Matchups for Monday, Jan. 14
All times Eastern.
Key: Opp. PPG = Points per game allowed to opponents. Opp. FGP = Field goal percentage allowed to opponents. RPG Diff. = The difference between team's rebounds per game and its opponents' rebounds per game.
Steve Blake, PG, Trail Blazers (calf)
Raymond Felton, PG, Bobcats (ankle)
Jason Kidd, PG, Nets (illness)
Andrei Kirilenko, PF, Jazz (back)
Vladimir Radmanovic, SF, Lakers (ankle)
Luke Ridnour, PG, SuperSonics (quadriceps)
Rajon Rondo, PG, Celtics (back)
Brandon Roy, SG, Trail Blazers (knee)
John Salmons, SG, Kings (illness)
Sasha Vujacic, PG/SG, Lakers (ankle)
Chris Wilcox, PF, SuperSonics (pinkie finger)
Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
Kirilenko is day-to-day for Utah with some inflammation. If he misses the game Monday, Milwaukee's Yi Jianlian is worth a start. Utah gives up a lot of points, and Yi might be a little too quick for Carlos Boozer and a little too big for anyone else Utah could use to defend him. Yi has been struggling lately, but this game could get him back on track. Make sure you have Kevin Martin starting for Sacramento. In his first game back from injury on Saturday, he scored 25 points in 28 minutes on only nine shots, so I think we can assume he is feeling fine. Dallas is a tough team, but Martin has proved he is an elite player. Of course, since he is returning from injury, we might see Martin's defense suffer a bit, so the Mavs' Jason Terry looks like a good start as well. If you're not starting Andrew Bynum every night at this point, it's probably a mistake. Even so, I'm expecting a particularly huge game out of Bynum against Seattle. He's coming off a tremendous performance against Milwaukee in which he had 25 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. He could eclipse even that against the Sonics, who don't seem to have enough of an inside presence to deal with both Bynum and Lamar Odom.
The Bobcats are dealing with injuries to pretty much every guard in their rotation right now, and if either Felton or Jeff McInnis is forced to miss time, reserve guard Matt Carroll might get enough minutes to be the effective scorer he was last season, when he averaged double-figures in points and made almost two 3-pointers per game. The Nuggets don't defend very well on the perimeter, so the opportunity is there for Carroll on Monday. With Blake listed as questionable and the Blazers facing Kidd, Roy could see more time at the point. That could end up freeing up some more minutes for James Jones, who shot the lights out from everywhere on the floor over his past five games (56 percent on 3s and 88 percent from the line). I'm extremely intrigued by Philly's Thaddeus Young, who has put together a couple of good games recently, including 16 points each in road games against the Lakers and Raptors. Given his size and scoring ability, he's a bit similar to another rookie, the Clippers' Al Thornton, who put up excellent numbers in two consecutive games against the Spurs. The Spurs seem to have trouble dealing with bigger small forwards who can score (and muscle Bruce Bowen), so the matchup could be favorable for Young to show what he can do. If you are in a keeper league and Young is available, pick him up. If Philly makes a trade in the coming weeks, it could free up a lot of minutes for Young, who has enough talent to contribute on a regular basis.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com