There is a huge slate of games on Friday night, with 26 of the 30 NBA teams in action. With so many players to chose from, selecting players can present a bit of a challenge. To help you out, here are the guys I like on tonight:
POINT GUARD TARGETS
Chris Paul @ PHI ($9900) – Paul’s streak of double-doubles stands at four games, and it is doubtful that the 76ers defense will snap the streak. Paul’s lofty price is easily justified tonight. He is hot — averaging 52.6 fantasy-points per game over his last five games — he has been a little better on the road than at home, he is facing a bad defense, and the last time he faced that defense he scored 58.5 fantasy-points.
Reggie Jackson @ ORL ($8000) – I am not sure if I just have not been paying attention, or if he is being overshadowed by other points guards, but Jackson has been really good lately. He has averaged 48.8 fantasy-points per game over his last five games; as an added bonus, he has not scored fewer than 42.24 fantasy-points in any of those games. But wait, there’s more… You also get a guy facing a bad defense against point guards with your purchase of Reggie Jackson.
Greivis Vasquez vs. LAL ($4400) – Atrocious, dreadful, distressing, pitiful, lamentable, sad, incompetent, hopeless: pick one of those words, any of those words, it works as a description of the Lakers defense against point guards. Vasquez will be starting for Toronto with Kyle Lowry out; he gets the pleasure of facing said Lakers defense. Last time Vasquez got 30+ minutes against the Lakers he scored 29 fantasy-points.
C. J. McCollum @ PHO ($3500) – Phoenix has actually been pretty good at defending opposing point guards, so this pick is not about match-up. It is about price and recent production. McCollum is cheap despite the fact that he has scored at least 15 fantasy-points in each of his last four games, including games of 23.5 and 33.75 fantasy-points.
SHOOTING GUARD TARGETS
Monta Ellis @ SA ($6600) – For whatever reason, Ellis has played very well against San Antonio this season. He has averaged 47.2 fantasy-points in his three games against the Spurs. Ellis also just put up a 51.5 fantasy-point game against the Spurs on Tuesday. He has a reasonable price tag, and, given the upside, he’s makes a decent play tonight.
Victor Oladipo vs. DET ($7900) – Really, I do not intend on putting Oladipo in here all the time, it just happens. He is playing well, and he has a favorable matchup. James Harden costs $11600, Dwayne Wade missed his last game, and Eric Bledsoe has a tough match-up, so the stud options at shooting guard are lacking. It does not hurt that Victor — I call him Victor now since I “know” him, having written about him approximately 40 times this season — is averaging 37.5 fantasy-points per game over his last five games.
Joe Johnson vs. CLE ($5100) – If you like consistency when choosing a fantasy player then you will want no part of Johnson. If you look at Johnson’s last ten games you see a collection of seemingly random numbers with little rhyme or reason for them. That said, Johnson is still able to put up big games at any time, and Friday he is facing the third worst team against shooting guards. You do not want Johnson in any cash games, but I like him as a sneaky pick for GPP leagues.
Elijah Millsap @ DEN ($3200) – Millsap has seen 30 or more minutes in Utah’s last two games and scored an average of 25.5 fantasy-points in those games. Denver has struggled against shooting guards, allowing the fourth most fantasy-points to opposing SGs this season.
SMALL FORWARD TARGETS
Trevor Ariza vs. MIN ($6200) – In case you need to be reminded, Minnesota is bad; against small forwards they have been the second worst team this season. Ariza has played well against the Timberwolves — averaging 32.2 fantasy-points per game in their three previous match-ups — and he has been very good lately averaging 36.2 fantasy-points per game over his last five games. There is some pretty nice potential value for a $6200 player from Ariza tonight.
Andrew Wiggins @ HOU ($6500) – Sure, Minnesota is a bad team, but they still have to score, and Wiggins is the guy who does that most effectively for the Timberwolves. Wiggins has two 30+ fantasy-point and one 48.0 fantasy-points game in his last four games, and is up against the seventh worst defense against small forwards this season.
