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Fantasy Basketball: Wednesday's LOADED Preview

The last game of the night has the biggest question: Is Chris Paul going to return from his hamstring injury?
The last game of the night has the biggest question: Is Chris Paul going to return from his hamstring injury?

Yes, LOADED goes in caps for this edition. Tonight is the busiest night so far this season, so let's go over some guys that will be worth watching. If you're looking for a review from yesterday, then look no further than Pick-N-Roll last night.

Knicks at Cavaliers

Oh, Melo. Last night on PNR I said that Carmelo, Bargnani and Bosh have similar value in my eyes right now. The Knicks backcourt could be interesting with Baron Davis possibly making debut tonight. While Baron is a worthwhile add in most leagues because we all know about the upside of the D'Antoni point guard, owners in shallow leagues should probably take a wait-and-see approach. B-Diddy almost retired last year and he deal with a herniated disk in his back. Back issues tend to flare up as much as any other injury and owning Baron will come with plenty of headaches. Iman Shumpert is still a must-own asste in every sense of the phrase and Landry Fields has picked up a lot of steam in competitive formats.

The Cavs are one of the least relevant teams in fantays which helps explain why Kyrie Irving is becoming such a stud. The Knicks are prone to giving up some big games to point guards and Kyrie could have a career night. Jamison is coming off a rough stretch and could have a nice line tonight. While I'd like to suggest Jamison as a buy-low player, it's extremely important ot remember that his expiring contract could be dealt. Obviously, his value would take a major hit on a more talented team. Tristan Thompson is questionable tonight as well.

The rest of tonight's 13-game slate after the jump:

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Nets at 76ers

There's good news on MarShon Brooks. Brooks practiced today and the MRI on his Achilles was negative, so it looks like it appears to be a minor case of tendonitis. As a reference point, Andre Iguodala had Achilles tendonitis last year and miss three games, played for a month, then missed seven more last season. Iggy did injury his Achilles in a game, so it's comparing apples to oranges a bit. Even though the injury is worrisome, I'm one of Brooks' biggest fans and I won't be trading him away under almost circumstance. Damion James had season-ending surgery which sets up nicely for Anthony Morrow and he should be owned in almost any league as well.Memhet Okur will probably have a tough night tonight against the Sixers, but at least he's getting minutes. He has 28 MPG in his last five games, which would make him worth owning in most 12-team formats until Brook gets back in a few weeks.

It's a good thing that the Sixers have such incredible depth. They have been gutted at the five with both Spencer Hawes (Achilles) and Nikola Vucevic (knee) ailing and Tony Battie has been getting the starting nod. Battie has value in only shallow leagues. The big winner of the dearth at center has really been, umm, the whole team? Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, Jodie Meeks and Lou Williams have all stepped it up and have proved valuable in 12-team leagues or less. The Sixers have arguably the deepest team in the league, so the bad news is when there's depth, there comes inconsistency. Any player can go off on any given night and Doug Collins has a knack for identifying which players could propel his team to a win. Generally speaking, I would be looking to sell high on Sixers after a hot stretch (assuming no major injuries to their rotation).

Bobcats at Wizards

Derrick Brown earned his chance to start prior to Tuesday's tilt and made the most of it with a nice 15-point showing in 33 minutes. Brown should continue to start while DJA is on the mend is a a nice stop-gap option in deeper leagues. He doesn't shoot the three much, but should provide adequate D and points with the extra burn. Tyrus Thomas has yet to hit his stride this season. The good news is that he is playing 27.0 MPG and has 1.8 BPG and 1.5 SPG in that span. He's certainly worth owning and is a guy I wouldn't mind having on my team. Byron Mullens is showing lack of multi-cat production by failing to clear the five-board plateau. At least he had three blocks last night and I wouldn't cut him unless there is a promising player on the wire (feel free to check with me on comments or on Twitter). Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson should continue their strong campaigns in the absence of DJ. Henderson signed a fourth-year extension today, too.

The Randy Wittman eraa begins today. I'm sure you're thrilled. There isn't a whole lot to like here and owners shouldn't really be looking for changes like when Westphal was canned. The interesting aspects of including the perpetual position battle between Jordan Crawford and Nick Young, the Blatche drama and how the small forward minutes will be handled. Rashard Lewis has gained a little value in the past couple games based on his competition not stepping it up. Jan Vesely has really been held out of the plan with few plays going to him (as far as I know) and Chris Singleton has shown his lack of creating on the offensive end.

