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Week 10 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em

Fantasy Writer
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I hate to keep writing about injuries. If I had my druthers, all we would be talking about is how everyone is healthy and happy and nobody ever loses a Fantasy matchup!

Unfortunately, Fantasy owners are coping with the loss of two more star-level players. It was almost three, but we were spared another Bradley Beal injury after an MRI revealed just a bone bruise.

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Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and Hawks center Al Horford weren't quite as lucky, as both are now out for long stretches of time. Horford is almost certainly out for the remainder of the season with a torn pectoral, while Westbrook won't be back until at least the All-Star break after undergoing his third knee surgery in eight months.

The Thunder have a natural replacement for Westbrook in Reggie Jackson, the team's previous sixth man. He fits the Westbrook mold as an aggressive offense-oriented point guard, though that description sells Westbrook much more short than Jackson, who isn't nearly the passer Westbrook is. Jackson underwhelmed as a starter earlier in the season, averaging just 8.5 points and 4.3 assists per game prior to Westbrook's return, but he acquitted himself well when pressed into duty last postseason. He averaged 15.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game as a starter in those nine playoff games. He should be able to step up as a solid Fantasy option from Day 1.

If the Thunder have an obvious replacement for Westbrook in Jackson, the Hawks are left without many answers in Horford's absence. Horford's unique skill set almost guarantees this, as he has made the transition from stretch power forward to high usage center beautifully. A 31-year-old rookie -- Pero Antic -- might be able to provide some of Horford's floor spacing on offense, but the team is going with Elton Brand as the starter, likely for his ability to replicate Horford's defensive impact despite being undersized. Brand has seen his scoring average shrink in three straight seasons and is unlikely to make any kind of Fantasy impact at 34, with 30,000-plus NBA minutes under his belt.

Owners of both Horford and Westbrook aren't going to have an easy time replacing that production, but they can take solace in knowing many of their league-mates are dealing with similar issues of their own. Let's just hope we can get through Week 10 (Dec. 30-Jan. 5) without losing anyone else.

(All stats up to date through Dec. 27 games)

Atlanta Hawks

The Horford injury is going to have reverberations throughout the Hawks' rotation, and it is hard to say exactly how this is going to work out. As mentioned previously, there is no natural replacement for Horford's skill set, so the best option may be to lean more heavily on Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague. Both players are already posting career-high usage rates, so it is fair to wonder whether their efficiency will take a hit with a heavier scoring burden. Either way, this is unlikely to be a great week to find out, with three top-10 defenses on the way. Given the likelihood of more shots, I would say Teague, Millsap and Kyle Korver are high-end options despite the schedule, but I want to see how the rest of the rotation shakes out before jumping on anyone else.

Schedule:Schedule: @BOS, GS, @CHI
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 30th
10-team starters: Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Shelvin Mack, Lou Williams, DeMarre Carroll, Pero Antic, Elton Brand

Boston Celtics

Avery Bradley has been running hot recently, shooting better than 50.0 percent from the field in the month of December. As a result, he is averaging a robust 16.1 points per game, a number that climbs to 18.0 over the last four games. Unfortunately for Fantasy purposes, he needed to maintain that kind of elite scoring just to remain a starting option, given how little else he does. Even while averaging 18.0 points per game over the last five games, he is putting up just 26.0 Fantasy points in that span, a mark that would rank just 38th among guards for the season. Given four games on the schedule, he is still more of a No. 3 guard in most Fantasy formats.

Schedule: ATL, @CHI, NO, @OKC
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 17th
10-team starters: None
12-to-14-team starters: Jordan Crawford, Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger
Deep-league fliers: Brandon Bass

Brooklyn Nets

I still believe in Andray Blatche, but any Fantasy owner who picked him up in the wake of Brook Lopez's injury can't be happy. Blatche scored just 18 points in the first two games following Lopez's injury, and then left the team to deal with a personal issue. He is expected to be out at least until the team returns from its current road trip, leaving him with just one chance to play this season, so he can be safely benched in Week 10. But I wouldn't give up on his potential just yet; he is definitely worth a spot on most rosters.

