @ATL, GSW, MIN): Bayless saw a big boost in his value last week, due to an injury to Mike Conley that caused him to miss most of two games. Conley returned Thursday night, but Bayless was still playing a big role against the Thunder, entering the starting lineup at the shooting guard spot. He was likely only to be among the starters for one game, as the Grizzlies were playing shorthanded having made a trade the night before. Still, Bayless has almost certainly forced his way into a bigger role in the rotation, just as he did last season in Toronto, when he averaged 12.4 points and 4.8 assists per game in the second half of the season. The Grizzlies' roster has gone through some major upheaval in the last few days and Bayless should end up being one of the bigger beneficiaries. With four games on the schedule this week and Bayless averaging 15.0 points per game over the last five, he is worth getting in the starting lineup.

Sit ‘Em

Jason Kidd, Knicks (DET, @WAS, @MIN, LAC): Kidd's slide toward irrelevance has been a few weeks coming now, as he has fallen off in a big way after a hot start. Kidd is averaging just 5.4 points per game over the last 10 and the challenge of attempting to carry an offense at the age of 39 has clearly worn on him. He is dealing with a back injury and the Knicks will almost certainly be limiting his minutes moving forward, with Iman Shumpert back and healthy. Even with four games on the schedule, Kidd is best left on your bench -- or better yet, on waivers.

Lance Stephenson, Pacers (ATL, @PHI, TOR): Stephenson has emerged as a surprisingly handy Fantasy option this season, with his ability to fill up the box score proving particularly useful in category-based formats. He is averaging 8.1 points, 2.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game over the last 10, while adding close to one three-pointer per game. Against the right matchups, Stephenson has proven he has the ability to go off for big games, as he did when scoring 20 points against the Nuggets last week. Unfortunately, he tends to thrive against teams that play a more wide-open style, and each of the Pacers' Week 15 opponents rank below the league average in pace. Don't expect Stephenson to have much room to operate.

Bust Alert: Rodney Stuckey, Pistons (@NYK, BKN, SAS, @MIL): Stuckey might be one of the bigger losers in the Pistons' acquisition of Jose Calderon this week. While trading Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye opened up a big hole on the wing for the Pistons, they are more stocked than ever between the two guard spots. Many expect current starting point guard Brandon Knight to move off the ball with Calderon on the roster, which can only serve to squeeze Stuckey out of minutes in his combo-guard role. Stuckey is already averaging his lowest per-game totals since he was a rookie, with 11.4 points per game in just 28.5 minutes per game. Stuckey had a chance to start Wednesday with the Pistons' roster in flux following the trade, and he shot just 6 of 16 from the field. The Pistons play four times this coming scoring period, but Stuckey's uncertain role makes him unworthy of the risk.

Forwards

Start ‘Em

Derrick Favors, Jazz (SAC, MIL, CHI, @SAC): Fantasy owners continue to wait for the Jazz's logjam in the front court to solve itself and unleash Favors' full potential. Favors seems to be getting impatient as well, as he has started to turn his production up recently, averaging 10.2 points per game over the last 10 games. He was still limited to an average of just 21.1 minutes in that span, but he is starting to figure things out offensively. Favors has shot 48.0 percent from the field for the season, a mark he has upped to 61.2 percent over the most recent 10-game span. His production can be inconsistent given his role as a reserve, but Favors is starting to get it going, which might put more pressure on the Jazz to make a move before next month's deadline. Even in his current role, Favors can be put to good use in Fantasy leagues when faced with a four-game schedule that features the worst defensive team in the league twice.

Kyle Singler, Pistons (@NYK, BKN, SAS, @MIL): Singler has fallen off after a hot start to his NBA career, but he might see a resurgence following Detroit's trade. With Prince out of the way, Singler stands as one of the few players on Detroit's roster with the height and shooting acumen capable of logging heavy minutes at small forward consistently. Singler is still shooting 38.0 percent from three-point range and the Pistons may need him to play a big role in filling in for Prince. The Pistons do not have the best schedule for Singler to break out this week, but the increase in playing time could make starting him worth that risk.

Sleeper Alert: Maurice Harkless, Magic (@PHI, LAC, @CLE, POR): Compared to his teammate Nikola Vucevic, Harkless has been a big-time disappointment in the wake of the trade that shipped Dwight Howard out and landed him in Orlando. Nonetheless, there have been flashes of the potential that made him a lottery selection in the Draft, despite being just 19 years old. Harkless scored 16 points on 7 of 10 shooting last Monday while playing 34 minutes. The Magic have fallen off in a huge way after a surprisingly hot start to the season, and with the recent injury to Glen Davis, they have little reason not to begin the youth movement in earnest in the season's second half. Harkless has played 30-plus minutes in back-to-back games as of Thursday, and that should become a recurring theme moving forward. The Magic play four times in Week 15, with two matchups coming against below-average defense, so Harkless could become a surprise contributor.

