In a fast-paced contest against a weak backcourt defense, Jamal Crawford should light up the scoreboard. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Kyle Lowry, Raptors, $14,800 – One of the most intriguing statistics in daily fantasy basketball is just how remarkably consistent Kyle Lowry has been against the New York Knicks. In four meetings over the past two seasons, Lowry hasn’t scored less than 45.5 fantasy points. He has scored at least 21 real points (PTS) and dished out at least nine assists (AST) in every single meeting. The New York Knicks rank in the bottom half of fantasy points allowed to opposing point guards (PGs) and Jose Calderon is simply too old and slow to stay in front of Lowry. Don’t let the mediocre over/under (199.5) dissuade you from rostering Lowry but the matchup is ripe and he should once again dominate in Madison Square Garden.
Goran Dragic/Dwyane Wade – One of these players is an absolute must-play but the status of Dwyane Wade will determine which guy it will be. Wade has sat the past two ballgames and Goran Dragic has stepped up as the featured offensive weapon on the Heat. Both games have resulted in 46-plus fantasy points for Dragic so clearly at just $11,100 he would be in play once again if Wade sat. However if Wade were to play, I think he would emerge as the better play of the two and he would essentially take on the role Dragic has been holding down the past few contests. Regardless, neither of these guys are priced as a true number one option on offense yet one of them is going to play the role on Monday. Wait for the Wade news and then pounce on the man who emerges as top dog when the smoke clears.
Jamal Crawford, Clippers, $10,400 – No team rates worse in terms of defensive efficiency against opposing backcourts than the Phoenix Suns. On Monday, the Clippers are projected to absolutely spank the Suns at home as they are listed as 16.5 point favorites according to ESPN. The aspect I particularly like is the fact the Suns allow the most points per game (PPG) to opposing shooting guards (SGs): 25.4. Jamal Crawford’s single best attribute is his ability to put the ball in the basket and this game shapes up perfectly for him to get his. J.J. Redick starts and Crawford subs in later in the first quarter. If the game were to get out of hand early, Coach Doc Rivers tends to just leave his backups in longer. In other words, if the game plays out as Vegas expects Crawford could be in for some additional minutes. Assuming he plays additional minutes against one of the worst defenses at his position, he could go crazy. Without Blake Griffin this season, Crawford is averaging 16.7 PPG but I would be surprised if he didn’t top 20 in this one.
Hassan Whiteside, Heats, $13,200 – Question: Is Chris Bosh still out? If the answer to this question is yes, then Hassan Whiteside is automatically worthy of consideration in DFS. Without Bosh, Whiteside’s usage rate (usg%) increases by nearly two percentage points, his rebound percentage (REB%) increases by 2.5 percentage points and he produces 0.08 fantasy points more per-minute. Whereas there are two impactful big men in the rotation when Bosh is healthy, Whiteside essentially has to do it all himself sans the 11-time All Star. Whiteside broke his own team season-high record for rebounds in a game (19) on Saturday when he grabbed 23 of them against the Wizards. On Monday, Whiteside and the Heat will face a faster-paced Indiana Pacers team (eighth fastest) that allows the 11th most fantasy points to opposing centers (Cs). There is no reason to believe Whiteside isn’t yet again a threat for 20-20 and therefore needs to be taken seriously in all formats.
Al Horford, Hawks, $11,600 – Andrew Bogut sat out Saturday’s game due to a sore Achilles and is questionable for Monday’s tilt with the Hawks. His absence would give Al Horford’s outlook in this one a slight boost but the Hawks center remains a viable play regardless. Only the Sacramento Kings play at a faster pace than the Golden State Warriors meaning the Hawks will all enjoy an uptick in pace compared to what they are used to. The two weaknesses in the Golden State’s defense in terms of fantasy points allowed are to opposing PGs and Cs…they have allowed exactly the ninth most fantasy points to each position. In two meetings last season, Horford averaged 33 fantasy points against the Warriors on the heels of a solid 40.5 fantasy point outing and a 25.5 fantasy point dud. While the letdown game is a little disheartening, Horford’s price is legitimately as cheap as its ever going to get despite the solid matchup with a pace increase. Horford only needs about 34.75 fantasy points to reach 3x value and his ceiling stretches far beyond that because he should see extended minutes in this one. He’s a rock solid cash play but could prove to be tournament viable as well.
Julius Randle, Lakers, $11,100 – Milwaukee ranks as a bottom seven defense in terms of both efficiency and fantasy points allowed to opposing power forwards (PFs). Heading into the matchup against the Bucks, Julius Randle has now double-doubled in seven of his last nine games and Coach Byron Scott just announced he would remain in the starting lineup for the rest of the season. The team literally possesses no other consistent rebounding threats and it typically takes the Lakers getting blown out for him to not reach at least 10 PTS and 10 rebounds (REB). The Bucks are only listed as eight point favorites, D’Angelo Russell has been announced as a starter for the remainder of the season and Kobe Bryant already says he is playing so the blowout factor is quite low. It’s hard for me to believe Randle doesn’t double-double yet again in this game and finish in at least the low 30’s in fantasy points which is plenty of value for his salary.
*Stats are accurate as of Sunday, Feb. 21