After serving his one game suspension, Robin Lopez will return just in time to draw an elite matchup against the 76ers’ defense (or lack thereof) versus opposing centers. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves, $14,600 – When the most reliable coach takes one of the league’s worst defenses, fantasy owners must take notice. Consequently, an ongoing theme in this article is going to be focusing on a plethora of Timberwolves in an excellent spot because more than a few members of the squad are worth stacking…beginning with Ricky Rubio. This newer, more aggressive version of Rubio is an absolute fantasy monster as he is now complementing his assists (AST) and steals (STL) with double-digit shot attempts on a nightly basis. Prior to Friday, Rubio has topped 30 fantasy points in 13 consecutive games including six 40-plus fantasy point explosions during that span. At this price point, fantasy owners are going to be need him to exceed 40 fantasy points yet again and the matchup could not be juicier. First, the Lakers play at the sixth fastest pace and allow the third most points per game (PPG). Also, the Lakers rank dead last in overall defensive efficiency including 29th to opposing PGs. Lastly, no team has allowed more AST per game (APG) to opposing PGs than the Lakers so this is truly a game where Rubio possesses triple-double upside. With the team only favored by 6.0 points, the sky is the limit for Rubio in what should be a reasonably close game.
Klay Thompson, Warriors, $13,700 – Remember Klay Thompson’s record-breaking 37 point quarter last season? That came against the Kings and he since has exploded for 42.75 and 54.75 fantasy points against the Kings in two separate meetings after his 77.50 fantasy point monstrosity in the game with the historic quarter. Okay so the Kings’ personnel has changed since that time but time but they still feature one of the worst defenders in the league (Buddy Hield) at the SG position. Unsurprisingly, this has led to the Kings ranking 22nd in defensive efficiency versus opposing SGs over their last 10 games and 29th against the position overall. Thompson has enjoyed a substantial uptick in usage rate (USG%) without Kevin Durant as he produced a 25.4 USG% in games with Durant active versus 29.0 USG% without the superstar SF. As icing on the cake, Thompson has averaged 35.4 fantasy points per game (FPPG) at home this season compared to 31.6 on the road…and this game will be played in Oracle Arena. All aboard the Thompson train especially in tournaments.
Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves, $13,300 – One member of the Timberwolves is simply not enough against a defense that is leaky on all fronts. Pretty importantly, the Lakers allow the most points per possession (PPP) to opposing spot up shooters of any team in the league and they allow the second highest FG percentage to the play type. Additionally, the Lakers allow the second most PPP to players on isolations and have allowed the eighth most points on the play type overall. Basically, the Lakers are weak defensively where Wiggins excels so they have simply no answer for him. Oh by the way, Wiggins has scored 21-plus real points in four straight games heading into tonight so go ahead and start him with confidence.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves, $19,600 – Of course, Karl-Anthony Towns is the third and final member of the Timberwolves team to be mentioned in this article although there are even other players on the team to consider (Shabazz Muhammad for instance). Anyways, other than the statistics listed in both the Wiggins and Rubio tidbits, the Lakers are also posted up on at the 10th highest frequency and have ranked 26th in defensive efficiency versus Cs over their last five games (coinciding with the beginning of the Ivica Zubac era). Since the All-Star Break, Towns has literally been one of the best handful of players in the NBA. Do not believe me? Well, he has averaged the fourth most FPPG since the break behind only Russell Westbrook, James Harden and LeBron James. In fact, Towns is averaging 28.4 PPG, 13.9 rebounds per game (RPG), 2.1 APG and 0.9 blocks per game (BPG) in his last 13 games. Everyone has had a difficult time slowing him down so the Lakers are going to have an impossible time. Good luck.
Al Horford, Celtics, $12,300 – To be fair, Alex Len is an excellent defender against opposing jump shooters so this matchup is not incredible on paper (similar to Brook Lopez last night). However, Al Horford has enjoyed success in his career against Len as he has managed 41.5 and 37.5 fantasy points in his two prior meetings against the Suns with Len in the starting lineup. Heading into this game, Horford has managed at least 38.50 fantasy points in five consecutive games and he has registered at least eight REB and four AST in every game during that span. During the course of the last 10 games, the Suns have rated 25th in terms of defensive efficiency versus opposing Cs and they have allowed the ninth most PPG to the position over that stretch as well. Although the team is listed as 15 point home favorites, a solid outing will likely be needed from Horford in order to get there. The spread is a little scary so Horford can be reserved for tournaments.
Robin Lopez, Bulls, $8,400 – Thankfully, Robin Lopez was suspended at the right time because he will return to an elite matchup against the defensively deficient Jahlil Okafor. For the season, the 76ers rank 29th in defensive efficiency against opposing Cs and they have been blocked by frontcourt players the fifth most of any team. Meanwhile, Lopez has seen an uptick in usage without Dwyane Wade as his USG% has increased from 16.5 with Wade to 21.5 without him. As if that were not enough, Lopez’s minutes have been solidified (28.9 minutes per game) without Wade as well because his offense has been needed. Basically, his cost is just a joke compared to his potential upside so you would be a fool to pass on Lopez especially in cash games. In my book, he rates as the best per-dollar value of anyone on the slate.