One Steph at a Time

The worst team in the league at defending opposing point guards will be tasked with attempting to slow down Stephen Curry on Monday in a game that opened with a ridiculous 239.5 over/under. It should be bombs away for the reigning MVP tonight. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.

Guards:

Stephen Curry, Warriors, $17,900 – Holy smokes: Vegas is implying the Warriors will score a whopping 125.3 points in Denver against the Nuggets on Monday evening. Heading into this game, the Nuggets have allowed at least 117 points (PTS) to their opponents in three consecutive games and the final total of those contests has not sunk below 223 points. In other words, the Nuggets are playing a fast brand of basketball lately, especially without the likes of Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried, so tonight’s contest should feature a healthy amount of points to say the least. It is difficult to imagine Stephen Curry does not have a field day tonight against the defense that ranks dead last in terms of defensive efficiency versus opposing PGs. Furthermore, the Nuggets have allowed the fourth highest defended three-point percentage to opponents overall to go along with the seventh most three-pointers per game over the course of their last five games (11.4 per contest). If there is one team that should be able to take advantage of their recent deficiency at defending from beyond the arc, it is the Warriors who make 12.3 three-pointers per game (third most in the NBA). Over the course of his last three games in the Pepsi Center, Curry has averaged 52.0 fantasy points per game (FPPG) and 30.0 PTS per game (PPG) including a 51.75 fantasy point explosion earlier this season. Yeah, just start him. UPDATE: Klay Thompson has been ruled out so now Curry is the absolute lock of all locks as he averages a ridiculous 1.50 fantasy points per minute (FPPM) without Thompson on the court. All in. 

Nik Stauskas, 76ers, $7,400 – Have you figured out a trend yet with Nik Stauskas? I continue to write him up nearly every single day, he continues to crush value and yet his price tag has barely increased over the course of the last week. Now, Stauskas will face the absolute “nuts” in terms of matchup against the Hornets who allow more three-pointers per game than any other team. With Joel Embiid on the court, Stauskas has only managed a usage rate (USG%) of 14.2 and produced 0.56 fantasy points per minute (FPPM) compared to a 15.3 USG% and 0.62 FPPM without both Embiid and Jahlil Okafor on the floor. Apparently, Okafor did not make the flight with the team Monday so Stauskas’ scoring will be absolutely necessary once again and he only needs 22.2 fantasy points for 3.0x value; he has produced at least 23.75 fantasy points in three straight games and in four out of five games heading into this tilt so he should be a safe bet to come through once again in an elite spot.

Forwards/Centers:

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets, $16,900 – In his last meeting versus the Warriors, Nikola Jokic produced 47.50 fantasy points and the same should be well within reach tonight if the game can at least remain close. The Warriors opened as 11.5 point favorites which certainly takes into account the fact they are the road team in this tilt. After shipping Jusuf Nurkic out of town, and with Kenneth Faried inactive, Jokic should be given all the minutes he can handle in order for the Nuggets to have a chance to actually compete. Especially if Mason Plumlee is not able to suit up, the frontcourt depth is awfully shallow against a team Coach Mike Malone would love to beat especially after the team made a roster move (the Plumlee trade) to enhance their chances at a playoff run. The injury to Zaza Pachulia has not been kind to the Warriors from a defensive perspective as they rank 24th in defensive efficiency to the position over the course of their last five games. With the pace set to basically be a track meet, Jokic will have plenty of opportunities to produce across the board. Although the risk is the score could get out of hand, Jokic’s upside could legitimately stretch to 70 fantasy points if all breaks right.

Dwight Howard, Hawks, $13,000 – Al-Farouq Aminu is an underrated defender and he has solidified the Trail Blazers’ defense against PFs as of late. Over the course of their last 10 games, the Trail Blazers rank fourth in defensive efficiency against the position and over the last five they rate even better (second). Therefore, Paul Millsap is likely going to have a difficult time maneuvering against a defender more than capable of covering him. In tune, it would make sense for more of the offense to funnel through Dwight Howard against either Jusuf Nurkic or the likes of Meyers Leonard/Ed Davis if Nurkic is not yet available. Only 11 teams have allowed more PTS per possession (PPP) on post up plays than the Trail Blazers and that was with Plumlee. Only two other players have been posted up at higher rate this season than Nurkic although he has fared much better than the other two (Al Jefferson, Jahlil Okafor) against the play. Regardless of who starts, Howard is simply underpriced in a fast-paced (217 over/under), projected close affair (2.5 point spread) with more offense likely to be running through him than usual.

Wilson Chandler, Nuggets, $12,600 – If the Nuggets are in fact going to give the Warriors a game, Wilson Chandler is absolutely going to have to play a huge allotment of minutes. Literally all possibilities for the game to remain close revolve around heavy minutes from Chandler because he is going to be needed to match up with the tall, athletic forward core of the Warriors. In the last meeting, Chandler played 37 minutes and Danilo Gallinari was active for that contest. Without Faried and Gallinari, Chandler could legitimately top 40 minutes in one of the fastest paced games of the season. For what it is worth, Chandler is averaging 35.0 minutes per game (MPG), 19.2 PPG, 7.3 rebounds per game (RPG) , 2.2 assists per game (APG), 1.2 steals per game (SPG), 1.4 blocks per game (BPG) and 35.6 FPPG without Gallinari this season. His price dropped $700 since his last time on the court so there is plenty of room for profit at his current price tag. UPDATE: Chandler is listed as questionable. Regardless, Will Barton is an easy pivot for almost the identical price, and with Mudiay ruled out, Barton is equally as enticing as a play.

T.J. Warren, Suns, $9,900 – In the Howard tidbit, I referred to offense funneling through him and the same should hold true for T.J. Warren who has enjoyed a similar trend against the Pelicans each time this year. Solomon Hill is a very solid defender and the Pelicans have stuck him on Devin Booker in each matchup this year which has really bothered the Suns’ youngster. While Booker has struggled against Hill, Warren has flourished in each matchup, producing exactly 35.50 fantasy points in each matchup. This makes sense because Buddy Hield is legitimately one of the worst defenders in the NBA and both these teams rank top nine in pace. Warren is averaging 19.0 PPG and 5.0 RPG versus the Pelicans this season and there is no reason why he should not flirt with those same totals on Monday especially with New Orleans playing their third game in four nights.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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