Against the Kings’ miserable shooting guard defense, fading Jimmy Butler on Wednesday is simply a recipe for disaster. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Russell Westbrook, Thunder, $19,600 – Do not simply look at Russell Westbrook’s monster line from the one meeting between the Thunder and Magic earlier this season because it’s going to be deceiving. Westbrook played 48 minutes in the first meeting and they led to 48 points (PTS), 11 rebounds (REB), eight assists (AST), one steal (STL) and one block (BLK). While I wouldn’t be writing about him if I didn’t feel he was going to produce another monster game, it’s hard to expect 48 real PTS and 76.75 fantasy points. Orlando does allow the 11th most fantasy points to opposing point guards (PGs) and sport the ninth worst defense in terms of efficiency versus the position. Oklahoma City is a 13.5 point favorite in a game with a projected 212.5 over/under (second highest on the slate). In order to reach their expected output, it is going to be on the heels of a Westbrook masterpiece. He is coming off two straight triple-doubles and I would not be shocked if he made it three in a row against a team he averages 60 fantasy points against over the past two seasons.
Jimmy Butler, Bulls, $15,700 – No team allows more fantasy points to opposing shooting guards (SGs) than the Sacramento Kings so good luck handling the All-Star Jimmy Butler. After breaking out to average 20.0 points per game (PPG) last season, Butler has upped his output to 22.4 this season while shooting a respectable 45.5 percent. The Bulls play at the 14th fastest pace but they’ll even be forced to play quicker against the NBA’s fastest-paced team. More offensive possessions can only lead to more production for Butler who posts some of the more well-rounded stat lines in the NBA; he ranks 15th in the NBA in STL and adds 5.3 REB, 4.3 AST and 0.7 BLK. Butler has yet to post a mammoth line against the Kings in six career meetings but that streak ends Wednesday so make sure you roster him.
Klay Thompson, Warriors, $13,300 – Sometimes gut feelings are gut feelings are a reason and they should not be ignored. For me, I have a feeling about Klay Thompson on Wednesday in the projected highest scoring game of the day (222.5 over/under). Golden State’s implied total of 117 points leaves plenty of room for production and Thompson should be one of the likeliest suspects to contribute. Thompson is on fire the past three scores as he has scored 45, 32 and 34 points respectively but the really encouraging part is how aggressive he has been recently. The high point totals are due to him attacking the rim with more frequent back cuts and takes as opposed to settling for being a true shooter. Washington ranks 27th in both efficiency defense and fantasy points allowed to opposing SGs so the matchup is incredibly favorable beyond just the pace. If Thompson keeps up his recent mentality, he should be a safe bet for 25-plus real points yet again with the potential to crack 30.
Al Horford, Hawks, $11,700 – Sometimes a matchup is just tailor made for a player. Four out of the last five times Al Horford has faced the Philadelphia 76ers he has produced at least 33 fantasy points including three games of at least 46.25. Last season Horford dropped a triple-double in Philadelphia and earlier this season he dropped 18 PTS, nine REB, three AST, three STL and three BLK against them. While Paul Millsap is one of the most consistent players in DFS, the matchup on Wednesday favors the cheaper Horford. Philadelphia ranks 18th in efficiency to PFs but second to last against opposing centers (Cs). If looking for an under-owned stack, how about Jeff Teague, Al Horford and either Paul Millsap or Kent Bazemore as the Atlanta Hawks average the third most assists per game (APG) of any team. There’s a great chance more than one of them produce solid statistical lines against a bad defense and everyone will be on the Warriors and Wizards.
Rodney Hood, Jazz, $11,100 – Rodney Hood can be one of the most frustrating players to roster due to this propensity to pick up two early fouls. However, Hood really stepped up his game in month of January; he averaged 18.6 PPG (including 3.0 3PM per game) and 2.6 APG in 32.4 MPG and shot an impressive 45.7 percent from the field. At $11,100, his January average of 29.5 FPPG would equate to only 2.66x value but the matchup against Denver should increase his expected total. Denver is the third worst backcourt defense in terms of efficiency and any opponent is an upgrade in pace considering the Jazz are the slowest-paced team in the league. “Hood is a cash play” is close to an oxymoron but on Wednesday it’s certainly a viable play.
Aaron Gordon, Magic, $10,100 – On a per-36 minute basis, Aaron Gordon averages 33.07 fantasy points. While he’s not quite at Boban Marjanovic levels of efficiency, his output is pretty darn good considering how much more expansive his sample size is. By comparison, a player like DeMar DeRozan averaged an almost identical per-36 fantasy point output last season when he averaged 20.1 PPG. In other words, all Gordon needs is minutes in order to be productive. Similarly to Hood, Gordon occasionally struggles with foul trouble but he only averages 3.2 personal fouls per-36 minutes. Over the long run, the fouls should not be an issue according to the stats. Gordon has started the last six games for the Magic and produced at least 22.25 fantasy points in each including back-to-back games of at least 34.50 fantasy points. He began the stretch by fouling out but hasn’t registered more than four fouls in any of his past four games. Wednesday is a difficult matchup on paper against the Oklahoma City Thunder and their top ranked PF defense. As long as Gordon continues to see minutes, it doesn’t matter if it’s against the best defensive efficiency team against his position because he’s simply underpriced. Even against Serge Ibaka, Gordon should produce enough of an all-around stat line to meet value at his $10,100 price.