Schedule: @SA, @OKC, CLE
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 29th
10-team starters: Deron Williams
12-to-14-team starters: Joe Johnson
Deep-league fliers: Andray Blatche, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Mirza Teletovic, Miles Plumlee

Charlotte Bobcats

The loss of Jeff Taylor hasn't had much of an impact on the Bobcats' rotation, as the team has opted to just give stars Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson ever more shots. This is an exceptionally top heavy offense, with Walker, Jefferson and Gerald Henderson taking 57.8 percent of the team's field goals over the last five games. Given the glacial pace this team prefers to play at, there isn't much to like here, even with four solid matchups on the way.

Schedule: @UTA, @LAC, @POR, @SAC
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 2nd
10-team starters: Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson
12-to-14-team starters: Gerald Henderson
Deep-league fliers: Josh McRoberts, Ramon Sessions

Guards we like for Week 10
Player Own/Start
1. Kyle Korver, Hawks 78/57
2. D.J. Augustin, Bulls 58/26
3. Tim Hardaway Jr., Knicks 16/5
4. Nick Young, Lakers 74/53
5. Tony Allen, Grizzlies 39/18
6. Avery Bradley, Celtics 57/25
7. Jeremy Lin, Rockets 95/44
8. Darren Collison, Clippers 13/2
9. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks 54/17
10. J.J. Barea, Timberwolves 10/2

Chicago Bulls

D.J. Augustin has been surprisingly productive for the Bulls, and that continued Wednesday, even after Kirk Hinrich's return from a back injury. The question now is whether he can sustain this success with Hinrich around moving forward. Given how Chicago used Hinrich and an undersized Nate Robinson together last season, it isn't out of the question to think that Augustin could continue producing. For whatever Hinrich brings to the table, he isn't much of a play maker, whereas Augustin is thriving recently, at least relative to expectations. With four games on the schedule for Week 10, Augustin could be worth using as a No. 4 guard in many Fantasy leagues; I like him better than Hinrich, at least.

Schedule: @MEM, TOR, BOS, ATL
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 23rd
10-team starters: Joakim Noah, Luol Deng
12-to-14-team starters: Carlos Boozer
Deep-league fliers: Mike Dunleavy, Jimmy Butler, D.J. Augustin, Taj Gibson, Kirk Hinrich

Cleveland Cavaliers

I advocated for it on Friday's podcast, so I am very happy to see the Cavaliers essentially parting ways with Bynum in recent days. The guy reportedly worked hard to get back into playing shape, but he just isn't the same player that was once the league's pre-eminent low-post force. Despite shooting just 41.9 percent from the field, the Cavaliers were still wasting 23.2 percent of their possessions by having Bynum as an offensive focal point. His absence will only mean good things for Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson, even if their pedestrian stat lines Saturday don't show it. I would be starting both players this week, even with a pair of tough matchups against the Pacers on the way.

Schedule: @IND, ORL, @BKN, IND
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 24th
10-team starters: Kyrie Irving
12-to-14-team starters: Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson
Deep-league fliers: Anderson Varejao, Jarrett Jack, C.J. Miles, Earl Clark

Dallas Mavericks

We're still waiting for Brandan Wright to show up and wrest the starting center spot away from a series of lesser suitors. Until that happens, this is a pretty boring team from a Fantasy perspective, with a couple of high-usage scorers hogging the spotlight.

Schedule: @@MIN, @WAS, LAC, NY
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 9th
10-team starters: Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis
12-to-14-team starters: Jose Calderon, Vince Carter
Deep-league fliers: Brandan Wright, Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair, Shawn Marion

Denver Nuggets

Kenneth Faried has been dealing with an ankle injury in recent days, which is only exacerbating a dreadful situation. Fantasy owners are still clinging to the possibility that he will find himself, but coach Brian Shaw's disinterest in using him is pretty clear at this point; Anthony Randolph is playing nearly as many minutes as Faried over the last five. Hanging on to Faried in the hopes that he finds himself is fine, but I cannot recommend starting him in any Fantasy formats at this point, which is a shame with such a good schedule on the way.

