After dealing with a tough draw last night versus Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs last night, the matchup will get a whole lot easier for Jeff Green on Wednesday against a Rockets team that has allowed the most fantasy points to both small and power forwards. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Jrue Holiday, Pelicans, $14,500 – Writing about Jrue Holiday feels like a nightly occurrence as of late but his extended role without Eric Gordon is awfully enticing. Now, he’ll square off against the worst defensive team in the NBA (the Sacramento Kings) and he’s just a little over a week removed from torching them. Last week (Mar. 7), Holiday managed 20 points (PTS), four rebounds (REB), 10 assists (AST), four steals (STL) and one block (BLK) en route to 50.50 fantasy points. It’s not like that performance was an anomaly because Sacramento ranks 27th in defensive efficiency to opposing point guards (PGs) and plays at the fastest pace which is conducive to the former All-Star’s style. When the pace picks up, so does Holiday’s scoring and he even earns more AST opportunities. While it’s hard to guarantee 50 fantasy points from anyone, but I would be surprised if he didn’t at least flirt with half a hundred once again in the perfect matchup for him.
Isaiah Thomas, Celtics, $12,900 – The price tag is simply too cheap for Isaiah Thomas who is one of the best guards in the game. His scoring prowess is by far his best asset and he’ll need to do so in a battle against the NBA’s second highest scoring team. In a battle between two of the NBA’s nine fastest paced teams, masseyratings unsurprisingly projects this game as the second highest over/under on the slate. Thomas produced a monster 21-6-8 line on Tuesday evening against a solid Pacers PG defense so one can only imagine what he’ll do against a Thunder team allowing the eighth most fantasy points to the position. As a member of the Celtics, Thomas has only faced the Thunder twice (Nov. 15 of this season) and he dropped 35 fantasy points due to 20 PTS and eight AST. No need to worry about the team playing last night because Thomas averages 33.8 minutes per game (MPG) on back-to-backs versus 32.5 overall. Basically Thomas connects all the dots with a favorable price, matchup and role, so start him with confidence in all formats.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Pistons, $9,800 – Admittedly Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, or “KCP”, is never an overly exciting option but the guy rarely ever leaves the floor. This month, KCP leads the Pistons in minutes per game (MPG) by more than two over second place Tobias Harris (36.9 to 34.7). The Hawks are extremely tough on opposing PGs so Reggie Jackson may have a difficult time getting going. In two games this season versus Atlanta, KCP has averaged 26.8 fantasy points per game (FPPG) although he has played just 32.5 MPG. At that pace KCP is averaging 0.82 fantasy points per minute (FPPM), so if he were to reach his March average of 36.9 minutes in this contest, he should average approximately 30.4 fantasy points in this matchup. Considering 3x value for KCP is just 29.4 fantasy points, Caldwell-Pope should have a rather easy time at least approaching his necessary output at his price. Since he is not overly exciting and rarely scores much more than 30 fantasy points, he is best left for cash games…though he is a rock solid cash option.
DeMarcus Cousins, Kings, $19,000 – Sometimes a matchup is too good to pass on and this is the case for DeMarcus Cousins for the second straight day. Cousins will go from facing the team ranking dead last in defensive efficiency versus centers (Cs) on Tuesday to facing the team allowing the second most fantasy points to the position on Wednesday. All Cousins did to the Pelicans last week was absolutely, positively demolish them: 40 PTS, 16 REB, four AST, four STL and one BLK (75 fantasy points). Last I checked the Pelicans did not magically add a big man capable of defending Cousins over the past week so they will remain defenseless against him. Even priced as the most expensive player on the slate, he is close to an absolute must in cash games and quite obviously is viable in tournaments as well judging by last week’s performance.
Carmelo Anthony, Knicks, $15,400 – There is a distinct possibility the Knicks head to Oracle Arena to face the Warriors on Wednesday and get absolutely blown out of the gym. For that reason, Carmelo Anthony is best left for GPPs. However, what about the scenario where the Knicks actually compete for an extended period? If the Knicks manage to keep this game close for a while, the extreme uptick in pace should benefit Anthony greatly. Sure Golden State ranks in the top half of fantasy points allowed to opposing small forwards (SFs) but Anthony has scored at least 34.25 fantasy points in each of his three meetings versus the Warriors over the past two seasons. He has scored 43.5 fantasy points or more in two of the three meetings including the most recent meeting on Jan. 31. The Knicks average 99.1 points per game (PPG) this season and are expected to score around 103 in this matchup. Anthony ranks 13th in usage rate (usg%) amongst all players with at least 1000 minutes played this season so if their offensive output increases, he will assuredly factor heavily into the additional production.
Jeff Green, Clippers, $8,400 – Crazily enough, Jeff Green could be my favorite play of this entire slate which includes an All-Star C in maybe the most favorable matchup he could ask for (Cousins). Green simply passed the eye test on Tuesday even though he only scored 20 fantasy points versus the Spurs. First of all, he was matched up with Kawhi Leonard for extended stretches so it’s hard to blame him for a letdown performance. More importantly, he looked like a reliable scorer as he still managed 15 points and was confidently launching from deep as well as driving when he saw opportunities. Prior to the past two difficult matchups, Green had produced 33 fantasy points in back-to-back games versus the Thunder and Knicks. Now, Green will face a Rockets team allowing the most fantasy points to opposing SFs in what projects to be one of the four highest scoring games of the night. Without Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick went off in the last meeting versus Houston due to shooting 11-19 (75-percent) from the field. The team had not yet acquired Green at that juncture so I think it’ll be a different game plan at this point. Last night the team played a hard-fought game against the Spurs and lost so I’m thinking maybe Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan do not play quite a full allotment of minutes on the back-to-back. If they play just a few minutes less than usual, Green’s scoring will be necessary without them on the floor. Hell, all Green needs for value 9s 25.2 fantasy points and he has eclipsed that total twice over the last week in less favorable spots. In a game with this sort of pace and against a porous defense versus his position, Green is in an excellent spot to succeed.
*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, Mar. 15