Aminu Found Glory

The Warriors like to play small so Al-Farouq Aminu should come in handy for the Trail Blazers to counteract those lineups. He is way too cheap on FantasyDraft tonight. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.

Guards:

James Harden, Rockets, $21,3000 – What really needs to be said about arguably the best offensive player in the NBA? The ownership for DeMarcus Cousins will likely be twice that of James Harden and yet Cousins has a poor history on the second end of back-to-backs. Meanwhile, the Rockets are being implied to score the most points on the slate (at least until the Warriors line is released) and this is such a fantastic matchup for shooters. The Pelicans are a difficult team to attack on the inside with the twin towers of Cousins and Anthony Davis protecting the rim but they are a 31st percentile defense against spot up shooters. Furthermore, the Pelicans allow the sixth most field goals per game from 15-19 feet and the third highest field goal percentage from beyond 25 feet. The Rockets are filled with shooters who should be knocking down jump shots, and completing Harden assists, but Harden himself attempts the most jumpers from 25-plus feet per game. If the Pelicans are barely going to put up a fight, this could be both a huge assist game and scoring game for the MVP candidate. Others may choose to take the shot on spending up for Pelicans but Harden possesses a significantly higher floor.

Kyle Lowry, Raptors, $15,100 – Over the course of their last five games, the Clippers rank dead last in defensive efficiency versus opposing point guards (PGs) and they rank dead last in overall team defensive efficiency. To put it differently, they are a team worth targeting against every single time they step on the court at this point. Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry has topped 41 fantasy points in seven of his last eight contests including three 52-plus fantasy point outbursts during that span. If there ever were a spot for an outlier scoring performance, this would be the game. Oh, by the way, Milos Teodosic may potentially return on Monday evening and he is not a good defender (to put it nicely). In a 32-minute sample size, Teodosic posted a 117-defensive rating and a negative 7.1 defensive box plus/minus. His skill set always included the caveat of shaky defense so the small sample only confirmed what was already known. Combine all these factors and Lowry, who habitually plays minutes into the upper-30s, is one of the top plays on the entire slate.

Kris Dunn, Bulls, $11,200 – Do not look now but the Bulls have found themselves a consistent fantasy producer as Kris Dunn has flirted with a triple-double in two straight games heading into Monday’s tilt versus the Celtics. Sure, the Celtics are the top efficiency defense in the league, but Kyrie Irving will never be an upper-echelon individual defender. Despite the discrepancy in talent amongst these two teams, the Bulls only opened as 8.0-point underdogs, suggest this game has a chance to remain somewhat close. In his last two games alone, Dunn is averaging 48.1 fantasy points per game (FPPG) on the heels of 18.5 points per game (PPG), 6.5 rebounds per game (RPG), 10.5 assists per game (APG) and 3.0 steals per game (SPG) while only shooting 40-percent during that span. Even if Dunn suffers through a subpar shooting night against a great defense, he can still provide his fantasy owners with a nice floor due to his ability to fill up a box score. At this price, Dunn is a fine investment in all formats.

Forward/Center:

Clint Capela, Rockets, $12,200 – Lately, Clint Capela’s minutes have been down but there is no way the Rockets are going to limit them on Monday against a team featuring both DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. After averaging 24.1 minutes per game (MPG) in October and 26.9 MPG in November, he is down all the way to 20.6 MPG in the month of December. By default, this evening, Capela’s size will be needed, as the team cannot match the size of the Pelicans’ twin towers with guys like Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson. Naturally, the lack of minutes has contributed, but Capela has only dealt with foul trouble once in his last 10 games, so hopefully this is a trend because those who defend Cousins are always at risk. However, his price tag is simply too cheap for a player averaging 1.35 fantasy points per minute (FPPM) this season and no that is not a typo. Minutes equal serious fantasy production for Capela and the team is being implied to score a slate-high 119.25-points. If he can stay out of foul trouble long enough to play 25-plus minutes, the sky is the ceiling for Capela (as per usual), except tonight 25-plus minutes is the likeliest of scenarios.

Al-Farouq Aminu, Trail Blazers, $9,100 – Jusuf Nurkic has been ruled out for Monday night’s contest against the Warriors which means Al-Farouq Aminu will be called upon for extended minutes once again. Last game, only Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum logged more minutes on the Trail blazers than Aminu (32) and he matches up well against the Warriors too. True centers’ minutes are typically limited against the reigning Western Conference champions because they play at such a quick pace and often use small players (Draymond Green, David West, etc.) at the position for stretches. Against the Rockets, whose defense has been elite as of late, Aminu dropped 15 points (PTS), five rebounds (REB), two assists (AST) and a block (BLK) during his time on the court. The pace of tonight’s game should be similarly quick and Aminu averaged 29.5 FPPG versus the Warriors in three meetings last year. Expect a similar performance this go-around, and consequently, he should crush value.

 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Hornets, $8,000 – Typically, when the Hornets are facing a team with a superstar forward, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is asked to shadow said player. Usually, that results on him playing minutes into the 30s, which is nice for a player priced like a scrub. Half the team is listed as questionable on Monday: Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lamb and Frank Kaminsky plus Cody Zeller is out indefinitely. If all, or even just a few, of those players sit, Kidd-Gilchrist’s minutes should rise as well, so 35 minutes is not out of the question as he is tasked with guarding both Carmelo Anthony and Paul George (also listed as questionable). With Kaminsky out, Kidd-Gilchrist has topped 20 fantasy points in back-to-back games, and he has actually exceeded the 20-fantasy point plateau in four of his last five contests. While this is a bit of a price play, Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the safest per-dollar investments of the evening.

*Note: stats are accurate as of Sunday, December 10

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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