Beauty and the Beas

Michael Beasley is the current number one option on offense for the injury-ridden Knicks and yet he is priced close to the minimum. Fading him on this slate would just be silly. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.

Guards:

Will Barton, Nuggets, $12,700 – Both Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap will continue to sit on Monday evening which means the team will continue to have to play small. Luckily for Will Barton, the team will match up against a Mavericks team that habitually starts Harrison Barnes at power forward (PF), so they are awfully small in their own right. With both the starting frontcourt members on the sidelines, Barton averages a team-high 1.09 fantasy points per minute (FPPM), only slightly edging out Gary Harris. On competing sites, Barton is priced at about 13.8-percent of overall budgets, whereas Barton will only cost 12.7-percent on FantasyDraft tonight. For a player who can light it up, and is only two games removed from a career-high 37 points (PTS), this is simply too cheap. With all the value available in the frontcourt tonight, spending up for at least one guard will be the optimal lineup construction, and Barton certainly fits the bill.

Rajon Rondo, Pelicans, $9,700 – Unlike Jrue Holiday, Rajon Rondo is more comfortable on the floor with DeMarcus Cousins on and Anthony Davis off. Playing alongside Davis, Rondo has garnered 15.4-percent of the usage and has averaged just 0.89 FPPM, whereas his usage rate (USG%) drops to 14.1-with Davis off the court, and yet, he has produced 1.05 FPPM without him. This is because his assist rate jumps from 45.5-percent to a ridiculous 61.9-percent without the team’s starting PF as he looks to feed all the scorers with the ball. New Orleans has one of the most favorable home scorers in the league as evident by the fact the team averages 28.0 assists per game (APG) at home compared to just 24.2 on the road. The only things standing in Rondo’s way of 3.0-plus times value would be a blowout and/or a blowup performance from Holiday. Over the course of his last two games, Rondo has posted 13-8-11 and 12-6-10 double-doubles respectively en route to 40.50 and 38.50 fantasy points. If this game stays even remotely competitive, Rondo is going to crush.

Forward/Center:

DeMarcus Cousins, Pelicans, $19,400 – Similarly to Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins just needs a competitive game atmosphere to crush. Staying close with the Warriors is no easy proposition but Holiday has posted some consistent performances against this squad and the fact this game will be played in New Orleans should only help. In fact, Cousins has produced massive numbers in each of his last two home meetings versus the Warriors (63 and 67.50 fantasy points respectively) and has struggled in each of his last two road games (28 and 39.75 fantasy points respectively). The line has not been released on this game yet but the matchup is incredibly ripe for Cousins as-is. Not only do the Warriors allow a whopping 1.18 points per possession (PPP) to roll men in the pick-and-roll (sixth most of any team), they also rank as a below average (44th percentile) defense against spot up shooters and Cousins has been doing a lot of that this year. Furthermore, he is one of the league leaders in minutes, so if this game remains reasonably close, he could easily top 40 minutes on the court. Whenever that is the case for a beast like Cousins, he is always worthy of investing in heavily.

Mason Plumlee, Nuggets, $8,200 – Monday does not set up to be a Kenneth Faried game as the team looks to match up against a small Mavericks team. Consequently, Mason Plumlee will likely draw the start at center and play a healthy number of minutes. Last game, without both Jokic and Millsap, Plumlee played 30 minutes against the Lakers and managed 12 PTS, six rebounds (REB), six assists (AST) and 28 fantasy points. The team will likely roll out a ton of four guard lineups which will leave Plumlee playing center for extended periods (because the team likes to use Faried as a PF). For what it is worth, Plumlee has excelled in the matchup against the Mavericks recently, having topped 23 fantasy points against him in each of his five meetings against them over the last two seasons (including a 29.25 fantasy point performance against them as a member of the Nuggets last year). Since moving Maxi Kleber to center, the team ranks 17th in defensive efficiency versus centers, which is an improvement, but still not exactly dominant. At this price point, Plumlee is a lock in all formats.

Michael Beasley, Knicks, $6,900 – Speaking of locks, the best play on the entire slate is none other than Michael Beasley with both Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway ruled out for tonight’s matchup against the Pacers. Beasley will draw the start for Porzingis at PF which means he will match up against Thaddeus Young; a notoriously horrible defender (although his numbers look okay so far this season). Still, despite Young’s numbers on paper, the Pacers rank 27th in defensive efficiency versus PFs including the third most points per game (PPG) allowed to the position. In the absence of the team’s top two scorers on Sunday, Beasley took a team-high 19 shots, made 10 of them and finished with 21 points and 26.25 fantasy points in 28 minutes. Luckily for him, the matchup only gets easier on Monday, so he is one of the few players on the slate whose upside could reach 6.0x value (or enough to put a fantasy team on pace for 600 fantasy points). Do not fade him.

Miles Plumlee, Hawks, $6,400 – Injuries on this slate are plentiful as the Hawks are yet another team dealing with a plethora of injuries in the frontcourt. Both John Collins and Dewayne Dedmon are out for the foreseeable future so Miles Plumlee should continue to start at center with Tyler Cavanaugh backing him up. Obviously, the matchup against the Nets is favorable, although Coach Mike Budenholzer’s rotation last game (versus this same team) was an absolute mess. Still, it only took Plumlee 19 minutes to reach 22.25 fantasy points versus this porous Nets frontcourt defense that ranks 28th in efficiency. Now, factor in the Nets’ quick pace (third fastest in the league), and it is easy to see why projecting an extremely efficient outing against this team should be the norm. Plumlee does not even need to do much to exceed value at this basement price point, but if he sees more than 20 minutes, he should prove to be one of the best values on the slate.

*Note: stats are accurate as of Sunday, December 3

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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