On a strange four game Sunday slate, there is no reason to fade Jrue Holiday who has now topped 58 fantasy points in two of his last three games heading into a solid matchup against the Kings’ struggling defense against opposing point guards. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Jrue Holiday, Pelicans, $15,600 – Over the course of the last five games, only two teams have rated worse in terms of defensive efficiency against opposing PGs than the Kings. During that span, they have allowed a hefty 30.4 points per game (PPG) to the position with only the Clippers allowing more (34.4) during that time period. Both Darren Collison and Ty Lawson, who have had to log heavy minutes lately due to injuries, rate well below the likes of an average player in terms of the defensive box plus/minus (DBPM) metric and both rate amongst the worst on the team in terms of defensive rating (DRTG). Although the Kings are not incredibly susceptible to ball-handlers the pick and roll, and Jrue Holiday runs the pick and roll the 10th most of any player in the league, he still managed a whopping 61.25 fantasy points in his last meeting against the Kings (Jan. 15). With Anthony Davis a legitimate threat for foul trouble matching up against DeMarcus Cousins, and with Tyreke Evans potentially out again (leading to a 2.0 percentage point usage rate boost for Holiday), the Pelicans will assuredly need to rely upon Holiday’s offense. Coming off a 58 fantasy point explosion versus the Timberwolves, Holiday should be locked and loaded into all lineups (especially if Evans out).
Dwyane Wade, Bulls, $13,300 – After playing against the Suns, Jimmy Butler answered the question of “Will you play next game?” with the answer “That’s a good question. That’s a really good question.” Translation: probably not. Assuming Butler were to sit out, Dwyane Wade would enjoy a sizable usage rate (USG%) boost from 27.7 to 38.5 (which is nearly identical to DeMarcus Cousins’ total for the season). Basically, the Bulls become the Wade show without Butler in the rotation so he is worth starting regardless of opponent. Since Zach LaVine went down, Minnesota has rated 19th in terms of defensive efficiency versus opposing SGs and has allowed a .500 FG percentage to that position. The Timberwolves are not a team that are a real threat to blow the Bulls out so Wade could be primed for a monster outing.
Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves, $13,700 – Since the aforementioned injury to LaVine, Andrew Wiggins has played at least 37 minutes in every game and has scored at least 36.50 fantasy points in each as well. In fact, he has averaged 42.0 fantasy points per game (FPPG) during that time and 1.12 fantasy points per minute (FPPM). Assuming he continues to flirt with 40 minutes on a nightly basis, an average performance would lead to around 40 fantasy points. This year alone, Wiggins has averaged exactly 2.0 FPPG more at home and he also has produced a FG percentage 2.5 points higher in the Target Center. For the season, the Bulls rank below average in terms of SF efficiency defense so the matchup is not exactly overwhelming. With huge minutes on the horizon, Wiggins is worth firing up in at least cash games as he is one of the league’s most consistent producers playing in the absence of the team’s starting SG.
Darren Collison, Kings (if no Ty Lawson), $12,500 – Last game personified what a rock solid investment Darren Collison is with Ty Lawson inactive. Since he is the only ball-handler remaining on the roster when Lawson is out, he was forced to play 44 minutes on Friday and finished with 22 points (PTS), four assists (AST), two steals (STL) and 36.25 fantasy points. On paper, Jrue Holiday is an upper-echelon defender but it almost does not matter if Collison is literally going to be the only PG active. Sure Collison’s efficiency could slip in extended minutes but he enjoys a 19.5 USG% and produces 0.74 FPPM with both Lawson and Rudy Gay off the court this year. There is no possible way he falls short of 40 minutes if Lawson remains out so 40 minutes multiplied by 0.74 equals about 30 fantasy points. No status updates have been provided for Lawson yet but he would actually emerge as the better play of the two if Collison suits up because Collison’s price has risen substantially as of late. If he sits, Collison can be safely inserted into both cash game and tournament lineups.
Buddy Hield, Pelicans (if no E’Twaun Moore, Tyreke Evans), $7,700 – Heading into Friday night, Buddy Hield has played 34 and 36 minutes respectively in the last two games E’Twaun Moore had missed. In those contests, Hield had averaged 10.5 PPG, 3.5 REB per game (RPG) and 3.5 AST per game (APG). Although his minutes did not reach similar levels against the Timberwolves, he still took 10 shots in 22 minutes and ended with 24 fantasy points. Most importantly, the rotation only went nine deep and one of those players was Omer Asik playing five total minutes. If the rotation is similar on Sunday, all the usuals will be forced into big minutes and Hield becomes an important part of the offense against the defense that ranks 29th in defensive efficiency against opposing SGs (after ranking dead last in 2015-16). Evans has a history of injuries lingering and Moore is out with a personal issue so there is no telling whether he plays or not. If he does end up suiting up, Hield, Moore and Galloway would all rate as volatile GPP options because the one to get hot will likely remain in the game the longest. Moore has been shooting extremely well from the field lately which has led to him averaging 26.7 minutes per game (MPG) and 20.2 FPPG over his last five games. If he plays, use him instead of Hield.
Anthony Davis, Pelicans, $19,200 – Last, but certainly not least, Anthony Davis is in play in a matchup against the Kings despite the fact he has recently made the move to C. When squaring off against DeMarcus Cousins, there is always a chance of foul trouble so there is an implied level of volatility to Davis’ production on Sunday. Assuming the Pelicans get creative and move other players on him and/or Davis stays out of foul trouble, the sky is the limit for him. Davis has faced Cousins and the Kings eight times over the last three seasons and he has only failed to reach 42 fantasy points once and has topped 50 fantasy points in four of the meetings including each of the last three. The move to C does increase the chances of foul trouble so he should be reserved for GPPs only. With that being said, the Pelicans would be smart to star Omer Asik or at least another player to guard Cousins to assure Davis stays on the court. If they start a true C next to Davis, his value would increase exponentially and he would immediately become cash viable as well.