40 oz. to Faried-dom

The Magic both struggle to keep opponents off the offensive boards and they have allowed the most total points on cut plays this season. Unfortunately for them, Kenneth Faried excels in both aspects, so he should be in line for a monster game. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.

Guards:

Jrue Holiday, Pelicans, $13,300 – Coach Alvin Gentry previously said the team would “err on the side of caution” with Anthony Davis, so although he is listed as questionable for Friday’s contest, he is probably closer to doubtful. Assuming the star power forward (PF) sits once again, Jrue Holiday will continue to enjoy a larger role in the offense. In the games that Davis has suited up, Holiday has only garnered a 20.9-percent usage rate (USG%). However, when Davis has sat, he has managed a 25.3 USG% and has consequently averaged 27.0 points per game (PPG) and 42.4 fantasy points per game (FPPG) in his absence. Thus far, the Kings have defended the point guard position rather poorly, as they rank 19th in defensive efficiency versus the position. Despite their slow pace, only five teams have allowed a higher field goal percentage to PGs than the Kings’ 44.8-percent. The way Holiday has been shooting the last two games, this price point is simply not high enough, and he is a fantastic value once again.

Wesley Matthews, Mavericks, $8,200 – No team has allowed a higher three-point field goal percentage (3P%) to opposing shooting guards (SGs) this season than the Bucks so it is no wonder Wesley Matthews torched them the first go-around. In that game, Matthews hit 6-8 shots from behind the arc en route to a 22 point (PTS), eight assist (AST), two steal (STL) and 43 fantasy point outing in 34 minutes. Over the course of their last three games alone, the Bucks have yielded a ridiculous 52.9-percent 3P% to two-guards, and Matthews’ offensive game is heavily reliant on long distance shooting. To further enhance the matchup, Dennis Smith Jr. is listed as questionable with a “sore hip area,” and his absence would lead to a boost in usage for all the Mavericks regulars. While Matthews will not be chalk or anything close on this slate, he looks like a diamond in the rough.

Forward/Center:

DeMarcus Cousins, Pelicans, $21,000 – The last time DeMarcus Cousins played against his ex-team sans Davis, he went freaking bonkers: 41 PTS, 23 rebounds (REB), six AST, one STL and one block (BLK) en route to a ridiculous 83.75 fantasy points. Assuming Davis sits again, it is impossible to overlook this kind of ceiling for any player, let alone the most dominant big man in the game. Even if Davis plays, there is merit to playing Cousins against a team that is going to try and guard him with the likes of Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos, JaKarr Sampson and Georgios Papagiannis. None of those players even have a chance and multiple will more than likely end up in foul trouble like the Nuggets’ big men did against Cousins last game. Cousins will assuredly be on the attack throughout this whole game which will leave the Kings defenseless and Cousins is going to be worth every penny of this expensive price tag. Do not fear the rising price point…instead, you should embrace it.

Jonathan Simmons, Magic, $11,300 – Although the absence of Evan Fournier does not seem like nearly as big of a deal as, say, the absence of the aforementioned Davis, it severely impacts the offense of the Magic. The team’s second leading scorer has already been ruled out for Friday’s contest and Jonathan Simmons leads the team in USG% with Fournier on the bench. In a 280-minute sample size, Simmons owns a 30.0 USG% without him, although that includes a ton of minutes with the second unit. Still, with both Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic on the floor and Fournier off, Simmons still owns a 26.1 USG%. With just Gordon on and Fournier off, that number balloons to 31.2-percent. To put it differently, a healthy portion of the offense must run through Simmons regardless with Fournier on the sidelines. Oh, by the way, the Nuggets rank 25th in team defensive efficiency and have allowed a whopping 115 PPG this season when Jokic has sat. Expect Simmons to flirt with 20 real PTS in this contest which should make him a great bet to approach value at this mid-tier price point.

Rudy Gay, Spurs, $10,000 – With Kyle Anderson in the rotation this season, Rudy Gay was averaging a measly 21.8 minutes per game (MPG), 12.0 PPG, 5.0 rebounds per game (RPG), 1.6 assists per game (APG), 1.0 steals per game (SPG), 0.6 blocks per game (BPG) and 23.3 FPPG. On the other hand, with Anderson out, Gay’s averaged have improved to 32.3 MPG, 14.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.0 BPG and 35.9 FPPG. While Anderson is not exactly a big scorer, a decent amount of the offense still ran through him, as he essentially acted as a second point guard (PG). Without him, the team is lacking playmakers, so Gay is forced to step up his game. It is not like he has been shooting the lights out (44.0-percent field goals) with Anderson out so his recent numbers are no fluke. Continue to roll Gay out there until one of either Anderson or Kawhi Leonard (already ruled out for Friday) returns to the floor.

Kenneth Faried, Nuggets, $9,900 – Friday night’s matchup versus the Magic has all the makings of a Kenneth Faried game for a variety of reasons. For one, the Magic have allowed the most points on cuts of any team in the league and Faried leads the Nuggets with a 23.4-percent frequency of cut plays (plus he is averaging 1.23 points per possession). Furthermore, the Nuggets allow the eighth most RPG to opposing frontcourts including the fourth most offensive RPG. A majority of Faried’s points come from offensive rebounds and cuts and this defense struggles to defend both. In other words, the Magic are the ideal matchup for Faried, and those who go box score hunting may be scared off him following a game where he flopped. Of course, Faried started at center in that contest and was forced to guard Cousins, so he quickly was forced into foul trouble and played significantly fewer minutes than a normal contest. In this prime bounce-back spot, Faried is worthy of consideration in all formats.

*Note: stats are accurate as of Thursday, December 7

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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