Wall-E

In their previous meeting this season, John Wall torched the Rockets and I would expect more of the same on Saturday. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.

Guards:

John Wall, Wizards – Two up-tempo teams squaring off always interests me. This matchup is especially intriguing for John Wall and the Wizards because the Rockets will be on the second night of a back-to-back while the Wizards received Friday off. The two teams met earlier this season in Washington and the Rockets pulled out a 109-103 victory. In that game, Wall dropped 62.75 fantasy points in just over 39 minutes. The man trying to defend him, Patrick Beverley, used to be known as a shut-down defender. This is the first season of his career where he ranks below average in terms of an advanced statistic called “defensive box plus-minus.” His defensive rating also has reached 110 for the first time in his career which is not a good thing. In other words, this isn’t Kawhi Leonard we’re talking about here. Wall will be playing in a fast-paced game against a team who played in a track meet against the Oklahoma City Thunder the night before. I expect a monster game from the Wizards point guard (PG).

Will Barton, Nuggets – A few weeks back Will Barton went through a little rough patch (beginning Jan. 3) where he eclipsed 30 fantasy points once in a five game stretch. Some were ready to give up on him but he has stormed back with a vengeance having eclipsed 37 fantasy points in two of the past three games. To be fair, his minutes are down this month; he averaged 32.9 minutes per game (MPG) in December and that his decreased to 27.8 MPG in January. Having scored at least 15 real points in three straight games, my confidence is back with Barton and I’m willing to reinsert him into my lineup for this upcoming matchup against the Pacers. The Pacers have allowed the seventh most fantasy points to the shooting guard (SG) position and are pretty stout defensively against both opposing point guards (PGs) and small forwards (SFs). Considering George Hill and Paul George are two excellent defenders, this tidbit should not be shocking. Assuming they play each of their men tough (Jameer Nelson/Emmanuel Mudiay and Danilo Gallinari), someone is going to have to step up and I think that man is Barton. He should be able to take advantage of the hole in the defense and produce an above-average scoring game. It helps that the Nuggets will be playing up in pace against the Pacers who are the seventh fastest-paced team this season. Do not let the fact that he comes off the bench scare you because he is a staple in the offense (second on the team in scoring behind Gallinari).

Tony Parker, Spurs – Typically I like to avoid Spurs whenever I can due to Coach Gregg Popovich’s tendency to keep players on a minutes limit and also scratch players right before game-time. However, Popovich tends to extend minutes in games against the NBA’s best teams likely due to his competitive spirit and the fact that he wants to win them. Tony Parker and the Spurs have played four games against the Cleveland Cavaliers over the past two seasons (in the regular season) and Parker has played at least 33.6 minutes in each game. In each of the past two meetings, that has led to at least 24 points and four rebounds. Again, the Spurs are typically frustrating so I understand the hesitation, but this is the matchup to deploy Parker in.

Forwards/Centers:

Kawhi Leonard, Spurs – Okay so maybe I am a little crazy but I actually like two Spurs on the same night. Playing one is difficult enough let alone two but I think most people would agree Kawhi Leonard is the least nerve-racking Spur to play on a consistent basis. Leonard is the only Spur averaging more than 30.0 MPG this season and leads the team in points per game (PPG), steals per game (SPG) and fantasy points per game (FPPG). Whenever the Spurs face a formidable offensive weapon, Popovich sticks “The Claw” on them and relies on him to shut them down. Therefore, it’s unsurprising Leonard has played at least 37 minutes in each of the regular season meetings versus LeBron James over the past two seasons. Although James isn’t a bad defender himself, allowing Leonard around 40 minutes gives him enough time to produce his usual well-rounded stat lines. Over the past two seasons, Leonard averages 44.75 against the Cavaliers so start Leonard with confidence.

Brook Lopez, Nets – There are very few certainties in daily fantasy basketball but the fact that the Pelicans just stink against opposing centers (Cs) is one of them. Prior to joining the Pelicans, Omer Asik never sported a defensive rating over 103 over a full season despite playing on a fast-paced Houston Rockets team for two seasons. His defensive rating ballooned to 105 last season and has climbed even higher to 107 in 2015-16. Meanwhile, Brook Lopez has remained healthy this season and is having his best fantasy season on a FPPG basis since 2009. In fact, he is averaging the exact same FPPG output this season as he did in 2009 (36.55) and he is doing so in three less MPG. Basically Joe Johnson had been the team’s star in years past but he is aging and so more of the offense is run through Lopez. His career usage rate (usg%) is 25.5 percent but this season the number has crept up all the way to 27.2. So this matchup includes an improved offensive player against one of the worst defenses, not just against his position, period. For that reason, I think Lopez is as safe as they come and the price tag is way too cheap for such a golden opportunity.

Myles Turner, Pacers – Speaking of cheap prices, Myles Turner has transformed into one of the Pacers’ top few options on offense over the last two weeks or so. According to Tommy Beer on Twitter, Turner is averaging 26 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per-36 minutes over his last six games. Coach Frank Vogel decided to insert Turner into the starting lineup at power forward (PF) on Thursday and he delivered, scoring 20 points with six rebounds in 26 minutes. I don’t want to oversell him but Turner is a star in the making. I’m thinking a mixture of Thaddeus Young’s finishing ability at the rim combined with the rest of Serge Ibaka’s overall skill set. As long as he continues to start and remain priced under $11,000, he’s a freaking bargain you do not want to miss out on.

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 DailyRoto.com, 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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