Sit ‘Em

Carl Landry, Warriors (@HOU, @OKC, @MEM, @DAL): Landry played a big part in the Warriors' shocking early season success, but his role is starting to shrink. He has been dealing with a shoulder injury recently which has not helped, but the return of Andrew Bogut has pushed him further back in the rotation. Landry was spending much of his time playing in a small frontcourt with David Lee, but the Warriors will almost certainly rely on that look less often once Bogut is able to play more minutes. The Warriors play four times in Week 15 and have some solid matchups, but Landry's role is a question mark right now. Between Bogut's return and Landry's lingering shoulder concerns, Fantasy owners will want to avoid relying on him.

Alan Anderson, Raptors (BOS, @IND, NOH): Anderson has been a big surprise this season, emerging as a gunner off the bench for the Raptors. The 30-year-old is averaging 12.8 points per game on the season and has been even better recently, putting up 14.5 per game in the month of January. Unfortunately, he brought inefficient shooting and little else to the floor with him, and will likely end up being buried with Rudy Gay's arrival to Toronto. Anderson has the size to play the shooting guard spot as well, but the Raptors do not have much room for an older player without much potential, given their current makeup. Fantasy owners who have been relying on Anderson as a cheap source of points will want to avoid doing so moving forward.

Bust Alert: Ed Davis, Grizzlies (PHX, @ATL, GSW, MIN): Davis has finally emerged as a consistent contributor this season, after a pair of mostly ineffective seasons since being selected in the lottery in 2010. This week's trade was a bad outcome for Davis' Fantasy value, as he now finds himself buried behind a pair of All-Star frontcourt mates. Davis averaged just 5.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in the month of November, when he was buried behind Jonas Valanciunas and Andrea Bargnani, two players who don't even come close to equaling the impact of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, Davis' new teammates. Fantasy owners will not want to rely on Davis after this trade, barring any injuries.

Centers

Start ‘Em

Spencer Hawes, 76ers (ORL, IND, CHA): At the shallow center position, players who consistently score in double figures while playing 30-plus minutes per game are generally held in high regard. At the very least, they make for good bench fodder, worth sticking in the lineup when faced with a good matchup. That holds true for most players, but for some reason Fantasy owners are reticent to rely on Hawes, an offensively talented big man who has struggled to consistently live up to his potential. Despite his disappointing nature, Hawes does rank 27th among all centers in Fantasy scoring over the last month, while averaging 11.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Despite that, he is owned in just 59 percent of Fantasy leagues, while being started in just 28 percent. Fantasy owners are rightly concerned that Hawes will take a big hit when Andrew Bynum returns, but he is worth starting in many formats for now.

Sleeper Alert: Tyler Zeller, Cavaliers (CHA, ORL, DEN): Zeller might cede playing time moving forward to recently acquired veteran Marreese Speights, however the Cavs are still very shallow and invested in Zeller's development. He should continue seeing solid playing time, as he has been recently. Zeller shows flashes of being a good NBA player, but is still averaging just 8.8 points per game over the last 10 games, while shooting 36.3 percent from the field. Zeller is getting every opportunity to produce, and if he starts getting his shots to fall there could be a big uptick in his production. Zeller is already rebounding at a high rate and is getting big minutes. The Cavaliers face three teams that rank among the 12 worst defenses in the NBA this season, so his upside makes him a decent play.

Sit ‘Em

Aaron Gray, Raptors (BOS, @IND, NOH): After being dormant for most of the season, Gray erupted for the Raptors last week, racking up 30 points and 21 rebounds over a span of two games Monday and Wednesday. With the trade of Davis opening up some minutes in the frontcourt rotation, it might seem like Gray would be the beneficiary of extra playing time. And that may end up being true, as the Raptors do not have many options in the frontcourt right now. Unfortunately, Gray does not seem likely to do much with whatever minutes he comes into, as he averaged just 3.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in 49 games last season, despite starting 40 of them. Fantasy owners will want to avoid falling into the trap of assuming Gray can make a jump given a larger role -- especially with a pair of Top 10 defenses on the schedule.

Bust Alert: Roy Hibbert, Pacers (ATL, @PHI, TOR): If only we had the foresight to label Hibbert with the “Bust Alert” tag before the season, a lot of Fantasy seasons might have turned out different. Hibbert entered the year as a Top-10-caliber center, but has been among the biggest disappointments in the league. Over the last month, Hibbert ranks just 26th among all centers in Fantasy scoring. Hibbert averages just 9.6 points and 8.0 rebounds this season in five contests against his Week 15 opponents. With just three games on the schedule, you might want to keep him out of the starting lineup.

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Player News
Rockets expect Motiejunas, Jones to return this season
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:29 am ET) While forwards Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones are sidelined with injuries, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said he expects both players to return before the regular season ends, reports ESPN.com.

