Return of the Mack

Having been recently relocated, Shelvin Mack finds himself in a much friendlier fantasy situation and he should be primed to more than return value for his price on Tuesday. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.


Rajon Rondo, Kings, $15,500 – The Kings and Nuggets squared off just three days ago and I wrote up Rajon Rondo heading into that game. Here were my arguments: “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.” What did Rondo do? He dropped 61.50 fantasy points due to a 24 point (PTS), 10 rebound (REB), nine assist (AST) and five steal (STL) performance. The only aspects of the matchup that have changed this time around are the Kings will be the road team and are only projected to score 107 points. Otherwise, the matchup is equally as enticing and Rondo should once again flirt with a triple-double.

Shelvin Mack, Jazz, $7,000 – Watching games closely can lead to a distinct advantage against the competition. Shelvin Mack, who was recently acquired by the Jazz at the trade deadline, already seems to have emerged as the most fantasy relevant PG on the roster. Before the deal, Raul Neto was pushing the mid-30s in minutes but he only managed 10 minutes in Mack’s Jazz debut. Third wheel in the PG rotation Trey Burke saw 13 minutes on the court while Mack enjoyed 24 minutes that led to 16 PTS, three REB and six AST. Clearly the Jazz made the move for Mack because they thought they needed an upgrade at the position and he already gave the Jazz one of their most productive outings from any PG this season in just his first game. Even assuming he continues to come off the bench, Mack’s role is that off a starting ball-handler and he is only priced a $7,000. If he simply puts together a similar outing to last game, he would reach 4.39x value…and I expect his minutes to increase. While he is a bit of a risk due to the limited sample with his new team, the upside makes him a viable and probably necessary punt in all formats.

D.J. Augustin, Nuggets, $6,000 – D.J. Augustin has flown virtually under the radar (unless you follow me on Twitter) since being acquired by the Nuggets on Feb. 18. Prior to the trade, Augustin had not appeared in a game since Jan. 29. In his first game with the Nuggets, he made an immediate impact by scoring eight PTS and dishing six AST in just 18 minutes…against Sacramento. Emmanuel Mudiay struggled that game and Augustin happily picked up the production. Once again Augustin put together a respectable outing on Saturday against Boston as he registered 23.25 fantasy points. Two games for the Nuggets have resulted in a combined 3.81x value and his salary has not yet increased. Assuming Jameer Nelson sits once again, Augustin should easily manage to eclipse value even in a reserve role. Hell, it’s not like the matchup could get any better as the Kings allow the most points per game (PPG) of any team and struggle against opposing guards. Pair him with Mack and you can basically buy every other player you want.


DeMarcus Cousins, Kings, $20,200 – On Saturday, DeMarcus Cousins only partially participated in practiced as he is dealing with a bruised tailbone. Nevertheless, the injury is not expected to keep him out of Tuesday’s tilt against the Nuggets. Now referees are not quite as friendly to Cousins on the road as he averages nearly three (2.7) free throws per game less on the road but they’re not going to be able to negate the matchup. Just a few days ago Cousins dropped 37 PTS and 20 REB on a helpless Kings team that had no answers for him in the post. Even Nuggets Coach Mike Malone was amazed after the game and made comments on how he was shocked the Kings continued to feed him in the post.  His comments suggested the Kings have underutilized him but they certainly corrected it against his Nuggets. If the Kings continue to feed the big fella, another gigantic game is to be expected.

Anthony Davis, Pelicans, $18,300 – Rarely do I justify a play by saying it’s a gut feeling but Anthony Davis is going to be an exception here. Davis’ history against the Wizards isn’t exactly pretty the past two seasons as he has only eclipsed 40 fantasy points once in three meetings. He did drop 47.5 fantasy points on Nov. 29, 2014 just to make a fair case for him. However, he was absolutely dominant this game…probably the most dominant any player has been all season in any game. He scored 59 PTS and grabbed 20 REB against the Pistons which marked the second straight game he scored at least 51.25 fantasy points. Davis is on such a roll right now, and there is plenty of value on the slate, so you may as well pay up for the two monsters at the forward/center (F/C) position. Combining the two of them certainly offers your lineup an incredible amount of upside and that’s what you’re looking for on a five game slate.

Nikola Vucevic, Magic, $13,200 – Yesterday I used Kyle Lowry’s past history against the Knicks as evidence of why to use him and today the past matchup data guy is Nikola Vucevic. In 10 meetings against the 76ers in his career, Vucevic has failed to reach 36.75 fantasy points just twice. Those two outlier outings resulted in 26 and 27.25 fantasy points so it’s not even like they were complete failures. Essentially Vucevic owns the 76ers and has topped 49 fantasy points half the times he has over faced them over an extended sample size. This current Philadelphia team has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing centers (Cs) and ranks third to last in defensive efficiency versus the position. In other words, if you do not use Vucevic in this matchup you are wasting a golden opportunity.

*Stats are accurate as of Monday, Feb. 22

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, 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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