James Ennis III is simply too cheap considering Marc Gasol will likely sit out once again and he matches up well against a Mavericks team that prefers to go small. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.
Isaiah Thomas, Celtics, $15,000 – Holy hell the Magic have been horrific against opposing PGs as of late. Sure Russell Westbrook torched them for a 57-13-11 triple-double and 98.25 fantasy last time out but their struggles far from end there. Prior to the Westbrook game, here were the fantasy point totals allowed to PGs against them:
Cory Joseph (Mar. 27): 15 points (PTS), six rebounds (REB), 13 assists (AST), 43.50 fantasy points
T.J. McConnell (Mar. 20): 16 PTS, 11 AST, three steals (STL), 39.75 fantasy points
Tyler Ulis (Mar. 17): 19 PTS, four REB, eight AST, 36.50 fantasy points
Stephen Curry (Mar. 16): 25 PTS, nine AST, three STL, 45.75 fantasy points
Darren Collison (Mar. 13): 19 PTS, 13 AST, two STL, 48.00 fantasy points
Kyrie Irving (Mar. 11): 22 PTS, nine REB, seven AST, 45.75 fantasy points
In fact, the only outlier during that stretch was against a Pistons team that split the minutes between Ish Smith and Reggie Jackson (off bench in that contest) so it is easy to see this defense is struggling mightily versus the position. Therefore, they should have a damn near impossible time covering Isaiah Thomas who is coming off his first 50-plus fantasy point performance since the return of Avery Bradley to the rotation. Fading Thomas is one of the riskiest moves of the entire slate.
Mike Conley, Grizzlies, $15,000 – Assuming the Grizzlies roll with the same starting lineup as last game, Mike Conley is virtually unfadable since none of the other players produce a substantial amount of offense whatsoever. To review, the team started Conley along with Brandan Wright, Tony Allen, James Ennis III and 40-year old Vince Carter on Wednesday. In a small sample size with both Wright and Allen on the floor and JaMychal Green off, Conley has garnered a cool 32.7-percent usage rate (USG%). Even if Green is back for this game, the absence of Marc Gasol clearly helps Conley as he averages 1.08 fantasy points per minute (FPPM) with the team’s starting C off the floor. Heading into this game, Conley has attempted 23 and 21 FG attempts respectively in his last two games and has topped 38 fantasy points in three straight. Over the last five games, the Mavericks rank 25th in defensive efficiency against opposing PGs and the combination of Yogi Ferrell, Seth Curry and J.J. Barea simply have no chance of guarding him, or even containing him, if he takes 20-plus shots. Despite the slow place, Conley is a fantastic play in both cash games and tournaments.
James Ennis III, Grizzlies, $6,300 – Against a Mavericks team that likes to go small, there should be plenty of playing time available to James Ennis III, who is way too cheap to overlook. The Mavericks play a lot of Dirk Nowitzki at C when Nerlens Noel is off the court and they may have no choice but to do that more often on Friday because Salah Mejri is still nursing a knee injury. Last game, Ennis played a healthy 32 minutes and finished with 25.50 fantasy points on the heels of a seven PTS, 10 REB performance. With 10 games on the slate, focusing on the slowest-paced of them all does not feel optimal but one can only take the bargains presented to them. In a matchup absolutely suited to his game, Ennis is a lock to exceed value at this cost.
DeMarcus Cousins, Pelicans, $17,700 – Believing in narratives is a risky proposition but this one is hard to overlook: DeMarcus Cousins will square off against his former team for the first time in his new home stadium (Smoothie King Center). Jordan Crawford already foreshadowed in his comments yesterday that Cousins was looking forward to this tilt versus his previous organization and will undoubtedly be out for revenge. With that being the case, the Pelicans would be smart to oblige and get their superstar C the ball when he is pissed. Oh and statistically this game stands out for Cousins as well considering the Kings have ranked dead last in efficiency versus Cs over the course of their last 10 games (or about when Cousins left squad). All aboard the Cousins revenge train tonight.
Draymond Green, Warriors, $14,400 – With the Rockets playing on the second end of a difficult back-to-back, the Warriors may be able to take advantage of their fatigue. Not that Draymond Green is incredibly offensive-minded but the Rockets have allowed the most PTS on post up plays plus they have allowed the third highest defended FG percentage at the rim. Of course that helps Green in terms of scoring potential but it also helps his AST potential as a fair amount of his passes lead a cutting player to the basket. In Green’s three previous meetings against the Rockets this year, Green has produced 57.75, 46.25 and 41.75 fantasy points respectively and Kevin Durant suited up in the first two games. These two teams literally just met and Green actually missed a double-double by one REB for the second time against the Rockets this year. At home, Green averaged 7.5 AST per game (APG) compared to just 6.7 on the road which has led to him averaging about 2.0 fantasy points per game (FPPG) more at home as well. All-in-all, Green possesses a fairly high floor and his ceiling could stretch to triple-double levels in a match up against another fast-paced foe.
Jonas Valanciunas, Raptors, $10,200 – Targeting Cs against the Pacers has been money all season long and it was actually a profitable strategy for those who targeted Jonas Valanciunas against them on Mar. 19 as well. In that game, Valanciunas only played 24 minutes but he still managed 11 PTS and 13 REB against a team that allows the second most REB per game (RPG) to the position and third most offensive RPG. His minutes ceiling is not very high again, as he only stretches to the high-20s against other large Cs (and Myles Turner does not really fit the bill), but Valanciunas is amidst his most efficient month of the season on a FPPM basis (1.07). With him grabbing boards at a higher rate than usual in this game, his double-double potential deems him a solid GPP investment.