Ha-Kuzma Matata

With Larry Nance Jr. out indefinitely, Kyle Kuzma’s role will only continue to rise, so you will not want to miss out on his performance tonight against the Nets. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.


James Harden, Rockets, $20,600 – Early in the season, the price tag on superstars has been way too affordable to overlook. On competing sites, James Harden costs around 22-percent of the total budget whereas he will only cost fantasy owners 20.6-percent on FantasyDraft. Harden is starting to show some encouraging signs of breaking out of his mini-funk including registering his two highest free throw totals of the year in his last two games. Since he is being more aggressive, it has naturally led to more points, and he has set season-highs in scoring in back-to-back games (29 and 31 points respectively). Last season, Dennis Schroder was the worst defender against jump shooters amongst starting point guards (PGs), but it is unclear who the team will guard him with. Either way, Harden should torch this team which ranks 20th in PG efficiency defense. If spending up for a star, the choice is tough between Harden and Russell Westbrook, but the “Rocket Man” gets the slight edge.

Lonzo Ball, Lakers, $13,700 – Starting Lonzo Ball is always going to be a rollercoaster ride because his scoring needs some serious work but the pace of this game will be ideal for his value. The Nets rank first in pace this year after leading the league in the category last year so there will be the maximum number of potential possessions in this game for Ball. More possessions equal more opportunities for both rebounds and assists plus the uptick in pace enhances the likelihood of an outlier assist game. In seven games as professional, Ball is averaging 10.4 points per game (PPG), 7.3 rebounds per game (RPG), 7.0 assists per game, 1.1 steals per game (SPG) and 32.6 fantasy points per game (FPPG). Only the Suns and Timberwolves have allowed more fantasy points to opposing PGs than the Nets so Ball should be primed for an outlier performance. Hell, Mike James dropped 44.75 fantasy points on this defense, so the sky is the limit for the talented rookie.


Nikola Vucevic, Magic, $12,800 – What in the world is this price tag on Nikola Vucevic? Sure, Aaron Gordon appears to be amidst his breakout season but there is plenty of production to go around on this offense. Do not look now but the Magic are the number two scoring offense (114.9 PPG) in the NBA and they are shooting 48.9-percent from the field as a team. To be fair, they have played the Nets twice already and Evan Fournier is producing at an unsustainable pace, but their offense certainly looks improved. Tonight, the Magic will take on a Bulls team that they should crush. The Bulls rank dead last in PPG, field goal (FG) percentage and, most importantly, Vucevic has topped 32 fantasy points in each of his last two meetings versus Robin Lopez. Thus far, the Bulls have allowed the sixth most points per possession (PPP) on post ups, and if anyone gets switched onto Vucevic, they are straight toast. Most of all, Vucevic is about $1,000 underpriced, so he does not need to post his best performance to provide value. Combine all these factors and he is simply an elite play tonight.

Paul Millsap, Nuggets, $12,300 – Over the course of the last week or so, Paul Millsap is starting to look like his old self and is finding a way to fit in with the Nuggets offense. After starting the year by failing to reach 30 fantasy points in three of his first four games this year, Millsap is averaging 35.1 FPPG over the course of his last four games. Last year, Millsap habitually was priced in the mid-$14,000s so this price tag is a complete joke. Millsap fills up the box score in a unique fashion so he can have a rough scoring night and still come through for his fantasy owners. In a game where his team is being implied to score 109.5 points, and with Nikola Jokic facing a tough matchup against Hassan Whiteside, more of the offense could funnel through Millsap. Expect him to exceed value at this price point by accident.

DeMarre Carroll, Nets, $10,100 – Kenny Atkinson is one of the most frustrating coaches to rely on in the NBA because his rotation does not make much sense and very few guys play 30-plus minutes. Even so, DeMarre Carroll has cracked the 30-minute plateau in two of his last three games and he ranks second on the team in terms of FPPG (behind only D’Angelo Russell). It is clear the coach considers him the glue guy as he is one of their better defenders and one of their better shooters. In a game expected to be both fast-paced and close (2.0-point spread in a game with a projected 224-point total), Carroll should have plenty of opportunities to rack up the points, rebounds and steals. At this price point, Carroll has only failed to put a fantasy team on pace for more than 300 fantasy points twice and one came in the first game of the season (when the rotation was fickle). Fade Carroll at your own risk in this smash spot.

Kyle Kuzma, Lakers, $9,000 – All-in on Kyle Kuzma tonight. Seriously, all-in. This kid can ball and now Larry Nance Jr. will miss an extended period with a broken hand. The minutes for both Kuzma and Julius Randle are now on the rise in the foreseeable future and this matchup is the absolute nuts. Not only will this game be incredibly fast-paced but the Nets rank 29th in frontcourt efficiency defense as well. Last night, Kuzma scored 20 points for the second time in his young NBA career and it was the third time in his last four games he produced at least 27 fantasy points. Without Nance in the picture, Kuzma should flirt with 30 minutes on a nightly basis, and he is already a 0.9 fantasy point per-minute (FPPM) producer. As he gets more experience, he will only become more efficient. Against the Nets, lock him into rosters and move on.

*Note: stats are accurate as of Thursday, October 2


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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