Heat at Pistons

The Mario Chalmers fast start looks to be just about done. His last three games have yielded just 1.0 3PM and 0.7 SPG. Those numbers figure to take an even bigger dive once Wade comes back from his ankle injury. 2-for-1 deals are the ticket in standard leagues and Chalmers would be a prime candidate to package away to get the best player in the deal. Dwyane Wade is likely out again and we can expect big games from LeBron and Bosh vs. the hapless Pistons. Since there are so many games tonight, most owners should have better options than any other Heat player.

The Pistons are shorthanded yet again with Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Will Bynum out of the lineup. Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey should continue their solid play and are pretty close to must-starts tonight. JonasJerebko has been underwhelming since his nice start and he should really be left for owners in deeper leagues with his limited upside. He should be able to overtake Ben Wallace for the starting gig sooner rather than later. However, it shouldn't be a major help to his value.

Pacers at Bulls

The Pacers have one of the more solid rotations in the league. Paul George hasn't seen the same remarkable production from the start of the season. George hit an astounding 2.7 3PM in his first seven games and has seen that number drop to just 1.6. He is still playing 31 MPG and is certainly going to be worth owning all year. Maybe his owner could part ways with him. Darren Collison had zero assists and his value is starting to bottom out in fantasy leagues. You'd think with a potent starting five he would average more than 5.2 APG.He still playing big minutes though and George Hill doesn't seem to be a threat for his spot in the starting lineup.

Luol Deng is out for a while with ligament damage to his hand. The obvious big winner here is Richard Hamilton. Rip is coming of an enormous 22-point, 10-dime, 42-minute gem from Monday and is almost a no-brainer start in all leagues. Ronnie Brewer's perimeter defense makes him a nice fill-in guy at the three and should be able to log some decent minutes. Brewer played 27 minutes to Kyle Korver's 24, but I'd personally prefer Korver as a guy to own fo rhis three-point upside. Neither are worth starting tonight. Joakim Noah has built a nice little run and certainly the loss of Deng could help his offense digitals. The same can be said for Carlos Boozer. Derrick Rose is a warrior and it's nice to see a player want to live up to his massive contract.

Bucks at Rockets

Shaun Livingston is getting the start at the two while Luc Richard Mbah a Moute will start at the four. Jackson is in the doghouse right now and he figures to dig himself out of it in the near future. I'd highly suggest sending out some low-ball offers since it's unlikely that his value will be any lower than its current worth. Brandon Jennings is tearing it up and is surprisingly ranked 10th in eight cat.

The Rockets are starting to figure things out now that Courtney Lee is over his calf injury.Chandler Parsons is starting to get consitent minutes for the Rockets. The sad part is that his numbers do not complement those minutes with only 5.6 PPG and 6.4 RPG over 28.2 MPG in his last five games. I'd still hold out hope he'll get it together since he dones take threes. As for Courtney Lee, he seems to be a better player to own than Chase Budninger. Kyle Lowry--ranked fourth in eight-cat leagues-- is simply amazing and should have success tonight. Kevin Martin is currently the best player to own for FT% and Samuel Dalembert is ranked as the second-best center in eight-cat leagues over the last 15 days (Aldridge).

Hornets at Thunder

The Hornets power forward drama won't let up with Carl Landry recently picking up the pace. Jason Smith loses some of his luster and Chris Kaman is probably as good as gone once the he can be traded on March 1st. Eric Gordon is still going to be out for close to a month which should allow Trevor Ariza and Jarrett Jack to flirt with top-50 production.

Nick Collison is playing tonight with his ankle sprain. Serge Ibaka owners are thrilled.

Timberwolves at Mavericks

Michael Beasley is still out and Wes Johnson should return from his illness tonight. Despite Ricky Rubio tearing it up, Luke Ridnour keeps putting up numbers and should have some success tonight against the weaker NO backcourt D. The Minnesota C spot is a futile effort at this point in most leagues.

