Blake Griffin has averaged 49.7 fantasy points per game this month and the return of Chris Paul has not negatively impacted his production either. Now, against a defense that struggles to guard opposing power forwards, Griffin should in a perfect spot to go off. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Tyreke Evans, Kings, $11,300 – Players who actively are or recently have been on a minutes limit are the theme of the article tonight because their price tags still have not reached fair value…and Tyreke Evans is the personification. Although $11,300 seems substantial for a guy playing 27 minutes, the matchup legit could not be any riper. The team will square off against the lowly Nets who rank dead last in defensive efficiency overall and have allowed the most points per game (PPG) this season (114.4). Earlier in the year, as a member of the Pelicans, Evans absolutely tore up the Nets to the tune of 29 points (PTS), four rebounds (REB), three assists (AST), four steals (STL) and one block (BLK) en route to 48.5 fantasy points. With no true number one scoring threat on this Kings team, there is no reason why a similar stat line is not at least possible. Since joining the Kings, Evans has scored at least 25 fantasy points in all three games and he has topped out at 28.25 fantasy points but there is no better matchup than this one. As icing on the cake, the Nets rank dead last in efficiency against opposing SFs and 28th in defensive efficiency versus SGs so they put up little resistance against either position. I would be shocked if Evans did not exceed 30 fantasy points in this spot.
Khris Middleton, Bucks, $10,900 – Another player who has been on a minutes limit is Khris Middleton but he too draws an enticing matchup except his is against the Nuggets. Only three teams have allowed a higher three-point percentage to opponents than the Nuggets and Middleton’s shooting is badly needed by the Bucks especially with both Jabari Parker and Michael Beasley out. In fact, without the duo on the floor, Middleton is averaging 0.98 fantasy points per minute (FPPM) and has garnered a 23.5-percent usage rate (USG%). The Nuggets literally rank dead last in defensive efficiency against opposing backcourts and will be playing on the second end of a back-to-back. Luckily for Middleton, this is a standalone game for the Bucks as the team did not play on Tuesday and do not play on Thursday either. Therefore, Middleton has an excellent shot to meet or exceed the season-high 28 minutes that he produced on Sunday in this one. If he is able to get hot against one of the league’s worst defenses, he should be able to exceed value.
Anthony Davis, Pelicans, $18,500 – With DeMarcus Cousins suspended, this is a no-brainer spot to unleash Anthony Davis (so hold your breath). Sans the team’s new All-Star caliber addition, Davis will have no choice but to move back to the C position in this game which actually helps his cause. According to RotoCurve’s Adam Pfeifer, Andre Drummond has allowed 1.4 points per possession (PPP) to the roll men on pick-and-rolls this season and the Pistons have allowed the third most points to roll men. Note: we recorded a podcast together on Tuesday night otherwise I would have done the research myself but he deserves the credit here. Also, Drummond struggles to step out on shooters which explains why Davis has topped 60 fantasy points in each of his last two meetings against the Pistons and 49 fantasy points in each of his last three. A few meetings ago, Davis exploded for 93.50 fantasy points so that should help personify just what sort of upside he may possess in this matchup.
Blake Griffin, Clippers, $16,800 – For the season, the Rockets are amongst the worst in terms of defending opposing PFs which makes sense considering Ryan Anderson is not a great defender and neither are the undersized players they use at the position. On offense, none of them stand a chance against Blake Griffin who is an absolute beast. Only the Lakers have allowed a higher defended field goal percentage at the rim than the Rockets and Griffin always finds a way to get to the basket whether it is from dribbling himself or due to a pass from Chris Paul. The Rockets are going to have a hell of a time trying to scheme against him and more of the offense should run through him with Patrick Beverley guarding Paul. The return of Paul has not slowed down Griffin’s production whatsoever as he has produced 48.75 and 69.50 fantasy points in consecutive games since the team’s starting PG came back. Try and save some salary at the guard positions tonight because Davis and Griffin are stone cold locks (assuming they stay healthy).
Pau Gasol, Spurs, $11,200 – Like Middleton, Pau Gasol will have the benefit of playing in a standalone game so there is not much threat of him sitting or even a worry of his minutes getting limited. Consequently, projecting Gasol for a full allotment of minutes is a fair conclusion and he will square off the defense that allows the most PPP on post ups. Furthermore, the Pacers allow the third most REB per game (RPG) to opposing Cs (15.7) and the second most offensive RPG (5.1) to the position as well. Even in his elder age, Gasol is still averaging 1.14 FPPM and should be set to see close to 30 minutes. Assuming the game remains close, which is questionable because Vegas lists the Spurs as 10.5 point favorites, Gasol’s price tag still presents a healthy amount of profit potential.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kings, $10,900 – Since the Cousins trade, no player on the Kings has played more minutes than Willie Cauley-Stein and no player has produced more fantasy points. Unfortunately, he may have to deal with covering Brook Lopez on the perimeter on defense but he should absolutely eat on offense once again. Coach Dave Joerger says he wants Cauley-Stein to develop consistency down the stretch and he is actually developing into arguably the team’s best all-around player. Although Cauley-Stein sports a 7.4-percent AST rate this season, that number has skyrocketed to 10.4-percent over the course of the last three games as he has had the ball in his hands a lot more. Of course, his USG% has increased substantially as well as he is becoming one of the main focuses on offense. Facing a defense that ranks dead last in efficiency versus Cs and plays at the fastest pace, Cauley-Stein possesses a substantial ceiling once again (and is also a viable cash play).