Since both Tony Parker and Dejounte Murray have already been ruled out for Monday, go ahead and fire up Patty Mills who should be allotted all the minutes he can handle in an excellent matchup against the Hawks. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
D’Angelo Russell, Lakers, $14,300 – Quite literally D’Angelo Russell draws the best possible match up for an opposing PG on Monday evening as he will draw a matchup against the Nuggets’ defense (or lack thereof). Over the entirety of the season, the Nuggets have allowed the fourth most points per game (PPG), play at the eighth fastest pace and rank dead last in team defensive efficiency. Additionally, the Nuggets rank dead last in defensive efficiency, have allowed the second most fantasy points per game (FPPG) and even allow the third most PPG to the PG position specifically. Meanwhile, Russell headed into Sunday’s tilt against the 76ers having topped 35 fantasy points in three straight games and in six of his last eight games. In two previous meetings against the Nuggets this year, Russell has averaged a hefty 1.30 fantasy points per minute (FPPM) although he has only averaged 25.6 minutes per game (MPG) in those contests. Since Magic Johnson joined the Lakers as the Director of Basketball Operations, Russell’s minutes have risen substantially. In fact, Russell has averaged 33.1 MPG over the course of his last five games so 50 fantasy points is well within reach for Russell in what should prove to be a monster performance from him.
Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves, $13,300 – Minutes are never a question for starters on a Tom Thibodeau coached team as Andrew Wiggins is averaging 37-plus MPG for the fourth consecutive month so far in March. Following five straight games in which Wiggins has failed to top 31.50 fantasy points, his price has dipped all the way to $13,300…and just in time for an excellent matchup against the Wizards. Assuming the team rolls with the same starting lineup it has been, Wiggins will start at the three and the Wizards rank 10th in defensive efficiency versus opposing SFs including a 52.1 FG percentage to the position over the course of the last 10 games (worst in the league). In his only previous meeting against the Wizards this year, Wiggins scored 41 real points (PTS) and finished with 48.75 fantasy points in 39 minutes. The Wizards defend the sort of play types Wiggins runs reasonably well (spot up shots, ball-handlers in the pick-and-roll and even isolations) but Bradley Beal struggles against isolations (1.11 points per possession (PPP) allowed), Otto Porter Jr. is a 47th percentile defender against ball-handlers in the pick-and-roll and spot up shooters have had a fair amount of success against both guys on defense. Therefore, it is not difficult to see why Wiggins tore up this defense last time and he should have an excellent chance to do more of the same this go-around.
Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves, $12,700 – One aspect where the Wizards defense struggles drastically is against big men in the pick-and-roll so the Ricky Rubio/Karl-Anthony Towns should be able to take advantage tonight. Although Towns is a fine play, there is an expensive frontcourt player who sticks out as a slightly better play, so Rubio will be the focus of the Timberwolves’ pick-and-roll in this article instead. There is something to be said for the Timberwolves’ home scorer as Rubio has averaged 9.4 assists per game (APG) at home this season versus 8.0 on the road…and it is not like he all of a sudden becomes a better passer in the friendly confines of home. As mentioned before, the Wizards have allowed the seventh most PPP to roll men on the pick-and-roll and teams run the pick-and-roll at the 12th highest frequency against them. Regardless of who is finishing, the combination of Rubio and Wiggins will likely be the ones handing out the assists and the game is projected to be extremely close with the Timberwolves listed as 1.0 point favorites. Rubio has either scored 20 PTS or registered a double-double in seven of his last eight games and he only missed a double-double by one assist (AST) in the outlier game. The price tag simply is not expensive enough for a guy playing the best basketball of his young career.
Patty Mills, Spurs, $8,700 – Using Patty Mills on Monday evening is the no-brainer of all no-brainers because essentially all of his competition will be sidelined (Tony Parker, Dejounte Murray) and the matchup is incredibly favorable on paper. All season long opposing PGs have been dominating the Hawks and the stats show it: they rank 25th in defensive efficiency, have allowed the ninth most PPG and eighth most FPPG to the position. Playing without the aforementioned duo on Saturday, Mills attempted 13 shots which equates to the second most he has attempted all season. Surprisingly, he only played 21 minutes but he registered 33.50 fantasy points during his short time on the court and the team blew out the Warriors. Basically, the 21 minutes are a floor and closer to 30 minutes is the more likely outcome assuming the game remains close (and the line was removed after the Parker/Murray news so no line is currently available as of Sunday evening). At just $8,700, Mills should play enough and garner enough of the usage to justify his mid-tier price point in a borderline elite matchup.
Nikola Jokic, Nuggets, $18,600 – Here is the lock of the night: Nikola Jokic against the Lakers and their horrendous defense against opposing Cs. No team has allowed more PPG to Cs than the Lakers and they rank 28th in defensive efficiency against the position. After playing 30 minutes on the second end of a back-to-back, Jokic has now had two days to rest and is about a week past an illness so he should be full-go. In his only meeting versus the Lakers so far this season, Jokic dropped 29 PTS, 10 rebounds (REB), one AST and three blocks (BLK) en route to 56.25 fantasy points in just under 34 minutes. The Lakers have not improved by any significant margin since that time and this is just the perfect matchup for Jokic when factoring in the uptempo pace. Only the Pelicans have allowed more REB per game (RPG) to their opponents than the Lakers so 20-10 could prove to be his floor assuming he stays out of foul trouble. Start him.
Ivica Zubac, Lakers, $7,700 – After being called up from the D-League yesterday, Ivica Zubac started and went off in 19 minutes to the tune of 10 PTS, six REB and four BLK . So far this year, Zubac is averaging 0.98 FPPM despite a limited sample size of 397 total minutes. When given the minutes, Zubac has shown some serious potential and the Nuggets rank third in frontcourt efficiency defense including the eighth most PPG allowed. The individual matchup against Jokic is not incredibly favorable, but if listed as the starter again, there is no reason to fade an up-and-coming youngster like Zubac at a $7,700 with a steady amount of minutes headed his way (likely more on the second end of a back-to-back).