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Fantasy hoops outlook

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For the last week of the season, C.J. Watson and Courtney Lee look like excellent starters.

Just three days left in the regular season! For my abbreviated Week 25 outlook, there are five top pickups who might be able to put you over the hump.


One game: LAL, NY

1. Los Angeles Lakers (1 game: Utah)2. New York Knicks (1 game: New Jersey)3. Philadelphia 76ers (2 games: Boston, @Cleveland)4. Charlotte Bobcats (2 games: @New Jersey, @Orlando)5. New Orleans Hornets (2 games: @Houston, @San Antonio)

1. Phoenix Suns (2 games: Memphis, Golden State)2. Toronto Raptors (2 games: @Washington, @Chicago)3. San Antonio Spurs (2 games: @Golden State, New Orleans)4. Boston Celtics (2 games: @Philadelphia, Washington)5. New Jersey Nets (2 games: Charlotte, @New York)

1. C.J. Watson (Warriors)

Watson has been a solid backup for most of the season, but he was recently promoted to the starting lineup due to injuries to Jamal Crawford and Monta Ellis. He's responded by averaging 21.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.8 steals on 51% FG and 100% FT shooting over his past 4 games. On Saturday alone, he dropped a career-high 38 points and 9 dimes on 16-16 FT shooting against Deron Williams and the Jazz. He's more of a scorer than a passer, but the excellent steals and free throw shooting are no fluke. For the season, he's averaging 1.24 thefts in just 23.9 minutes (1.9 per 36 minutes), and has made 88.1% of his shots from the charity stripe. If you need guard help, Watson might be your best option right now.

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2. Michael Beasley (Heat)

The No. 2 pick from the '08 draft has had a rather disappointing season thus far, but he's peaking at the right time for Miami. Beasley was recently moved into the starting lineup with Udonis Haslem out, and he's responded by averaging a whopping 42.3 minutes, 25.3 points, 12.7 rebounds and even 1.3 threes on 56% FG shooting over his last 3 games. Since he's red-hot right now, expect Miami to continue giving him big minutes in hopes that he'll carry his strong play into the playoffs. Additionally, Jermaine O'Neal left Sunday's game with a strained calf and will surely rest more this week. If you need a power forward for the past two games, Beasley has been a beast.

3. Courtney Lee (Magic)

Lee has had a fine rookie season for Orlando, but it doesn't always show in his numbers. That's because his teammates take most of the shots, while he focuses on defense and only scores when his team needs him to. Well, you can expect an increased role over the next few days, because bothHedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis are currently nursing injuries. Since the Magic want to make sure those guys are healthy for the playoffs, Lee seems poised for a big week. He scored just 10 points in 43 minutes on Saturday, but he also contributed three assists, three steals and a pair of treys. If Watson is already gone, consider the rookie from Western Kentucky. And if Lee is already gone, look for his teammate Mickael Pietrus.

4. Luke Ridnour (Bucks)

After being a mere afterthought for most of the second half, Ridnour returned to the starting lineup on Saturday and exploded for 18 points and 8 assists in 41 minutes on a perfect 8-8 shooting from the field. Ramon Sessions moved to shooting guard to accomodate the veteran and Scott Skiles said that the two will both start over the final two games. So if you're looking for a sneaky source of assists, Ridnour might be your man.

5. The Phoenix youngsters

If you're in an ultra-deep league and all of the options above are taken, then it's time to dig a little deeper. After weeks of speculation, the Suns' starters finally rested on Saturday, as Grant Hill was the only veteran who played more than 20 minutes. With just two games left, expect that trend to continue, which means that guys like Jared Dudley, Robin Lopez and Goran Dragic are all worth considering for the final week if you're desperate for help. On Saturday alone, Dudley dropped four treys in 25 minutes, Lopez grabbed 11 boards and blocked one shot in 26 minutes, and Dragic dished out eight assists and made one three in 27 minutes. Phoenix easily has the best schedule this week (home games vs. the Grizzlies and Warriors), so don't overlook the youngsters out in Phoenix.

That's all folks!