Today’s NBA targets breakdown looks at Wednesday’s 10-game slate, with an eye towards the studs, sleepers and mid-range players you want to consider scattering throughout your lineups.
Chris Paul vs. DEN ($9,700) – This is a matchup that should favor almost everyone involved. You would think this should be a game where the pace is up and there are more opportunities for everyone to succeed, and for the Clippers right now, Chris Paul basically is “everyone.” A great cash game option, he just controls too much of the flow of the game to end up with fewer than 35-40 fantasy points, a floor on par with the super-elite options in front of him. He has also shown his 60-70 point upside inside the past week and while that might not come out as often as it does with Curry and Westbrook, a consistent option with upside is someone to consider in any type of contest.
John Wall @ CHI ($9,300) – Wall is just the kind of explosive athlete that can give this defense fits as long as they continue to be without Jimmy Butler. Don’t let any season-long defensive stats for the Bulls fool you, Wall will be able to play around in the middle of this defense all night, looking for his own shot and creating for his teammates. He has had 48 or more fantasy points in three of four since the break, and I think tonight is going to end up as a continuation of that kind of hot streak.
Derrick Rose vs. WAS ($7,500) – I also really liked a few guys cheaper than Rose, like Reggie Jackson and Mike Conley, but how can you ignore what Rose is doing right now? He was one of the best players in the league not too long ago, and if he can continue this resurgence in the long-term, it’s almost scary to think about kind of matchup problems a Rose-Butler backcourt could present if ever at full strength. He is averaging just a hair under 40 DK FP in the three games since the break, and that 40-point threshold is the domain of players who cost $1,000 more than this. His price is inching up a bit more slowly than his value right now, assuming he stays on trend.
Patty Mills @ SAC ($4,600) – The Spurs are not easy to predict on a night-to-night basis, but Mills has been getting pretty consistent minutes, averaging just about 25 a night over any time frame that matters. And as his minutes have increased over what he got early on, his ability to take on more and more responsibilities has also increased – or maybe that’s the other way around? But he is getting more shots, playing with the ball in his hands a bit more, and it has shown in a very measurable way – more points, and more assists. He is a safe option in a cash game at this point, as long as you hold your expectations in check. He has flashed 40-fantasy-point potential, but as long as you expect 25 and hope for 30, you should go home happy in this one.
DeMar DeRozan vs. MIN ($7,300) – On a night where some of the top options at an already thin position are facing tough matchups, this could just be a sign to spend your money elsewhere. But DeRozan is getting 15+ shots, and up to 25, every single night. If anyone on the Raptors is going to score in a low-scoring game, it’s him and this year, he is finally doing juuuust enough of the other stuff (4 boards and 4 assists this year compared to career averages of 3.5 and 2 for his career) to turn every 25-point night into a solid fantasy outing.
Nicolas Batum ($7,200) – Batum is the other top option I would consider in this one because he is long enough that he should be able to get his shot off over Cleveland’s defense. And, he is one of only two real options on the Hornets, with the other being Kemba Walker. Walker will help deflect some of the perimeter defense, and they’ll both get all the looks (because who else?) so this might be an instance where the defensive ranking of the Cavs is a problem for these specific players on paper only.
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E’Twaun Moore vs. WAS ($5,400) – This is obviously a pick that has a lot more to do with opportunity than talent, but the opportunity is certainly there, and to his credit, Moore has taken advantage. He’s getting 30+ minutes a night with Butler’s absence, and while he cannot possibly fill the scoring void left behind (and anyway D-Rose is doing that), he is doing a lot of the other things Butler helped with, averaging 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal and a block every night. If you happen to fall into double-digit scoring on top of all that, you have a useful option at this price.
J.J. Redick vs. DEN ($5,000) – He might be the second most important player on the Clips lately, and from a fantasy perspective, what you really have to love to see is his three point attempts. He is making more than two three-pointers a night on average, a great way to boost the value of a player who is helping his team win by doing a lot of things that don’t necessarily show up in the box score. Well, this one does. And the opportunities should be even more widely available than usual against the Nuggets.
LeBron James vs. CHA ($9,600) – LeBron at this point in his career is more consistent than upside, but his consistent is other people’s upside. Follow that? He is consistently getting you right around 50 DK FP, night in and night out. He scores when his team needs him to, he rebounds, defends, distributes. He’s a cash-game staple, in part because the Cavs aren’t the Spurs, and even against the Hornets, they are going to need LeBron to do some LeBron stuff, like he always does, to get the win.