Schedule: MIA, PHI, MEM, @LAL
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 4th
10-team starters: Ty Lawson, Wilson Chandler
12-to-14-team starters: JJ Hickson
Deep-league fliers: Kenneth Faried, Timofey Mozgov, Andre Miller, Randy Foye, Nate Robinson

Detroit Pistons

Rodney Stuckey had been an integral part of the Pistons offense for much of the season's first two months, but a shoulder injury has derailed him recently. He has scored in double figures just once over the last three games, and has seen a significant decrease in his role -- averaging just 22.3 minutes per game in that span. With just two games on the way, Stuckey is very much a sit-able player for Week 10.

Schedule: WAS, MEM
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 29th
10-team starters: Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, Brandon Jennings
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum, Kyle Singler

Golden State Warriors

Harrison Barnes is certainly better than his recent play, but we're reaching a point where he isn't even a useful low-end starting option for Fantasy purposes. Barnes is averaging just 7.0 points per game over the last five, while shooting a paltry 28.2 percent from the field. Given how much he struggles to create on his own, the Warriors' lack of a solid second point guard is really causing him problems. Even with four games and a solid schedule, I don't trust the second-year pro.

Schedule: @ORL, @MIA, @ATL, @WAS
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 12th
10-team starters: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee
12-to-14-team starters: Andre Iguodala
Deep-league fliers: Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut

Houston Rockets

Patrick Beverley's injury luckily came right as Jeremy Lin was healthy enough to return, which is a good thing for the Rockets. While Aaron Brooks can score decently enough, too much of him is never a good thing for an offense. Lin is averaging 17.0 points and 4.0 assists per game since returning from his back injury, and is safe to start in absolutely all formats. The same goes with anyone else in the starting lineup, though with two games, Terrence Jones remains more of a deep-league option.

Schedule: SAC, NY
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 26th
10-team starters: James Harden, Dwight Howard, Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin
12-to-14-team starters: Terrence Jones
Deep-league fliers: Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi

Indiana Pacers

Danny Granger is still owned in 85 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, and was even started in 17 percent of them last week. This just isn't sound policy. Yes, the Pacers need some scoring punch in their second unit, but I don't see any way this team is going to give Granger the kind of shots he needs to be successful. Sure, keep him on your roster in the event he finds his former All-Star form. But even facing the league's best schedule in Week 10, there is no argument to be made for starting Granger in any Fantasy formats. Two other Pacers are struggling with their games recently, as starters Roy Hibbert and George Hill are bother averaging below double figures in scoring over the last five games. I would still feel okay starting Hibbert in a category-based league, but Hill's season-long struggles make him more of a 12-to-14-team option against a strong schedule.

Schedule: CLE, @TOR, NO, @CLE
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 1st
10-team starters: Paul George, Lance Stephenson, David West
12-to-14-team starters: George Hill, Roy Hibbert
Deep-league fliers: Luis Scola, C.J. Watson, Danny Granger

Los Angeles Clippers

Now that Jamal Crawford is starting in place of the injured J.J. Redick, this team's bench is barren. Though backup point guard Darren Collison is seeing decent run recently, he is averaging just 17.6 Fantasy points per game over the last five. This is a solid enough week with four games, but you already know who to start from this roster, regardless of the schedule.

Schedule: PHO, CHA, @DAL, @SA
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 15th
10-team starters: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford
12-to-14-team starters: Jared Dudley
Deep-league fliers: Darren Collison

Los Angeles Lakers

So much for the Kendall Marshall era. I touted the D-League pickup's possible virtues in last week's column, but Jordan Farmar's prompt return made sure there isn't anything worth looking at with Marshall. Farmar, on the other hand, probably has to be considered something close to a must-add Fantasy option as he works his way back into shape. As the only point guard on the roster able to walk or dribble right now, Farmar is going to get as much playing time as his tender hamstring can handle. I will stop short of calling Farmar a must-start Fantasy option, but it wouldn't surprise me if he became just that soon; that term neatly fit Steve Blake before suffering his own elbow injury. In a 12-team league, Farmar is already worth using as a No. 3 guard.

