LaMarcus Aldridge has gone off in three of his last four meetings against the Warriors and he got injured in the exception game. If there were ever a spot where his minutes would be solidified, this would be it. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
DeMar DeRozan, Raptors, $16,000 – Okay so admittedly I am getting sick of writing up Russell Westbrook because he quite obviously is worthy of consideration every time he plays. Assuming value emerges, play him. Now that we have gotten that out of the way, DeMar DeRozan rates as an interesting alternative (or complement) as he faces a Hornets team that continues to struggle against shooters. Only two teams (Hawks, Pistons) have allowed a higher FG percentage from 15-19 feet from the basket, only six teams have allowed a higher FG percentage from 10-14 feet and no team has allowed more three-pointers per game than the Hornets…and DeRozan excels in all of those zones. Heading into Wednesday, DeRozan has attempted at least 21 shots in three of his last four games and he has managed at least 42.50 fantasy points in each of the aforementioned games. If he decides to be aggressive once again tonight, the sky is the ceiling.
Buddy Hield, Kings, $10,600 – Following the team’s victory against the Grizzlies, Coach Dave Joerger called that game “the last stand” for his veterans, meaning they were pretty much done playing big minutes. Therefore, the remainder of the season will be dedicated to developing young players such as Buddy Hield who has acted as their number one option on offense as of late. For a player averaging 13.3 FG attempts per game and 16.8 points per game (PPG) his last six game, this price is incredibly affordable. During that same stretch, Hield has averaged 29.5 fantasy points per game (FPPG) and that includes two games in which he took a back seat to some of the veterans. If they are not going to play, Hield is a virtual lock for 30-plus minutes and a shooter has a better chance against the Jazz than a slasher with Rudy Gobert protecting the rim. Between his role and the affordable cost, it is worth overlooking the matchup and rostering Hield anyways.
Nikola Vucevic, Magic, $14,200 – On paper, the Thunder are quite the formidable foe to opposing Cs but the pace of this game still deems Nikola Vucevic a solid play. Although the Thunder rank ninth in defensive efficiency and allow the second fewest rebounds per game (RPG) to opposing Cs, they still allow eighth most points per game (PPG) to the position as well. Early in the year, Vucevic’s minutes were up and down so it is no wonder he struggled in just 20 minutes against Steven Adams in these two teams’ first meeting. Prior to that dud, Vucevic had averaged 36.75 fantasy points in his previous two contests against Adams and the Thunder. Currently, Vucevic is en fuego as he has sunk below 37.75 fantasy points just once in his last 10 games and has topped 40 fantasy points six times during that stretch. Furthermore, the Thunder struggle defensively from 5-9 feet away from the basket and from 10-14 feet and Vucevic is a solid mid-range shooter so both of those spots fit his skill set. While rebounds may be a bit difficult, Vucevic should put together a typical performance for him, which means he should be worth every penny of this price tag.
Dwight Howard, Hawks, $13,900 – Supposedly, Paul Millsap has been healing quite well but he is still questionable at best to suit up on Wednesday. Whether he does or not, Dwight Howard will still draw a matchup against a 76ers team that ranks 29th in defensive efficiency versus Cs. Lately, the 76ers have been blocked by Cs more than any other team (2.8 blocks by Cs over the last 10 games) which makes sense because their Cs are undersized and the team does not possess especially strong finishers at the basket on offense. In two games this season, Howard has produced 30.25 and 38.75 fantasy points respectively against the 76ers and both those were with Millsap active. Without Millsap on the floor, Howard averages 1.20 fantasy points per minute (FPPM) compared to 1.14 playing alongside Millsap. In other words, he enjoys a slight uptick in efficiency without Millsap and his rebound rate increases all the way to 24.4-percent. In this elite matchup, Howard is a lock despite it being the second end of a back-to-back.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs, $13,300 – In a battle versus the team’s top conference rival, is there any doubt in the world that Coach Gregg Popovich will allot his usuals a full amount of minutes? In three of his last four meetings against the Warriors, Aldridge has topped 41 fantasy points and he has played at least 33 minutes in all of those games. The one exception came last season when Aldridge left late in the first quarter with a dislocated finger and took a while to return to the game. In other words, the failure was an anomaly. Sure Draymond Green is a great defender but the pace of the Warriors has led to them allowing the third most points to players in isolation. Additionally, Aldridge has double-doubled in each of the games which he has exploded in this matchup so the pace has created extra rebounding opportunities. Assuming the game remains close, Aldridge should once again be in a prime spot to erupt, and he has topped 38 fantasy points in three of his last four games heading into this important game.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kings, $9,900 – Despite the difficult matchup against Rudy Gobert, Willie Cauley-Stein showed in the last meeting that he can still exceed value in this tough spot. Assuming Kosta Koufos is out, the team cannot conceivably run George Papagiannis a significant amount of run which means Cauley-Stein may potentially flirt with 40 minutes for the second consecutive matchup against Gobert. Last time, Cauley-Stein played 39 minutes, scored 15 points on 6-12 shooting, grabbed nine boards, dished out three assists, stole two passes and even blocked a shot en route to 36.75 fantasy points. Minutes equal fantasy production and Cauley-Stein is averaging 0.94 FPPM with Koufos, Tyreke Evans, Rudy Gay, Matt Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins off the court this season so he should be able to top 30 fantasy points with 35 minutes of playing time even in a subpar matchup…and he should come at a reasonably low ownership.