Myles Turner is in a great spot on Friday night against a Nets defense that allows the most points per game to opposing centers and also rank dead last in defensive efficiency against the position. Last time these two teams squared off, Turner torched them for 58.25 fantasy points. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Isaiah Thomas, Celtics, $17,900 – Although $17,900 feels like a steep price to pay for Isaiah Thomas, the recent performance certainly has justified the cost. Thomas has now scored at least 37 real points (PTS) in three consecutive games as well as four of his last five and seven of his last nine. Right now, Thomas is simply a scoring machine as he is averaging a ridiculous 52.4 fantasy points per game (FPPG) over the course of his last 11 games. Additionally, the matchup is ripe because the Lakers allow the sixth most points per possession (PPP) on isolation plays and Thomas’ 1.17 PPP on isolations is fourth best amongst starting PGs, behind only T.J. McConnell, Jrue Holiday and Chris Paul. As icing on the cake, the Lakers rank 27th in PG efficiency defense so this is certainly a matchup Thomas should dominate. Assuming this game remains close (Celtics listed as 11.5 point favorites), the sky is the limit for Thomas (as per usual). Note: If Avery Bradley were to return, it would eat into Thomas’ usage a bit. He would still be worthy of using in cash games but his upside would be a bit capped in tournaments.
Jimmy Butler, Bulls, $16,600 – Since the Bulls are catching the Rockets on the second end of a back-to-back, they only opened as 6.5 point road underdogs. Not only do the Rockets rate below average in terms of overall team defensive efficiency but they play at the fourth fastest pace in the league. The quick pace partially explains why Butler has topped 41 fantasy points in each of his last three meetings against the Rockets although he has yet to face them this season. Since Rajon Rondo was benched, Butler is averaging 46.4 FPPG and has produced a usage rate (USG%) of 27.8-percent during that stretch (compared to 26.9-percent for the season). Only five teams have allowed more three-pointers per game to opposing backcourts and the Rockets also rate as one of the worst three teams at defending shots inside six feet of the rim. Essentially, Butler should be able to get his outside shot working and he also should be able to take it to the basket in a fast-paced environment. Add up all these factors and there is no reason to spend up for any of the stars priced in the top tier because Butler and Thomas should both put together some monster performances.
Jeff Teague, Pacers, $13,800 – Targeting opponents against the Nets is a winning proposition because they play at the fastest pace, give up the most points per game (PPG), allow the most steals to opponents and even allow the second most blocks (BLK). Teams are basically able to do whatever they please against them and Jeff Teague’s last game against them was the perfect personification: 21 PTS, 15 assists (AST) and a steal (STL) en route to 57.25 fantasy points. With the game being played in Brooklyn, the odds of a blowout, at least according to Vegas, are substantially alleviated because the Pacers only opened as 7.0 favorites. This is not exactly a cheap price tag for Teague but he should not be in this fantastic spot. On top of the aforementioned areas of susceptibility for the Nets defense, they rank 28th in defensive efficiency against opposing PGs and they allow the seventh most PPP on isolations. Teague ranks one spot ahead of Thomas in terms of iso attempts per game, meaning he ranks inside the top 24 of all NBA players. With all these aspects working in his face, Teague is bordering on must-play in all formats.
Devin Booker, Suns, $12,700 – Instead of evening this article out as per usual, I am just going to focus more heavily on the guards this go-around because there are not exactly a plethora of juicy frontcourt plays. On the other hand, guard is loaded and Devin Booker will square off against a Kings team that ranks dead last in efficiency against opposing SGs. Heading into this contest, Booker has scored at least 20 PTS in 14 consecutive games and he has only failed to reach 33 fantasy points twice during that stretch. In other words, Booker is a safe bet to flirt with 3.0x value just about every night because he is such a big part of the Suns offense. In his last four meetings against the Kings, Booker has managed at least 35 fantasy points thrice and the outlier performance still included him averaging nearly 1.0 fantasy point per minute (FPPM) despite the fact he only played 25 minutes (the Kings blew the Suns out). The spread in this game is only 4.5 points so Booker should play a full allotment of minutes and have the opportunity to go nuts against the league’s worst defense versus his position.
Myles Turner, Pacers, $13,000 – One player against the Nets is simply not enough on Friday because the game is expected to remain reasonably close and Myles Turner flashed his crazy potential in this exact matchup the last time these two teams squared off. Since Brook Lopez is not exactly a strong rebounder, Turner predictably dominated the glass on Jan. 5 as he grabbed 15 REB to go along with 25 PTS and a whopping five BLK en route to 58.25 fantasy points. Assuming the Nets decided to start Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at PF once again (instead of Trevor Booker), Turner should be able to dominate the glass from the get-go and another outlier performance such of this would be entirely possible yet again. Even if that is not the case, the Nets rank dead last in defensive efficiency against the C position and allow the most PPG to the position so Turner should be just fine. Regardless of the value that may emerge on the slate, Turner will not be a player I move off in cash games under any circumstance.
Harrison Barnes, Trail Blazers, $12,300 – Harrison Barnes disappointed last game by only producing 29.25 fantasy points but the matchup could literally not get any better on Friday. His opponent, the Trail Blazers, rank dead last in defensive efficiency against opposing PFs and Barnes continues to start the four in the Yogi Ferrell era. Beyond just the favorable individual matchup(s) Barnes should see, the Trail Blazers rank eighth in pace this year so there should be plenty of additional possessions for the slow-paced (literally dead last in pace) Mavericks. As always, Barnes possesses one of the safest floors in daily fantasy basketball and the potential ceiling in this matchup is significant as well. Even if Deron Williams returns to the lineup, Barnes is a fantastic cash game option and solid tournament option as well.