Pau, Right in the Kisser

Pau Gasol’s price sits at an affordable level on so take advantage in a game where he should play extended minutes to match up against Andre Drummond. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.

Guards:

Kyle Lowry, Raptors, $13,300 – This is legitimately the cheapest you’ll ever be able to roster Kyle Lowry…probably due to the matchup against the Spurs. Over the past two seasons, Lowry and the Raptors have squared off against the Spurs thrice and Lowry has averaged 39.8 fantasy points per game (FPPG) in those contests. Despite the fact that the Spurs are an elite defense allowing the fewest points per game (PPG), the Raptors already play at the NBA’s second slowest pace. In other words, they are used to playing games at a snail’s pace and relying upon efficient offense (rank in the top half of team field goal percentage) as opposed to a quick offensive scheme. At this price point, Lowry’s average against the Spurs over the past two years would equate to almost exactly 3x value. If his price would have remained around the $15,000 level like it has been recently, he would have been unplayable. Since it has lowered to this bargain level, he is bordering on a must-play especially in cash games.

Goran Dragic, Heat, $12,000 – On Friday evening, Goran Dragic eclipsed 30 fantasy points for the fifth time in the past six games. Admittedly, his performance was a bit of a letdown considering Dwyane Wade did not suit up due to both back and neck injuries. Regardless of whether Wade suits up or not on Saturday, Dragic draws another favorable matchup against a Trail Blazers team allowing the ninth most fantasy points to opposing point guards (PGs) and ranks 18th in defensive efficiency against the position. Even with a reasonably disappointing performance yesterday, Dragic is still averaging more than 35 FPPG without Chris Bosh this season versus 25.8 FPPG with him. If he were just to reach his average total without Bosh, he would nearly be at 3x value. On a slate without many enticing guards to choose from, Dragic clearly stands out above the pack as the safest overall option.

Will Barton, Nuggets, $9,500 – Earlier in the season, the prospects of rostering Will Barton at a sub-$10,000 price would have seem farfetched; in 15 December games, Barton averaged 37 FPPG. Coach Mike Malone is difficult to trust as Barton’s minutes decreased from 32.8 per game in December to 27.1 in January and have been reasonably sporadic ever since. For the entire month of March, Barton averaged 28.1 minutes per game (MPG) which only led to 25.7 FPPG. However, Malone once again seems committed to Barton recently as Barton has now played 30-plus minutes in four straight games. He had produced four straight productive games (at least 27.25 fantasy points in each) until Thursday’s flop (18.25 fantasy points) against the Pelicans. The positive news here is Gary Harris’ minutes have been down as he is the main competition for Barton in the rotation. Facing the NBA’s worst defense (the Kings) on Saturday, Barton certainly emerges as a viable play especially if he can continue playing the solid chunk of minutes he has been over the past week. Any player is viable against this defense given substantial playing time, and assuming Barton approaches 30 minutes once again, he should easily flirt with 3x value…if not more.

Forwards/Centers:

LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs, $13,300 – One crazy statistic I have continually eluded to recently is the scoring discrepancy on the Spurs between the stars and role players. In the month of March, only Kawhi Leonard (22.9) and LaMarcus Aldridge (22.6) averaged more than Patty Mills’ 9.1 PPG. Not many teams present a more concentrated scoring attack than the two-headed duo of the Spurs. Squaring off against the Raptors, the appeal of Aldridge is based more on the premise that he should play a full allotment of minutes than the favorability of the matchup. For the season, the Raptors have allowed the seventh fewest fantasy points to opposing power forwards (PFs) but the 14th most over the past week. Aldridge produced a season-high 1.24 fantasy points-per minute (FPPM) in March and averaged 32.7 MPG which would equate to 40.55 FPPG in an average performance. Even assuming Aldridge were to produce a slightly below average output against a tough Raptors defense, he still could surpass 3x value. Due to the matchup, he is best left for cash games because his upside is probably capped against a solid opponent.

Andre Drummond, Pistons, $13,300 – Death, taxes and Andre Drummond against a weak defense against opposing centers (Cs) are the three surest things in life. One of the most susceptible defenses to opposing Cs is the Chicago Bulls, who allow the eighth most fantasy points to the position. Maybe even a more relevant stat is the fact that the Bulls have allowed the fifth most rebounds to opposing Cs as well. Unsurprisingly, the Bulls struggles have correlated with Drummond enjoying success against them, as he has scored at least 40.5 fantasy points in five of his past six meetings against those Bulls. In fact, he has scored at least 53 fantasy points in three of his last four games against Derrick Rose and co. Pau Gasol can get a little lazy on the boards at times and Dwight Howard showed the other night how a dominant force in the middle can take advantage. Expect more of the same athletic superiority from Drummond. In a game where Drummond should simply manhandle the helpless Bulls, he is one of my favorite few plays on the entire slate.

Pau Gasol, Bulls, $13,200 – Similarly to Aldridge, the appeal of Pau Gasol is more in the potential minutes than the actual defense versus position (DvP) data. Somehow, someway Gasol has excelled against Drummond in each of his past five meetings against him as he’s scored at least 41.5 fantasy points in each. Without Joakim Noah, the Bulls simply have no one else who could match up in terms of size against Drummond. The Bulls can attempt to throw Cristiano Felicio against him for short stints but that absolutely will not end well. Crazily, Gasol has managed at least 60.5 fantasy points in each of the last two games against the Pistons…and Drummond has played in both of those games. Gasol can produce in a multitude of categories across the board, including 4.1 assists per game (APG), 0.6 steals per game (SPG) and 2.0 blocks per game (BPG), which increases his floor substantially in any matchup. Now factor in the extended minutes he is likely to be allotted against a physical beast and it’s easy to understand why he is viable in any and all formats.

*Stats are accurate as of Friday, Apr. 1

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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