Schedule: MIL, UTA, DEN
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 19th
10-team starters: Nick Young
12-to-14-team starters: Jordan Farmar, Jodie Meeks,
Deep-league fliers: Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson, Jodie Meeks, Chris Kaman, Pau Gasol, Jordan Hill

Memphis Grizzlies

Mike Conley has struggled badly with his shot recently, but it is hard to blame him much for that. He is sooting just 23.3 percent from the field over the last five games, leading to a paltry 8.7 points per game average that ranks just fifth on this offensively-challenged team in that span. Still, when you look at the players he takes the floor with, it is understandable that Conley might wilt occasionally under the constant pressure. His track record shows that Conley is much better than this, and I wouldn't even think about benching him this week, despite the struggles.

Schedule: CHI, @PHO, @DEN, @DET
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 13th
10-team starters: Mike Conley, Zach Randolph
12-to-14-team starters: Tony Allen
Deep-league fliers: Kosta Koufos, Ed Davis, Jerryd Bayless, Mike Miller

Forwards we like for Week 10
Player Own/Start
1. Glen Davis, Magic 79/52
2. Markieff Morris, Suns 64/28
3. Xavier Henry, Lakers 25/8
4. Tristan Thompson, Cavaliers 96/78
5. Wilson Chandler, Nuggets 83/57
6. Danny Green, Spurs 45/23
7. Terrence Jones, Rockets 81/31
8. Ersan Ilyasova, Bucks 70/10
9. Khris Middleton, Bucks 78/44
10. Tobias Harris, Magic 89/57

Miami Heat

There is little Fantasy intrigue with this roster, so we have to dig pretty deep for anything interesting. For instance, Mario Chalmers is one Flagrant foul away from being hit with a one-game suspension, so that is something to keep an eye on in the 60-percent of CBSSports.com leagues where Chalmers is owned. Barring injury, you know the rest here.

Schedule: @DEN, GS, @ORL, TOR
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 18th
10-team starters: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Michael Beasley

Milwaukee Bucks

Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova made their returns from injuries this weekend, which is going to make this team a headache moving forward. Sure, Khris Middleton is scoring the ball well for now, but what happens when shots that were going his way suddenly find their way into the hands of Ersan Ilyasova? I haven't been too keen on many Bucks recently, and their crowded rotation only makes it worse. EVen breakout Fantasy star John Henson is a risky play this week, given the crowded situation, as well as some minor injury issues he is dealing with.

Schedule: @LAL, @UTA, @PHO
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 7th
10-team starters: Brandon Knight
12-to-14-team starters: John Henson
Deep-league fliers: Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, Giannis Antetokounmpo, O.J. Mayo, Khris Middleton, Nate Wolters

Minnesota Timberwolves

Ricky Rubio's offensive struggles have opened minutes up for J.J. Barea, who is enjoying one of his best stretches of the season recently. Of course, that comes out to just 11.4 points and 4.6 assists per game, numbers that have him just as a low-end Fantasy option in deeper leagues, though that is an improvement on the team's woeful depth otherwise. At this point, Rubio is probably no longer a must-start option either, at least until he figures out how to score more than a handful of points on terrible shooting percentages; no amount of assists can make up for his 22.5 percent mark over the last five games.

Schedule: DAL, NO, OKC
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 10th
10-team starters: Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic
12-to-14-team starters: Kevin Martin
Deep-league fliers: Corey Brewer, J.J. Barea

New Orleans Pelicans

It took a while, but Tyreke Evans has finally found a real comfort zone with the Pelicans. He is averaging 19.0 points, 9.5 assisted and 8.0 rebounds per game over the last five games, despite dealing with a troublesome left ankle that has to be bothering him still. Evans is thriving as the first option on the second unit, but has also surpassed Eric Gordon in minutes played over the last five. Start him with utter confidence in all formats against a four-game schedule with some soft defenses, and steer clear of Gordon while he deals with a hip injury.

Schedule: POR, @MIN, @BOS, @IND
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 6th
10-team starters: Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson, Tyreke Evans
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Eric Gordon, Anthony Morrow, Jason Smith, Al-Farouq Aminu

New York Knicks

It is probably time we started paying attention to Knicks rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. He wasn't expected to be much of a factor in his first season, but he has emerged as one of the team's most effective options around the perimeter, averaging 13.6 points per game over the last five. Given the team's lack of athleticism and shooting, Hardaway should keep his role, which has already pushed him into low-end Fantasy reserve territory. Unfortunately, if he is to make a leap into starting territory, he will have to either up his scoring or start making some plays; even as his role has improved recently, Hardaway is averaging just 1.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists over the last five. I've got my eye on Hardaway, but he needs to do more before I'm slotting him into my starting lineup.

