Nerlens Noel is too cheap for his new role as the Mavericks’ starting center. Even in a tough individual matchup against Steven Adams, Noel still stands out as a premiere value on tonight’s slate. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Russell Westbrook, Thunder, $23,300 – After analyzing the entire slate, it is difficult to find superstars in incredible spots and there are a decent amount of value plays. Therefore, firing up Russell Westbrook makes all the sense in the world in order to solidify a lineup’s floor. Even against the slowest paced team in the league, Westbrook is simply too good to overlook. Hell, in his one meeting against the Mavericks earlier this season, Westbrook dropped 45-8-3 with two steals (STL) in 35 minutes en route to 63.50 fantasy points. Unless value emerges, this does not seem like it is going to be an overly high-scoring slate considering the top over/under on the slate is 225 points and two of the five games possess a double-digit spread. Fading Westbrook would mean you need to be perfect at every other spot and that is simply not a winning strategy in cash games. While there is a case to be made for fading him in tournaments, it is still not recommended. Just use the best player in daily fantasy basketball and sleep like a baby.
D’Angelo Russell, Lakers, $13,300 – Since Magic Johnson took over as President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers, the team has committed to giving the youngsters additional minutes. In the last four games, D’Angelo Russell has played 30-plus minutes in each. This trend comes of the heels of a five game stretch where Russell played less than 24 minutes thrice and topped out at 28 minutes. In other words, there has been a change in culture and it begins with committing to their best young players and Russell is amongst that bunch. To this point, the Pelicans rank 26th in defensive efficiency and they have allowed the fifth most points this season to spot up shooters. If there is one aspect in which Russell excels, it is in the shooting department so he matches up nicely. As icing on the cake, the Pelicans have allowed the fourth most points per game (PPG) this season to opposing PGs. Even with a rising price tag, Russell is 100-percent worthy of consideration.
Ty Lawson, Kings, $8,300 – Starting a bench player on one of the worst teams in the league is not exactly fun but this situation calls for it. Despite normally coming off the bench, Ty Lawson has played 32-plus minutes in consecutive games and 31-plus in four of his last six games. This game certainly has the potential to turn into a blowout with the team playing a defensive-minded opponent (Jazz)…and Vegas agrees as they list the Kings as 10 point home underdogs. Realistically, when a team is listed as a double-digit underdog at home, Vegas is really expecting it to be more lopsided than the line implies (at least from my experience). Unfortunately for Lawson, the Jazz’ backup PG (Dante Exum) is an excellent defender but Lawson actually plays a fair amount next to Darren Collison. Since Feb. 23, the Kings’ second most common lineup has included the two PGs playing alongside one another and there are also plenty with Lawson playing PG. Since he comes off the bench, he is a lot likelier to play in blowout scenarios than the starters. Hey, the guy has topped 28 fantasy points in two straight games so he is clearly feeling it right now. The matchup is not ideal but the price tag and minutes are so he is worth a shot.
E’Twaun Moore, Pelicans, $7,400 – With so much usage being taken up by the trio of Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins (who we will get to), not much is available to the rest of the team. Rightfully so, the supporting cast often gets overlooked but E’Twaun Moore is proving he can be productive at a bargain price tag in an extensive amount of minutes complementing the team’s three musketeers. Over the course of his last four games, Moore has bottomed out at 16.25 fantasy points and he produced 21 fantasy points in 37 minutes last time out. The team’s opponent, the Lakers, play at the seventh fastest pace and rank 29th in overall team defensive efficiency this season. Additionally, the Lakers have allowed the third most points per possession (PPP) to spot up shooters (1.07) and that is pretty much the only area where Moore is going to contribute any offense. At just $7,400, there should are a lot of minutes on the horizon in an elite matchup. For those reasons alone, he can be rostered in order to fit the stars alongside him.
DeMarcus Cousins, Pelicans, $18,300 – The duo of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins is going to cause all sorts of problems for a Lakers who starts a rather un-athletic PF (Julius Randle) and a mediocre C (Tarik Black). Since acquiring Cousins, the Pelicans have gone just 1-4 so this has caused them to only be listed as 5.5 point favorites in a game with the third highest total on the slate. Assuming this game remains competitive, Cousins should go absolutely bananas. In his previous meetings against the Lakers as a member of the Kings, the Lakers would send double teams and try and make others beat him because they knew they could not match his combination of size/athleticism. Now, they absolutely cannot send another man with guys like Davis and Jrue Holiday also capable of beating them. For the season, the Lakers rank dead last in defensive efficiency versus opposing Cs so good luck to them in attempting to try and stop this beast.
Nerlens Noel, Mavericks, $10,600 – Last game, Nerlens Noel finally drew the start for the Mavericks and he went bonkers: 15 points (PTS), 17 rebounds (REB), one STL and two blocks (BLK) in 35 minutes which equates to 46.75 fantasy points. Noel has always proven to be an effective per-minute producer as evident by his career 0.98 fantasy points per minute (FPPM). It appears as if the Mavericks are going to commit to him as the starting C so extensive minutes should be available to him on a nightly basis. The individual matchup against Steven Adams is not great but it does not matter against a team playing the sort of pace the Thunder play (10th fastest) and the fact his price is still about $1,500 cheaper than it should be in this role. Start him.