Cristiano Mingle

Robin Lopez is expected to be suspended for tonight’s game after punching Serge Ibaka last night so Cristiano Felicio should see some extended playing time and he is priced at the absolute bare minimum. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.

Guards:

Russell Westbrook, Thunder, $23,400 – Even with eight games on Wednesday night’s slate, Russell Westbrook is still worth paying up for especially considering some value has already emerged. Tonight, Westbrook will square off against a 76ers team lacking a true rim protector with Joel Embiid ruled out for the rest of the season. Furthermore, no team has allowed more points per possession (PPP) on isolation plays than the 76ers (1.00) and only James Harden runs more isolation plays per game than Westbrook. Oh by the way, Westbrook is averaging a ridiculous 32.8 points per game (PPG), 9.5 rebounds per game (RPG), 10.6 assists per game (APG), 2.2 steals per game (SPG) and 0.6 blocks per game (BPG) en route to a season-high (other than three October games) 65.6 fantasy points per game (FPPG). Westbrook is simply unstoppable right now and is facing a team with no chance of slowing him down so deploy him in any and all formats.

John Wall, Wizards, $17,200 – Whenever the Wizards are listed as home favorites, John Wall is almost automatically worthy of consideration as he has averaged 51.64 FPPG in the split. However, this is not the only reason to consider Wall because the matchup against the Hawks is incredibly favorable as well. Thus far, the Hawks rank 26th in defensive efficiency versus opposing PGs and they have allowed the eighth most PPG to the position. Although Dennis Schroder is an upper-echelon defender against isolations, he is only a 39th percentile against ball-handlers in the pick-and-roll and he is rated as the worst jump shot defender in the league amongst all starting PGs. A 7.5 point spread suggests the game should remain reasonably close, and Wall only missed a double-double one by assist (AST) the last time he squared off against Schroder, so Wall’s upside stretches beyond 50 fantasy points as per usual.

Evan Fournier, Magic, $11,600 – On paper, the Hornets rate as one of the worst defense against opposing shooters as teams spot up against them at the second highest frequency (24.9-percent) plus they allow 1.00 PPP to the shot type. Additionally, teams take and make the most three-pointers per game against the Hornets…hell, the Hawks drained 12 three-pointers the other night against the Hornets despite only scoring 90 total points (PTS). Meanwhile, Fournier will head into Wednesday having managed at least 31 fantasy points in back-to-back games and he has played 35-plus minutes in each. During the course of those last two games, Fournier has attempted 14 three-pointers and has scored a combined 44 PTS so this is a perfect scenario for him to keep the ball rolling. Do not overthink this one: lock and load Fournier in cash games (at the very least).

Forward/Centers:

Ersan Ilyasova, Hawks, $10,900 – Since this article focuses on spending up at the guard positions, salary relief is going to be necessary amongst the frontcourt. Luckily, Ersan Ilyasova should provide owners with a solid combination of floor and upside for a mid-tier price as Paul Millsap will miss his second consecutive game with a knee injury. When analyzing the matchup against the Wizards, the PF is the position to attack them with so Ilyasova should be facing the soft spot of a solid defense. The team was getting blown out for a majority of the second half in their last game and Ilyasova still played 28 minutes and took 11 shots. If this one remains close (as expected), Ilyasova likely would have flirted with 30 fantasy points for the second straight game. Only three teams have allowed more PPG to opposing PFs than the Wizards and they rank fifth in defensive efficiency against the position as well. In Ilyasova’s two meetings against the Wizards as a member of the 76ers this season, he averaged 17.0 PPG and 27.0 FPPG in 26 minutes per game (MPG). If he simply reaches those totals once, he would produce 2.49x value or enough to put a fantasy team on pace for 249 fantasy points…and his minutes should surpass 26. For tournament purposes, Ilyasova certainly has a chance to reach 20 actual points and/or a double-double so act accordingly.

Steven Adams, Thunder, $9,800 – 68.07-percent of Steven Adams’ FGs are assisted and a majority of them come from Westbrook so it is no surprise that the two of them are strongly positively correlated this season. In other words, when Adams has a solid performance it also usually results in a solid performance from Westbrook because Adams baskets are resulting in Westbrook ASTs as well. No team has been blocked by opposing frontcourt members more during the course of the last 10 games by a large margin (0.5 per game) than the 76ers and they also rank 29th in defensive efficiency versus opposing Cs. Prior to last game, Adams had played at least 29 minutes in four of his last five games so it is worth overlooking the Warriors blowout dud. Whereas Kanter’s production has fallen off substantially since the additions of Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, Adams has still topped 27 fantasy points in two of his last four competitive games. This feels like a game where he could potentially reach his ceiling so go ahead and pair him with Westbrook.

Cristian Felicio, Bulls, $6,000 – After throwing a punch at Serge Ibaka last night, Robin Lopez is assuredly going to be suspended for the foreseeable future…including tonight. Although he left last night due to an injury, Cristiano Felicio returned to the bench and supposedly was eligible to return had the team needed him (both teams went small at the end). With both Dwyane Wade and Lopez off the court this season, Felicio has averaged 0.82 fantasy points per minute (FPPM) and his size will be needed to match up against the likes of Andre Drummond and Aron Baynes. Felicio is basically a free space who is a virtual lock (barring foul trouble or injury) to reach value and he allows you to easily fit Westbrook. Consequently, he is as close to a must-play as there is on this slate…especially for a value play.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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