Zach Randolph hasn’t been the beast on the boards that we have come to expect but he should score plenty against the worst defense in the game on Wednesday. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Chris Paul, Clippers, $17,500 – On Wednesday, two games sport totals that stand out above all the rest: Wizards/Timberwolves (projected 220.5 over/under) and Thunder/Clippers (221 over/under). Whenever the Clippers are expected to play in a track meet style game, Chris Paul automatically warrants consideration. The question in this game becomes whether to roster Paul or Russell Westbrook and the price and matchup differential both favor the Clippers star. Paul is priced $2,700 less than Westbrook and has reached 53 fantasy points in back-to-back contests. Oklahoma City allows the 10th most fantasy points to opposing point guards while the Clippers, thanks to Paul’s stifling defense, ranks the second toughest in terms of defensive efficiency. If targeting one player from this game, take the sole focal point of the Clippers offense without Blake Griffin and roster the nine time All-Star point guard (PG).
D’Angelo Russell, Lakers, $10,800 – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before from me. Time and time again I have typed “I will continue to roster D’Angelo Russell until he reaches $12,000” and I am not ready to steer off course just yet. Russell yet again had a big night last night and yet again draws a plus matchup on Wednesday. Last night he faced a Brooklyn defense allowing the fourth most fantasy points to the position and on Wednesday he’ll face a Denver team allowing the seventh most. Kobe Bryant did not play last night but, regardless, Russell has eclipsed 40 fantasy points in two of his last five starts next to Bryant and scored at least 22.25 fantasy points in each. Each game this youngster is improving and he seems to be coming into his own so the previous data almost doesn’t matter especially considering the two mediocre games were against a Milwaukee team stout against PGs and Houston who ranks top 10 in efficiency. As long as he is starting, this cheap and drawing a favorable matchup, he belongs in your cash lineup no questions asked. UPDATE: Lou Williams has been ruled out for Wednesday so that should boost Russell’s stock even more so.
Zach LaVine, Timberwolves, $10,100 – On an 11 game slate you’ll need to differentiate somewhere and Zach LaVine is in a perfect spot to succeed. As mentioned in the Paul tidbit, Wizards/Timberwolves is one of the two projected highest scoring games on the slate and the Wizards struggle to cover opposing wings. Against both shooting guards (SGs) and small forwards (SFs), the Wizards rank in the bottom seven of fantasy points allowed. Recently LaVine has been starting at SG next to Rubio and has scored at least 26.5 fantasy points in each of his last nine starts. The Wizards play at the fourth fastest pace and speeding up the game translates nicely to LaVine’s skill set. When the pace is sped up, LaVine flourishes driving to the basket and attempting to score and he’ll be able to do so against a poor defense against his position. At this price point, LaVine possesses serious upside and if he just copies last game he could reach more than 3x value. Assuming he is able to build on his latest performance or mimic the 25 real points (PTS) he scored against the Pelicans, LaVine should prove to be a nice building block for GPP formats.
Nikola Vucevic, Magic, $14,200 – While watching the Orlando Magic tonight, I muttered to myself “never again” when it comes to Scott Skiles coached players…and here I am recommending a member of the Magic yet again tomorrow. Even in a game where none of the starters exceeded 24 minutes, Nikola Vucevic still scored 18 PTS with seven rebounds (REB) en route to 32.75 fantasy points despite getting “Skiles’d.” While the benching factor is always in play, the Magic will play a Chicago Bulls team on Wednesday that has allowed at least 100 points in 14 consecutive games now. Vucevic has faced the Bulls five times over the past two seasons and has failed to reach 36.25 fantasy points just once. Since the Bulls lost Joakim Noah for the season, their already lacking defense against opposing centers (Cs) weakened substantially and the Bulls are now one of the friendliest matchups versus the position. Not only do the Bulls allow points but they allow the fourth most rebounds to the position as well, meaning Vucevic should flirt with a 20-10 double-double once again. Despite what occurred just last night, Vucevic can safely be inserted back into cash lineups. Hell, it’s not like he was ran into the ground last night so no need to worry about exhaustion on a back-to-back!
Dwight Howard, Rockets, $13,600 – Okay so the line for this game hasn’t been released (I write these articles the night before) but, when they do, the projected total will likely approach if not exceed the 220-ish totals of the prime games to target on the slate. In other words, Rockets/Pelicans is as enticing as any to target considering both teams allow at least 105.7 points per game (PPG). The Pelicans have a glaring hole in their defense and that is their inability to cover opposing Cs. Only the Philadelphia 76ers have allowed more fantasy points to opposing Cs and they don’t rate much better in terms of defensive efficiency against the position (26th). Dwight Howard is hitting his stride right now as he has exceeded 40 fantasy points in three of the last four games and five of his last eight. The man is in full-on beast mode right now to the point where a solid defense would have difficulty stopping him. In just about the best matchup Howard could ask for, he has a real shot to push 50 fantasy points. At this mid-tier price, Howard is an elite value and as close to a must-play as you’ll find on an 11 game slate.
Zach Randolph, Grizzlies, $12,300 – Ah Kings defense, we meet again. Sacramento nearly allows 110 PPG so you are virtually leaving fantasy points on the table if you do not select an opposing player against them. Zach Randolph’s rebounding has been a bit disappointing as of late (double-digit rebounds in one of his past eight games) but his scoring has consistently reached the upper-teens due to the uptick in usage without Marc Gasol. In a game where the Grizzlies are likely to easily top their season average of 99 PPG, Randolph is sure to do a large chunk of the damage. Only one team allows more fantasy points to opposing power forwards (PFs) than Sacramento but the Kings give it up to anyone. Randolph is a legitimate offensive threat meaning he should be started against the worst defense in basketball…period. End of story.
*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, Mar. 1