Schedule: @SA, @HOU, @DAL
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 14th
10-team starters: Carmelo Anthony,
12-to-14-team starters: J.R. Smith, Andrea Bargnani, Tyson Chandler
Deep-league fliers: Tim Hardaway Jr., Amar'e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert, Beno Udrih

Oklahoma City Thunder

Reggie Jackson is already owned in 80 percent of our leagues, so there's just a one-in-five chance you have a chance to add Westbrook's replacement. There will be other ripples throughout the Thunder's rotation, including a likely increase in Jeremy Lamb's role; he has already seen some extra time recently working as a primary ball handler, and will now become the first option off the bench. One player who is likely to see his value take a hit without Westbrook is Serge Ibaka, who famously disappeared in last year's playoffs after the injury. Ibaka has quietly struggled without Westbrook this season, averaging just 13.9 points per-36 minutes on 46.5 percent shooting with Westbrook off the floor, compared to 16.6 points per-36 minutes on 54.2 percent shooting with Westbrook setting him up. Ibaka will still do more than enough to justify his spot in your starting lineup, but brace for the slump that could be coming.

Schedule: POR, BKN, @MIN, BOS
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 3rd
10-team starters: Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Jeremy Lamb

Orlando Magic

The Magic have opted to play Tobias Harris and Glen Davis together recently, to the detriment of Andrew Nicholson, who has a DNP and is averaging just 14.7 minutes per game over the last five games. Given preseason expectations, this shouldn't be a huge surprise, but it is certainly disappointing for any Fantasy owners who thought they had some found money with Nicholson. I would still avoid Orlando and their crowded rotation, but the team seems to be settling into a consistent rotation, at least until the next injury.

Schedule: GS, @CLE, MIA
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 22nd
10-team starters: Nikola Vucevic, Arron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson
12-to-14-team starters: Victor Oladipo, Glen Davis, Tobias
Deep-league fliers: None

Philadelphia 76ers

The talk about playing more two-guard lineups appears to have been just that; talk. Tony Wroten played just 44 minutes combined in his first two games after Michael Carter-Williams' return. I wouldn't give up on Wroten just yet, but it seems clear he isn't going to be playing more than 25 or so minutes per game as long as MCW is healthy. Even with some really solid matchups on the way, Wroten is very difficult to rely on in Week 10, given his current role.

Schedule: @DEN, @SAC, @POR
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 17th
10-team starters: Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, Michael Carter-Williams, Thaddeus Young
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Tony Wroten, James Anderson

Phoenix Suns

This last week was a perfect example of why the Suns scare me for Fantasy purposes. With Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe surprisingly shooting less than ever over the last five games, the team spread the ball around to an almost absurd degree. Seven different players averaged double figures in scoring over the last 10 games, led by Gerald Green and his 15.0 per game. This squad spreads it around and shoots a ton of 3-pointers, so the scoring load will naturally be split on any given night. Unfortunately, this kind of still dooms many of their players to Fantasy limbo, since it is awfully difficult to know just who you can rely on at any one time. With just three games on the schedule for Week 10, I would still only trust Dragic and Bledsoe, who have the most well-defined roles.

Schedule: @LAC, MEM, MIL
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 27th
10-team starters: Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe
12-to-14-team starters: Miles Plumlee, Markieff Morris, Gerald Green
Deep-league fliers: Marcus Morris, Channing Frye

Portland Trail Blazers

Like many of the best teams Portland's team isn't exactly overflowing with Fantasy interest. Set rotations and a core of players you can actually, you know, rely on are nice bonuses for coaches, but they tend to make things pretty boring for Fantasy owners looking for help. You know who to start from the Blazers, and their top-heavy approach leaves little leftover for low-end guys, even with four games on the way.

