We tip off the week with 10 games! This should be a fun slate, as we have some paced up teams facing each other along with some teams that have something to prove. That being said, let’s take a look at some of tonight’s tournament plays.
Damian Lillard – POR vs. SAC – $9,500 – Lillard has been struggling with his shot as of late, but this is a perfect spot for him to get out of his funk. The Kings play at the fastest pace and don’t defend well, especially against point guards. They’ve surrendered the third most fantasy points per game and allowed 4.68 points above expectation to opposing point guards, per Fantasy Labs. The line for this game is high with a projected point total of 219. Chances are the crowd won’t be looking Lillard’s way due to his recent struggles, and game log watchers will also likely steer away. This is good news, as this means his ownership percentage could potentially be lower than it should be given the matchup/situation. He’s displayed his 60 plus fantasy point upside several times this season and is in a good spot for one of those big games tonight. Portland is only 2.5 games ahead of Dallas who is sitting in the ninth spot in the West, so they definitely have something to play for tonight. Give him a go!
Shelvin Mack – UTA vs. LAL – $5,900 – Mack struggled towards the end of his recent five game road trip but is now back at home and had a day’s rest. The Jazz face off against the Lakers, who surrender the second most fantasy points per game and have allowed 1.89 points above expectation to opposing point guards, per Fantasy Labs. Despite struggling in his last three games, Mack has exceeded value 60 percent of the time by an average of 7.47 points in his last 10 games. In that span, he’s averaging 32.1 minutes, 13.6 points, 7.3 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 32.05 fantasy points per game. He has topped 35 fantasy points in six of his last nine games. At this price he needs 35.4 fantasy points to hit 6X, which is the minimum you should be targeting in tournaments. Clearly, he’s more than capable of reaching that, especially in this matchup. In his last home game, Mack was two rebounds shy of a triple-double in a similar spot. He’s back under $6,000, which increases his value. There’s a lot to like about Mack tonight.
“He has topped 40 fantasy points in each of his last two games against Chicago . . . “
Jeff Teague – ATL at CHI – $5,500 – Teague has quietly put together some quality starts in recent games. He has exceeded value 70 percent of the time by an average of 4.94 points in his last 10 games. In that span, he is averaging 28 minutes, 13.9 points, 7.5 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 0.9 steals, and 30.9 fantasy points per game. Teague has fared well against the Bulls this season, as he has exceeded expectations by an average of 8.55 points against them. He has topped 40 fantasy points in each of his last two games against Chicago, and the Bulls have allowed the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. At this price, Teague is in a good position to exceed value and has upside to 7X his salary. Both of these teams have something to play for tonight, as the Hawks are hanging on to the number three seed in the East by a thread, and the Bulls are sitting two games back from the eighth seed in the East, so they should both go out and play hard.
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Carmelo Anthony – NYK at NO – $8,300 – I feel that Carmelo has been a solid value for most of the season at this sub $9,000 price tag. He offers a 40 point floor on most nights and 50+ fantasy point upside. In his last 10 games, he has exceeded value 50 percent of the time by an average of 3.72 points. In that time frame, he’s averaging 37.5 minutes, 23.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 42.15 fantasy points per game. Melo has been very efficient, plays plenty of minutes and has a high usage rate, all of which are key things to look for. Tonight he faces the Pelicans who he scored 52.8 fantasy points against in their last meeting. Despite the Knicks not having anything to play for, Melo should have a strong finish to the season if he continues to play at the level he’s playing at. The Pelicans are depleted with injuries, so Melo should once again have a big night against them.
Dirk Nowitzki – DAL at DEN – $7,400 – Some may be concerned of a back-to-back game for Dirk, but he rested on Friday and sat most of the fourth quarter in last night’s game due to a blowout, so he should be rested for tonight’s game. Aside from yesterday’s game, Dirk has been playing well as of late. In his last 10 games, he is averaging 33.1 minutes, 24.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1 block, and 41.1 fantasy points per game. In the span, he has exceeded value 80 percent of the time by an average of 10.75 points. This is a plus matchup for Dirk, as the Nuggets surrender the third most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards. Dirk has exceeded expectations in each game he’s played against the Nuggets this season and is averaging 39.7 fantasy points per game against them. In addition, he has topped 40 fantasy points in each of the last two games against Denver. This is a good bounce back spot for Dirk in a game that the Mavs need to win.
