Isaiah Thomas will sit out tonight’s contest which means Avery Bradley will be needed to step up on offense against arguably the worst defensive team in the league. Go ahead and insert him into your daily fantasy basketball lineups. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
James Harden, Rockets, $21,100 – Although it seems obvious that James Harden is worthy of playing, he needs to be locked and loaded into cash games at the very least on this slate. With Eric Bledsoe done for the season and Isaiah Thomas out at least the next two games, there is plenty of value available in order to free up salary. Therefore, Harden can be easily fit into lineups and obviously he always possesses a significant amount of upside. Heading into this game, Harden has managed at least 52 fantasy points in six consecutive games and eight of his last nine. Tonight, the Rockets are implied to score a slate-high 116 points (PTS) and the team will quite obviously need a productive performance from Harden in order to get there…especially in a reasonably close game (4.5 point road favorites). For the season, the Pelicans rank 25th in defensive efficiency versus opposing PGs and they have allowed the fourth most points per game (PPG) to the position. Recently, the Pelicans have been ever worse as they have allowed 27.0 PPG to PGs over their last five games and Harden has topped 67 fantasy points in three of his last four meetings against them. Although their personnel is slightly different at this point (DeMarcus Cousins), Harden is quite obviously a monster play as per usual.
Avery Bradley, Celtics, $11,900 – Sans the aforementioned Thomas in the rotation, Avery Bradley actually leads the team in usage rate (25.8) and he ranks third amongst the regulars in fantasy points per minute (1.02). Now, the team will square off against a Nets team that plays at the fastest pace in the league, allows the most PPG, surrenders the most steals (STL) and blocks (BLK) to opponents and even ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency to opposing frontcourts. After playing 31 minutes in his last game, it is safe to say Bradley’s minute limit is no longer in effect and he should now be able to play 30-plus on a nightly basis. With more of the offense running through Bradley in a matchup against on to the league’s worst defenses, Bradley should be a lock to at least flirt with value at this mid-tier price tag. Lock and load him in cash games.
Tyler Ulis, Suns, $11,300 – No Bledsoe means it is Tyler Ulis time in Phoenix and the team is even trying to convince Brandon Knight to sit out the remainder of the year. At home against a Magic team playing on the second end of road back-to-back set, the Suns are actually listed as 3.0 point favorites after looking awfully good against the Kings on Wednesday. With Ulis running the point on the starting unit, he put up 13 PTS and 13 assists (AST) with two STL and a BLK in the last game. Hell, he even played 39 minutes so Coach Earl Watson barely even considered taking him off the floor. It is clear at this point that the remainder of the Suns’ season is dedicated to developing the likes of both Ulis and Alan Williams. In other words, Ulis’ price should continue to rise in coming days/weeks so make sure to take advantage while it is still at an affordable level.
Terry Rozier, Celtics, $6,000 – Most are going to gravitate towards the likely starter Marcus Smart with Thomas out but Terry Rozier is the much better value of the two. Sure the individual matchup is great for the starter since Jeremy Lin is basically a turnstile but the Nets’ bench ranks dead last in efficiency as well. Smart’s fantasy production is far too reliant upon his inconsistent shooting to feel good about rostering him in cash whereas Rozier is literally listed at minimum price. During Thomas’ four game absence in mid-December, Rozier produced 27.75, 22.25, 16.75 and 23.75 fantasy points respectively. To put it differently, Rozier averaged 22.63 fantasy points during that span or enough to put a team on pace from 377 fantasy points at this price point. With an absolutely elite matchup on the horizon, Rozier is 100-percent worthy of rostering in any and all formats.
Nerlens Noel, Mavericks, $10,900 – Normally, I do not put a ton of stock in narratives but Nerlens Noel against his former team who traded him for cents on the dollar earlier this season is an exception. Furthermore, the matchup is ripe so one way or another Noel should string together a worthwhile performance regardless of the reason for it. The 76ers rank 29th in defensive efficiency versus opposing Cs and they allow the second most PPG, most rebounds per game (RPG) and third most blocks per game (BPG) to the position as well. In fact, over the course of their last 10 games, the 76ers have been blocked by opposing frontcourt members above and beyond the most of any team in the NBA. So far in the month of March, Hassan Whiteside put up 43.25 fantasy points, Andre Drummond produced 49.50, Jusuf Nurkic went bonkers to the tune of 81 fantasy points, DeAndre Jordan dropped 59.5, Ivica Zubac managed 24.50 fantasy points at near minimum price and Zaza Pachulia just recently struggled (although Draymond Green produced 20-8-8-6-4 against them). Basically, they are a dream matchup for opposing Cs so expect Noel to exceed value with virtual ease assuming he stays out of foul trouble.
Clint Capela, Rockets, $10,800 – One player who strongly positively correlates with Harden is his C: Clint Capela. It makes sense because Harden’s ridiculous offensive game opens up space for Capela and Harden often leads him to easy baskets. In this matchup specifically, Capela’s size is going to be of the utmost importance against the duo of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins and the absence of Nene Hilario should only even open up more minutes for him. Other than Harden, Capela actually ranks first amongst the regulars in fantasy points per minute (1.12) and he should be destined for around 30 minutes in this one. The simple math suggests an average performance for Capela during his time on the court should equate to around 3.11x value or enough to put a fantasy team on pace for 311 fantasy points. If there ever were a game to take a chance on the reasonably volatile C in cash games, this would be the one.