Ricky, Don’t Lose That Number

Ricky Rubio dropped 54.25 fantasy points in an overtime game against the Lakers last week and now they are listed as 10.5 point home favorites versus the same Lakers squad. With Vegas implying the Timberwolves will score the most points on the slate, you will want to roster their stud point guard. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.

Guards:

Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves, $14,300 – This exact scenario played out just six days ago with the Timberwolves matched up against the Lakers except that game was played in Los Angeles. Now, with the Timberwolves playing at home, my recommendation is the same: stack the Timberwolves against this miserable defense. Just how bad are the Lakers? Well, for the season they literally rank dead last in overall team defensive efficiency plus they allow the third most points per game (112.2). As if that were not enough, they play at the sixth fastest pace and Ricky Rubio excels in games where he can get out and run partially because it creates more possessions for him to produce. All Rubio did in the meeting versus this very team last week was drop 54.25 fantasy points on them on the heels of a 19 point (PTS), 15 assists (AST) performance. Coach Tom Thibodeau is incredibly reliable with his minutes, especially now that his team has suffered a few injuries, so 35-plus minutes should be on the horizon pretty much regardless of game flow. Look for Rubio to eat this defense alive for the second time in a week.

Ish Smith, Pistons, $12,000 – Normally, this price tag would be too expensive for a player like Ish Smith but Reggie Jackson is expected to be inactive and the team will literally be facing one of the best few possible matchups. Not only do the Nets play at the fastest pace but they have allowed the most points per game (PPG) this season, had the ball stolen from them the most and they have been blocked the most of any team. At this pace, facing a defense that ranks 27th in defensive efficiency against opposing PGs, Smith’s upside stretches far beyond his norm. Oh and add in the fact he has played 31-plus minutes in back-to-back games without Jackson and has topped 30 fantasy points in each and it is easy to see why he is worth a roster spot. A double-double is certainly possible here so go ahead and roster Smith in any and all formats.

Kris Dunn, Timberwolves, $7,700 – An ongoing theme is this article is going to be Timberwolves worth rostering and Kris Dunn comes in as the second member worth using. After the injury to Nemanja Bjelica, it looked as if Shabazz Muhammad was emerging as the bench player whom Coach Thibodeau trusted (because he really only trusts one at a time) but that has since changed. Over the course of Dunn’s last three games, he has played 35, 29 and 26 minutes respectively and has produced 33.25, 28 and 26.50 fantasy points in this content. By the way, the 33.25 fantasy point outburst came against these very Lakers probably because they do not have the personnel to play big for extended stretches. Instead, a lot of Lakers games become battles of the guards and Dunn fits that scheme perfectly. In other words, 30-plus minutes is actually a distinct possibility, especially if the Timberwolves win this game handily, so this $7,700 price tag should not dissuade anyone from using him.

Forwards/Centers:

Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves, $19,500 – Of course, if stacking the Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns is the one to build around since he is the team’s superstar. In the month of Marc, Towns has averaged 38.6 minutes per game (MPG) which actually leads all of the NBA. For the month, Towns also has averaged 27.3 PPG, 11.8 rebounds per game (RPG), 1.8 assists per game (APG), 0.5 steals per game (SPG) and 1.0 blocks per game (BPG) en route to 47.7 fantasy points per game (FPPG). The Lakers rate in the middle of the road against both post up plays and roll men in the pick-and-roll but they struggle mightily against isolations and rank dead last in defensive efficiency against opposing frontcourts. The team opened as 10.5 point favorites but Coach Thibodeau has no problem playing all of his staples even in blowouts. Therefore, this is setting up to be Towns’ second 50-plus fantasy point explosion against the Lakers in six days.

Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves, $13,300 – Rounding out the Timberwolves stack is none other than Andrew Wiggins who actually topped 50 fantasy points as well in the last go-around. By the way, it should be noted that game went to overtime but still none of these performances should be considered outliers against the lowly Lakers. Vegas implies the Timberwolves will score a slate-best 115.5 points despite the fact even though they only average 105.0 PPG. Essentially, Vegas believes they will produce an outlier point total and Wiggins will no doubt be involved if that is the case. Only the Nets rank worse in terms of defensive efficiency against opposing SFs than the Lakers so expect Wiggins to rack up the point like last time. In cash, stacking the big three on this team is absolutely a preferred play and it would be shocking to see them finish with less than 110 or so total points between them (plus their ceiling stretches far beyond that number).

Brook Lopez, Nets, $13,300 – Since 2014, Brook Lopez has lit up Andre Drummond in just about every meeting. Over the course of his last six meetings against Drummond, he has topped 37 fantasy points five times and has eclipsed 40 fantasy points on four of those occasions. If averaging out the production, he has put up a cool 43.4 FPPG versus Drummond during the course of the last three seasons. Drummond is a better post defender than anything else and stepping out on jump shooters is certainly not his forte. Basically, Drummond is not all of a sudden going to magically going to become a good defender against shooters, and the Pistons have been playing terrible lately, so this should be a reasonably close game. If so, expect Lopez to torch this team for 40-plus fantasy points again.

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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