Gorgui Dieng – MIN vs. PHO – $6,000 – Two of the Suns big men are questionable for tonight’s game which could create some trouble for them against the Minnesota frontcourt. Dieng has topped 37 fantasy points in five of his last eight games. In his last 10 games, he has exceeded value 60 percent of the time by an average of 6.27 points. He’s averaging over 30 minutes and 31.4 fantasy points per game in the month of March. In three games against the Suns this season, Dieng is averaging a fantasy point per minute. Assuming he plays his 31 minutes per game he’s played this month, he should be locked in for 30+ fantasy points tonight. He’s displayed his ability to 6X and 7X his salary at this price tag, so the upside is there. This contest has a 218 point over/under and the Timberwolves have an implied point total of 112 points.
Hassan Whiteside – MIA vs. BKN – $8,400 – Towns will likely get plenty of attention tonight, and rightfully so, making Whiteside a great pivot play at center if you’re looking to spend up at the position. Whiteside has nine double-doubles in the last 10 games. In that span, he is averaging 30 minutes, 17.6 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 41.4 fantasy points per game. He has also fared well against the Nets this season. He has exceeded expectations by an average of 11.03 points and is averaging 41.3 fantasy points per game against them, despite averaging just 31.2 minutes per game in those contests. The Nets surrender the seventh most fantasy points per game and have allowed 2.99 points above expectation to opposing centers, per Fantasy Labs. I’m expecting Whiteside to play a big role in this contest, as the Heat need to win to keep fighting for that number three spot in the East. He has crushed in the paint against the Nets this season and should continue to do so tonight.
“Horford has played solid in recent games and has exceeded value in 6 of his last 10 games . . . “
Al Horford – ATL at CHI– $6,800 – Horford is in a prime spot against the Bulls who surrender the second most rebounds per game to opponents. The Bulls yield the fourth most fantasy points per game and have allowed +5.83 points above expectation to opposing centers, per Fantasy Labs. Horford has done well against the Bulls this season, exceeding expectations by an average of 15.36 points and scoring 40 or more fantasy points in two of his three games against them. Horford has played solid in recent games and has exceeded value in 6 of his last 10 games by an average of 5.24 points. He has topped 40 fantasy points in four of his last nine games. Horford usually goes under the radar, and in a 10 game slate, that could be the case once again. As I mentioned above, both teams have something to play for tonight, so they both should play hard.
Enes Kanter – OKC @ TOR – $4,800 – If you’re looking to save some money at this position, Kanter is the way to go. I’m aware that this isn’t the most ideal matchup, but he’s been putting up strong numbers in limited minutes, regardless of the matchup. In his last 10 games, he has exceeded value 90 percent of the time by an average of 9.41 points. In that span, he’s averaging 23 minutes, 16 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 30.97 fantasy points per game. He has topped 30 fantasy points in six of his last nine games and has not scored fewer than 22 fantasy points in any of those games. The one time he faced the Raptors this season; Kanter scored 24 fantasy points in 17.2 minutes. He has been efficient and continues to pay off his salary, making him a solid play once again this evening.
Note: Keep an eye on late scratches and news that comes out later in the day. That can open up value late in the afternoon.
Editor’s Note (6:04 PM ET): Goran Dragic is OUT of tonight’s game against Brooklyn. Dwyane Wade ($6,500) will likely receive a boost in both minutes and usage rate tonight. Also, Josh Richardson ($4,200) is a likely beneficiary of Dragic’s absence. He’s played 34 and 33 minutes in his last two games, averaging 27.75 DKFP. Look for Richardson to see an increase in usage when he’s on the floor tonight.
Editor’s Note (3 PM ET): DeMarcus Cousins (35.4pct USG), Rudy Gay (22.2pct USG), Rajon Rondo (18.8pct USG) and Marco Belinelli (19.7pct USG) are all OUT tonight for the Kings. Overall, the four players ruled out account for four of the five highest usage rates on Sacramento this season. This team isn’t very good to start and sitting their three best players tonight won’t help much. The upside is that guys like Seth Curry, Darren Collison, Kosta Koufos, Willie Cauley-Stein and Omri Casspi should all benefit. As a tournament flier, Seth Curry is especially interesting. He’s averaged over 21 DK FPPG over the last two games in 24.5 minutes per game.