Kevin Durant dropped a 40-14 double-double in the last meeting versus the Golden State Warriors and plenty of points are sure to be scored once again in this clash of the titans. 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 – Once again, the Golden State Warriors will square off against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the fantasy community virtually has to focus on this game. This contest will feature the NBA’s two highest scoring offenses and the last meeting resulted in 224 total points. In that game, Russell Westbrook scored 27 points on only 36.4-percent shooting and dropped 12 assists. If he were on his ceiling could have stretched even higher. Even though the Warriors are an excellent defensive team, they allow the fifth most fantasy points to opposing point guards (PGs) and the Thunder’s offense is incredibly concentrated. Nearly all the production comes through Westbrook and Kevin Durant, which it did in the first meeting. Expect more of the same in round two especially with the setting of the game being Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena this go around.
Jrue Holiday, Pelicans, $13,900 – The price has risen for Jrue Holiday but his recent play has justified the spike as he has scored at least 34 fantasy points in seven straight games including four games topping 40. The fact he comes off the bench matters zero percent because he plays minutes in the low-30s and act as the team’s second scoring option and main handler. Role matters much more than whether or not he starts and he plays on a big role on a bad Pelicans team that plays in plenty of track meets. They play the 11th fastest pace and allow 105.6 points per game (PPG) so many of their games are conducive to their main assets’ fantasy production. Minnesota allows the ninth most fantasy points to opposing PGs and Holiday just dropped 55 fantasy points on them earlier this month (Feb. 8). There is nothing to worry about with this matchup and Holiday is on fire so continue to start him with confidence despite the rising cost.
Markel Brown, Nets, $6,700 – Exit Joe Johnson stage left from the Brooklyn Nets; the team released him earlier this week which will propel Markel Brown into an expanded role with how the roster is currently constructed. In his first game Sans Johnson, Brown played 24 minutes but enjoyed a usage rate (usg%) of 20.4-percent which is a solid uptick from his season total of 17.2-percent. Normally I wouldn’t put too much stock into a one game sample but clearly an impactful roster adjustment led to the improvement. He will have to continue to play a larger role in the offense for the foreseeable future (or at least until Rondae Hollis-Jefferson returns) so now is the time to take advantage of the miniscule price. The cost still reflects his role as an inconsistent bench role and now he’s going to be relied upon as one of the main scorers off the bench. Sometimes you just have to take the value when value is given to you and he is a much needed punt on a night where playing studs will be essential.
Kevin Durant, Thunder, $18,000 – As mentioned in the Westbrook tidbit, the Thunder offense is concentrated and nearly all the production comes via maybe the most dominant duo in the game. On Feb. 6, the two combined for 127.25 fantasy points and 71.5 of those came via Durant. Want to see an impressive line? How about 40 points (PTS) on 48-percent shooting, 14 rebounds (REB), five assists (AST), one steal (STL) and two blocks (BLK). Golden State ranks second in defensive efficiency against opposing small forwards (SFs) but you can throw that out against a superstar like Durant in a game where people believe Oklahoma City will score 115.5 points. Due to the Warriors’ pace, they allow a middle of the pack total of FPPG to the position but last meeting shows the type of potential Durant carries in a high-scoring affair. Although Stephen Curry is firmly in play as well, Westbrook and Durant are locks for me in cash in what should prove to be another incredibly entertaining tilt between these two juggernaut teams.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves, $15,400 – Opposing centers (Cs) feast on the New Orleans Pelicans and Karl-Anthony Towns will be hungry heading into Saturday’s tilt. In two prior meetings this season, Towns has produced 42.75 and 37.5 fantasy points respectively and nearly 20-10 double-doubled each time (just missed the second time with a 19-12 line). After the New Orleans game on Feb. 8, Towns hadn’t sunk below 40 fantasy points until last game when he posted a dud versus the Raptors. Bad games happen especially for young players but his one bad game shouldn’t discount the fact he is legitimately getting better by the second. You can almost throw the past two lines away, even though they were pretty solid, because this is an elite player versus a defense allowing the second most fantasy points to the position. Towns should rebound with authority and I would be kind of shocked if he didn’t flirt with 50 fantasy points in a battle of maybe the game’s best two young big men (he and Anthony Davis).
Derrick Favors, Jazz, $13,300 – I would start my grandmother against Thaddeus Young. Okay so that is a bit of a stretch but not by much because my mother would probably drop a 10-5 type line against him at min. price. Substitute her for an All-Star caliber player and my only question would be, “Where do I sign?” The two teams have yet to meet this season but the one occurrence in which Derrick Favors took on Young last season led to 39.5 fantasy points due to a 22-8-4 line. Favors is amidst a hot stretch as he has scored at least 35 fantasy points in four consecutive games and at least 40 fantasy points in three of the last four. A sizzling hot player facing a defensive liability equals an elite play. Do yourself a Favors and roster the Jazz power forward.
*Stats are accurate as of Friday, Feb. 26