We close out the month of February with a seven game slate. There are plenty of options to choose from so let’s waste no time and jump right into some of tonight’s tournament plays.
Update: Rondo is now DOUBTFUL for tonight’s game. Rudy Gay is also doubtful for tonight’s game. Omri Casspi and Ben McLemore look to be the main beneficiaries. Casspi sees a 14.1 percent increase in Fantasy Points Per Minute with Gay out. Collison sees a 54.31 percent increase in Fantasy Points Per Minute when Rondo is out.
Editor’s Note: Rajon Rondo missed shootaround today, and he is questionable for tonight’s game. If he misses, look for Darren Collison to take the reigns again of the Sacramento offense.
Rajon Rondo ($8,500) – Rondo sat out of Friday’s game with a thumb injury. He had played through it in previous games, but it appears the discomfort was too much for Rondo to give it a go. He’s listed as questionable for tonight’s game, so if you decide to roll with him, make sure to monitor his status before finalizing your lineups. Rondo has fared well against the Thunder this season. In two games against them, he’s averaging 10 points, 14.5 assists, nine rebounds, and 51 fantasy points per game. In his last 10 games, he has exceeded value 70 percent of the time by an average of 7.21 points. In that span, he’s averaging 12.5 points, 12.4 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 34.9 minutes, and 43.8 fantasy points per game. He has exceeded 50 fantasy points in four of his last six games. He has also missed a triple-double on several occasions by a couple of boards and/or points, as well as one rebound in recent games. This contest should be paced up and high scoring. So long as he is playing with no restrictions, he’s in play. If he does not play, Darren Collison becomes a very good value play at PG this evening.
Isaiah Thomas ($7,200) – Thomas is $600 cheaper than he was last week and although this isn’t an ideal matchup because of potential game pace, the Jazz struggle to defend point guards. Per Fantasy Labs, they have allowed +1.4 points above expectation to opposing point guards. In the last 10 games, Thomas has exceeded value 70 percent of the time by an average of 4.49 points. He has topped 40 fantasy points in three of his last seven games. A little over a week ago, Thomas scored 39.5 fantasy points against the Jazz. The Celtics have an implied point total of 104 points in this matchup. Thomas offers plenty of upside and a respectable floor. Due to the unappealing matchup, chances are he’d be low owned at a reasonable price.
J.J. Redick ($5,300) – Redick has been playing plenty of minutes as of late, averaging 32 minutes per game in his last 10. That’s four more minutes per game than his season average. Tonight he faces a bad Nets team that surrenders the second most fantasy points per game to shooting guards. They have allowed +1.9 points above expectation to opposing shooting guards, per Fantasy Labs. In the last 10 games, Redick has exceeded value 60 percent of the time by an average of 4.09 points. He has also 6X’ed his salary on multiple occasions in that span. The last time that he played against the Nets, he scored 29.5 fantasy points. If he can produce similar numbers tonight, he’d be a good return on investment.
Kevin Durant ($10,400) – Durant is coming off of two consecutive 60+ fantasy point games and has a favorable matchup this evening. He faces off against the Sacramento Kings who surrender the fourth most fantasy points per game to small forwards. Both of these teams play paced up and this contest has the highest over/under of the slate at 227.5 points. The spread is 7.5 points which shouldn’t cause too much concern for a potential blowout. In fact, in the previous game, the Kings beat the Thunder so this should be a competitive matchup. In the last 10 games, Durant is averaging 53.55 fantasy points per game and has topped 60 fantasy points four times. Typically I target Durant when he’s under $10,000, but based on his recent performances and how I envision this game to play out, it’s difficult not to consider him.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($7,800) – If you’re taking a more balanced approach setting up your lineups tonight, Antetokounmpo is the way to go at SF. He is playing well and has a good matchup this evening. The Houston Rockets surrender the most fantasy points per game and have allowed +2.2 points above expectation to opposing small forwards, per Fantasy Labs. Antetokounmpo has eclipsed 40 fantasy points in five of his last six games, including a 75 point performance against the Lakers last week (I also recommended him then). He has double-digit rebounds in five of his last six games as well and snuck in one triple-double. This contest has the third highest over/under of the slate at 212.5 points, but has the smallest spread of any game above 210 projected points. This should be a close competitive game with plenty of scoring. Antetokounmpo is one of my favorite players on the board tonight and I’m expecting him to continue to play at a high level.