Paul George vs. NY ($8,600) – Paul George almost seems to thrive when the game get slowed down. When they are playing a team that likes to play solid D and keep the ball in front of them, Indiana’s offense becomes the Paul George show, and all the fantasy value consolidates in the guy with the best chance of scoring on every possession. And that should be exactly how this one plays out. I expect a minimum of 18 shot attempts for George in this one, and the way he has been playing lately, that’s a 40 DK FP floor.
Jeff Green vs. DEN ($5,100) – He has the size and length to really do a number on Gallinari on the defensive end, so I would expect to see him get plenty of run with his new team in this one. He might not be Blake, but until Griffin is back in action, he will be out there enough to contribute in very useful ways, especially at this price. He had 18-5-2 in 25 minutes the other night, and that kind of line is possible every time he is out there with this kind of defined role. How long that will continue is another story.
Justise Winslow vs. GS ($4,700) – He’s here almost just because it is so much fun to watch as a young player starts to come into his own. Once they get it and start playing with the aggressiveness you know they displayed at every level prior to this one – and get comfortable doing it – all of a sudden the sky is the limit. We don’t even know his ceiling yet, but I do know that when it finally surfaces, I want it on my fantasy roster. Right now his upside seems like 15-10 or so, and hoping for much more than that is unrealistic. But the thing is, you KNOW there is more than that in there, and the first time he gets 28-10 with some defensive stats thrown in, for under $5,000, you’ll be very happy.
DeMarcus Cousins vs. SA ($10,900) – I love Boogie in this one, mainly just because I love Boogie. He’s averaging just north of 65 fantasy points a night in all the action he’s seen since the break, and the thing about the Spurs is that they can let him do his thing and just rely on their own efficiency to secure the W anyway. 30-10 in a losing effort seems like a reasonable outcome in this one.
LaMarcus Aldridge @ SAC ($7,000) – He’s a big part of the reason the Spurs don’t have to worry. They don’t need Aldridge to stop Cousins, or beat him in some one-on-one mano-a-mano competition. They just need him to play his role, and he will. And his role gives you 35+ fantasy points far more often than not. And for a $4,000 savings over Cousins, you don’t need a whole lot more than that to make him a value.
Zach Randolph vs. LAL ($6,900) – He just keeps plugging along, making up for Gasol being out by doing what he’s always done, shooting a high percentage and clearing out space under the basket. Against this Lakers frontcourt, he should be able to hit the high end of his range, which makes him the perfect cash game option tonight. But the days of him leading you to victory in a larger tournament are probably past.
Dirk Nowitzki vs. OKC ($6,100) – At home, Dallas is going to do everything in it’s power to control the pace of this game, and by “control the pace,” I mean “slow it down as much as humanly possible.” And that is going to mean plenty of half-court sets and plenty of looks for Dirk. No matter how old he gets, that 7-foot-frame and overhead release still gives him the best shot at creating a makable look when they really need one.
Andre Drummond vs. PHI ($8,000) – Drummond has failed a few times this year when presented with a real challenge. One of the premier big men shows up, and Drummond’s stats fall. His confidence drops. But he’s young – this is called “getting experience.” He’ll be a force on the Pistons for years if they keep bringing him along this way. And luckily, he doesn’t have to worry about any of that tonight, because it’s the Sixers.
DeAndre Jordan vs. DEN ($7,800) – The impact isn’t quite as dramatic as it was last year, when Jordan’s stats blew up after Blake went down, but his increased role is allowing the things he does well to stand out more than they usually do – all of a sudden you don’t have to focus so much on his free throw shooting. It might still be a problem, but everything he brings to the table more than makes up for it. And from a fantasy perspective, when you are starting from a floor of a double-double, it’s hard to ignore him as an option in any kind of contest.
Marcin Gortat @ CHI ($6,800) – Gortat is one of the biggest beneficiaries when Wall is having his way with an opposing defense. He ends up getting so many good looks so close to the basket that a double-double is going to feel inevitable halfway through the first quarter. And while that could change as the game goes on – there is foul trouble or whatever else to contend with – it’s still a nice feeling to start off with. It’s certainly a lot better than starting some bench guy and seeing that zero sit on your scoreboard until there are 4 minutes left in the first and you’re just hoping and praying your guy hits his first jump shot so he can stay in the game.
Willie Cauley-Stein vs. SA ($4,300) – This is someone I’d only recommend you using if you’re looking for some upside potential with a final bench spot in a bigger tournament. But I can see a scenario in which the Spurs, just because of the way they’re constructed, allow for WCS to get plenty of minutes alongside of Cousins, and the lack of time out there to produce has been his biggest stumbling block from a fantasy point of view. I’d love to see him end up with 30 minutes in this one, and it is within the realm of possibilities.