Shawn Marion has been en fuego lately and is coming off a 29-point explosion vs. Phoenix. He's a strong start. Lamar Odom should be a nice option as well. Jason Kidd has done nothing and he is another prime buy-low candidate for owners that are comfortable with their points category. Vince Carter is back to practicing in some capacity which means owners in deeper leagues of Delonte West might want to prepare for the sudden loss of production. Roddy Beaubois in very deep leagues, too.

Hawks at Spurs

Kirk Hinrich might be making his debut for the Hawks tonight and quite frankly, most owners could care less. Jeff Teague is shooting a very respectable 47 percent from the floor and has proved to be the 33rd-ranked eight-cat player so far. Teague owners should really just enjoy the ride. His backcourt mate Joe Johnson has been on a tear all year and currently boasts the number 12 ranking thanks to his 2.1 3PM per night and being the 11th-best player for FT% with his 89 percent at a 3.6 shots per night clip.Both Teague and Joe aren't likely going to be this good though. As for those of you wondering where Hinrich's minutes might come from, Willie Green was playing 16 MPG in his last five.

Marvin Williams has yet to match his early season surge since spraining his ankle (a Grade-1 sprain). A main reason is T-Mac is fairly healthy and they're essentially splitting minutes at the three (edge to Marvin). Marvin probably won't blow up until if/when McGrady goes down.

It might be a better idea to take a piss in the wind instead of figuring Pop's rotation. Hey, at least you can just wash your clothes, but that stench of swinging and missing on a Pop player won't come out with all the bleach in the world. The latest victim was Kawhi Leonard owners as sat on the bench for all but seven minutes on Monday. Leonard owners should really hang tight unless there's a hot commodity like James Johnson sitting on your wire. Tim Duncan is also coming off a big game by dropping in 11-of-19 to give him 28 points in 34 minutes. Duncan did sit out on Saturday and considering how well he responded to the rest should indicate there will be plenty more where that came from. Personally, I don't own any player on the Spurs on any team.

Raptors at Jazz

We discussed the Raptors at length on PNR. In summation, James Johnson is a must-add guy, Andrea Bargnani is a stud, the Raptors went small, Barbosa has been outplaying DeMar DeRozan, Linas Kleiza is on the rise, Ed Davis might as well be called Special Ed and Amir Johnson has taken some serious steps backwards. Coach Casey met with every player one-on-one and anything is possible. DeRozan is a nice buy-low option assuming you're getting him at a heavy discount.

Devin Harris sucks. He is reportedly on the block which makes Earl Watson an interesting stash player. Josh Howard is going to return tonight from his quad injury. Unfortunately, C.J. Miles owners should not be surprised with a dud. Miles has been heating up and it's certainly possible he can retain 24ish MPG.

Nuggets at Kings

Rudy Fernandez and Arron Affalo have been ruled out. Andre Miller and the rest of the Nuggets should have nice lines. The Nuggets last played Saturday and went with an incredible seven-man rotation to get the win at MSG.

Marcus Thornton is going to miss 1-to-2 weeks with his thigh injury. That should thrust Jimmer Fredette into some more minutes for the next couple weeks and he's worth owning in most competitive leagues. Donte Greene has also stepped it up and is worth watching. As for the frontcourt, it's a pretty ugly scenario. Jason Thompson and J.J. Hickson have not exactly taken the bull by the horns are both shouldn't be owned in almost any league. I would highly suggest grabbing Chuck Hayes for those that can afford to stash him (he's out tonight).

Trailblazers at Warriors

Raymond Felton is one of the biggest busts of the year and his owners might be hitting the panic button. I'd see how cheap they'd be willing to go.Marcus Camby needs to be added in competitive leagues after his five-block, 22-board eruption.

Stephen Curry is going to play tonight. Whether he sprains his ankle is questionable at best. I'll say this: GSW has a great playoff schedule, so it's not a crazy idea to see how low his price tag is right now. Of course we'll be watching Dorell Wright tonight and probably every night. He is going to be inconsistent all year and owners might want to dump him after a hot streak.

Clippers at Lakers

All eyes on Chris Paul's hammy. He is questionable, but the consensus is that he gives it a go. If your league locks your entire roster at the tip of the first game, I'd consider benching him with so many games tonight.

The Lakers have things pretty much figured out. Kobe, Bynum and Gasol are studs and theres' not much else to like from a fantasy perspective tonight.

Thanks for reading!