Matchups for Tuesday, April 8
All times are ET.
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.
Richard Hamilton, SG, Pistons (hip)
Yi Jianlian, SF/PF, Bucks (knee)
Joel Przybilla, C, Blazers (hand)
Jerry Stackhouse, SG/SF, Mavericks (groin)
Sebastian Telfair, PG, Timberwolves (ankle)
Martell Webster, SG/SF, Blazers (heart)
Ronnie Brewer, SG, Jazz (groin)
Drew Gooden, PF, Bulls (abdominal)
Chris Kaman, C, Clippers (ankle)
Corey Maggette, SG/SF, Clippers (hamstring)
Brad Miller, C, Kings (leg)
Paul Pierce, SG/SF, Celtics (personal)
Mickael Pietrus, SG/SF, Warriors (groin, hamstring)
Quentin Richardson, SG/SF, Knicks (concussion)
Tim Thomas, SF/PF, Clippers (Achilles)
Beno Udrih, PG, Kings (back)
Gerald Wallace, SF/PF, Bobcats (groin)
Luke Walton, SF, Lakers (hamstring)
Mo Williams, PG, Bucks (abdomen)
Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
With news that Sebastian Telfair is possibly out for the season -- and in reality, you can change that to "probably" -- Marko Jaric has once again been a hot pickup (+19.5 percent ownership for the week). Jaric has actually been playing out of his mind since the All-Star break (47.4 percent from the field, 42.5 percent from beyond the arc and cutting his turnovers from 2.1 per game to 1.1), so ride the gravy train as his minutes shoot into the high 30s and his steals pile up. It's just three games, but since Jermaine O'Neal has returned, the Pacers' defense has improved (92.6 points allowed per game). Yes, it's a small sample size, and yes, they played the Heat in one of the games, but just as important is that the Pacers have not run as much as their 96 possessions per game (third) this season would dictate. On a busy NBA day, keep that in mind and don't count on extra possessions to boost stats of players like Marvin Williams and Josh Childress. It is relatively obvious, and it might be a fair bit of overanalyzing, but be sure to start David West against the Jazz. While the Jazz have improved defensively as the season has gone on, they are a weak road team and like to run (ninth in the league in possessions per game). They also foul more than any other team in the NBA, so West should get to the line plenty (where he shoots better than 84 percent), especially when you consider road teams often get fewer calls. Al Thornton might not be efficient, but chances are he has 20-plus points in the cards, at least against the Nuggets. The Nuggets have been sliding defensively -- they're now ninth in defensive efficiency -- and Kenyon Martin is no longer a positive defensive presence. Chris Kaman is probably more likely to sit out the rest of the season than suit up again with nothing to play for. Corey Maggette is now injured and might do the same, and Tim Thomas is still hobbling as well. In three previous games against the Nuggets this season, Thornton has averaged 18.7 points despite getting fewer than 23 minutes per game.
Drew Gooden could return this week but it seems more likely he won't play for the rest of the season, which opens up some opportunities for other Bulls, especially against the lowly Heat. It's hard to expect anything but a blowout when a team faces the Heat, and while odd box scores often result during blowouts, expect Larry Hughes, who has played well recently, to see minutes and do well. Joakim Noah also is a decent utility option, as he's averaging nearly 37 minutes per game in his past four games. Nate Robinson has returned from a knee injury, and after a couple games to get up to speed, he had 23 points and five assists last Friday, and then followed it up with 12 points, eight boards and five dimes Sunday. And though the Pistons have a tendency to stifle fantasy production, Robinson is coming off the bench (meaning he's more likely to stay in for garbage time) and the Pistons are playing their bench players a lot, too. Speaking of the Pistons playing a lot of their bench, Rodney Stuckey is a showcase of that. In his past three games, Stuckey is averaging 20 points in 30 minutes, getting to the line eight times per game. That latter number (and the steals he contributes) will keep his fantasy game consistent since he doesn't shoot the 3. The Celtics have been blowing out teams and resting their starters, and the rest of their schedule (after facing the Bucks on Tuesday, they face the Wizards, Bucks, Hawks, Knicks and Nets to close the season) is soft enough for them to keep it up. Enter Leon Powe, who is averaging 14 points and eight rebounds in three April games (23 minutes per game). If he can stay out of foul trouble, he should have a nice game against the Bucks, who are second to last in defensive efficiency and have Charlie Villanueva defending power forwards. The Grizzlies face off against the Suns, which, if you've been paying attention, instantly means one thing: an insanely high-scoring game. Consider Juan Carlos Navarro your one-stop shop for 3s; he has averaged nearly 36 minutes and shot eight 3-pointers in two games against the Suns this season, including a 23-point performance in February that included six 3-pointers. The season-ending hand fracture to Joel Przybilla further helps Travis Outlaw's quest for more playing time because Outlaw can get more time at power forward (it helps that Martell Webster is also out). Despite a stinker against the Spurs in his last game, Outlaw is still averaging 36 minutes in his past six games, yet is still available in 55 percent of leagues.
Adam Madison is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com