Schedule: @NO, @OKC, CHA, PHI
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 6th
10-team starters: Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Robin Lopez, Mo Williams

Centers we like for Week 10
Player Own/Start
1. Jared Sullinger, Celtics 94/56
2. Anderson Varejao, Cavaliers 88/60
3. Larry Sanders, Bucks 84/24
4. Andrew Bogut, Warriors 94/75
5. Pero Antic, Hawks 3/1

Sacramento Kings

With Rudy Gay, Isaiah Thomas and DeMarcus Cousins taking 57.6 percent of the team's total field goals since the trade, this team is substantially less interesting than it otherwise might have been. After the Kings acquired Derrick Williams, the hope was that he would be freed to become a useful Fantasy option, but there really isn't any reason to think that at this point that will change. The Kings have some solid matchups this week, but only Thomas, Cousins and Gay should be in any lineups for Week 10.

Schedule: @HOU, PHI, CHA
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 14th
10-team starters: Isaiah Thomas, DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay
12-to-14-team starters: None
Deep-league fliers: Marcus Thornton, Derrick Williams, Jason Thompson, Ben McLemore

San Antonio Spurs

A move to the bench appears to have sparked Danny Green, who scored 14-plus points in two of the last three games; he had just five such games in the team's first 27. His playing time hasn't exactly been consistent since the move, but it also wasn't prior. This is just what happens when you are relying on players whose role is left up to the whims of Gregg Popovich. We probably need a bigger sample size, but it appears safe to begin using Green in category-based formats beginning in Week 10.

Schedule: BKN, NY, LAC
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 21st
10-team starters: Tony Parker, Tim Duncan
12-to-14-team starters: Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter, Manu Ginobili
Deep-league fliers: Danny Green, Marco Belinelli, Boris Diaw

Toronto Raptors

Kyle Lowry might be upset about the trade rumors swirling around him, but he isn't letting it impact his play. In fact, the notoriously moody point guard has been one of the better players in the league recently, flirting with triple-doubles and leading the team in scoring over the last five games. He is averaging 22.4 points, 9.2 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game in that stretch, and is clearly a must-start option for Week 10, even with some of the league's toughest defenses on the schedule..

Schedule: @CHI, IND, @WAS, @MIA
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 28th
10-team starters: DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, Kyle Lowry
12-to-14-team starters: Jonas Valanciunas
Deep-league fliers: Terrence Ross, Greivis Vasquez

Utah Jazz

Enes Kanter's production (17 points, 12 rebounds) Friday against the Clippers is a good example of why I can be talked into not giving up on him. The third-year big man is so obviously talented as a scorer, all he needs is the opportunity to succeed. Given that he is playing behind ill-fitting short-term pieces like Marvin Williams, it is only a matter of time before he is back to playing consistent minutes. Unfortunately, for Week 10, I'm still not touching him. I am also probably avoiding Alec Burks right now, as he has seen his scoring deep to 9.8 per game over the last five. If he isn't giving you consistent production in the mid-teens, it is hard to justify using Burks in most 12 or 14-team leagues.

Schedule: CHA, MIL, @LAL
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 20th
10-team starters: Gordon Hayward, Trey Burke
12-to-14-team starters: Derrick Favors
Deep-league fliers: Enes Kanter, Richard Jefferson, Marvin Williams, Alec Burks

Washington Wizards

Luckily, we avoided a third serious injury this week, as Bradley Beal's left knee injury suffered Friday proved to be a non-issue. His Fantasy owners have to be thrilled with that news, even if his production since coming back from a previous injury has been a bit lacking. He is still averaging 14.8 points per game in the last five games while shooting 60.0 percent from three-point range, but coach Randy Wittman is being very cautious about unleashing him for big minutes right now. Fantasy owners shouldn't share his cautious approach, however, with four solid matchups on the way this week. Beal remains well worth starting in the majority of formats this week.

Schedule: @DET, DAL, TOR, GS
Strength-of-schedule ranking: 5th
10-team starters: John Wall
12-to-14-team starters: Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Trevor Ariza, Nene, Marcin Gortat
Deep-league fliers: Trevor Booker

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Player News
Pelicans F Anthony Davis returns from wrist injury
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:43 am ET) Pelicans forward Anthony Davis was back from a wrist injury in Thursday's preseason game against the Mavericks.

Davis, who was three days removed from the injury, scored 13 points on 4 of 9 shooting, including 5 of 8 from the charity stripe. He added six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 21 minutes of work.


