Vucci Mane

The 76ers are not a great team and they are an awful defensive team against opposing centers, so look for Nikola Vucevic to exploit the matchup. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.


John Wall, Wizards, $17,000 – In all likelihood, the Miami Heat will yet again be without both Goran Dragic (doubtful with a calf injury) and Beno Udrih (expected to miss at least a week) on Wednesday. Therefore, the Heat will attempt to cover John Wall with the combination of Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson. The combination of those two has been disastrous over the past two ball games as the Heat have been blown out by the Thunder and Bucks consecutively. Despite the blowout, Russell Westbrook managed to notch a triple-double and Michael Carter-Williams/Jerryd Bayless sapped each other’s value but finished a combined plus-18. In a one-on-one matchup against Johnson, there are a variety of possible outcomes but they almost all end in Wall either lighting up the scoreboard and/or foul trouble for the Heat backup. Wall is simply too fast for Johnson, whose true position may be shooting guard, so he should be in for a big night. Even if the game ends up a blowout yet again, Wall should accumulate enough fantasy points due to his elite individual matchup to justify using him in cash. If the game remains close, Wall should go nuts.

Ish Smith, 76ers, $13,300 – All a terrible Philadelphia 76ers team needed was an injection of Ish Smith in order to be competitive. Since Smith was acquired on Dec. 24, the team has gone 4-8 after starting 1-30 without him. As a 76er, Smith is averaging 16.8 points per game (PPG), 3.6 rebounds per game (RPG), 8.3 assists per game (APG) and 1.7 steals per game (SPG) or 36.4 fantasy points per game (FPPG). Assuming the goal on a large slate such as Wednesday with 11 total games is to score 300 fantasy points, the goal is to score three fantasy points per $1,000 of salary on FantasyDraft. At a salary of $13,300, Smith would need to score 39.9 fantasy points to hold his weight and I think the matchup with the Magic should help propel him to the extra few fantasy points. With Victor Oladipo already ruled out for Wednesday, the Magic will already be without their best perimeter defender. Smith’s style is that of a pure slasher so he is constantly looking to drive to the rim. The Magic do not possess a real rim protector and have allowed exactly the 11th most fantasy points to the point guard (PG) position over both the season and the last week. He should continue his reign of terror in a game that I expect to remain closer than masseyrating’s projected 10.5 point spread.

Derrick Rose, Bulls, $10,700 – Starting Derrick Rose is always a scary proposition because of his injury history but this is a matchup worth exploiting. Quietly Rose has played at least 30 minutes in eight of his last 11 games. If there was ever a game Coach Fred Hoiberg would try and extend Rose’s minutes, it would be attempting to dethrone to world champion Golden State Warriors. Scoring is absolutely needed in this matchup and while Aaron Brooks can score he is one of the worst defenders in the NBA. There’s no way Hoiberg can allow him to run the point for an extended period as the thought of him guarding Stephen Curry is a scary proposition. The part I am encouraged about from a daily fantasy perspective is Rose has attempted at least 17 field goal attempts in back-to-back games. His aggressive side will be needed tomorrow and I always love players playing in games with an uptick in pace compared to what they are used to. At his price, Rose possesses as much upside as anyone on the slate but could conceivably lay an egg if the Warriors blow out the Bulls. Due to the risk, he is best left for the tournament format but remains an elite tournament option.


DeMarcus Cousins, Kings, $19,000 – The Los Angeles Lakers allow the third most fantasy points to the center position and Roy Hibbert is simply too slow to guard DeMarcus Cousins. In previous meetings against the Lakers this season, Cousins has dropped at least 44.75 fantasy points in each (including a 57 fantasy point outburst). In fact, he produced a 20-10 double-double or better in each game showing just how dominant his performances have been. The Kings play the fastest paced brand of basketball in the association so there will be plenty of opportunities for offensive possessions and rebounds as per usual. Kobe Bryant playing probably means a fair share of bricks being tossed up and a few additional rebounds for Cousins. All-in-all, superstars are typically underpriced on FantasyDraft and Cousins is my superstar of choice assuming value opens up close to tip-off (which it almost always does especially on a large slate) or you roster both Rose and my value forward/center (F/C) at the end of this column.

Nikola Vucevic, Magic, $12,900 – In typical Coach Scott Skiles fashion, his best player Nikola Vucevic has been volatile lately in both minutes and productivity. Instead of letting his best players play extended minutes, he continuously messes around with the rotation which makes his players difficult to trust. However coming off a 27 minute, 29.75 fantasy point letdown, the matchup is ripe for Nikola Vucevic against the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers have allowed the most fantasy points to the center position and Philadelphia does not have the personnel to go small for extended periods. In other words, Vucevic and/or a true center is required on the floor at all times in a matchup against a team with both Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. As the fantasy points allowed suggest, Okafor is literally one of the worst defenders in the game (although he is only a rookie so there is time to improve). Regardless, the 76ers rotation usually begins with both Noel and Okafor starting, Noel is subbed out at about the six minute mark and then subbed back in near the end of the quarter after Okafor’s long rotation stint is over. This means Vucevic should enjoy extended stretches of one-on-one ball against Okafor at the beginning of each half. Okafor also subs back in near the end of the half so Vucevic should dominate him towards the end of each half as well. I get the feeling this could be one of those vintage Vucevic 20-10 games and the price just dropped slightly. Time to pounce.

Ersan Ilyasova, Pistons, $10,400 – Proven fact: Ersan Ilyasova wins GPPs. Ilyasova is the king of volatility as he’s typically either horrific or a monster. Lately Ilyasova’s production has been more Dr. Jekyll than Mr. Hyde as he has scored at least 28.50 fantasy points in four of his last five games. Two of those outings surpassed 40-plus fantasy points and now the matchup gets even sweeter…the Houston Rockets allow the most fantasy points to opposing power forwards (PFs). Dwight Howard just dropped a classic Howard-esque monster line and Andre Drummond will have a difficult time battling down low with Howard. In the meantime, Ilyasova, a jump shooter, will be covered by either Clint Capela or Terrence Jones. Neither of their specialty is covering jump shooters and cumulatively they allow the most rebounds to opposing PFs per game. In his last game, Ilyasova posted a 19-11 double-double and I like his potential to post a similar line in a faster-paced game against the Houston Rockets (who rank eighth in pace).


Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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