DeAndre Jordan leads the Clippers in minutes on back-to-backs without Blake Griffin this season and he should lead your DFS teams to the PayoutZone on Thursday as well. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Chris Paul, Clippers, $17,000 – There is no sugar coating it: Chris Paul was bad last night as he could just not get the mid-range jumper to fall. Even though he was bad in reality, he salvaged his night in fantasy terms and still managed 33-plus fantasy points once again. Wednesday’s performance extended Paul’s streak to 22 consecutive games with at least 33-plus fantasy points…and it was actually a horrible disappointment. Paul will be out for revenge on Thursday as the Clippers have now lost three consecutive heading into a tilt versus Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers. Historically, Paul has dominated Lillard as he has both put together some dominant offensive performances and shut him down on defense as well. Over the past two seasons alone, Paul has eclipsed 49 fantasy points in six of his eight meetings against Lillard including an 84.25 fantasy point explosion. The Clippers, and Paul specifically, will be out for blood on Thursday night and I wouldn’t want to be the guy who fades them and watches from the sidelines. Yet again, Paul is a building block for cash games.
Shelvin Mack, Jazz, $11,300 – Well, apparently Shelvin Mack is human after all. Prior to last night’s game against the Rockets, Mack had scored at least 35.25 fantasy points in six consecutive games. To be fair, Gordon Hayward finally started to look healthier yesterday as he played 40 minutes and scored 22 real points (PTS). Still, it cannot be easy playing a back-to-back with plantar fasciitis so I would not be surprised if his minutes are a bit limited or if he sits on Thursday because of the injury to be cautious. Even if he does not, this Jazz squad is going to have to find offense and plenty of it against a Thunder team averaging 110.2 points per game (PPG)…which ranks second in the NBA, behind only the Warriors. The matchup against Oklahoma City is nowhere near as conducive to opposing small forwards (SFs) as it was last night against Houston so I do not expect the same type of success for Hayward even if he plays. Playing the Thunder is, however, conducive to opposing point guards as they allow the eighth most FPPG and rank 23rd in defensive efficiency versus the position. Due to one dud, people may be turned off from Mack thinking he was an anomaly, but I am going the other way and assuming he’ll immediately rebound after an outlier performance.
Toney Douglas, Pelicans, $9,400 – Without the likes of Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon, the Pelicans are down to their bare bones in terms of talent. There really isn’t much left other than Jrue Holiday but now teams can simply focus in on him. Douglas had already managed a streak of at least 24.75 fantasy points in five of six games prior to Davis’ season-ending injury. Since the team’s best player went down, Douglas has produced 37.75 and 28.75 fantasy points in the two games respectively. The part I like most is Douglas has only scored 15 and 14 points in those two games but he has been rebounding at a solid clip (averaging eight per game during that span) and even dropped nine assists (AST) in the game on Mar. 20. He hasn’t show over 42-percent in any of his previous three games but Douglas is finding ways to produce fantasy points and that’s all that fantasy owners care about. As long as he continues to see 31-plus minutes, which he has in each of his last three, the opportunities will be there on an offensively devoid team. While he may not get it done in a pretty fashion, he is a solid bet to hover around 3x value especially against a Pacers team that ranks top 11 in pace.
DeAndre Jordan, Clippers, $13,900 – When in doubt on a small slate such as Thursday’s, fall back on the Clippers dominant duo for safety. Honestly the forward/center is as ugly as I’ve ever seen on this slate so I’ll happily lean on the guy averaging greater than a 14-14 double-double with the way his team’s roster is currently constructed. With Blake Griffin on the shelf, Jordan is averaging 39.2 FPPG and he showed just how dominant he could be last night. In the first half alone, Jordan grabbed 10 rebounds (REB) and registered 29.5 fantasy points…in a half. Now, he’ll square off against Mason Plumlee and the Trail Blazers 26th ranked efficiency defense versus opposing centers (Cs). In three meetings versus Portland this season, Jordan has yet to put up less than 37.25 fantasy points and reached as high as 57 fantasy points (Coach Terry Stotts hack-a-Jordan-ed that game). Clearly Jordan possesses a safe floor in this matchup, and could always grab 20 REB, so he is an excellent play in all formats.
Thaddeus Young, Nets, $12,300 – The Nets generally feature Brook Lopez on offense and for good reason; the guy is a monster in the post. However, the matchup against the Cavaliers is a very difficult for any opposing C as they literally allow the fewest fantasy points to the position and are the top team in efficiency. The matchup gets slightly easier for opposing power forwards (PFs) as Cleveland ranks 14th in terms of efficiency against the position. Therefore, it is no surprise Lopez has averaged nearly two FPPG fewer versus the Cavaliers in two meetings comparatively to his season average. I wouldn’t be surprised if Coach Tyronn Lue rests one of his superstars on the second end of a back-to-back against a putrid Nets team. Therefore, the odds of a blowout significantly decrease. Young under-performed in the game where his team was blown out and dropped 34.5 fantasy points in the game that remained competitive. Nevertheless, the Nets’ team construction was vastly different the last time these teams squared off because Joe Johnson was still on the team. Since Johnson departed, Young has failed to reach 29.75 fantasy points just twice in 12 games. During that span, Young has scored at least 36 fantasy points eight times and surpassed 40 fantasy points on five occasions. Basically, Young is taking on a much larger role in the offense and should once again against a solid Cavaliers team. All of this is a long-winded way of saying the matchup is better for Young than Lopez so I favor him as the preferred cash option on the Nets.
Mason Plumlee, Trail Blazers, $8,700 – Mason Plumlee’s minutes have been trending upwards lately due to the injury to Meyers Leonard. For the season, Leonard averages 24.8 minutes per game (MPG) in games where Leonard suits up versus 30.2 MPG when he doesn’t. When a player enjoys a jump of more than five MPG, production is going to sky-rocket along with it…and it has. Plumlee has now scored 30-plus fantasy points in three of his last four games (which includes the game in which Leonard got hurt). In his new role, the price tag is simply too cheap. He dropped 31 fantasy points against the Mavericks in regulation last night and his price only went up $100. If he were to do so again on Thursday, he would successfully reach 3.56x value…and 31 fantasy points is well within reach.
*Stats are accurate as of Wednesday, Mar. 23