Wesley Matthews is amidst a streak of 23.50-plus fantasy points in five consecutive games and now will face the worst defensive team against opposing point guards. Roster him so you can afford the necessary studs on this top-heavy slate. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Stephen Curry, Warriors, $19,200 – Thursday is one of the more interesting slate of games where there are a variety of ways to attack roster construction. For the first time in a long while starting three superstars in one lineup is actually a viable strategy. Now when I say “superstar,” I am referring to the truly top-tier priced players at $18,000 or greater. On this slate there are four priced in this range and the three that stand out to me are the trio of superstars from the third installment of Oklahoma City/Golden State. Of the three studs involved in the game (Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant), the fewest fantasy points any of the three have scored in either of the previous two games has been 55 fantasy points (Curry in the first meeting). In other words, all three have lit it up each time which isn’t a surprise considering the high-scoring nature of the matchup. Curry looked fine last game even after injuring his ankle as he went on to hit the game winning shot from about 30 feet. Having had a few days to rest, he should be back with a vengeance at home against a solid Western Conference foe and I think I prefer him in cash games to Westbrook (if only using one).
Rajon Rondo, Kings, $14,600 – One player who is going to fly under the radar on a slate with Oklahoma City/Golden State is Rajon Rondo. Hell, even if people look to go contrarian in tournaments the first player they’ll look to on the Kings is DeMarcus Cousins. Do not forget this is a revenge game for Rondo as things ended quite poorly in Dallas for him due to a feud with Coach Rick Carlisle. If there were ever added motivation for a player to succeed, Rondo will be looking to show his old coach who refused to play him big minutes what exactly he is missing out on. The pace of this game is easily expected to be the second highest on the slate and masseyratings projects Sacramento to score 105 points which is tied for the fourth most on the slate behind Golden State, Oklahoma City and Dallas. Rondo is coming off a 17 assist (AST) performance against the Grizzlies and Dallas ranks 20th in terms of defensive efficiency against opposing point guards (PGs). If the Kings can keep this one close, Rondo should push a triple-double and his price tag is substantially cheaper than on competing sites as he’ll only cost 14.6-percent of the budget compared to as high as 16.4-percent on other sites. At this value price, Rondo is viable in all formats including cash where he will be criminally low-owned.
Wesley Matthews, Mavericks, $9,300 – Without set guard positions, I’m hoping Wesley Matthews is overlooked although I doubt it considering most will probably look to spend up for dual studs in the game of the night. With that being said, you’ll obviously have to find value in order to roster the Curry and Durants of the world. No bargain player on the slate draws a better matchup than Matthews who will face a Sacramento team that allows the most fantasy points to opposing shooting guards (SGs). The fact that they rank 29th in terms of defensive efficiency against the position confirms what we already know: Sacramento cannot guard opposing backcourts (or anyone really). After struggling for an extended period of time, Matthews is coming into his own and has scored at least 23.50 fantasy points in five consecutive games now. In his last outing, he torched the Magic for 21 points (PTS) on 8-12 shooting so he is clearly feeling it as of late. Look for him to continue his torrid streak against the absolute best matchup he could ask for.
Kevin Durant, Thunder, $18,300 – All Kevin Durant has done in two previous meetings against the Warriors this season is produce lines of 40-14-5 and 37-12-5 en route to 71.5 and 68.0 fantasy points. If that sort of dominance interests you then Durant is your man on Thursday. On paper, Golden State has allowed a middling total of fantasy points to opposing small forwards (SFs) this season and rank third best in terms of defensive efficiency. In other words, they should be a tough matchup for opposing SFs but there really isn’t another like Durant. At 6’11 with one of the silkiest jumpers in the league, is there really anyone who can match up with this guy? The answer is no and the pace of this game is obviously quite compatible with Durant’s style considering the prior results in this matchup. If there was one player to roster in all your lineups, Durant would be that guy.
Alex Len, Suns, $10,300 – Easily the Phoenix/Miami game is the least appealing on the slate due to the measly 198.5 over/under and considering the game isn’t even expected to be close (10.5 point spread). With that being said, Alex Len’s price still has not caught up with his new starting role. According to Coach Earl Watson, Len will start next to Tyson Chandler for the foreseeable future and Len will have four inches on the guy attempting to guard him in the Heat’s starting lineup: Luol Deng. Typically Hassan Whiteside does not sub in until about the six minute mark so Len should enjoy extended stretches in both the first and second half in a mismatch versus a much smaller defender. At this price, he is worth the shot in all formats despite the unfavorable fantasy nature of the game environment.
David Lee, Mavericks, $8,000 – David Lee followed up a string of back-to-back 30-plus fantasy point performances with a 14 minute, 18.50 fantasy point dud last time out. Two factors were in play last game: Zaza Pachulia likely played extended minutes to match up against Nikola Vucevic and David Lee earned five quick fouls. In a matchup against DeMarcus Cousins, Pachulia is the most likely candidate for foul trouble as are most opposing centers (Cs) against Cousins. Lee very likely will spend zero time guarding Cousins because that is the definition of a mismatch so we can chalk Tuesday’s foul trouble up as an outlier unlikely to repeat itself in this contest. Therefore, Lee should get back to playing closer to the mid-20s in minutes like he had the previous two times out and flirt with a double-double. Only the Houston Rockets allow more fantasy points to opposing PFs so Lee literally could not ask for a better matchup. At only $8,000, Lee possesses the potential to reach 4x value which justifies his viability in both cash and GPP formats.
*Stats are accurate as of Wednesday, Mar. 2