Derrick Favors ($7,500) – Favors is another player I like this evening. He faces off against an undersized Celtics backcourt and should be able to take full advantage of it. In their previous meeting, just a little over a week ago, Favors put up some impressive numbers. He scored 23 points, grabbed 10 boards, dished out six dimes, blocked three shots, and scored 51 fantasy points. While it’ll be difficult to duplicate those numbers, I don’t think a big game is out of the question. He has topped 40 fantasy points in three of the last five games and has three double-doubles in that span. The Celtics surrender the fifth most rebounds per game to opponents. In the last five games, they’re surrendering the fourth most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards. Power forwards are averaging 21.4 points and 11.6 rebounds per game against the Celtics. This is a good spot for Favors and he should once again dominate the paint like he did in his last meeting against Boston.
Trevor Ariza ($5,800) – Usually I only talk about three forwards, but I wanted to include a reasonably price forward in case you needed some salary cushion. If there’s one stat that’s constant for Ariza is his minutes. He plays 30+ minutes per game on a consistent basis. In the last 10 games, he’s averaging 37.3 minutes, 13.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.9 steals, and 30.5 fantasy points. He has topped 32 fantasy points in three of the last four games. The Bucks surrender the seventh most fantasy points per game and have allowed +1.6 points above expectation to opposing small forwards, per Fantasy Labs. The last time these two teams met, Ariza scored 32.5 fantasy points in 36.5 minutes. As I mentioned above, this contest has a 212.5 point total and only a 2.5 point spread. He should pay off his salary and some in tonight’s game.
Greg Monroe ($7,100) – Monroe has been hit or miss in recent games. He has topped 40 fantasy points in four of his last 10 games, but has also scored fewer than 30 fantasy points in five of his last 10 games. Tonight he faces the Rockets who he had a strong performance against the last time that he played them. In that game, he scored 21 points, grabbed nine boards, blocked three shots, and scored 44.3 fantasy points. Although it may not appear like a good matchup against Dwight Howard, the Rockets have allowed +3.1 points above expectation to opposing centers, per Fantasy Labs. They are yielding 44.9 rebounds per game and have a -2.3 differential. Monroe offers plenty of upside and has the ability to 6X his salary which is what you’re looking for in tournaments.
Rudy Gobert ($6,700) – As I mentioned above when I wrote about Favors, I like targeting big men who face off against the Celtics. Boston allows 46 rebounds per game which is the fifth most and has a -1.1 differential. They have allowed +1.1 points above expectation to opposing centers, per Fantasy Labs. In their last meeting, Gobert scored 11 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, and blocked four shots. That performance was good for 39.8 fantasy points. I’m expecting a similar stat line from Gobert tonight. The Celtics play good defense, but are undersized which can cause mismatches in the paint. At this price, Gobert should have no problem paying off his salary and some. He has topped 40 fantasy points in four of his last 10 games and needs 40.2 in order to reach the 6X we are looking for.
Steven Adams ($4,300) – If you decide to roll with Durant or any other five figure player, you’re going to need a value play. Adams stands out to me as he’s been more involved in the offense as of late and has smashed value in three of his last four games. He has topped 24 fantasy points in three of the last four games and faces off against a team he’s fared well against this season. In two games against the Kings, Adams is averaging 10.5 points, 11 rebounds, 27.4 minutes, and 29 fantasy points per game. He’s averaging 27.8 minutes per game in the last 10 which is nearly three more minutes per game than his season average. He is a high variance play, but at this price needs just 25.8 fantasy points to 6X his salary. He’s displayed that he’s very capable of that in the past and could provide a very good ROI if he hits his ceiling. I wouldn’t over expose myself to Adams, but some shares could free up the salary cap space needed to pay up for some of the high-end expensive players.