Here's a quick run-down of need-to-know info as we prepare for Week 7 of the fantasy basketball season:
Also see: NBA Injuries
Week 7 Pickups/Plug-ins
Don't hesitate to sit your studs during two-game weeks - this week Boston's big three (is it four now?) and Denver's big names are only going to do so much for you. As is true in all fantasy sports, chase the numbers, not the names. Also see: Thursday's Big Picture and Basketball Monster's ease rankings.
• Luke Ridnour - he's showed some signs of life recently (13.7 points, 1.7 threes, 5.7 assists, 2.3 steals over the past three) and his Week 7 schedule couldn't be friendlier for PG stats (@PHO, @GSW, IND).
• Trevor Ariza - Ariza is once again a very solid plug-in. He's been getting it done over the past few weeks (10.9 points, 6 boards, 3.4 assists, 2 steals over the past 8) and the Lakers have a nice four-game slate (@SAC, PHO, SAC, MIN).
• Kelenna Azubuike - when it comes to Don Nelson, we can only speculate, but 41 surplus minutes need to be accounted for somewhere if Stephen Jackson's hand injury is indeed serious. The Warriors have a four-game week, so consider Azubuike and C.J. Watson (Brandan Wright? Anthony Morrow?) as plug-ins.
• Matt Bonner - he's starting for now (12.5 points, 1.8 threes, 7 boards over the past four) and the Spurs have a nice four-game schedule (@DAL, ATL, @MIN, OKC).
• Jose Juan Barea - injuries have created an opportunity for Barea and he's responded well, averaging 14 points on 50 percent shooting and 5.6 assists in 27 minutes over the past five games. Even if he doesn't remain in the starting five when everyone gets healthy, he's clearly playing his way into a steady rotation spot.
• Chris Wilcox - Wilcox has been poor at best since joining the starting five (7.8 points, 3.5 boards) thanks in large part to foul trouble (4.3 fouls in 22 minutes), but the Thunder have one of the better schedules for the upcoming week (GSW, MEM, @DAL, @SA) so he's at least worth a look if they keep sending him out for the opening tip.
Week 7 Sit/Start Situations
• Carlos Boozer - Boozer has now missed 10 straight games, but is confident that he'll be back in the lineup sometime this week. The Jazz play three times and he's no lock to be ready to go on Tuesday, however, so you'll want to explore all of your options here.
• Elton Brand - Brand has missed the past two games with a right hamstring strain but, after three off days, is likely to be back in the lineup on Wednesday. What is also worth noting when making your lineup decision is that the 76ers face the Cavs - among the league's best defensive teams - for two of their three games this week.
• Al Horford - the latest we have on Horford is that all indications were that he was good to go on Saturday until Mike Woodson got a look at him in warm-ups. His ankle injury isn't considered serious and the Hawks have Sunday and Monday off, so he's only a slight downgrade for the week.
• Stephen Jackson - bench him. He's set for a Sunday MRI on his left hand that he described as "Not good at all" and said that "Any time I get hit on it, I get affected by it the rest of the game."
• Kevin Martin - Martin had to leave Saturday's game because of soreness in his injured left ankle; he's day-to-day and has made just 8-of-27 shot attempts (30 percent) in two games since being re-activated, so I'd give him another week on the bench.
• Mike Miller - the T-Wolves are hopeful that two days off (Sunday/Monday) allow Miller to return to the lineup, but his right ankle sprain is still "tender and sore" as of this point. The T-Wolves also have some tough matchups among their four games (UTA, SA, @LAL) so you'll want to downgrade Miller a good bit.
• Nate Robinson - the Knicks are going to be cautious with Robinson in the wake of his Friday setback, so it doesn't bode well for his status this week that two of the team's three games come via a back-to-back on Tuesday/Wednesday. Keep him on the bench for at least another week.