There’s a full slate of NBA games tonight – 12 to be exact – so it’s important for fantasy basketball owners to keep an eye on all the players that could potentially sit out, such as the Spurs’ Tony Parker and the Jazz’s Gordon Hayward. Having a player in your lineup that doesn’t suit up could be detrimental to your hopes as we close out another week of head-to-head matchups.
» Parker (shin) says he’s going to take the court tonight vs. Portland and went as far as to say “I’ll fight Pop [to play].” Of course, what Parker says and what actually happens might not be left in his hands. Coach Popovich is notorious for sitting out his good/older players in order to let them get rest, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Parker become a last-minute scratch for the Spurs. Keep your eyes peeled for any additional info leading up to their 8:30 pm EST tip-off in San Antonio. If Parker doesn’t suit up it will increase the value of Manu Ginobili, as well as make Patty Mills an interesting streaming play. The 25-year-old Australian is averaging a respectable 7.8 points per game this season, but in his lone start he put up a massive 20-point, five-rebound, three-steal line. He’s available in 100 percent of ESPN.com fantasy basketball leagues.
» Fantasy owners have been lamenting the absence of Gordon Hayward (hip) from their lineups. The Jazz’s starting shooting guard has now missed three-consecutive games and it’s possible Friday night’s tilt with the Pistons could be his fourth. He missed this morning’s shootaround and has become a true game-time decision. Owners in weekly leagues will just have to chalk this one as a loss, but leagues with daily roster changes can only hope he returns tonight or tomorrow vs. the T-Wolves. If Hayward does indeed sit out, Alec Burks will once again be called into action. He has averaged 23.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in the three games replacing Hayward in the starting lineup. Even with his hot streak he’s somehow still available in 80 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Richard Jefferson (100 percent available) is also worth a look. The former Arizona Wildcat is averaging 16.3 points and 2.7 three-pointers in his last three games.
» Arron Afflalo, along with his 20.8 points per game, is expected to return tonight for the Magic after missing the last three games with a strained tendon in his foot. He was at the team’s shootaround this morning, which bodes well for his availability vs. the Bobcats. If you added Maurice Harkless while Afflalo was out, it is now safe to drop him.
Other Injury Notes:
Leandro Barbosa (shoulder) is expected to sit for the Suns’ game vs. the Mavericks tonight. Signed just a week ago, he had posted a 21-point game (in 30 minutes) on Monday prior to missing Wednesday’s game against the Lakers. He’s barely fantasy-relevant as it is, but if you added him and don’t need the roster space tonight, holding him for another day or two isn’t out of the question. … The Grizzlies’ Tony Allen (hand) will not play tonight, but it’s possible he returns next week at some point. Courtney Lee (96 percent available) and Mike Miller (99 percent available) have been getting extended minutes in his absence, with the former being the fantasy player you’d want to own right now. … Trevor Ariza has been battling the flu — and was apparently dealing with the ailment when he logged 35 minutes in Wednesday’s game vs. the Heat – but that won’t stop him from suiting up tonight. He was at Wizards’ shootaround and should be in all fantasy lineups as he continues to enjoy a breakout season. … The Knicks expect Amar’e Stoudemire (ankle) out at least two weeks and Kenyon Martin (ankle) to miss a few games. Andrea Bargnani (35 percent available) has a chance to shine again after enduring a prolonged slump, and (believe it or not) Jeremy Tyler (100 percent available) could see extra minutes for as long as the Knicks need the frontcourt help.