The Middle(ton) Man

Khris Middleton has increased his scoring every month this season and spot up shooting is the way to beat the Pelicans. Start Middleton with confidence in this matchup. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.

Guards:

Chris Paul, Rockets, $15,900 – The price tag on Chris Paul has still not risen to a level where he is worth fading. Over the course of his last three games, he is averaging a healthy 21.3 points per game (PPG), 7.0 rebounds per game (RPG), 8.7 assists per game (APG), 2.7 steals per game (SPG) and 50.1 fantasy points per game (FPPG) in just under 35 minutes per game (MPG). The Rockets play one of the most fantasy-friendly brands of basketball where the guards contribute to baskets or assists on a ridiculous amount of the offensive possessions. In the month of December alone, the Rockets are averaging a NBA-best 121.0 PPG and have made 14.8 three-pointers per game (3PPG). This month, only the Pelicans and Warriors top the Rockets in terms of assisted field goal percentage and that is largely due to the return of Paul to the rotation. Until Paul reaches $16,500, he is worth considering every night, and especially against a defense that ranks below the league average in terms of defensive efficiency versus point guards (17th).

Khris Middleton, Bucks, $12,300 – Not only do the Pelicans rank 29th in defensive efficiency versus opposing shooting guards (SGs) but they rank 20th in efficiency versus small forwards (SFs) as well. That is bad news for a team that has allowed the fourth most points to spot up shooters this season. Yes, Khris Middleton, who spots up 3.8 possessions per game (33th most in the league), draws a fantastic matchup against a team who features twin towers in the middle. Driving to the hoop is no easy task against DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis (presuming he is active) so that is why shooters have the advantage. Middleton’s PPG output has risen every month this season: 16.0 in October to 21.1 in November to 23.2 so far this month. With Middleton trending upward, and facing a beatable opponent, $12,300 is nowhere near enough to consider fading him.

Jeremy Lamb, Hornets, $10,600 – In road games, Kemba Walker is notoriously less efficient, and this year has proven to follow a similar pattern. Whereas Walker has averaged 37.1 FPPG and has shot 41.6-percent from the field on the road, those jump totals jump to 39.8 FPPG and 44.9-percent from the field at home. To put it differently, others have been forced to make up for his lack of efficiency on the road anyways, and tonight he will be guarded by Chris Paul (who is still one of the best on-ball defenders in the league). Consequently, Jeremy Lamb, who found himself in early foul trouble last game, is in a prime spot for a bounce-back against a Rockets team that has allowed 31.8 PPG to SGs over their last five games (fourth most during that span). Look for Lamb, who has averaged 29.50 FPPG without Nicolas Batum in the rotation this season, to flirt with 3.0x value by accident in this contest.

David Nwaba, Bulls, $7,900 – Do not look now but David Nwaba is suddenly a consistent producer for the Bulls…plus he is underpriced. In a tough matchup against the top efficiency defense in the league his last time out, Nwaba still managed 24 fantasy points in 27 minutes on the heels of 13 points (PTS) and six REB. The matchup gets slightly easier on Wednesday against the Jazz and Nwaba has exceeded 3.0x value at this price point in three straight games. Nwaba’s energy is what the coaching staff loves about him and a big reason that he has played 27-plus minutes in three straight (31-plus in two straight before last game’s blowout). If looking for a safe, cheaper option, the Bulls have nothing to play for, so Nwaba is destined for big minutes regardless of outcome.

Forward/Center:

DeAndre Jordan, Clippers, $13,500 – For many of the same reasons as Kenneth Faried the other night, DeAndre Jordan finds himself in an elite matchup versus the Magic. Not only have the Magic allowed the most offensive RPG to opposing centers but they also rank 22nd in efficiency versus the position. Additionally, they allow the second most points in the paint per game and the fifth most second chance points per game. Jordan ranks fifth in paint touches per game and he averages the third most tip-ins per game as well. Without Blake Griffin in the rotation, Jordan has averaged 32.9 MPG, 12.8 PPG, 16.7 RPG, 1.2 blocks per game (BPG) and 38.4 FPPG. What more needs to be said here? An upper-echelon center in a fantastic matchup belongs on you rosters tonight (of all formats).

Greg Monroe, Suns, $9,300 – Normally, on the second end of a back-to-back, Tyson Chandler ends up sitting and Greg Monroe draws the start at center. Assuming that is the case tonight, Monroe would obviously rate as an excellent value play at a reasonable $9,300 cost against a team that ranks 26th in defensive efficiency versus centers over the course of their last five games. As a starting center this season, Monroe has averaged 12.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.2 APG and 1.5 SPG while shooting 70.8-percent from the field. In fact, he started against the Raptors in the team’s last meeting against them, and he managed 11 points PTS, 10 rebounds REB, three assists (AST), three steals (STL) and 34 fantasy points. If Chandler sits once again tonight, producing a similar outing would not a stretch whatsoever for Monroe.

*Note: stats are accurate as of Tuesday, December 13

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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