Damian Lillard versus one of the NBA’s worst defenses is an utter mismatch and fantasy owners need to take advantage on Saturday. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers, $16,600 – Only two teams allow more fantasy points the point guard (PG) position than the 76ers and Damian Lillard is averaging the fifth most fantasy points per game (FPPG) among all PGs this season. Much of Lillard’s value comes via his scoring ability as he is averaging a whopping 25.7 points per game (PPG) due to taking 20 shots on average. Any player who is going to take 20 shots against this pathetic 76ers defense allowing 107.5 PPG should be successful over the long run. Even if Lillard were to start 0-5, he would still possess the ability to reach value against this atrocity of a defense. Furthermore, Philadelphia is likely to be without their top rim protector in Nerlens Noel so Lillard should have no issues getting to the basket either. With a seemingly high probability for success, Lillard is one of the safest cash options on the entire slate despite the blowout possibility. Even if this were to turn into a 30 point guard in third quarter, Lillard would have his fingerprints all over the outburst. Therefore, you should not think twice about using him.
Isaiah Thomas, Celtics, $13,800 – In the Lillard blurb, I mentioned only two teams allow more fantasy points than the 76ers to opposing PGs…one of those teams is Isaiah Thomas’ upcoming opponent: the Suns. Phoenix ranks as the worst efficiency defense to opposing backcourts and Brandon Knight is currently battling soreness in his knee, his hamstring and even an illness. In other words, he is probably 50-50 to suit up on Saturday. Regardless, the individual matchup for Thomas should be beatable which is good news for the Celtics. Thomas is the only player on the roster to average more than 14.5 PPG this month and he is averaging 26.2. The first meeting between these two teams is little misleading because Thomas only played 24 minutes in a close game. This month, Thomas is averaging 33.3 minutes per game (MPG) which ranks second on the team behind only Avery Bradley. In the first meeting, Thomas averaged 1.21 fantasy points per-minute which would equate to 40 fantasy points over a 33 minute span. At 40 fantasy points, Thomas would be on the brink of 3x value which puts him in the GPP conversation as well as firmly cemented as a cash play.
Patty Mills, Spurs, $7,000 – After sitting out on Friday, Patty Mills will be one of the eight Spurs active on Saturday by my count. Of those active, the only two real ball-handlers available are Mills and 40 year old Andre Miller. At his age, there is simply no way Miller can play a large chunk of minutes, so Mills will be relied upon heavily by default. Five Spurs have been ruled out for the upcoming matchup against the Thunder and Mills averages 1.02 FPPM with them off the court according to nbawowy. Mills and/or Kevin Martin will have to serve as the top options on the offense with all of their leading scorers out, so they will have to play extremely expanded roles to say the least. With this being the case, it is hard to envision a scenario where Mills does not hit value at this price even if it turns out he isn’t the one that explodes. I think Mills is much safer than Martin for cash games but both are certainly viable for tournaments.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves, $14,200 – Recommending a center (C) against Rudy Gobert? Isn’t that typically a no-no in daily fantasy basketball? Usually starting anyone against the Utah Jazz is a dangerous proposition since they play at the NBA’s slowest pace and are an excellent overall defensive team (only allow 96.6 PPG). With that being said, Karl-Anthony Towns has had their number in two previous meetings this season as he has scored 45 and 52 fantasy points respectively. The reason for this is he has averaged over 33 MPG versus his 31.7 MPG average this season. His uptick in playing time is due to the team needing him to match up against the size of Gobert. If Towns were to leave the court, Gobert would eat Gorgui Dieng and/or Greg Smith for breakfast. When Towns plays a solid allotment of minutes, he can produce against anyone. He only needs 42 fantasy points for value and has easily eclipsed that total in each of his prior meetings so I feel confident he will do so once again.
Andre Drummond, Pistons, $13,900 – Opportunity leads to production in DFS which is why I so often recommending targeting fast-paced games. However, opportunity can come in all shapes and sizes. In Andre Drummond’s case, he will be facing a team whose coach has resorted to the hack-a-Drummond strategy in all three meetings this season. Drummond has taken 10, 18 and 17 free throw attempts respectively in his games versus Atlanta this season. Oh by the way, he also recorded at least 12 rebounds (REB) and a block (BLK) in all of those games as well…which is unsurprising because the Hawks allow the sixth most fantasy points to opposing Cs. Rostering Drummond is only frustrating when he isn’t scoring enough to hold his own but Coach Budenholzer employing the hack strategy takes away the fear of a scoring letdown. In this matchup, Drummond is all but guaranteed to drop a substantial double-double which deems him a solid investment in all formats.
David West, Spurs, $6,400 – Unlike the guard spot for the Spurs, the bigs are going to be a bit of a guessing game. Both David West and Boris Diaw have put together solid performances while the stars on the team have sat out but West has been the more consistent of the two. For instance, West has eclipsed 33 fantasy points twice in five occasions where both Tony Parker and Tim Duncan have sat out. On the other hand, Boris Diaw played 30 minutes and dropped 29.25 fantasy points versus Sacramento in a game where Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge both sat out together. The problem here is the team’s best five players have yet to all sit out together this season so there is no previous data for this occurrence. With that being said, West have averaged 1.03 (FPPM) with Kawhi Leonard, Aldridge, Duncan, Parker and Manu Ginobili off the court versus Diaw’s 0.78. For me, the efficiency is enough for me to lean West especially at this near minimum price. There is a decent chance both hit value but West is the safe cash option of the two and he, like Mills, provides the necessary salary relief to help fit the studs on the slate into your roster.
*Stats are accurate as of Friday, March 25