DeMarcus Cousins is an absolute beast and is priced at a significantly more affordable price tag than the likes of Westbrook or Harden. Against the Thunder, who allowed a big game to Timofey Mozgov last night, paying for him instead of the superstar guards makes a ton of sense. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
DeMar DeRozan, Raptors, $16,000 – Kyle Lowry leads the NBA in minutes which makes him a delight to roster because he can always turn it around even if he starts out slow. With 38 minutes per game headed his way, he has plenty of time to produce and the matchup against the Rockets is quite conducive to his style. The Rockets play at a quicker pace than the Raptors and are allowing 104.3 points per game. With many people looking to Lowry, DeMar DeRozan has quietly seen an uptick in playing time as well; he is averaging 36.9 minutes per game this year compared to just 35.9 in 2015-16. At some point, DeRozan was destined to regress a little as he was shooting nearly 50-percent despite taking nearly 5.5 more shots this season than last. Over the past few games, he hit a bit of a rough patch including a game where he failed to reach 30 fantasy points for the first time this season. For his career, DeRozan is a 44.4-percent shooter from the field, and while it is possible he is improving as a shooter, it is more likely he will tail off a bit as time goes on. However, this is not one of those matchups as he will likely draw the favorable matchup against James Harden while Lowry is covered by the elite defender Patrick Beverley. Lowry topped out at 42 fantasy points in two meetings versus Beverley last year despite playing 38-plus minutes in both games and now DeRozan is sporting a ridiculous 36.0-percent usage rate. With the entire offense being put on his back, he should be in for a monster performance.
Jrue Holiday, Pelicans, $12,600 – Since returning from a leave of absence to tend to his ailing wife, Jrue Holiday has not really missed a beat. He had managed at least 38 fantasy points in each of his first two games since returning until the Pelicans absolutely blew out the Hawks on Tuesday evening in Atlanta. The good news is Holiday should be refreshed and ready to play a normal allotment of minutes on the second end of a back-to-back and is still underpriced. Sure Tim Frazier out-produced him last night but it is not like playing next to another ball-dominator is anything new for him (Tyreke Evans). In what projects to be a high-scoring, close ballgame, Holiday should get back to eclipsing 20 real points and flirting with 40 fantasy points.
Jordan Clarkson, Lakers, $10,200 – The Lakers officially ruled out D’Angelo Russell for the next two games which includes Wednesday’s tilt against the Warriors. Of course Luke Walton was not coaching the Lakers last year, in fact he was coaching the Warriors, but Clarkson played 35-plus minutes in each of his final two meetings against the Warriors last year. In the team’s first meeting against Golden State this year, Clarkson’s 29 minutes ranked third on the team behind only Larry Nance Jr. and Julius Randle…and Russell played in that game. Without him, the team’s trio of guards (Clarkson, Lou Williams and Nick Young) will all be forced to play extended minutes in order to compete with the multitude of small lineups the Warriors throw out there. At nearly the identical price ($9,900) last night, Clarkson dropped 35.25 fantasy points against another fast-paced club (Thunder). This game is likely to get ugly early (the Warriors should dominate) but Clarkson’s minutes should be safe without the starting PG active. Therefore, he is worthy of a start in all formats but is safest in tournaments.
DeMarcus Cousins, Kings, $18,200 – As always, Russell Westbrook and James Harden are in play on this slate with Westbrook being the priority of the two. Unless value opens up before tip, he is not an absolute must-start because DeMarcus Cousins is nearly $4,000 cheaper and possesses similar upside against a fast-paced opponent. After only playing 30 minutes against the Raptors on Sunday, Cousins should be well-rested and good to go against an Oklahoma City team he dropped 60-plus fantasy points against twice last year. Steven Adams is a solid defender but Cousins has added an outside jumper to his game and there is no way Adams can step out on him. With his team pushing the pace more than usual, he should be able to rack up the assists and rebounds as well. Prior to last game, Cousins had scored at least 54.75 fantasy points in three consecutive games, so look for him to get back on track in this one at a reasonable price (at least for him).
Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves, $15,500 – After ranking dead last in defensive efficiency against opposing centers last season, the Pelicans have improved to 16th against the position this year. Additionally, Tom Thibodeau has created a much more favorable environment for Karl-Anthony Towns to flourish this season compared to last season in both fantasy and reality. How? He plays his best players for big minutes instead of getting cute like other coaches in the league. Towns has seen an uptick from 32.0 minutes per game as a rookie to 35.3 so far in his sophomore season. Good luck to the likes of Omer Asik, Anthony Davis and Alexis Ajinca trying to defend Towns who is coming off arguably his best game of the season (27-18-3). The Pelicans will also be on the second end of a back-to-back so any home court advantage should be negated due to their fatigue. Vegas projects this game to stay close as the Timberwolves opened as one point underdogs. In other words, starters should play their normal amount of minutes in a game that remains close until the end. If that proves to be the case then Towns should blow away this price tag in a favorable matchup.
DeAndre Jordan, Clippers, $12,600 – DeAndre Jordan and the Mavericks organization have a general disdain for one another. In free agency last offseason, he initially committed to the Mavericks and then changed his mind overnight without informing the team, so he is going to get booed to the max once again. Coach Rick Carlisle is one of the coaches who is not averse to the “hack-a-Jordan” strategy as he unleashed it in each of the final two meetings against his arch nemesis Jordan last season. If Carlisle continues to feel the same way this season, there could be a ton of free throw attempts in Jordan’s near future. Furthermore, Andrew Bogut, a very solid defender and rebounder, is listed as doubtful so Jordan will likely match up against Salah Mejri. Over his last three games, Jordan has bested 35 fantasy points twice which would equate to 2,78x value or put a fantasy team on pace for 278 fantasy points. If Carlisle resorts to fouling then Jordan should be able to crush value. If Carlisle does not, Jordan still possesses an awfully safe floor.