Devin Booker has morphed into the Suns top scoring option without Eric Bledsoe so expect a big performance out of him Friday against the woeful Kings defense. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
John Wall, Wizards, $17,400 – Only six players are averaging more fantasy points per game (FPPG) in the month of March than John Wall: James Harden, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James…and Wall has played two straight against a Hawks team that ranks third in defensive efficiency versus point guards (PGs). In other words, he has played incredibly well lately despite facing some difficult matchups. On Friday, the matchup gets much easier as Wall and the Wizards will square off against a Timberwolves team that ranks below average in defensive efficiency versus PGs and has allowed the 13th most fantasy points to the position. In Wall’s one prior meeting against Minnesota this season, Wall dropped a 14-12 double-double en route to 40 fantasy points. Wall would need a monster performance to surpass value but he’s one of the safest bets for 40-plus fantasy points against a team that allows nearly 106 points per game (PPG). While Wall is best served for cash games, his four triple-doubles this season suggest he possesses the necessary upside for GPPs as well.
Brandon Knight, Suns, $13,300 – Rule number one of daily fantasy basketball: when in doubt, select a player against the Kings. Last game I absolutely loved Brandon Knight heading into an elite matchup versus the Lakers and all he did was drop a whopping 52 fantasy points against them. Wednesday marked the second time in six games Knight eclipsed the 50 fantasy point plateau and the fifth time he eclipsed 30 fantasy points in a five game stretch. Basically, Knight is on a roll now that he has fully recovered from a lingering groin injury that kept him out for nearly two months. He’ll go from one sensational matchup to another as he’ll now face the worst defense in the entire NBA. Not only does Sacramento allow the sixth most fantasy points to the PG position but they also rank 27th in efficiency to the position. Knight has scored 34 and 39.25 fantasy points in two meetings versus the Kings this season respectively but Eric Bledsoe played in the first meeting. Therefore, I expect Knight to produce a closer output to the second meeting than the first considering Knight’s usage rate (usg%) is up about one percentage point without the team’s other star. Knight proved his ceiling is as high as anyone priced in this range his last time out so he is an excellent target regardless of format.
Devin Booker, Suns, $11,700 – No Phoenix Suns player has scored more PPG or registered a higher usg% this month than Devin Booker. Using both starting guards on a single team is a little unorthodox but this is the prime spot to employ the strategy. Similarly to the Trail Blazers, most of the usage runs through their star-studded backcourt so you know where a majority of the shots are coming from. Facing a team that allows nearly 110 PPG, there will be plenty of scoring opportunities. Typically Booker is a volatile asset as he relies heavily on outside shooting but he has taken 18.1 shots per game this month. If he puts up 18 shots against this defense, he is all but assured to hit value. If Booker were just to produce his fantasy point average for the month (34.8), he would virtually be at 3x value (35.1). Knowing this is just about as juicy of a matchup as it gets, the odds are very likely he will surpass that total handily.
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks, $12,900 – Turn back the clock because recently Dirk Nowitzki has looked like the 25 year old version of himself. Nowitzki has eclipsed 40 fantasy points in six of his last nine games and has only failed to reach 35.5 fantasy points once during that span. His teammate, Chandler Parsons, tore his meniscus late last week and has missed the last two ballgames (and could miss the remainder of the season) because of it. In his absence, Nowitzki has scored 61 points (PTS) in two games including a thrilling overtime victory against the Trail Blazers on Sunday. Strangely, Nowitzki has registered a usage rate (usg%) of 25.7-percent with Parsons this season and 25.8-percent without…so for all intensive purposes it has been exactly the same. The major difference has been the uptick in rebounding rate (reb%) which has improved from 11.3 to 14.3-percent. Not only is Nowitzki acting as the team’s top scorer, but he now is averaging 8.9 rebounds per game (RPG) without Parsons as well, so he is ascending towards a fantasy monster. He is priced at 14.4-percent of the budget on a competing site yet he sits at 12.9-percent on FantasyDraft. Take that discount and sleep like a baby.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs, $12,700 – In cash games, there should be no reason why LaMarcus Aldridge isn’t 100-percent owned yet I doubt that ends up being the case. The Spurs have already ruled out Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Boris Diaw and Patty Mills just to give them a rest day. Only two players on the Spurs are averaging more than 8.7 PPG this month: Leonard and Aldridge. Leonard has averaged 23.5 PPG this month while Aldridge is at 22.0. Without Leonard, Aldridge is going to have to act as a true top scoring option. In this sort of expanded role, a fair price to spend on him would be around $14,500. Considering he is nearly $2,000 cheaper, he is the definition of a must-play.
Julius Randle, Lakers, $11,100 – After a stretch of failing to reach 18 fantasy points in two of three games, Julius Randle has rebounded by stringing together back-to-back solid double-doubles (13-14 and 19-15). Coach Byron Scott came out earlier this week and announced he would be playing his young core down the stretch in fourth quarters of games moving forward. It’s about freaking time. This team quite obviously is going nowhere so the focus all season should have been on developing the young core with a sprinkle of Kobe Bryant’s goodbye tour mixed in. Regardless, this is a victory for prospective Randle owners as his minutes should stabilize at well over 30 per contest (at least 31 in the last two games). In a matchup against a Nuggets team allowing the sixth most fantasy points to opposing power forwards (PFs), 30-plus minutes should be plenty of time to string together yet another double-double. At just a $11,100 price tag, there is plenty of profit potential to be had.
*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, Mar. 24