After playing only 20 minutes in last night’s game against the Nets, Patty Mills should be ready to go in a more competitive atmosphere against the Raptors tonight. He has topped 26 fantasy points in all but two games without Tony Parker this year and is still vastly underpriced for this sort of production. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Eric Bledsoe, Suns, $16,400 – Eric Bledsoe is simply on fire this month. After averaging 34.1, 37.2 and 39.2 fantasy points per game (FPPG) in his first three months respectively this season, he has kicked up production all the way to a whopping 46.3 FPPG so far in January. To put it in layman’s terms, Bledsoe is averaging 24.0 points per game (PPG), 5.2 rebounds per game (RPG), 8.4 assists per game (APG), 1.5 steals per game (SPG) and 0.4 blocks per game (BPG) and he is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, he is coming off arguably his best game of the season where he scored 40 points (PTS, and dished out 13 assists (AST) en route to 68.50 fantasy points. Now, he will square off against a Timberwolves team that he has averaged 45.6 fantasy points and 25.0 PTS against in two meetings this season. If spending up for one player, Bledsoe stands out as the star with the above and beyond best combination of matchup and price.
George Hill, Jazz, $12,900 – Speaking of an excellent combination of matchup and price, George Hill will have the honor of facing a Nuggets team that ranks dead last in defensive efficiency versus opposing PGs so far this season. Additionally, the Nuggets rank fifth in pace so far this season compared to the Jazz ranking 29th, so the team will certainly be playing up in pace…even more so than usual. Sure Hill is coming off a disappointing performance in a solid matchup last night but he still played 32 minutes but just happened to shoot 2-10 from the field. It is unlikely a talented player such as Hill falters in two consecutive matchups and he headed into Monday’s contest having topped 26 fantasy points in seven of his last eight games. Only Gordon Hayward is averaging more minutes per game (MPG) on the second end of back-to-backs on the team so Hill should see plenty of run against a very beatable opponent. Start him.
Elfrid Payton, Magic, $12,700 – On Sunday, D.J. Augustin suffered an ankle injury and a MRI on Monday came back clean. Still, he is listed as day-to-day and is questionable to suit up at best for Tuesday’s tilt against the Bulls. Assuming he sits this one out, Elfrid Payton should enjoy an uptick in minutes by default with less competition at the position. The team is already starting C.J. Watson, a PG by trade, at the SG position so the team is already short on ball-handlers. Without Augustin, Payton could actually flirt with 40 minutes which would certainly be valuable considering he is averaging 1.00 fantasy points per minute (FPPM) this season. At 40 minutes, against a Bulls defense that ranks 27th in PG efficiency over the last 10 games, Payton should flirt with 40 fantasy points at an incredibly reasonable price.
Patty Mills, Spurs, $8,400 – Instead of writing about three guards and three forward/centers as per usual, there are more guards worthy of consideration at this point so it makes sense to weight the article that way as well. Patty Mills cannot be overlooked with Tony Parker sidelined because he has been remarkably consistent in his absence. In 12 games without Parker, Mills has averaged 26.8 MPG and 26.5 FPPG including at least 26 fantasy points in all but two games without him. Since the Spurs blew out the Nets last night even without Kawhi Leonard, Mills did not exactly play a ridiculous amount of minutes (only 20). Therefore, he should be good to go against a Raptors team that should at least put up somewhat of a fight despite the fact they will be missing DeMar DeRozan. Even assuming Dejounte Murray draws the start, Mills is the superior option.
Al Horford, Celtics, $12,700 – Al Horford continues to go criminally underpriced despite the fact he is averaging more FPPG than LaMarcus Aldridge ($13,000), Andrew Wiggins ($13,200), DeAndre Jordan ($15,000) and almost the exact same amount as Rudy Gobert ($13,700). While it is true Horford’s efficiency has suffered a bit sans Avery Bradley, the individual matchup against Marcin Gortat is a favorable one. In two of his last three meetings against Gortat, Horford has topped 39 fantasy points and has attempted at least five three-pointers in all three of those contests. This is noteworthy because Gortat is a reasonably mobile C and struggles to step out on shooters. This would explain Horford’s 50-plus percent FG rate against him in all three of those games and the fact he has shot at least 33.3-percent from beyond the arc in each game as well. On offense, Horford has a tendency to hang around the three point line which limits his offensive rebounding upside. However, guarding Gortat on defense will cause him to gravitate towards the rim so he should still be able to gobble up at least an average amount of rebounds (REB). All-in-all, Horford is in a respectable spot and is simply way too cheap so he can/should be started in any and all formats.
Aaron Gordon, Magic, $11,200 – Without Evan Fournier in the rotation, the safest bet on the entire Magic team is for Aaron Gordon to enjoy an uptick in production. While Gordon has only averaged 21.3 FPPG with Fournier active, that number catapults all the way to 29.1 with Fournier sidelined. According to nbawowy.com, Evan Fournier has played in 73 different lineup combination so far this season and 43 of them have included him playing SF (for a total of 146.5 minutes). When he is out of the rotation, those minutes become available to players like Gordon who has played 6.2 more MPG with Fournier inactive. Gordon becomes a much more productive player without the team’s top SG active as well as he increases from 0.77 FPPM to 0.91 FPPM. The individual matchup against Jimmy Butler is not great but both teams will switch enough that it is not like that is the only defender Gordon will deal with. Gordon has played 27-plus minutes in each of his last three meetings against the Bulls and has eclipsed 30 fantasy points in each. At a sub-$11,500 cost, there is still room for profit here.