With Eric Gordon out and Norris Cole possibly out as well, plenty of usage will be available to Jrue Holiday and he should take advantage in a fantastic matchup against the NBA’s worst defense. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Rajon Rondo, Kings, $14,200 – One game stands out above all others on Monday’s slate and that is the tilt between two of the NBA’s worst seven defenses. Sacramento allows the most points per game (PPG) in the NBA at 109.3 but New Orleans isn’t far behind at 105.4. In two meetings this season, the teams have scored a combined 206 and 219 points and Anthony Davis sat out the higher scoring affair of the two. The aspect I really dig about the Kings is the concentrated nature of their fantasy point production. In both of the previous matchups, only three players scored more than 20.5 fantasy points in each contest. In the first game, DeMarcus Cousins (51.5), Rajon Rondo (42.75) and Omri Casspi (23.5) led the way with Cousins (58.0), Rondo (49.5) and Ben McLemore (38.5) leading the way in the second game. Clearly the top two options dominate the production and should once again against a New Orleans team that ranks in the bottom five of efficiency to both opposing point guards (PGs) and centers (Cs). At one point in February, Rondo’s price had risen to the mid-$15,000s which is probably where it belongs. His current price point combined with the elite matchup equals a borderline must-start.
Jrue Holiday, Pelicans, $13,900 – Eric Gordon, we hardly knew ye. The Pelicans’ starting shooting guard (SG) returned from a broken finger, played four games and ate into Jrue Holiday’s usage rate (usg%) then fractured his finger once again and now may miss the remainder of the season. Since Gordon had returned you basically could not play Holiday at his inflated price because it accounted for his increased involvement in the offense when Gordon was out. Now that Gordon is back, his price makes sense once again as Holiday sports a 32.1 usg% when the SG is out. By comparison, DeMarcus Cousins leads the league with a 35.7-perent usg%. Furthermore, Norris Cole is listed as questionable for Monday night’s game against the league’s worst defense (the Kings) so Holiday’s minutes would have to be extended by default if he were to sit. Regardless of Cole’s status, Sacramento ranks 28th in defensive efficiency to opposing PGs and Holiday is in a great spot. The price is a little steep but I still think he is worth paying up for because he should be a lock for 35-plus fantasy points with the upside for 50-plus.
Jerryd Bayless, Bucks, $8,400 – From the sound of it, Michael Carter-Williams is bordering on doubtful for the Bucks’ tilt against the Bulls. He was ruled out a full 24 hours before Sunday’s game against the Thunder due to patella tendinitis in his knee along with a sore hip. Jerryd Bayless took advance on his opportunity once again on Sunday and scored 20-plus fantasy points for the seventh time in the last eight games Carter-Williams has sat. For a player at this value price, the data suggests he possesses a rather safe floor. Sans Carter-Williams, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been playing a majority of the PG, allowing Bayless to play off the ball and focus on shooting…which is where he is most comfortable. If the third year Veteran from Syracuse is ruled out once again, fire up Bayless as a safe cash option against a Bulls team allowing the third most fantasy points to opposing PGs. A punt will be needed to spend up on some of the best plays of the day and Bayless fits the bill.
DeMarcus Cousins, Kings, $18,300 – As noted in the Rondo tidbit, the Kings run a rather concentrated offense and DeMarcus Cousins is above and beyond the top option. Only Philadelphia has allowed more fantasy points to opposing Cs than New Orleans this season so it’s unsurprising Cousins has averaged 29 PPG and 11 rebounds per game (RPG) against the Pelicans in two meetings. Both Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik have been out due to injuries so it’s very possible Cousins will match up with Kendrick Perkins to start. Perkins trying to guard Cousins is like a house of cards trying to withstand a tornado; it’s just not happening. Even when Davis switches over to him later, it’s just a size mismatch. Once again Cousins is going to get it done in one of the best possible matchups and his price is done from nearly $20,000 earlier in the week. At this price point, I would start him against anybody let alone a team he is certain to dominate. He’s the best overall play on the slate plain and simple.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks, $14,600 – Sold on this kid yet? All he did on Sunday was triple-double for the third time in the past eight games which doesn’t even include the game he missed one by one REB on Mar. 4. He has now eclipsed 65 fantasy points in three of the past four contests and is officially an absolute monster without Carter-Williams. Clearly handling the ball-handling duties works for him and he’s a triple-double threat every time he is entrusted with that responsibility. Jimmy Butler is an excellent defender and he usually draws a matchup against the team’s best opposing player but James Harden torched him for 36-5-8 on Saturday. Antetokounmpo has approximately four inches on Butler if the Bulls’ SG decides to focus on him and not Khris Middleton (which is no sure thing). Also, Butler will not keep Antetokounmpo off the boards or affect his passing game so Antetokounmpo should produce fine in those categories regardless. LeBron James is priced like a true triple-double threat with 70 fantasy points upside…Antetokounmpo is not. The price might seem steep but you need to pay up for his sort of elite upside. Go back to the well once again against a struggling Bulls defense and you will reap the benefits.
Aaron Gordon, Magic, $12,100 – The last time Aaron Gordon squared off against the Warriors, I wrote this: “Against the Warriors, athleticism is absolutely necessary and, if you watched the dunk contest, you know Aaron Gordon has enough to match up with anyone. Over the past six games, Gordon has scored at least 31.5 fantasy points in each and he has eclipsed 33 fantasy points in each game since Tobias Harris was shipped out of town. This matchup specifically seems as though it’s going to require Gordon to play more minutes than usual as the Magic will need his versatility and he had already been hovering around 30 minutes per night recently. If he reaches the mid-30s in minutes, he should reach 3x value with ease so play him with confidence in all formats even against the best team in the league.” Now those statistics are a little outdated as Gordon is now averaging 31.9 FPPG in 12 games without Harris and Gordon has eclipsed 31.5 fantasy points in 10 of his last 12 games. For the most part, however, the previous tidbit still applies as Gordon’s athleticism will still be key to competing and/or defeating the Warriors. In one previous meeting against the world champs, Gordon dropped 19 PTS and eight REB en route to 34 fantasy points due to all the other stats sprinkled in. He has struggled lately due to Coach Scott Skiles’ unpredictable rotations but not even Skiles is dumb enough to sit him in this encounter. Deploy him in all formats.
*Stats are accurate as of Sunday, Mar. 6