Unleash the Dragic

After missing a game because he was sick, Goran Dragic is back, healthy and ready to stick it to the NBA’s worst defense. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests, including the Chris Bosh Dream Tour.

Guards:

Isaiah Thomas, Celtics, $13,800 – Golden State is one of the few (literally) teams that play at a faster pace than Boston. Only the Kings and Warriors play faster than the Celtics’ pace of 98.4 possessions per game. According to FantasyLabs, Isaiah Thomas possesses a whopping 85.7-percent consistency rating in games with at least a 215 projected total this season…meaning he hits value nearly nine out of 10 times. Also, Thomas produces an average of about six fantasy points above his expected total (according to price) in these situations. In the month of March, Thomas led the team in scoring with 26.2 points per game (PPG)…second place was Avery Bradley with 14.4 PPG. In other words, we know where a majority of the scoring is going to need to come from on this team. Considering the Warriors allow the fifth most fantasy points to opposing point guards (PGs) and the over/under is projected at a whopping 223, Thomas should be in for a monster performance.

Goran Dragic, Heat, $12,300 – After missing Monday’s game with an illness, Goran Dragic returned to play 38 minutes in an overtime game versus the Lakers on Wednesday. Since he managed nearly 40 minutes in his return, I am going to assume he is just fine going forward. Therefore, a healthy Dragic is automatically worthy of consideration versus the NBA’s worst defense: the Kings. Dragic probably has been the largest sole beneficiary of Chris Bosh’s absence as he has gone from averaging 25.8 fantasy points per game (FPPG) with Bosh to 35.8 without him. If he were just to reach his average in fantasy points without Bosh, he would reach 2.91x value at his current price. Now, factor in he’ll be facing the team that both plays the fastest pace and allows the most PPG, and there is plenty of reason to believe he should out-produce the norm. Consequently, Dragic is a rock solid go-to for cash games and a viable play in all formats.

Courtney Lee, Hornets, $7,400 – Playing Courtney Lee in cash games is contingent upon Jeremy Lin sitting this one out. Lin missed Tuesday’s game versus the 76ers due to a back issue and is listed as questionable with the same ailment for Friday. Even if Lin does suit up, there is still tournament appeal to Lee as he’ll be facing a squad he dropped 32.5 fantasy points against three days prior. Furthermore, Lee has scored at least 22.5 fantasy points in four of the last five games Lin has played in which equates to more than 3x value at his current price. Oh by the way, the 76ers rank 23rd in defensive efficiency against opposing shooting guards (SGs) and have allowed the seventh most fantasy points to the position over the past week. Regardless of who suits up for the Hornets, there is a strong case to be made for Lee and his scoring prowess at such a cheap price.

Forwards/Centers:

Hassan Whiteside, Heat, $15,500 – DeMarcus Cousins has been suspended for Friday’s game against the Heat so all worries of possible foul trouble for Hassan Whiteside are out the window. Fade him at your own risk now because he’ll be fighting Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos for rebounds now instead of the NBA’s fifth leading rebounder. Although the center (C) position is the Kings’ best defensively, they still rank 23th in defensive efficiency versus the position. Due to their quick pace, they allow the eight most rebounds to opposing Cs, which is obviously Whiteside’s specialty…he’s one of the four player averaging more rebound per game (RPG) than Cousins. With the additional opportunities, Whiteside could legitimately push 20 rebounds (REB) which yields him with some serious upside. Typically Whiteside is a better fit for GPP formats but this matchup is one of the occasions where he can safely be deployed in cash games as well.

Draymond Green, Warriors, $14,500 – While there is no lack of enticing options on this slate, Draymond Green may be my absolute favorite tournament play. The Celtics are a team that struggles against opposing big men as they rank in the bottom six of fantasy points allowed to both frontcourt positions. As we know, Green plays both frontcourt positions at different points during the game so a team that presents a favorable matchup for each position is key for Green. In one prior matchup this season, Green put up a whopping 71.25 fantasy points against the Celtics on the heels of 24 points (PTS), 11 REB, eight assists (AST), five steals (STL) and five blocks (BLK). Who can match up with him on the Celtics roster? Jae Crowder? Too small. Amir Johnson? Not versatile enough. Jared Sullinger? Too slow. Kelly Olynyk? Not athletic enough. Tyler Zeller? No chance. By process of elimination, there is no one who can stay with him so he should have himself a field day once again. There are simply no other players in the price range with 70-plus fantasy point upside so get him in your lineups.

Kosta Koufos, Kings, $7,700 – Sure Willie Cauley-Stein is an enticing play without DeMarcus Cousins as he has stepped up his offense lately but Kosta Koufos fits the definition of reliable. On each of the past seven occasions Cousins has failed to suit up, Koufos has eclipsed 3x value at this price. In fact, the last time he had an off-game without the star C active was Nov. 19. Since that time, he has produced every single time he has been called upon. The matchup against the Heat is not favorable in terms of pace nor is the defense versus position data (the Heat allow the sixth fewest fantasy points to opposing Cs). However, Whiteside does not start so Koufos will at least enjoy stretches versus Amare Stoudemire each half and Koufos has reached value against multiple slow-paced squads (Bucks and Timberwolves) already this season. At this price, there is no reason to shy away from him as he presents a stable floor and a surprisingly substantial ceiling (28-plus fantasy points four of the last six times Cousins sat out).

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, Mar. 31

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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