Paul George has been a staple of consistency versus the Wizards over the past two seasons and is priced extremely reasonably against them tonight as well in what is projected to be the higher scoring game of the two on the slate. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
John Wall, Wizards, $19,200 – On a two game slate, choosing the best player from the faster paced game on the slate seems obvious…but just in case, I am writing up John Wall. The clear alternative is Isaiah Thomas who has not topped 45 fantasy points since Feb. 3 whereas Wall flirted with 50 (or sometimes even 60) on a nightly basis. Over the course of his last games, Wall is averaging 23.8 points per game (PPG), 4.0 rebounds per game (RPG), 12.7 assists per game (APG), 2.2 steals per game (SPG) and 1.0 blocks per game (BPG) en route to 52.6 fantasy points per game (FPPG). Opposing teams get out in transition at the 12th highest percentage against the Pacers and Wall gets out in transition the third most of any player (behind only Russell Westbrook and LeBron James). In three meetings against the Pacers so far this season, Wall has averaged 53.0 FPPG including a 67.25 fantasy point explosion. Wall is averaging 6.6 FPPG more than any other player on the slate (Isaiah Thomas) so just start him in a solid matchup against another fast-paced team (especially with the game expected to remain close as evident by the 2.0 point spread).
Jimmy Butler, Bulls, $16,900 – Logic suggests the Bulls have no reason to rush back Dwyane Wade prior to the All-Star Break when the team will have eight days off prior to their next game. With that being the case, Jimmy Butler will likely be tasked with running the Bulls’ entire offense once again. In games with Wade active, Butler has produced a 26.9-percent usage rate (USG%) compared to 31.1 without the team’s starting SG. Marcus Smart is a solid defender but he is nowhere near elite enough to warrant fading Butler in this excellent spot. Once again, the Bulls will likely go with a starting lineup that includes three guards by trade (Michael Carter-Williams, Jerian Grant) which means Jae Crowder could end up covering Butler. Regardless, Butler has produced 43.25 and 37.25 fantasy points respectively in two meetings against the Celtics this season and Wade suited up for both of those contests. Now, playing without him, the entire gravitate is going to have to revolve around Butler and he is basically going to play PG. Since Butler has averaged a ridiculous 54.9 FPPG in the five games he has played without Wade, simply an average performance would lead to him well exceeding value.
Monta Ellis, Pacers, $7,300 – Monta Ellis’ minutes and production have been on the rise as of late and I believe it has to do with two of the tema’s PFs being inactive. Injuries to both Thaddeus Young and Lavoy Allen have led to much more smaller lineups as of late and the Wizards are a team not afraid to go small either. In fact, their backup “C”, Jason Smith, is more of a PF anyways so the Pacers’ second unit specifically is not in dire need of much size. On Wednesday, Ellis dropped 28.50 fantasy points on the heels of 14 points (PTS) and seven assists (AST) and yet his price rose exactly zero dollars. This game was the fourth consecutive in which Ellis has played 28-plus minutes and the fifth consecutive he has registered at least 21.25 fantasy points. His minutes are clearly starting to become a trend so he rates as a rock solid play yet again assuming the same frontcourt duo sits yet again.
Paul George, Pacers, $15,100 – If there is one position to attack the Wizards with, it is SF as they rank 16th in defensive efficiency against opposing threes. Over the last two seasons, Paul George has proved to be a model of consistency against the Wizards as he has not fallen below 41 fantasy points in any of his six meetings against them. Between the fast pace (both teams rank in the top 14 of pace) and the reasonably evenly matched talent, these games are always high-scoring and competitive. Furthermore, George is able to take advantage of the chink in the Pacers’ defensive armor that is their SF defense. Additionally, George likes to post up the smaller Otto Porter and the Pacers actually almost the most points per possessions (PPP) on post ups of any team in the league. Last but not least, the Pacers allow the fourth most PPP on spot up shots and that is quite obviously a big part of George’s game as well. All-in-all, it is not difficult to see why he has succeeded in this matchup in the past and should continue to succeed tonight as well.
Marcin Gortat, Wizards, $11,900 – Quietly, Marcin Gortat has emerged into one of the most consistent players in daily fantasy basketball as of late because his minutes had not dipped below 31 in any game since Jan. 27 prior to last game (when the Wizards blew out the Thunder). Even in only 25 minutes, Gortat still produced 27.25 fantasy points. Before Tuesday’s massacre, Gortat had topped 35 fantasy points in eight consecutive games and had double-doubled in all but one of those games during the span. The Pacers are an awesome matchup for him as well because they fare so poorly against post ups (as mentioned in the George tidbit) and they allow opposing Cs to crash the glass against them. Hell, the Pacers surrender the third most RPG to Cs and the second most offensive RPG so Gortat should be good for at least a few tip-ins. With his recent stretch of consistency, you would think the price would have risen significantly, but yet he is priced almost identical to where he began prior to the streak. Therefore, he is probably the easiest play on the entire slate.
Kelly Olynyk, Celtics, $8,800 – Another player whose minutes have been on the rise as of late is Kelly Olynyk who had played 28 and 29 minutes respectively in his last two games before last night’s 26 minutes, 30.75 fantasy point outburst at just $8,500. The solid performance has caused his price tag to rise once again but this is a player who has now managed at least 24 fantasy points in five straight games and 30-plus fantasy points in two of his last three. Actually, at his current price tag, he has managed at least 2.98x value in each of his last three games, which would put a fantasy team on apce for 298 points. Though the Bulls have fared well against Cs over the course of the entire season, they have struggled as of late; they rank 24th in efficiency versus the position during their last five games. With Olynyk cooking, Coach Brad Stevens has no reason to limit his minutes or stop giving him run so a solid performance should be expected once again. It should be noted his skill set is a bit volatile so he would be a safer bet in tournaments if this were not only a two game slate.