LL Cool JJ

Without Deron Williams, J.J. Barea is going to start at point guard and draw an elite matchup against the lowly Kings defense. He belongs in your lineup(s). Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.

Guards:

James Harden, Rockets, $19,300 – On a four game slate, I typically lean towards rostering at least one superstar, and almost always choose the one I feel is the safest bet. On Sunday, James Harden will square off against the Indiana Pacers who present a difficult matchup on paper. They have allowed the ninth fewest fantasy points to opposing shooting guards (SGs) this season and rank second in defensive efficiency to the position. However, this will be a battle between two of the top 11 fastest-paced teams in the NBA and Harden has been on absolute fire recently. Heading into this game, Harden has scored at least 64.75 fantasy points in three consecutive games. In each of those games, Harden has scored at least 24 points (PTS) while dishing out at least 10 assists (AST). Even if the Pacers are able to score down his scoring a bit, which I have my doubts about, he is averaging 13 assists per game (APG) over the past three. Oh by the way, Harden stole eight passes the other night, grabbed 11 rebounds (REB) last game and adds in around two three point bonuses per game. The man is just an absolute beast and should be the first player locked into all lineups considering the impressive roll he is on.

John Wall, Wizards, $17,600 – No team allows more fantasy points to opposing point guards (PGs) than the Los Angeles Lakers so three time All-Star John Wall must be licking his chops. Similarly to Harden, Wall is killing it recently as he has scored at least 42.75 fantasy points in nine of his last ten games. In fact, he has topped 54.5 fantasy points five times during that span including a 16-13-14 triple-double against another horrific team with a bottom of the barrel PG defense: the 76ers. Considering this game will be played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the spread only sits at 5.5 according to masseyratings. Without a real threat of a blowout, Wall will likely play close to a full allotment minutes. If this proves to be the case, Wall should go nuts as he’s scored at least 48 fantasy points all three times he has faced them over the past two seasons. Even with Harden already locked in, there is enough value on the slate to justify rostering both. I love the idea of pairing the two star guards with one another as a base for cash games.

J.J. Barea, Mavericks, $8,100 – Deron Williams has already been ruled out for at least the next two games so J.J. Barea will continue to start in his absence. In 10 games without Williams this season, Barea averages 30.7 minutes per game (MPG), 18.3 points per game (PPG), 2.2 rebounds per game (RPG), 5.6 assists per game (APG) and 0.4 steals per game (SPG) en route to 31.4 fantasy points per game (FPPG). At this price point, 31.4 fantasy points would equate to 3.88x value or enough to put your team on pace for 388 fantasy points. Oh by the way, Barea and the Mavericks will square off against the Kings’ worst defense in the NBA partially because they play at the NBA’s quickest pace. The matchup essentially could not get any better for an underpriced player in an expanded role. Dollar for dollar, Barea is the best play of the entire slate and should absolute be deployed in all formats.

Forwards/Centers:

Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks, $12,900 – Speaking of players who can safely be used in both cash games and GPPs, never doubt old, faithful Dirk Nowitzki. Even prior to the Deron Williams new being released, Nowitzki already classified as one of the top overall plays on the slate. In the month of March, Nowitzki is averaging a whopping 40.5 FPPG, and before you think that sort of production is unsustainable, factor in Nowitzki is averaging 40.6 FPPG this season without Chandler Parsons. Just how impactful is missing two starters for Nowitzki’s role in the offense? Well, his usage rate (usg%) increases from 24.1 with Williams and Parsons on the court versus 25.3-percent without them and Nowitzki averages 0.09 fantasy points more per-minute with Parsons off the floor. Squaring off against the team allowing the most FPPG to opposing power forwards (PFs) is just icing on the cake for Nowitzki who will be heavily relied upon in the offense. If Nowitzki cannot reach 40 fantasy points in this matchup then hell may freeze over.

Myles Turner, Pacers, $9,800 – “Narrative Street” games are defined as games where an underlying storyline factors into a player’s success. Last game, I overlooked the birthday factor as Myles Turner dropped 24 PTS and 16 REB on the day he turned 20 years old.  There are no underlying narratives heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Rockets other than Turner is coming off a big game and will be squaring off against a Rockets team that allows the second most FPPG to opposing PFs. After beginning the month on streak where his minutes were all over the place, they have stabilized over the past three games, as he has played at least 26 minutes in each (including two over 31 minutes). Eventually, Turner is going to develop into one of the NBA’s premier PFs as his skill set reminds me of a combination of Derrick Favors, Serge Ibaka and Chris Bosh. Slowly but surely he is coming along and I think now is great time to hop on board. After a monster performance, he should be able to ride the momentum into this one against a team that severely struggles to defend his position. Therefore, I think Turner is one of the best tournament options on the slate as he obviously possesses 50-plus fantasy point upside considering he reached the plateau on Thursday night.

Marreese Speights, Warriors, $6,900 – The 76ers will head to Golden State on Sunday night to play the second end of a back-to-back. News flash: the Warriors have yet to lose at home this season and the 76ers are worst team in the Eastern Conference according to their record. In other words, this game should assuredly end in a blowout. If/when this game gets out of hand early, Marreese Speights will enter the ballgame and will not need much time to make an impact. First of all, Philadelphia allows the most FPPG to opposing centers (Cs) and the third most to opposing PFs, so it will not matter which position Speights is playing on offense. Second of all, Speights has a “Narrative Street” angle because he’ll be playing against his ex-team (although I think enough time has passed where it isn’t a significant deal). Thirdly, Speights is averaging a whopping 1.22 fantasy points-per minute this season which rates equal to the likes of Paul George, Karl-Anthony Towns and Damian Lillard. All Speights needs is time on the court in any given matchup and he could blow up…and the game flow in this one sets up perfectly for him to see extended minutes. While it is risky, Speights could actually factor into the cash game conversation due to just how likely this game is to end in a 30-plus point differential. For tournaments though, feel free to go crazy rostering this guy because the sky is the limit in this matchup.

*Stats are accurate as of Saturday, March 26

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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