Assuming Yogi Ferrell draws the start once again, he should see an extended amount of run for the second consecutive night with Deron Williams, J.J. Barea and Pierre Jackson all out. If the 26.50 fantasy points in 35 minutes were any indication of his role moving forward, he should be able to exceed value at his bargain price tag. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers, $15,100 – Kevin Love has already been ruled out for Monday so Kyrie Irving will be relied upon to shoulder a larger portion of the offensive load. In three games without Love this season, Irving has averaged 46.9 fantasy points per game (FPPG) compared to just 39.7 in 38 games with Love active. Additionally, Irving has produced a 29.4-percent usage rate (USG%) in games in which Love has played compared to 31.7-percent in the games he has sat. Instead of a three-headed monster, the offense becomes a two-headed monster and the production is more concentrated between the two remaining stars. Although the pace the Mavericks play is the furthest thing from ideal (they rank dead last in pace), their starting PG is undersized Yogi Ferrell who stands about 5’9” in heels. There should be no way Ferrell is able to stick with Irving and the Mavericks have been going with a starting lineup devoid of a rim protector (Andrew Bogut has been coming off the bench and is now hurt yet again). Therefore, Irving should have his way in this matchup and he should be locked into cash game lineups at the very least.
Goran Dragic, Heat, $14,000 – In this very matchup five days ago, Goran Dragic managed 44.75 fantasy points despite shooting just 6-16 from the field. To be fair, he played 39 minutes and now Tyler Johnson may return to the rotation which would limit Dragic’s run a bit. Still, the Nets are the ideal matchup for virtually anyone because they play at the fastest pace in the NBA and have allowed the most overall fantasy points this season to opponents. Against PGs specifically, they rank 27th in defensive efficiency but that is not where the favorability of the matchup ends. Dragic leads the NBA in drives per game and the Nets allow the fifth highest FG percentage at the rim. In other words, those who drive against the Nets are often rewarded so this a perfect spot for Dragic to go off. Assuming he shoots better than 37.5-percent (like he did last time), he should not disappoint those who roster him tonight.
Yogi Ferrell, Mavericks, $6,900 – As an Indiana University graduate, I have an irrational bias towards Yogi Ferrell and I have been down this road before where it has failed. Having said that, Ferrell just appears to be more comfortable in his new situation with the Mavericks because the coaching staff is committed to him, the pace of play better suits him and he is now getting the chance the start. All of those factors combined suggest Ferrell’s stint with the Mavericks should be a more productive one in terms of both fantasy and reality than was his stint with the Nets. Ferrell played a whopping 35 minutes last night and finished with nine points (PTS), two rebounds (REB), seven assists (AST) and two steals (STL) en route to 26.50 fantasy points. Due to his performance, his price has risen $900 but that is still well within reason for a team’s starting PG playing extensive minutes. In college, the Hoosiers played a slower pace of play mostly because of the 35 second shot clock but Ferrell thrives in that atmosphere. Since the Mavericks play the slowest pace in the NBA, this situation should suit him better than the Nets who are literally the exact opposite and rank first in pace. Facing the defense (or lack thereof) of Kyrie Irving, Ferrell should at least be able to flirt with value if allotted big minutes once again and he has the potential to crush.
LeBron James, Cavaliers, $17,900 – Like Irving, LeBron James should benefit from the absence of Love as James’ USG% improves from 30.8 with Love on the floor to 31.7 with him off. Notably, James’ fantasy point per minute (FPPM) production increases as well as it jumps from 1.31 to 1.40 with Love on the sidelines. Coach Tyronn Lue keeps saying he is going to ease off James’ minutes and yet he leads the entire NBA in minutes per game (MPG), slightly edging out Kyle Lowry and Zach LaVine. Even if he were to play a few less minutes, he still should play long enough to do some serious damage. For what it is worth, the Mavericks actually rank first in terms of SF efficiency defense but James moves around, plays PG at times and has managed at least 44 fantasy points in each of his last two meetings against the Mavericks (including one game from earlier this season). Whenever Love is out of the rotation, the sky is the limit for James…even more so than usual.
Brook Lopez, Nets, $12,300 – In the last meeting versus the Heat, the game remained close throughout and Brook Lopez scored 33 real PTS and attempted a career-high 14 three-point attempts. It should be noted, however, Hassan Whiteside was admittedly dealing with an ankle sprain in that game and claims he “should not have played.” Now, with Whiteside presumably feeling better since he returned after a one game absence, he probably will play some superior defense on Lopez compared to the first meeting. Even so, Whiteside is best as a help defender and in the post as he has held opponents to 9.9-percent below their average field goal percentage inside six feet. Lopez’s ability to stretch the floor and shoot from both mid-range and beyond the arc is what gave Whiteside fits in the first matchup and it should this go-around as well. Furthermore, the price tag on Lopez is ridiculously affordable for a player averaging 35.23 FPPG. If he were just to produce an average outing, he would reach 2.86x value aka he would put a fantasy team on pace for 286 fantasy points. Over the course of the last two seasons, Lopez has not produced fewer than 31 fantasy points in any of the four meetings against Whiteside and he has blown up for 45-plus fantasy points twice (including the last meeting). With that sort of stable floor, it is worth taking the chance on the ceiling as well, especially at this price tag.
Channing Frye, Cavaliers, $6,600 – Targeting ideal spots to roster Channing Frye is a science but a pretty easy one to master. Whenever Kevin Love is out, he is worth rostering only if LeBron James is in the rotation as well and able to get him the ball. In fact, it is even more helpful that Kyrie Irving will suit up as well because there will always be an excellent ball-handler on the floor with the capability to make an open shot for him. When all the starters are out, Frye is forced to create his own shots and that is not his forte and frankly he is not very good at it. Frye is the kind of guy who stands in the corner and shoots three-pointers when the ball is fed to him. With James on the floor and Love off the floor, Frye is averaging 1.00 FPPM this season compared to 0.73 with both off the court. Essentially, it is easy to tell the difference. Since the rotation will be ideal tomorrow, and Frye is only priced at $6,600, he is worth using in any and all formats.