Dray-n the Swamp

Draymond Green averaged more than 43 fantasy points per game versus the Rockets last season and should be primed for a similar performance tonight in a game with a projected 230.5 over/under. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.


Kyrie Irving, Celtics, $15,300 – In making the transition to the Celtics, Kyrie Irving goes from playing alongside the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Love (combined 56.4-percent usage rate (USG%)) to playing alongside the duo of Gordon Hayward and Al Horford (47.3 combined USG%). In other words, more shots will be available for Irving in this offense, and he squares off against the defense (or lack thereof) of Derrick Rose in the opener. According to nbawowy, Irving averaged 1.05 fantasy points per minute (FPPM) with James on the floor last season compared to 1.51 with James off the court. Essentially, Irving should prove to be one of the more efficient players in the league in terms of fantasy production, and his price does not yet accurately reflect his new role. In no time, Irving will be flirting with $17,000 on FantasyDraft, and until that time, continue to start him…beginning with opening night.

Derrick Rose, Cavaliers, $9,800 – Minutes equal fantasy production in daily fantasy basketball and Derrick Rose is slated to start for the foreseeable future since Isaiah Thomas is out until January with a hip issue. Although James is essentially a point guard (PG), and the team can be creative with rotations since he handles the ball, Rose should still be expected to play minutes in the upper-30s. Whenever Rose sees time on the court, he attacks the basket, as evident by the fact he ranked top 11 in the NBA in terms of drives per game last season while playing fewer minutes than all but two of the players ahead of him. To make up for Irving’s offense, Rose and Dwyane Wade will both need to contribute, and the Celtics rated as a below average defense at the rim last season. Therefore, Rose should be able to score enough in the paint to prove his worth at a minuscule $9,800 price point.


LeBron James, Cavaliers, $18,300 – When facing a top conference foe, Coach Tyronn Lue often elects to play LeBron James a healthy number of minutes. While officially listed as questionable, James is expected to play and he played at least 36.4 minutes in every game against the Celtics last year. In those games, James averaged 60.3 FPPG on the heels of 29.3 points per game (PPG), 9.5 rebounds per game (RPG), 9.8 assists per game (APG), 1.0 steals per game (SPG) and 1.5 blocks per game (BPG). The Celtics roster still has no one who can guard him and James even managed to top 51 fantasy points against Gordon Hayward in every meeting even though he was on the slow-paced Jazz. Now, on a Celtics team whose only chance at guarding him was Jae Crowder (who since has joined the Cavaliers), Hayward and company are defenseless against James. Expect a monster performance from arguably the best player in the league.

Kevin Durant, Warriors, $17,700 – Lock Kevin Durant in because he is the best play of the entire slate. Seriously, there is so much to like about this matchup it is incredible. Last year, Durant predictably excelled in fast-paced games and it shows in the numbers. When the projected over/under equaled or exceeded 230 points, Durant averaged 49.58 fantasy points, or about 2.0 fantasy points above his season average. However, when the total was projected at 230 points or above and the Warriors were playing at home, Durant averaged a ridiculous 57.17 fantasy points while only failing to reach 47.5 fantasy points once during the sample. Additionally, Durant absolutely crushed the Rockets last season. Amazingly, Durant averaged 64 fantasy points against them in two meetings which was nearly 7.0 full fantasy points than his average versus any other team. Taking into account the fact the Rockets allowed the second most FPPG to small forwards (SFs) and the third most to power forwards (PFs) last season, the dominance makes even more sense. Fade Durant at your own risk.

Draymond Green, Warriors, $13,300 – Like Durant, Draymond Green will be facing a frontcourt that allows a ton of fantasy points due to their fast-paced offense. In 2016, the Rockets played at the third fastest pace in the league and the Warriors played at the fourth fastest. Basically, it is easy to understand why this game currently sits with a 230.5 projected total and the Warriors are being implied to score 119.8 points. Fast-paced atmospheres create both a safe floor and huge upside for Green because he produces in all categories. Just a season ago, Green averaged 43.75 FPPG against the Rockets which was his third most against any team, behind only the 76ers and Wizards. In the mid-tier, Green is the cream of the crop.

Trevor Ariza, Rockets, $8,800 – Here is a crazy stat: Trevor Ariza averaged 38 minutes per game (MPG) against the Warriors last year. When one stops to think about it, the minutes make sense because nobody else has a chance to guard Durant on this team. Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, James Harden and whomever else the team tried to put on him would be cooked so Ariza is forced to play at least as many minutes as Durant. While he has done a poor job of slowing Durant down, the superstar may have averaged 80 FPPG against the Rockets if not for Ariza’s defensive prowess. With minutes come production and this game should be incredibly fast-paced. Look for Ariza to rack up enough rebounds, steals and corner three-pointers to prove his worth on Tuesday.

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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