The Heat will rely heavily on Dwyane Wade’s offensive prowess with Chris Bosh dealing with serious health concerns and Hassan Whiteside suspended. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Rajon Rondo, Kings, $14,800 – NBA is back which means time to target Kings games in daily fantasy basketball once again especially since they decided to neither fire Coach George Karl nor make any trade at the deadline. They are an awful defensive team that plays at the fastest pace so they find themselves in track meet style games quite often. Denver, the Kings’ opponent on Friday, ranks middle of the pack in terms of pace but they allow the fifth most fantasy points to the point guard (PG) position. Most notably, they allow the fifth most rebounds per game (RPG) to opposing PGs and Rajon Rondo is one of the NBA’s best rebounding guards. He can contribute to a box score in so many ways which makes him fun to roster. In a game where Sacramento is projected to score 110 points according to masseyratings, there should be plenty of opportunities for Rondo to rack up enough points (PTS), rebounds (REB), assists (AST) and steals (STL) for him to be relied upon as a rock solid cash option.
Dwyane Wade, Heat, $12,600 – Both Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside will miss Friday’s game in Atlanta. In fact, the Heat may very well be without Bosh for the remainder of the season (or even forever) due to a recurring blood clot. No Heat regular benefits more in terms of a gain in usage rate (usg%) than Dwyane Wade whose usg% improves by a whopping seven percentage points with Bosh off the floor. Sans their two starting big men, Wade is going to have to put the whole offense on his back. He’s priced at his usual price but should be relied upon for additional production. Therefore, there is plenty of profit potential to be made as he legitimately could push 30 real points.
Emmanuel Mudiay, Nuggets, $10,800 – As is tradition, one player from a Kings game is simply not enough. Virtually all of the Nuggets usuals are in play (Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Nikola Jokic) but Emmanuel Mudiay is my preferred play of the bunch since Jameer Nelson remains out. In 15 games without Nelson this season, Mudiay is averaging 29.5 fantasy points per game (FPPG) and 33 minutes per game (MPG). He’s one of the least efficient shooters in the game (38-percent in games without Nelson) but the good news is he will continue to shoot regardless of outcome. In a game against the third worst PG defense in terms of efficiency, Mudiay should both enjoy improved efficiency versus normal and enjoy the additional scoring/AST opportunities due to the pace. At a price sub-$11,000, he’s an absolute no-brainer.
Brook Lopez, Nets, $12,900 – Robin Lopez has stepped up his game defensively in recent weeks but brother Brook Lopez has thrived playing against him over the past two seasons. In four meetings since the beginning of the 2014-15 season, Brook Lopez has scored at least 32 fantasy points in each against his twin brother including two 43.5-plus fantasy point outbursts. If Brook were to simply reach his season average, he would produce 2.90x value or enough to put your fantasy team on pace for 290 fantasy points. Over his last 10 games, he has averaged 39.8 fantasy points which would equate to over 3.06x value and more than enough to justify using him in all formats.
Jahlil Okafor, 76ers, $11,300 – New Orleans is known for their generosity against opposing bigs (specifically centers (Cs)) and it is unclear whether Nerlens Noel will suit up. Even if he does and plays his full allotment of minutes, Jahlil Okafor is still in play due to matchup and price alone. The Pelicans allow the second most fantasy points to opposing centers and Okafor is en fuego having scored 48-plus fantasy points in two of his last three games (although Noel sat one of those games). In terms of game environments, this game should give Denver/Sacramento a run for its money for being the most fantasy-friendly of the evening. Both Philadelphia and New Orleans allow more than 105 PPG and both rank in the top half of pace. Stacking this game in tournaments makes sense as I expect the final result to be closer than the initial 8.5 point spread. This is one of the games where I feel comfortable using dueling PGs (Ish Smith in a revenge game versus Jrue Holiday) and frontcourt members (Okafor and Anthony Davis) as contrarian tournament strategies. Assuming Noel sits, there may not be a better play on the slate but he’s simply too cheap regardless of which of his teammates suit up.
Alex Len, Suns, $8,700 – At the deadline, the Phoenix Suns traded Markieff Morris to the Washington Wizards for two players who are unlikely to suit up on Sunday. For fantasy purposes, this will just be the equivalent to a game where Morris has been deemed inactive for the remaining Suns plays. Without Morris, Devin Booker will catapult into the number one scorer’s role and additional minutes/production should be available for Alex Len. Fantasy Labs contributor Adam Levitan tweeted earlier just how effective Len has been in his previous two games without Morris: 16 PTS, 12 REB, five AST versus Atlanta and 13 PTS, eight REB, four AST versus San Antonio. On the season, Len is averaging 0.94 fantasy points per-minute but it increases to 0.96 without Morris. He put together a respectable outing against the Spurs without Morris so he should be incredibly safe against the Houston Rockets. Without Morris, Len has played a fair amount of power forward (PF) next to Tyson Chandler and the Rockets are by far the most susceptible team to opposing PFs…they allow the most fantasy points and rank dead last in efficiency. Len will play both PF and C but regardless he should be effective and that’s really all that matters for DFS purposes. He possesses the potential crush value at this price tag and is easily my favorite value play on the slate (at least until other options emerge with late inactives).