We get one more game this Friday than last Friday, but one less than the 12 we had gotten the week before. Still, this player pool is a little bigger than last week, which should mean a little more lineup variability. Here are the players I like in tonight’s slate of games:
POINT GUARD TARGETS
- Damian Lillard vs. PHI ($9700) – Rarely can you go wrong starting a good player against a bad team. Lillard is a good player, plus there is little doubt that Philadelphia is a bad — horrible — team. The 76ers have allowed the seventh most fantasy-points per game to opposing point guards — 50.1 per game. Lillard just put a monster 72.5 fantasy-point game, and is averaging 48.4 fantasy-points per game in his last six contests.
- Rajon Rondo vs. LAL ($7900) – The good player against a bad team corollary applies with Rondo against the Lakers too. Sure, Rondo is not quite as good a fantasy player as Lillard is; he is however, $1800 cheaper. He also has an even more favorable matchup as the Lakers have allowed the most fantasy-points per game to opposing point guards this season.
- Reggie Jackson vs. CHA ($5000) – I do not mean to pick on Charlotte, but it seems they play every Friday so I end up recommending players facing them. It is every easy to do so since they struggle defensively against so many position. Like say, point guard. Charlotte ranks 27th against PG this season. Make sure that Kevin Durant is out before selecting Jackson; Jackson has been very good when Durant or Russell Westbrook have been out, not so good when both play.
- Mo Williams @ DEN ($4300) – Denver has not been all that bad against points guards this season, but middle of the pack in terms of fantasy-points allowed per game does not qualify as great. Williams is playing well lately — averaging 22.8 fantasy-points per game in his last four games — he is facing an average defense, and best of all, only costs $4300 Friday.
SHOOTING GUARD TARGETS
- Eric Bledsoe @ SAC ($9100) – As is often the case, shooting guard is a tough position to fill effectively tonight. James Harden costs $11500, Kobe Bryant costs $9300 and is not a guarantee to play. I like Bledsoe because he is averaging 49.58 fantasy-points per game over his last three games, and Sacramento is allowing the third most fantasy-points per game to shooting guards this season.
- Monta Ellis vs. LAL ($7500) – Honestly, I am not sure there are any stud shooting guards worth their price tonight. Ellis has a pretty tough matchup tonight, but his price accounts for the matchup. Still, Ellis has averaged 35.1 fantasy-points in his last five games, and put up 40.8 fantasy-points in his first game against the Lakers this season.
- Wesley Matthews vs. PHI ($5900) – When is doubt go with the guy facing Philadelphia? That is a nice general rule; it is even a better rule for a shooting guards. Philadelphia has allowed over five more fantasy-points per game to opposing shooting guards than any other team has this season — 54.4 allowed by Philadelphia, the Knicks are next at 48.8.
- Kyle Korver vs. MIL ($5200) – Korver is more of a 50/50 pick than a GPP option. Not to say he is a bad play by any stretch. Just, he is probably capped at quadruple value. He has had some good games, but not many over 30 fantasy-points. He should be able to get close to his season average of 26.2 fantasy-points against Milwaukee tonight.
SMALL FORWARD TARGETS
- Rudy Gay vs. PHO ($8300) – Perhaps Gay’s potential tonight is not sky high, but you have to like how consistent he has been lately. Over his last ten games he has scored between 32.25 and 44.5 fantasy-points each game.
- Chandler Parson vs. DAL ($7100) – The best way for a cold player to get hot is by facing a bad team. Enter the Lakers. Aside from being the worst team in terms of scoring defense in the league, they also allow the fourth most fantasy-points per game to small forwards. Parsons is a bit of a risk, but he is priced to account for the risk, and the matchup could not be much better.
- DeMarre Carroll vs. ATL ($5200) – If Carroll can manage 43.5 fantasy-points against the Clippers, who knows what he can do against the Bucks. As you probably guessed, Milwaukee is not very good at defensing small forwards. Carroll has averaged 25.8 fantasy-points per game in his last five games, and is facing a weak defense against his position; seems like the recipe for a good game to me.
- Kyle Anderson @ NO ($3400) – Sure, it is always a risk going with someone on San Antonio, but I like Anderson on Friday. The main reason is this will be the Spurs third game in the last four days, which should mean more playing time for their bench players. It is not like Anderson is a huge risk since he has averaged 14.7 fantasy points per game in his last six games — not counting Christmas day.
POWER FORWARD TARGETS
- Greg Monroe vs. IND ($7400) – With Josh Smith gone, Greg Monroe is going to see more playing time. Say what you want about Monroe, but he is a good fantasy player, and keeps his level of fantasy production pretty consistent even with added playing time. Expect a lot of games in the 30+ fantasy-point range with Smith gone, including tonight.
- Thaddeus Young @ DEN ($6700) – Young is not a pick for the faint of heart. While he is averaging 27.5 fantasy-points per game over his last five games, he has tallied anywhere from 16.5 to 40.5 fantasy-points in those games. Luckily he is playing at Denver on Friday where he is more likely to score in the 40-point than 16-point range.
- Nerlens Noel @ POR ($5100) – What can I say, it is the day after Christmas so i thought a Noel pick was appropriate. Noel has quietly been improving as the season has progressed. Over his last four games, he has averaged 32.2 fantasy-points per game, and should be able to grab ten plus rebounds against Portland.
- Ed Davis @ DAL ($4500) – Unexciting is not always a bad thing. Davis is not a player who is going to give you 40 fantasy-points. He is also unlikely to end up with less than ten fantasy-points. Bottom line is, he is a guy who you can count on to give you some points, could easily provide five times value, and is cheap. No, he is not a pick you feel great about, but he can help you make a little money.
- Nikola Vucevic vs. CLE ($8900) – Over their last five games– excluding Christmas – Cleveland has allowed opposing centers to score 61.5 fantasy-points per game. In case you did not know, that is bad — as in the worst of any team over their last five games. Over his last five games, Vucevic has averaged 39.2 fantasy-points. Given the way the Cavaliers have been defending centers, you should expect a better than average game from Vucevic tonight.
- Andre Drummond vs. TOR ($9100) – Indiana might not be nearly as bad against centers as Cleveland is, but they are still below average. Drummond has averaged 44.9 fantasy-points per game in his last five games, and is playing a below average defense against centers.
- Kyle O’Quinn vs. CLE ($6200) – I have already covered Cleveland’s defensive issues against centers. While O’Quinn will be starting at power forward against Cleveland, he should still see plenty of rebounding opportunities, and is a good thief for a big man. Value is really the operative word with O’Quinn.
- Lavoy Allen @ IND ($3700) – Roy Hibbert is ice-cold. That should mean more playing time for Allen. While Hibbert is struggling, Allen has been playing well lately, averaging 23.6 fantasy-points per game in his last five games. He should easily be able to at least match that average against the 29th ranked defense against centers.