welcome to another edition of the FantasyDraft “Core 4”, brought to you by DFSDatalytics.com! We have ourselves a very large 11-game slate tonight after not having any action last night. Coming down the stretch, getting news about players resting and adjusting your lineups accordingly becomes crucial. Good luck tonight!
Kyrie Irving ($14,300)
How badly do the Cleveland Cavaliers want the number one seed in the Eastern Conference? Well, putting up back-to-back games of 122 and 135 points in victories seems like they are gunning for it. Cleveland is currently 0.5 game back of the Boston Celtics who they will face tomorrow night. However, tonight they are hosting the Orlando Magic and are currently -9.0 favorites. This seems like a fantastic opportunity to buy low on one of the best point guards in the league. Kyrie Irving is $14,300 tonight on FantasyDraft. His price reduced $400 from his last game and tonight is a much better matchup for Irving. The Magic are 27th in DvP vs point guards this season allowing an average of 49.1 FantasyDraft PPG to the position. I love the idea of pairing Irving with opposing point guard Elfrid Payton tonight.
If you remove the San Antonio game where the Cavaliers got blitzed 103-74, Irving has scored 20 or more points in 25 straight games! He’s on a scoring frenzy and his assist numbers have come up in their last two wins as well. Normally with all the “Big Three” in the lineup I stay away, but having Kevin Love back in the rotation has not changed Irving’s mentality or his field goal attempts (FGA). Love has played nine games since returning from injury and during that time, Irving has attempted 19.6 FGA’s per game. Over his last five games, Irving has shot just 38.0% from the field and 36.4% from three-point range. Those shooting numbers are going to come back to the mean and what a great chance he has at bringing them back tonight with their third straight home game and a cupcake matchup with Orlando.
Brook Lopez ($13,700)
Who are these guys?! It’s amazing to see the run that Brook Lopez and the Brooklyn Nets have been on as of late. They have won five of their last seven games and will be going for their first three-game win streak of the season tonight in Philadelphia. Philadelphia has won all three games in this matchup, but Lopez has basically been the star every time out. In three games against the 76ers this season, Lopez is averaging 24.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 5.3 APG and 2.3 BPG. He’s shooting 53.3% from the field and 41.2% from three-point range. Those are some impressive numbers and he has the potential to add to those totals tonight. The best part about Lopez is that he’s still only $13,700 on FantasyDraft and if he matches those numbers he’s already had against Philadelphia, you are in for a big night with him on your lineups.
Philadelphia is a team we’ve been picking on defensively all season. Not only is the matchup amazing, but Brook Lopez has been playing extremely well as of late. Over the last five games, Lopez is averaging 23.8 PPG and 7.4 RPG. That is 3.0 PPG and 2.0 RPG higher than his season average! There’s method to the madness and a very big narrative working in favor of Lopez in these final games. He is 60 points away from equaling Buck Williams’ franchise scoring record of 10,440 points. When players get in situations like this, they are going to look for their shots early and often. Example from earlier this year is Dirk Nowitzki who needed 20 points to get to a career of 30,000 points. He scored 18 first quarter points and got the record just a minute into the second quarter. Ride the Brook Lopez narrative tonight.
Yogi Ferrell ($8,700)
The Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings are out of the playoff hunt like the situation above with Brook Lopez. I’m throwing this out early, that Ferrell may be a risky play. So why are we targeting these types of players? Well you want to risk it to get the biscuit, right?! That’s what I thought. Long time no see for Yogi Ferrell making his way back into the “Core 4”. Ferrell has some things working in his favor tonight. He’s at a very cheap price of $8,700 on FantasyDraft. J.J. Barea, Harrison Barnes, Seth Curry and Dirk Nowitzki are all listed as questionable as Wesley Matthews has already been ruled out. If all those players are out tonight, it will be the Yogi Ferrell show and he has a beatable matchup with the Sacramento Kings. With the new rules, we should get news before lineup lock, but you never know.
Regardless if a few of those players are in, it’s still a good spot for Ferrell tonight. It just would be a fantastic spot if they were ruled out! Ferrell has still played over 30 minutes in two out of his last four games. The minutes are still solid and the matchup for Ferrell as I mentioned above is a good one. Sacramento has allowed the most 3PM to opponents while allowing the sixth best 3P% to opponents. Over the last seven games, Ferrell has attempted 29 three-pointers and has made them at a 58.6% clip. Three-pointers have been Ferrell’s go-to shot as of late. 51.8% of Ferrell’s shot have come via the three-point line during that seven-game stretch. The Mavericks don’t have anything to play for anymore, so why not give Ferrell the keys to the car and see what he can do. It’s risky, but it will be worth it tonight.
Rudy Gobert ($15,200)
The Utah Jazz come into tonight’s game in position to control their own destiny. With a record of 47-30, Utah has five games left on their regular season schedule and leads the Los Angeles Clippers by 0.5 game. The matchup tonight with the Portland Trail Blazers is going to be a fun one not only for Gobert, but for the entire Utah Jazz team. Portland is currently in the eighth seed in the Western Conference hanging on to a 1.5 game lead over the Denver Nuggets who are in action tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s rare to see someone who is playing as well as Rudy Gobert is lately and is still priced at just $15,200 on FantasyDraft tonight. Gobert has recorded nine consecutive double-doubles. During that nine-game stretch, Gobert has averaged 20.1 PPG and 14.8 RPG and a remarkable 3.9 BPG.
He continues to be on a mission to prove why he’s the best big man in the entire league. His defensive numbers are off the charts. Gobert leads the league in defensive efficiency for centers and blocks with 2.7 BPG. Those blocks will come in handy as Portland allows the eighth most BPG in the league with 5.2. Not only does Gobert lead the league in those statistics, but he also ranks second in the league in field goal percentage with 65.7% and fourth in the league in rebounding with 12.9 RPG. In two matchups with Portland this season, Gobert is averaging 12.5 PPG, 13.0 RPG and 2.5 BPG. Portland is coming off a back-to-back in which they lost in Minnesota last night 110-109 as they allowed Karl-Anthony Towns to score 34 points and grab 12 rebounds. With no Jusuf Nurkic, Gobert will have his way down low tonight.
With those four players locked into your rosters, you’ll be left with $12,025/per player remaining to fill out the rest of your lineup. That remaining salary will give you plenty of options tonight. Good luck with all your contests!