A Night Out on the Towns

There is no one on Portland’s roster with a chance of stopping Karl-Anthony Towns especially considering the ridiculous roll he’s on at this point. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.


Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers – Although Golden State/New York projects as the highest total (217.5) by a fair margin, Minnesota/Portland is the game I’ll be focusing on for a few reasons. Number one: the spread, as is the case for most Warriors games, is in the double-digits which makes it difficult to project starters for their usual minutes. I do expect Minnesota/Portland to remain close and neither team is anything resembling a dominant defense. In fact, both teams opponents to shoot field goal percentages above league average with Minnesota’s 46.5 percent allowed ranking sixth worst in the NBA. In terms of efficiency, Minnesota ranks 20th against opposing point guards (PGs) so Damian Lillard should be able to find his scoring touch. Lillard averages nearly 1.5 points per game (PPG) more at home despite averaging 0.3 less shot attempts. Why? Similar to DeMarcus Cousins, he seems to get more calls at home (5.8 free throw attempts versus 4.8 on the road) and he also launches threes at a higher rate (8.5 attempts per game at home versus 7.4 on the road). Lillard dropped 54.0 fantasy points in the first meeting this season and followed it up with a disappointing 34.75. In the friendly confines of the Moda Center, expect Lillard to come closer to reproducing the dominant outing as opposed to the stinker.

Devin Booker, Suns – At this point, there is exactly one reliable option on the whole Phoenix Suns team: Devin Booker. While Coach Jeff Hornacek is divvying up minutes for every other position according to who isn’t killing the team on any given day, Booker continues to show improvement from game-to-game. Not only is Booker displaying his elite shooting ability but he is progressing overall as a scorer, coming off a game where his back door cuts were fully exhibited as well. The Suns will head to Dallas on Sunday to face a Mavericks team struggling in efficiency against opposing guards. Though they have allowed the third fewest points to opposing shooting guards (SGs), they rank seventh worst in terms of defensive efficiency against the position. They have also struggled at the PG and power forward (PF) positions but the Suns do not really have dependable options at either position right now at least until Brandon Knight returns. Therefore, I expect the up-and-coming youngster to continue to lead the team on offense and take around the 15 shots per game he has averaged over the last six games. He’s also averaging 2.9 rebounds (REB) and 2.5 assists (AST) this month so he still possesses the ability to crush his price tag despite a rising cost. There’s no question he remains viable in all formats.

Zach LaVine, Timberwolves – On Wednesday, Zach LaVine dropped 35 points (PTS) but maybe the most amazing part of his monster performance was the fact that he did not miss a two point field goal attempt. He made all nine of his shots inside the arc and nearly did so yet again on Friday when he went 9-12 (he did not attempt a three in that game). For the year, LaVine is shooting 34.5 percent from behind the arc which is slightly below league average which currently sits at 35.1 percent. Apparently a light bulb has just clicked in his head recently that he’s more effective as a slasher than a shooter and it has shown in his recent production…he’s averaging 25 PPG over the last three games. Portland is a notoriously bad PG defense as their star is often referred to as “Amian Illar” because there’s no “d” involved. They rank seventh in fantasy points allowed to PGs and, since they lack a true rim protector, LaVine should have a field day at the rim yet again. Even coming off the bench he’s still a fantastic cash play.


Draymond Green, Warriors – Let’s reason through this one: Kristaps Porzingis is no doubt an excellent player but he’s 7’3”, 240 lbs. Now he’s certainly athletic for his size but is he really going to be able to stay in front of an athletic 6’7”, 230 lb. Draymond Green? Not only should a cutting Green be able to out-speed Porzingis to the basket but he should be able to pretty much do anything he wants on the floor. Porzingis will have a difficult time coming around screens, stepping out on the three point shot and really putting up much of a fight against one of the best overall players in the game. While Green produced a couple of nice games against the Knicks last season, it almost doesn’t matter because of the personnel difference. You’ll have to use your imagination in this one and my imagination tells me Green is a safe bet for a double-double and could very easily push a triple-double in the projected highest scoring game of the evening.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves – Bar tender, I’ll take round three in the Trail Blazers/Timberwolves game please. Yes, Karl-Anthony Towns will complete my trio of enticing plays for this one mid-tier ballgame. This is your classic case of being your own odds-maker and basically projecting outcomes of games on your own. I highly recommend that strategy as this is somewhat of a gut feeling for me and I am rolling with it. I think this game goes over the Vegas total and remains close so I am going to take advantage while others stack Warriors, Mavericks, Hornets, etc. There simply has been no stopping Karl-Anthony Towns recently as not even one of the best defenders in the game (Rudy Gobert) could put up a fight against him on Friday evening. Towns dropped 32 PTS on 17 field goal attempts to go along with 12 REB, one AST, one steal (STL) and one block (BLK). For the month of January, Towns is averaging 16.6 PPG, 10.7 rebounds per game (RPG), 2.2 assists per game (APG), 0.7 steals per game (SPG) and 1.5 blocks per game (BPG). Simply put: he has already developed into one of the best players in the game and he is only a rookie. Portland ranks third to last in defensive efficiency against opposing centers (Cs) and fifth in fantasy points allowed to the position. If you do not roster Towns on this slate, you are not fully committed to winning.

Julius Randle, Lakers – Charlotte hasn’t exactly shut down opposing PFs all season as they rank 26th in efficiency for the season. Over the last five games, aka since Cody Zeller went down with a sprained ligament in his shoulder, the Hornets have dropped to 29th or second to last in efficiency. During that span, only six teams have allowed more rebounds to the position and only two have allowed a superior field goal percentage. Sans Al Jefferson and Zeller, Charlotte is deploying second stringers as starters and it’s not going so well to say the least. Julius Randle is coming off arguably the best game of his career against the Los Angeles Clippers (23 PTS, 14 REB) and will be looking to build on that performance at home. Randle prefers playing at home as he averages more than 1.0 PPG and 1.5 RPG more at the Staples Center. I’m assuming the 35 minutes he played last game were not an anomaly and Coach Byron Scott is just finally ready to unleash the beast. If he sees anywhere near the same minutes allotment, he’ll threaten a 20-10 double-double yet again.

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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