Today’s NBA targets breakdown looks at Wednesday’s 7-game slate, with an eye towards the studs, sleepers and mid-range players you want to have rotating in your lineups.
Damian Lillard vs. LAC ($8,700) – He went 4-for-14 in his first game back, but the important stats were 35 minutes and 14 attempts, to go along with 7 assists (and 7 turnovers). Even being brought back from injury for the first time, this is his team, with as many opportunities to fill the stat sheet as he can handle.
Kemba Walker @ PHO ($8,200) – His lowest scoring game in his last six was 36.25 fantasy points against Golden State, with a high of 63.5 against the Lakers. Phoenix is much more like LA defensively than they are like GS. Walker is not only the best scoring guard on his team, he might actually be the best on the court tonight, especially with Bledsoe out. Knight is going to be getting plenty of looks as well – it should be a fun matchup.
Jrue Holiday vs. DAL ($5,400) – He cracked 30 minutes for the first time last time out and ended up with 14 shot attempts and five assists. The ball is spending plenty of time in his hands when he is out there, and he has a plum matchup in this one. Dallas hasn’t defending guards well all year, and if anything, Deron Williams returning moves that needle in the wrong direction. Evans should return to the lineup for this one, but it is nice to know Jrue could handle the workload, and he was still getting right around 25 minutes a night with Evans playing as well.
Patty Mills vs. UTA ($4,100) – When you’re the backup, and the starter is out for multiple games with a sore hip, you should probably be preparing to play on the regular. Mills is not going to suddenly lead the Spurs in scoring here, but with enough minutes, he can provide you with a good value at this price, especially in a cash game.
DeMar DeRozan @ BKN ($8,100) – He doesn’t do much of anything for fantasy purposes other than score, and he wasn’t able to do much of that last time out against Cleveland. But Brooklyn is not Cleveland, and DeRozan should be able to find open looks and get to the line successfully in this matchup. He hasn’t had fewer than 35 fantasy points while attempting 8 or more free throws in almost a month.
Victor Oladipo vs. IND ($5,800) – With it being hard to find cheap options at this position, $5,800 might not feel that expensive , but he is the 7th priciest guy on the board who is actually playing. He got his first start since November earlier this week, and had a nice outing, scoring 37.75 DK FP.
Garrett Temple vs. CLE ($4,500) – He’s the man while Beal is out. It’s that simple. In this case, of course, the phrase “the man” is being used rather loosely, but for $4,500 I will take a guy who is getting 30+ minutes on a lot of nights and who had two 20+ point scoring games inside the past couple of weeks. If anyone is going to score on Cleveland, it is almost always a guard, so the opportunities could well be there.
Terrence Ross @ BKN ($3,900) – It was just announced today that DeMarre Carroll had his knee scoped, and there is no timetable for his return. While I am not sure who will replace him in the starting lineup, I would imagine this definitely means more minutes and attempts for someone like Ross. There are safer plays, but he does upside, especially in a good matchup.
Paul George @ ORL ($9,100) – You have been handsomely rewarded over the past week or so if you decided to to ride out his downturn and wait for his scoring stroke to return. With 30+ actual (not fantasy) points in three straight games, he is looking like one of the most dominant small forwards in the league again, impressive for a position that features LeBron, KD and Kawhi. His price has crept up accordingly with those monster games, so it’s not stealing so much as it is just weighing your options. Compared to the other top guys at any position tonight, he is a solid choice.
Kawhi Leonard vs. UTA ($8,500) – Speaking of Kawhi, his price has stayed in this nice comfortable $8,500-ish zone for most of the season now, which is great, because he’s affordable. You don’t have to break the bank and you’re getting a guy you can trust to get you 30+ fantasy points, is easy to root for, and might randomly just get you 55. A great cash game option.
Al-Farouq Aminu vs. LAC ($5,100) – He’s having the best season of his life, which makes him a borderline useful fantasy commodity. Over his last ten games, he is averaging just over 23 fantasy points, which he is doing with some scoring a little bit of rebounding, and some defense. He might be a guy you’re nervous about having on your fantasy roster, but he is a guy you are psyched to have if you’re building a real-life basketball team.
James Johnson @ BKN ($3,200) – Another option that is suddenly available with Carroll’s injury, Johnson provides the value but not the upside. If you make this selection, it’s because you are hoping for 16-18 fantasy points out of a near-minimum salary guy, not because you’re making the selection that’s going to win you a big tourney.
Chris Bosh vs. NY ($7,900) – The Heat don’t score a ton of points, and so they don’t have any really elite fantasy options so far this season. Bosh, though, could be. He is regularly getting 20 looks from the field, and is clearly their best option in any kind of half-court setting. But he is also getting older, and the peripheral stats – the double-digit rebounds and couple of blocks you need to turn a 20 point night from a PF into a dominating fantasy performance, have just been harder to come by for him. But is he is going to do that stuff against any frontcourt, why not the Knicks? I think 10 boards and 2 blocks is totally in play here. Combine that with 20 shots attempts, and you have yourself a value.
Thaddeus Young vs. TOR ($7,400) – He feels like basically the whole reason Brooklyn is looking like they might be a 20-win team. Sure, they might still be the third worst team in basketball, but at least they’re not last! Young is averaging 34 fantasy points over his last ten games, despite averaging only 16 actual points. That’s a guy who does a lot of things well, which stands out on a roster like this one.
Ersan Ilyasova @ BOS ($5,300) – He had 23 fantasy points against the Celtics three weeks ago, with 11-5 and two blocks. But both his playing time and his scoring have seemed more consistent since then, with no games under 28 minutes and now four straight double-digit scoring games.
David West vs. UTA ($3,900) – Duncan is back, so his minutes are not going to be artificially inflated any longer, but he acquitted himself nicely while he was out there, something you know didn’t go unnoticed by Pop. Even now that the Big Fundamental is back from resting his sore knee, West is getting almost 20 minutes most nights, good for 15-20 fantasy points in this offense. If you’re looking for someone who won’t throw up a dud for you at this price, there are worse options, especially in a cash game.
Andre Drummond @ BOS ($9,000) – One of my favorite plays on the board, the Celtics do not have anyone to cover this guy. They also don’t have the personnel to force Detroit to get him off the floor by going small. You get the impression Detroit might think something like “ok, we’re going to let Kelly Olynyk try to beat us. We’ll stick with Drummond.” And then Brad Stevens puts his head under the chair. Yeah, that makes sense.
Karl-Anthony Towns vs. DEN ($7,200) – Denver is not a great matchup on paper, but I feel like most of that has been limiting centers on opposing teams by picking up the pace, and Towns can keep up. He is polished in transition and can finish, and is smooth on the block, where Denver doesn’t have anyone to body up with him.
Zaza Pachulia @ NO ($6,000) – I guess the fear here is that Davis actually spends most of the game boxing this guy out – New Orleans might prefer that to having him chase Dirk around through screens all night. But if Davis is locked on him, he does still have the body to do work on the boards and muscle Davis out of position on the blocks. I wouldn’t expect a monster game here, but a solid 25-30 fantasy point night is definitely on the table.
Bismack Biyombo @ BKN ($4,900) – Look, Lopez is great, but he’s the only big man they’ve got. Biyombo will be concentrating on defense, but honestly, as a real-life fan, his coach, or a fantasy owner, that’s exactly where I want him. There is no better way to get good position down low for a defensive rebound than by playing solid post D, and that’s where his value lies. He can succeed at that in this matchup, and if he can clean up a couple on the offensive glass, snag a couple of cheap buckets, even better.