P. J. Tucker @ POR ($5600) – Tucker is a cash game pick. Not that he will hurt you in a GPP, it is just that he lacks upside. What he does provide is reliability — if there is such a thing in fantasy. Tucker has scored between 25.75 and 33.5 fantasy-points in each of his last four games, and four of his last five. His opponent has also been below average defending his position this season.
Chase Budinger @ HOU ($4500) – Budinger is the GPP yin to Tucker’s cash game yang today. He has not been as consistent as Tucker has been, yet unlike Tucker, he has managed some big games — including topping 30 fantasy-points in three of his last five games. Besides, you have to like a guy averaging 29.3 fantasy-points over his last six games, facing a below average defense, who only costs $4500.
POWER FORWARD TARGETS
Derrick Favors @ DEN ($8100) – If you like the number four, then Favors is the player for you. He has scored over 44 fantasy-points in each of his last three games, he scored 43 fantasy-points the first time he played Denver, and will be going for his fourth consecutive double-double when he faces Denver on Friday. OK, maybe the four thing ran out of steam; nonetheless, you will be doing yourself a favor if you have Favors on your team today.
Kevin Love @ BKN ($7000) – Over their last five games, Brooklyn has allowed an average of 51.2 fantasy-points per game to opposing power forwards — second worst in the league during that span. Love has been a little hit or miss lately, but he did manage 46.5 fantasy-points in his last game. While Love is not a sure thing, he is a solid play given the recent struggles of the Nets against the PF position.
Ed Davis @ TOR ($4700) – Do not be fooled by the 12th Opponent Rank next to Davis’ name. Toronto has allowed the fifth most fantasy-points to power forwards this season. Davis is not the most exciting pick, but aside from facing a weak defense against his position, he has averaged 25.4 fantasy-points per game over his last six games, including two games of over 30 fantasy-points. He has pretty nice upside for a $4700 player.
Lance Thomas vs. BOS ($3500) – Give a player enough playing time and he will become fantasy relevant. While that adage does not always work out, it is a pretty good rule of thumb. Guess who is getting playing time? You probably guessed Lance Thomas since this is a paragraph about him. He has played 38, 38 and 28 minutes in the Knicks’ last three games, plus he’s scored at least 21 fantasy-points in each of those games. Boston has been one of the worst defenses against power forwards this season, so you should expect another productive game out of Thomas tonight.
DeAndre Jordan @ PHI ($8300) – Revenge probably will not be on the mind of Jordan when he faces Philadelphia, though perhaps it should be, considering how poorly he did the first time he faced the 76ers this season. That game aside — or actually included — Philadelphia has been the worst team at defending centers this season. It does not hurt Jordan’s case today that he comes into the game averaging 42.2 fantasy-points per game in his last five games.
Nikola Vucevic vs. DET ($7800) – Detroit has been making a run at Philadelphia’s mark for futility against centers. Over their last five games, the Pistons are allowing over 60 fantasy-points per game to opposing centers. Vucevic has not been super lately, but he also has not gotten to face a defense as bad as Detroit’s.
Tiago Splitter vs. DAL ($4200) – I think of Splitter as a boring, but safe, option. His recent production goes against that assumption. He has had some very nice games lately but also some ugly ones — three games over 30 fantasy-points, two under 18. Dallas has been below average against centers, and Splitter has averaged 26.4 fantasy-points per game over his last six games, so I am expecting a good game.
Tyler Zeller @ NY ($4000) – Ugly would be the politest term to describe the Knicks’ defense against centers lately. They have allowed 65.7 fantasy-points per game to opposing centers over the last five games. For his part, Zeller comes into the game averaging 23.8 fantasy-points per game over his last six games. Zeller can provide some salary relief at just $4200, while offering some decent upside.
Thanks for reading, and you can catch me on Twitter – @STCDub.