Matchups for Tuesday, Jan. 20
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.
Start 'em, sit 'em
The Hawks are struggling with both Al Horford and Marvin Williams out, and they'll have to rely on their core of Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Mike Bibby a little more than usual when they take on the Bulls. Look for JJ, Smith and Bibby to play a ton of minutes while Ronald Murray and Zaza Pachulia help to fill in for the injured Williams and Horford.
With Horford out of the paint, Drew Gooden should have his way with the undersized Hawks frontcourt. Gooden has had a few injury problems lately but is still averaging 16.3 points and 8.7 rebounds this month.
After a slow start, Luol Deng has regained his shooting touch and is averaging 16.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks since returning from an ankle injury last week. Activate him if you haven't already done so.
Since returning from a knee injury, Mike Dunleavy has averaged 16.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.7 3-pointers in 25.3 minutes per game. With those impressive per minute stats, Dunleavy should have no problem repeating last year's success once his conditioning is back up to speed.
Carmelo Anthony might be out, but you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at the Nuggets' 7-3 record over their past 10 games. The key to the Nuggets' success has been the leadership and defense of Chauncey Billups, who has really stepped up his game with 'Melo out and is averaging 22.5 points, 6.1 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.0 3-pointers this month. Billups should torch Beno Udrih and the Kings.
The Kings don't play much defense, so be sure to get all of your Nuggets, including J.R. Smith and Linas Kleiza, into your lineup.
John Salmons has seen his value dip slightly since Kevin Martin returned to action, but Salmons is still a valuable fantasy asset as he's averaging 16.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.8 3-pointers this month. Keep him active even though he's not as productive as he was earlier in the season.
The Timberwolves are playing their best basketball of the season, thanks mostly to a dominating stretch by Randy Foye. Foye has averaged 21.1 points, 4.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 3.0 3-pointers this month and is a must-start until further notice.
We all know Paul Millsap has put up great numbers with Carlos Boozer out, but don't forget about Mehmet Okur. With Millsap suffering from some injuries of his own, Okur has caught fire, averaging 21.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.6 3-pointers in January. Okur presents a tough matchup for the Wolves and should have another big game Tuesday. Millsap, meanwhile, is expected to play, but may be limited by a bruised knee.
T.J. Ford's nagging back injury has given Jarrett Jack an opportunity to stake his claim on the starting point guard job in Indiana. Ford has been on the court, but is clearly bothered by the injury, and Jack has earned 38.6 minutes over his past five games compared to Ford's 25.3 minutes. During that time, Jack has averaged a serviceable 11.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.2 steals. The Sacramento Kings are just about ready to go into a full-blown youth movement and they may have already begun, inserting rookie Jason Thompson into the starting lineup. Thompson is averaging 10.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 0.9 steals as a starter and is looking like a good long-term investment for fantasy owners. Take a good, long look at Rodney Carney in Minnesota, as he has surpassed Rashad McCants as the first option off the bench, and is outplaying Mike Miller as the long distance shooter the Wolves coveted. Carney is averaging 17.0 points, 2.8 3-pointers and a steal over his past four games and just might be able to keep his spot as long as the Timberwolves continue to play well. Another option in Minnesota might be Sebastian Telfair, who is starting at the point and averaging 11.6 points, 5.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.4 3-pointers over his past five games. Telfair has been doing a solid job of getting everyone involved in Minny, and he has a strong hold on the starting job for the time being.
Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.