Motiejunas has been dealing with a lower back injury and is expected to remain out for at least another week, while Jones is suffering from a lung issue and has not played since March 19.


Bucks F Jared Dudley indicates he would like to remain in Milwaukee
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:14 am ET) With the Bucks more competitive than he originally thought, forward Jared Dudley said he has enjoyed playing this season and hopes to stay in Milwaukee, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"If you would have asked me that when I first got here, I would have said no," Dudley said. "Who is willing to come in here, to the city of Milwaukee? 80 percent of the league probably does not. But I'm getting ready to turn 30. I would like a multi-year deal... I would rather take a little bit less [money] to be in a comfortable position, with my family life good."

Dudley cited coach Jason Kidd's coaching ability and the team's young players as to why he feels he could be a good long-term fit for the Bucks.

"But the No. 1 reason is Jason Kidd. On our team, everybody plays. That doesn't happen," he said. "On any team. The only team that does that is Philly. They're bad, and they want to be bad on purpose. He plays everyone and he keeps everyone engaged."


Thunder guard Dion Waiters to have foot examined
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:59 am ET) With his foot bothering him over the last few games, Thunder guard Dion Waiters said he will soon have the issue checked out, reports ESPN.com.

Despite dealing with the foot issue, Waiters played 38 minutes during Sunday's win over the Suns and scored 18 points.


Timberwolves forward Anthony Bennett re-injures ankle Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:36 am ET) Timberwolves forward Anthony Bennett made his return to action Sunday after missing the last month with an ankle injury. The second-year forward resprained it a little in his 12 minutes of action, according to coach Flip Saunders per the Star Tribune.

"It felt good. It just got a little sore near the end, but I tried to push through," Bennett said after the game.

Bennett scored two points on 0 for 4 shooting from the field with two assists and one rebound in the contest.


Lakers forward Ed Davis to opt for free agency this offseason
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:29 am ET) Lakers forward Ed Davis is not happy with his role. So much so, he said Sunday he intends to test free agency this summer, according to the L.A. Times.

"Honestly, I don't like it," Davis said before Sunday's game. "I didn't ask to sit out or anything. I wanted to play 82 games this year. But, you know, it's not my decision."

Davis is averaging 8.4 points and 7.5 rebounds in 71 games this season.

"Like I said, I wanted to play all 82," he said. "I'm going to support the guys and be there, stay professional and stay ready."


Suns G Brandon Knight may have reinjured ankle, doubtful for Monday
(1:02 am ET) Suns guard Brandon Knight may have reinjured his ankle during Sunday's loss as coach Jeff Hornacek said he is doubtful for Monday in Portland, reports the ArizonaSports.com.

Although he had no noticeable limp, Knight was slow to get up after missing a layup late in the third quarter of Sunday's game and did not return.

Knight had missed the past eight games before Sunday with a sprained left ankle.


Rookie Nick Johnson sees more time due to Rockets' mounting injuries
(12:41 am ET) With the injuries mounting, coach Kevin McHale will continue to increase the minutes of rookie guard Nick Johnson, according to the Houston Chronicle

Johnson played for more than 16 minutes off the bench in the Rockets' win on Sunday, more than he had in the six games combined he's played in since Jan. 2. 

“Nick’s a guy we’re going to play some,” McHale said. “We’re going to have to. We’re down on bodies. I’m comfortable with Nick."


Doc Rivers not surprised Celtics traded PG Rajon Rondo
(3/29/2015) Former Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he was not surprised when point guard Rajon Rondo was traded to the Mavericks earlier this season, according to Boston.com.

Rivers coached Rondo for seven seasons before stepping down and taking over the Clippers in 2013.

"I didn’t know [if Rondo was going to be part of Boston's future]," Rivers said. "I think at the end of the day, it was more of a Rajon decision, in my opinion ... it was more his decision than [team president Danny Ainge) and the Celtics' staff."

The Celtics acquired forwards Jae Crowder and Brandan Wright, guard Jameer Nelson and a pair of future draft picks in the trade with the Mavs.

"I just think you get a feel for whether [Rondo] wanted to play it out [in Boston] or not, and when you're rebuilding you can't take that gamble of letting an asset out of the door and letting him become a free agent," Rivers said.


PF Markieff Morris posts 24 points in Suns' loss
(3/29/2015) Suns power forward Markieff Morris led his team with 24 points in a 109-97 loss to the Thunder on Sunday.

Morris also collected seven rebounds in the defeat.

G Russell Westbrook drops 33 points in Thunder's comeback victory
(3/29/2015) Guard Russell Westbrook provided 33 points, along with nine rebounds and seven assists, in the Thunder's 109-97 win against the Suns on Sunday.

Westbrook was 10 of 29 from the floor and also picked up three steals in the win.

 
 
 
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