Con(ley) Air

After exceeding 45 fantasy points against the Lakers on Wednesday, Conley will enjoy the same juicy matchup on Friday. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.

Guards:

Chris Paul, Clippers, $17,100 – Probably the easiest play of any slate is selecting the best player on the opposing team against the Sacramento Kings. Considering the fact Blake Griffin remains out for the Los Angeles Clippers, selecting Chris Paul for your lineup on Friday is a virtual no-brainer. Sacramento plays at the fastest pace in the NBA, allows the most points of any team and allows the eighth most fantasy points to opposing point guards (PGs). Without Griffin this season, Paul has averaged 46.4 fantasy points per game (FPPG), versus 38.7 with him, due to a boost in points (PTS), rebounds (REB) and assists (AST) per game. Their offense is one of the most concentrated in basketball as their complimentary players rarely post monster lines…nearly every big offensive performances is produced by a combination of Paul, DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford. They are not hard to predict on normal nights so there is certainly no mystery where the fantasy points will come against the worst defensive team in basketball. Paul should be an absolute lock to make your final cash lineup(s).

Mike Conley, Grizzlies, $12,900 – For the second consecutive game, the Grizzlies and Lakers will square off although the location of this game will move to the Staples Center in Los Angeles. I wrote about Mike Conley last time out and he dropped 45 fantasy points due to a 24-6-8 line so I am going back to the well. Here were my arguments for him last time: “No team allows more fantasy points to opposing point guards (PGs) than the Lakers and Conley has enjoyed an uptick in usage without Marc Gasol. In the three previous games to Sunday’s letdown in Toronto, Conley scored at least 20 real points (PTS) in each. Conley has always been a solid passer and he can provide steals so if he’s scoring at a solid clip then he should easily be able to hit value. Sans Gasol, there is definitely no guarantee Memphis should win this game in blowout fashion so Conley can be expected to play his usual minutes in a superb matchup. This is a great spot to deploy him.” Considering this game will be played only two days later, all those tidbits still apply. The Grizzlies only won Wednesday’s tilt by nine so the point suggesting not to worry about blowout potential proved to spot on. With the game moving to the Lakers home court, they actually could be a threat to win the game. In other words, Conley is an absolutely elite play once again as his price only rose $300 after his monster effort the other night.

D’Angelo Russell, Lakers, $9,700 – The aforementioned Mike Conley is generally regarded as a great defender but it’s almost not worth worrying about in D’Angelo Russell’s case. Conley certainly was aided by the help defense of Marc Gasol who will miss the remainder of the season. Now if a player blows by Conley on the perimeter, his best chance at reinforcement is Brandan Wright. Oh and Russell didn’t seemed phased by the defense the other night he produced 40 fantasy points against the Grizzlies thanks to a 22-4-8 line. In a starting role with around 30 minutes per night, Russell is going to play much closer to a $12,000 player than a $9,700 one. Now is the time to take advantage of the value before his price catches up and it is too late. Oh and I prefer him over Jordan Clarkson because Tony Allen is likely to actually play on Friday and he’s one of the best perimeter defenders around…even better than Conley. His presence could frustrate Clarkson leaving Russell to possibly have to make up for some of his production.

Forwards/Centers:

Carmelo Anthony, Knicks, $14,700 – Last night the Orlando Magic lost a hard-fought game against the Golden State Warriors as so many before them have this season. After that battle, they’ll have to play another game on the second night of a back-to-back against a fresh Knicks team. Give Carmelo Anthony a winded defender and he’ll burn anyone regardless of who they are. However, the way the Magic’s roster is currently constructed, Anthony is likely going to have at least an inch on whomever guards him and the likely candidate is Evan Fournier. Advanced metrics suggest Fournier is a below average defender and Anthony toasted the Magic for 50-plus fantasy points earlier this season. Anthony isn’t a player I roster often but I do like the fact that he’s producing career highs in both rebounding and assist rates this season. While he’s only averaging about 1.0 fantasy points more per game this season, the statistical diversity creates a higher nightly floor for him and this is a great night to capitalize.

Kevin Love, Cavaliers, $13,200 – Kevin Love is coming off of a disappointing 16.50 fantasy point letdown against the Charlotte Hornets so his ownership may be slightly down for those who were roasted on Wednesday night. The Cavaliers have squared off against their upcoming opponent (the Toronto Raptors) twice this season and twice Love has reached at least 38.75 fantasy points. Full disclosure: the first contest was without Kyrie Irving and that was his superior output of the two (42.75 fantasy points). Still a matchup against the second place team in the East should lead to extended minutes for all the Cavaliers starters including Love. While the Raptors are a solid defensive team, Cleveland’s starters will start get theirs when playing a normal allotment than usual and Love is no exception. He needs approximately 39 fantasy points for 3x value and he has averaged more than that in the two prior meetings so start him with confidence.

Marcin Gortat, Wizards, $12,000 – Hmm, how can I describe this price in a word? How about “lol”? In four meetings against the Philadelphia 76ers last season, Marcin Gortat averaged 38.3 FPPG. If you’re saying to yourself, “Well they didn’t have Jahlil Okafor last season so what does it matter?” then I’ll refer you to exhibit B: Gortat dropped 44.25 fantasy points against them in the one previous tilt between this teams earlier this season. The 76ers allow the most fantasy points to the center position and Gortat has double-doubled in seven of his last nine games. Against the porous 76ers defense, Gortat could conceivably be priced in the mid-$13,000s and I’d still consider paying for him. At this pawn shop level cost, he’s an auto-start especially in cash games.

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, Feb. 26

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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