Learning triangle offense has been 'a struggle for Knicks' J.R. Smith
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) Knicks guard J.R. Smith told reporters that learning the triangle offense under coach Derek Fisher and influenced by president Phil Jackson has been "a struggle" for him, per ESPN New York on Thursday.

"Trying to think about the rest of the team over myself or my scoring is something that I never really had to do before," Smith said. "I've always been in a situation to score, [now I'm] in position to take my time and let the game come and let my teammates succeed more than myself, I think that's the ultimate win."


Report: Lakers' Steve Nash ruled out for season due to back issues
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) Steve Nash's career may be coming to an end. The 40-year-old has been ruled out for the entirety of the 2014-15 season due to recurring nerve issues in his back, according to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report on Thursday. The Lakers made an announcement shortly after the report. 

Before the season started, the Lakers point guard vowed to play one more season before retiring. In 2013-14, he was limited to 15 games due to the issue after injuring himself getting out of bad. During the preseason, he appeared to have aggravated the issue while carrying his luggage.

The eight-time NBA All-Star has career averages of 14.3 points, 8.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds over 18 seasons.


Report: Nets G Marquis Teague eyed by 76ers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) The 76ers have been discussing a trade with the Nets to acquire guard Marquis Teague, sources have told Yahoo Sports.

The 21-year-old Teague, who was selected by Chicago in the first round of the 2012 draft, averaged 2.7 points in 11 minutes per game last season with the Bulls and Nets.


Report: Cavs likely to start Varejao over Thompson
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) Early speculation that Tristan Thompson would start at center for the Cavaliers and energetic teammate Anderson Varejao would come off the bench has been refuted by the News Herald, which is claiming that the latter is all but set to start.

Both players have performed well in the preseason. Varejao however, is a favorite of LeBron James, who praised the Brazilian upon his return to Cleveland from Miami.

"He's the same Andy," James said. "If you ask him to run through six walls, he'll run through seven. He'll fight for every loose ball. He'll dive on the floor. He'll set screens. He'll help you out when you get knocked down. If any altercation happens, Andy will be right there. We just need him to stay healthy."

There's the rub. Varejao has lost 166 games to injury over the last four years. That constitutes more than half the games during that stretch.


Report: Sixers eyeing Nov. 13 return date for Carter-Williams
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) The 76ers have reportedly targeted a date for the return of point guard and reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams. They are eyeing the Nov. 13 game at Dallas, a league source has told CSNPhilly.com.

Carter-Williams has spent the entire preseason recovering from shoulder surgery. There had been speculation about him being ready for the opener, but that has been quashed.

He exploded onto the scene last season and averaged 16.7 points, 6.3 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game.


Heat face decision on Norris Cole
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) Heat president Pat Riley claims the team will "make the right decision" in regard to the future of point guard and 2011 top draft pick Norris Cole, but did not elaborate on what that decision would be.

Cole is still playing under his rookie contract and must be offered a rookie-scale extension by Oct. 31. After that cutoff date, any significant raise offer must wait until the offseason, when Cole would become a restricted free agent. The Heat have given no indication as to their plans.

"I'm not going to tell you right now, but I think we'll make the right decision," Riley told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Cole has received increased minutes in each of his three seasons with Miami. That trend could continue given the departure of LeBron James.


Celtics waive PF Erik Murphy
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) What had been anticipated is now official - the Celtics have waived power forward Erik Murphy.

Murphy played 62 minutes in 24 games for Chicago and Utah last season. He scored six points and blocked four shots.


Heat send three rookies packing
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) The Heat has waived rookie guards Tyler Johnson and Larry Drew, as well as rookie forward and Miami native Shawn Jones.

The moves were made well in advance of the Monday deadline to cut their roster down to 15 players.


Report: Cavs talk with Ray Allen's agent, but nothing imminent
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) The Cavaliers recently spoke with the agent of veteran shooting guard Ray Allen, according to Fox Sports, but the veteran has been quiet about his immediate future. It remains unknown if he will retire or remain active.

Allen averaged a career-low 9.6 points a game with the Heat last season after helping them win the NBA title the previous year.


 
 
 
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