Schrod Awakening

Dennis Schroder’s minutes are reliable as of late which makes him one of the top plays of the slate tonight against a Suns team that ranks dead last in defensive efficiency versus point guards. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.


Guards (G):

Devin Booker, Suns, $15,900 – It only took two games for Devin Booker to return to his normal, heavy minute allotments following a groin injury. Hell, even in his first game back, Booker still managed to score 32 points in 34 minutes and he has topped 46 fantasy points in two of his three contests following the lower body issue. The Suns rely on Booker a little like the Rockets rely on James Harden in the sense that he is both the team’s best scoring shooting guard (SG) but he also plays point guard (PG) in the process. Since returning to the rotation, Booker has posted usage rates (USG%) of 41.5, 41.5 and 34.1 in his three games respectively. By comparison, Harden leads the NBA with a 36.1 USG% and D’Angelo Russell ranks second at 35.7. Since the Suns do are not a great ball club and get very little national recognition, Booker’s name is not tossed around like he runs an entire offense…but he does. On Tuesday, the Suns are being listed as 1.5-point favorites at home in a game with the highest projected total of the slate (218 points). While the price may seem a bit excessive, Booker is a low key a superstar in an upper-echelon matchup, and he should provide a safe floor for fantasy owners in around 40 minutes of court time.


Dennis Schroder, Hawks, $13,500 – Coach Mike Budenholzer’s crazy rotation was the only thing holding Dennis Schroder back earlier in the year but that is no longer the case. Heading into tonight, Schroder has played at least 32 minutes in seven consecutive games, and he has topped 37 fantasy points in four straight contests. Now, Schroder will square off against a Suns team that ranks dead last in defensive efficiency versus opposing point guards (PGs) and has allowed the fourth most fantasy points to the position. Over the course of the last two seasons, Schroder has faced the Suns twice and he has averaged 48.50 fantasy points in those two games on the heels of 29.0 points per game (PPG), 5.0 rebounds per game (RPG), 9.0 assists per game (APG) and 0.5 steals per game (APG). Assuming Budenholzer does not mess with his minutes tonight, he should exceed value with relative ease.


Marco Belinelli, Hawks, $7,400 – Although Marco Belinelli is unlikely to play minutes into the 30s this evening, he is still a viable play at $7,400 on FantasyDraft. Playing a Suns team that is not afraid to go small, there could be additional minutes available for some of the guards and forwards on the Hawks if they too decide to ditch their centers for extended stretches. Despite the fact Belinelli has topped 21 minutes played just once in his last three games, he has scored 14-plus points (PTS) in every game during that span and has averaged 24.3 fantasy points per game (FPPG). Only the Clippers have been roasted for more fantasy points by SGs this year than the Suns and Belinelli’s price point has not risen due to his recent success. If Belinelli can just duplicate his worst game of his last three, he would put a fantasy team on pace for 284 fantasy points. If he can flirt with 30 fantasy points like he did against the Wizards last Wednesday, he would put a fantasy team on pace for a whopping 395 fantasy points. Simply put: Belinelli is too cheap and he should be rostered in both cash games and tournaments.


Forward/Centers (F/C):

Blake Griffin, Clippers, $15,800 – Targeting players against the Grizzlies never feels optimal because they play at such a slow pace (dead last) but Blake Griffin can be considered an exception. If there is one place to attack the Grizzlies, it is the power forward (PF) position, as the team ranks 20th in defensive efficiency versus that position specifically. In each of Griffin’s last three meetings against the Grizzlies, he has topped 43 fantasy points, and his price is still significantly depreciated comparatively to where it was before his knee injury. On Nov. 22, Griffin was priced at $16,500, and yet he returned to a $14,900 following injury on Dec. 29 and his price point has been working its way up ever since. Until he finds himself consistently priced in the mid-$16,000s, fading him is going to be a difficult proposition, especially because he has produced 41-plus fantasy points in each of his games since returning. Griffin consistently is relied upon for USG% in the low-to-mid 30s and that is quite noteworthy against a defense that struggles against players of his position. What more needs to be said? Use him.


Dwight Howard, Hornets, $13,800 – No one on the Kings can match up with Dwight Howard from a combination of athleticism and size perspective. Zach Randolph, an incredibly poor defender, may start at center and that matchup would be an absolute joke. More than likely, Willie Cauley-Stien will start at center but he is about the half the girth of Howard. Thus far, only the Pacers and Bucks rate below the Kings in terms of defensive efficiency against centers and the Kings are one of just five teams to allow a 55-plus percent field goal percentage to the position. Both Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum have shot significantly worse on the road during their tenures with the Hornets and that has typically meant Howard has had to pick up the offensive slack. Prior to this game, Howard’s fantasy point output has extended into the mid-40s in three of his last four. Howard is about $1,000 cheaper than he should be so take this price tag all the way to the bank.


Tyson Chandler, Suns, $8,500 – To this point, the Warriors, Magic, Pacers, Bucks and Cavaliers are the only teams in the league allowing put backs at a higher frequency thank the Hawks, which bodes awfully well for Tyson Chandler. According to, the Hawks rank as a 17th percentile defense against put backs as well and Chandler averages the ninth most put back field goal attempts per game. Quietly, Chandler has grabbed double-digit rebounds in three of his last four games and 22 combined rebounds in his last two games. The Suns frontcourt is predictable in the sense that Chandler starts and plays minutes in the upper-20s as long as the Suns are not on the second end of a back-to-back set. Of course, the Suns are not on the second end of a back-to-back on Tuesday, so Chandler should be safe to deploy.


*Statistics are accurate as of Monday, January 1

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, 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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