Andrew Wiggins flourishes in fast-paced games and the pace quite literally does not get any faster than the brand of basketball that the Nets play. Therefore, Wiggins is in an excellent spot to rack up both the points and fantasy points in a premiere matchup tonight. 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 – On Thursday, Eric Bledsoe played just 28 minutes against the Nuggets and still managed 28 actual points (PTS) and 41.5 fantasy points. For the month, he averages 35.3 minutes per game (MPG) so what happened? Well, Bledsoe racked up two fouls early and Brandon Knight caught fire so Coach Earl Watson held out the team’s starting PG until there were 3:00 left in the first half. Basically, Bledsoe only managed about 10 first half minutes due to the combination of unfortunate situations and yet he still finished with 41.5 fantasy points. With the exact same matchup on the horizon Saturday, expect Bledsoe to play closer to the mid-30s in terms of minutes with a similar level of effectiveness. Yes, the Nuggets still rank dead last in terms of PG efficiency defense and yet again the game is expected to be both high-scoring and close. Therefore, it is time to fire up Bledsoe again and enjoy rising above those in the standings who choose to fade him based off a relatively mediocre outing (for his price) just a few days ago.
Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves, $13,300 – Looking at the slate, there are three or so games that stand out above the rest but no team is in a better spot than the Timberwolves at home against the Nets. So far this month, the Timberwolves are 7-6 but the final score of all their games this month have been within 14 points one way or another. In fact, only two games have finished with a double-digit point differential this month so there is very little reason to believe this game will result in a blowout. With that being the case, the Nets play at the league’s fastest pace and the Nets rank 28th in PG efficiency defense. Additionally, they have allowed the most steals to their opponents which is obviously a category in which Ricky Rubio excels. As if that were not enough, the Nets allow the fifth most points per possession to the “roll man” on pick and rolls this season and Rubio/Karl-Anthony Towns run that play quite often whether it is a roll or pick and pop. Fast-paced atmospheres are always best for Rubio and he is already averaging 10.1 assists per (APG) and 2.1 steals per game (SPG) this month. Rubio is just the first of many Timberwolves worth rostering in this fantastic matchup for the team at home.
Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves, $13,700 – Another member of the Timberwolves to fire up at home tonight is Andrew Wiggins who has managed at least 30 fantasy points in seven of his last eight games. Wiggins does not typically produce the most well-rounded of stat lines but he plays an insane amount of minutes (37.9 MPG so far this month) and has averaged north of 21 points per game (PPG) in every month this year. Although the Nets rank near the bottom of efficiency against most positions, they rank absolutely dead last against opposing SFs. In games this season where Vegas has implied the Timberwolves will score 108 points or more, Wiggins has produced value with 75.0-percent consistency. As icing on the cake, the Nets have allowed the most PPG to opposing SFs by nearly a full PPG over the second place Bucks. Even though the Timberwolves opened as big favorites, all their regulars will have to produce in order for them to win by the projected 11.5 point margin or more. With around 38 minutes of court time on the horizon against a horrendous defense, Wiggins should ball out and is worthy of starting in any and all formats.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves, $18,900 – Rounding out the Timberwolves stack is none other than Karl-Anthony Towns aka the best player on the team. Like a young player should, Towns is improving as he gains more and more experience and he has worked his way up to averaging more than 50 FPPG so far this month. Assuming this were to hold, it would be the first time in his career he would average more than 43 FPPG in any month as a professional. Since Brook Lopez was rested yesterday, he will assuredly suit up and Saturday and be tasked with guarding this beast. Statistically, Lopez is having as poor of a defensive season as he ever has as evident by his 112 defensive rating (worst since 2011-2) and -0.5 defensive box plus/minus (worst since 2013-14). Furthermore, Lopez is a lumbering big man meaning he is not exactly overly athletic and athleticism is certainly required to guard Towns. Due to his futility on the defensive end this year, it is not exactly surprising to learn the Nets rank dead last in defensive efficiency against opposing Cs as well. If the Nets can keep the game reasonably close, Towns should be in line for a 50-plus fantasy point performance once again (which is becoming routine for him).
Greg Monroe, Bucks, $10,600 – Coach Jason Kidd is a fickle dude but one thing is for sure: he only rolls with two Cs in the rotation at a time. For a while, he was going with the Miles Plumlee/John Henson duo. Once he got tired of Plumlee, he switched to the Henson/Greg Monroe duo to rotate in and out. Now, apparently Henson is the latest one out of his favor so Plumlee and Monroe are going to split the minutes in the foreseeable future. For some unbeknownst reason, Kidd likes to start the worse offensive player of the two so Plumlee should continue to start in the near future (as he did last night). However, even Kidd cannot disregard how productive Monroe has been of late when given the minutes. Prior to Friday, Monroe had dropped 17-10 and 28-9 in his last two games respectively and he only played 27 and 30 minutes in those contests. The matchup against the Celtics could not be much better as they have allowed the fifth most rebounds per game (RPG) to opponents of any team and the 11th most PPG specifically to the C position. Even with the team on the second end of a back-to-back, the price tag is simply too cheap for a player averaging 1.26 fantasy points per minute (FPPM).
Darrell Arthur, Nuggets, $6,000 – After injuring his hip on Thursday night, it seems doubtful the Nuggets would push Nikola Jokic and would prefer to wait until he is 100-percent. At just 21 years old, Jokic is the future of the Nuggets franchise and the team certainly could win this game even without him against the lowly Suns. Assuming he sits, Darrell Arthur should see additional run (even if it is minimal). At literally minimum price, even a small uptick in playing time significantly improves his chances of hitting or exceeding value…and he has been doing a lot of that lately. At this price tag, Arthur has only failed to exceed 3.0 value twice in seven games this month including three 21-plus fantasy point outbursts. With Jokic active, Arthur played 15 minutes last game and that was the second fewest he had played in the month of January. If the starting C were to be deemed inactive, the team would likely play smaller more often and Arthur, who played about 75-percent of his minutes alongside Jokic last game, would enjoy a higher USG% during his stints on the court. If looking to fit multiple expensive options, punting with Arthur is a simple way to make it all work.