Facing a brutal Nets defense, Dejounte Murray is a fantastic start tonight considering he has taken 21 shots in his last two games and has exceeded 22 minutes in each. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks, $18,900 – Giannis Antetokounmpo showed just how favorable the matchup against the Rockets was five days ago when he dropped 32 points and 11 rebounds on them en route for a whopping 62.75 fantasy points. This season, Antetokounmpo has actually 50.3 fantasy points per game (FPPG) at home compared to just 48.3 away from the Bradley Center. While it is true the Rockets now what to expect from Antetokounmpo and can adjust, he is a true superstar who is damn near impossible to slow down. Trevor Ariza’s defense has been on the decline this year and yet he is the Rockets best answer to try and stop Antetokounmpo…but it has not worked. Not only has Antetokounmpo topped 62 fantasy points in each of his last two meetings against Ariza, he has topped 53 fantasy points in three of the last four meetings. At this price tag, Antetokounmpo would need 56.7 fantasy points for 3.0x value and he has flirted with that total virtually every time against this fast-paced foe. With additional possessions available to Antetokounmpo due to the pace, he should be locked and loaded into cash game lineups at the very least.
Nicolas Batum, Hornets, $14,300 – Although Kemba Walker is likely going to be a popular option partially due to his favorable home/away splits, Nicolas Batum actually has posted similar splits and may draw the superior individual matchup. At home this year, Batum has averaged 37.0 FPPG compared to just 34.7 on the road. At this price point, Batum will need more than 37.0 for value so those looking to roster him can take solace in the fact he averaged over 40 FPPG in December. He would be producing a similar total this month if not for two major flops (one of which was in a 30-plus point blowout) in the two games he played the fewest minutes in. Sure Washington ranks seventh in PG efficiency defense and fourth in SG efficiency defense, Batum has at least three inches on Bradley Beal and dropped 44.25 fantasy points against him on Dec. 14 in Washington. With the Hornets listed as 4.5 point favorites at home in a reasonably high-scoring affair (214.5 over/under), Batum should put in work once again.
Dejounte Murray, Spurs, $8,000 – Looking at Patty Mills’ game log without Tony Parker this season, he seems difficult to pass on in a matchup against the Nets. While he is in a fine spot to produce as well, Dejounte Murray is the safer investment of the two. Looking back to last game alone, Mills played 31 minutes to Murray’s 22 but 13 of Mills’ came in the fourth quarter and overtime combined. In a game that is not expected to be incredibly close against the Nets, those minutes are far from guaranteed. Meanwhile, Murray has taken 21 shots in his last two games and his entire rotation from last game should still be available to him even in a lopsided affair. Only two teams rank worse in terms of defensive efficiency against opposing PGs and no team plays at a faster pace than the Nets. Therefore, Murray projects as one of the safest cheap options of the slate despite the fact Gregg Popovich is his coach and he is known to make unpredictable changes of all kinds.
Andre Drummond, Pistons, $13,300 – For a player averaging 38.32 fantasy points per game (FPPG), this price tag is simply too cheap. On one hand, he is facing an opposing C, DeMarcus Cousins, who draws a ton of fouls and plays on a team that ranks 24th in pace. On the other hand, Andre Drummond has produced at least 38.25 fantasy points in each of his three meetings against Cousins over the last two seasons including at least 11 rebounds (REB) in each. Assuming Drummond can stay out of foul trouble, he should play a healthy allotment of minutes in order to try and battle Cousins on the boards (Drummond may match up against Kosta Koufos on defense to keep him out of foul trouble). Also, Drummond is yet another player who has fared much better at home this year as he is averaging more than 3.0 more FPPG at home as opposed to on the road. The price tag is simply too low to pass on a player as talented as Drummond especially considering the matchup has been conducive to him previously.
Joakim Noah, Knicks, $8,700 – Joakim Noah returned from a two game absence on Saturday and grabbed 15 REB in 20 minutes even though he failed to score a single point. If rostering Noah, one is not relying on a whole lot of points anyhow and the price has just gotten ridiculously cheap for his upside. Hell, Noah has grabbed 15-plus REB in three of his last four games and 10-plus in seven of his last 11 games…and yet his price has continued to plunge. The minutes were down last game because he was just coming back from injury but now he draws a matchup against a fast-paced Pacers team that ranks 20th in defensive efficiency to opposing Cs. Most importantly, the Pacers are allowing the second most REB per game (RPG) to opposing Cs (16.5) including the second most offensive REBs (which is where most of Noah’s points come from). He is averaging 1.01 fantasy points per minute (FPPM) this season so he should easily flirt with value in 25 minutes against a defense susceptible to his skill set. With a little luck/variance, Noah could end up crushing value.
Marreese Speights, Clippers, $8,400 – Coming off a game where Marreese Speights started and played 28 minutes, it seems evident Speights would start against a team that features twin towers in their respective starting lineup: Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard. Even more so than Noah, Speights is incredibly productive on a per-minute basis as he is averaging a ridiculous 1.23 FPPM this year. By comparison, Hassan Whiteside is averaging 1.25 FPPM so Speights is certainly efficient when given the time. The matchup is not overly appetizing against a Hawks frontcourt that ranks fourth in defensive efficiency but the likely extended minutes again simply cannot be overlooked. Assuming he starts once again, he should be a lock for 20-plus minutes, which should equate to around 3.0x value even if his efficiency is down a bit. Against Millsap, it seems 28 minutes could be a reasonable possibility yet again which means Speights could potentially go nuts.