E’Twaun Moore is one of the main beneficiaries of the DeMarcus Cousins trade because he has a whole lot less competition for minutes and is locked in as the team’s starting shooting guard. Tonight, he should see a healthy uptick in minutes and yet he is priced only slightly above minimum cost. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
James Harden, Rockets, $22,300 – If paying up for one player on this slate, James Harden stands out as an elite option as per usual. By comparison, Harden is averaging more than 7.0 fantasy points per game (FPPG) than anyone else available on the slate and he also is playing in arguably the most favorable game environment of player on the slate. Not only did the game open with the second highest total of the night (227) but it the only single digit spread (3.0 points) of any of the games with projected totals of 223 points or more. Since the Pelicans moved two of their main wings before the trade deadline, that leaves E’Twaun Moore and Solomon Hill remaining as the probable options to guard Harden for the majority of the evening. Hill is widely considered a solid defender but he simply is not quick or crafty enough to stick with Harden and he is the better of the two options. In each of his last three meetings versus the Pelicans, Harden has produced 66.75 fantasy points or more and he is certainly capable of the same once again tonight. Fading Harden is an extremely risky proposition and certainly is not recommended with the value already available.
Tyreke Evans, Kings, $8,400 – Welcome back to Sacramento, Tyreke Evans! After playing his first four NBA seasons with the Kings, Evans has now been traded back and is primed to start his second stint with the organization. The team is filled with guards at this point but Evans should see some extensive playing time because he is one of only three truly capable of handling the ball. Of the players capable of ball-handling, he is the only one who realistically could play the SF spot for extended stretches. Since the team is filled with undersized players at the moment, he likely will be forced to play SF especially because Matt Barnes has been waived and Omri Casspi was traded. $8,400 is simply too cheap for a player who will assuredly emerge as one of the team’s top two options on offense. Prior to being traded, Evans’ minutes limit seemed to be evaporating considering he has played 25 and 27 minutes in his final two games with the Pelicans. Assuming that trend continues, he is one of the few players on the slate with the possibility to reach 5.0x value. Rostering Evans is risky due to the uncertainty of his role with the new squad so you should be able to get him at a depreciated ownership percentage despite the serious upside.
E’Twaun Moore, Pelicans, $6,600 – During the All-Star Break, the Pelicans shipped Langston Galloway and Tyreke Evans out of town, leaving the backcourt much less concentrated. Looking at the roster, there really is no clear backup SG, meaning Moore should see a drastic increase in minutes. Moore, Tim Frazier and even Solomon Hill all should play some SG depending on situation but Moore appears to be the biggest winner in the deal. Additionally, he has been productive when he has seen minutes. In the eight games he has played 30-plus minutes this season, he has scored at least 20.5 fantasy points in each and has averaged 26.97 fantasy points. The defense of James Harden has improved this year but the Rockets still allow a healthy 108.0 points per game (PPG) and the Pelicans need outside shooting alongside their three stars (Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins) now. Sporting a price tag barely above the minimum, Moore can be locked and loaded especially in cash games.
LeBron James, Cavaliers, $18,300 – Without Kevin Love this season, LeBron James is averaging a hefty 1.42 fantasy points per minute (FPPM). As a stand-alone number, this is impressive, but it is also enhanced by the fact James ranks second in the league in minutes per game (MPG). Furthermore, James’ usage rate (USG%) increases from 30.4 to 31.6-percent with Love off the court. In six games against Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks over the last two years, James has topped 47 fantasy points in five of six meetings and has managed at least 42.75 fantasy points each go-around. Overall this year, the Knicks rank 29th in defensive efficiency versus opposing SFs and James is only the fifth most expensive option on the slate. Combine all of these factors and James rates as the expensive option to build around after Harden. With all the value on this slate, both can easily be fit into the same lineup.
Frank Kaminsky, Hornets, $12,500 – On Thursday, Frank Kaminsky is going to have virtually no competition for minutes as starter Cody Zeller is listed as doubtful and Miles Plumlee is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. Consequently, Kaminsky is likely to top 36 minutes for fourth consecutive games and he has been incredibly productive over the course of the last three games: 45, 37.25 and 42.25 fantasy points respectively. On paper, the matchup against the Pistons is not great as they rank seventh in defensive efficiency versus opposing Cs…but Kaminsky is not ordinary C. Instead of focusing on battling in the post, a lot of Kaminsky’s offense comes via the jump shot and that is not Andre Drummond’s bread and butter on defense. It is no surprise the Pistons have allowed the fifth highest three-point percentage to opposing Cs because Drummond is not overly comfortable stepping out on shooters. So, despite the Hornets’ measly 101.5 implied total, Kaminsky remains a rock solid investment.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kings, $7,100 – DeMarcus Cousins has been sent packing for a pair of guards which leaves 34.4 MPG unaccounted for. Over the second half of the season, the Kings would be foolish not to focus on developing the younger players with the team clearly going nowhere. In the past, Kosta Koufos has seen a larger role than Cauley-Stein with Cousins out but now the team is reportedly looking to deal the 27 year old from Ohio State. In other words, the team appears to be at least mentally moving on from him in their plans. Last game, Koufos’ minutes were down due to leaving with a finger injury but now the Kings have all the motivation in the world to catapult Cauley-Stein over Koufos on the depth chart. Regardless, both will probably have a role but the forward-thinking Kings have quite the different look and thought process coming out of the All-Star Break. As icing on the cake, Cauley-Stein has averaged more FPPG (27.2) this season than Koufos (24.8) despite playing fewer minutes per game.