Walk on the Wright Side

Kyle Lowry is unlikely to play on Tuesday after being helped off the court last night so Delon Wright’s role should substantially increase and he is still too cheap! Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.


Guards (G):

Russell Westbrook, Thunder, $21,900 – On tonight’s slate, Russell Westbrook is the definition of a must-play considering there are multiple injuries on this slate that will open up value. Since multiple cheaper players should exceed value, Westbrook is a fantastic complement being that he is the best player on the entire slate by a large margin. Heading into this game, Westbrook has topped 60 fantasy points in eight of his last nine games, and he has triple-doubled four times during that stretch. On paper, Shabazz Napier is a slightly better defender than Damian Lillard (in terms of both defensive rating and defensive box plus/minus), but the Thunder are less than double-digit home favorites and being implied to score almost 107-points. Whenever that is the case, Westbrook is likely in line for a massive game, as evident by his recent sample size. What really needs to be said about Westbrook? Fade him at your own risk on a slate where no other player is comparable.


DeMar DeRozan, Raptors, $15,400 – After falling hard on his gluteus maximus Monday night, Kyle Lowry is listed as doubtful for Tuesday, leaving nearly the entire offense to run through DeMar DeRozan. With Lowry off the floor this year, DeRozan has garnered a ridiculous 41.4-percent of the usage (USG%) and has averaged a whopping 1.45 fantasy points per minute (FPPM). By comparison, 41.4 USG% would easily edge out the league leader (James Harden), and DeRozan averaged nearly 2.0 fantasy points per game (FPPG) more last year in the games Lowry missed (compared to the games he played). On competing sites, DeRozan is priced well over 16-percent of overall budget, and yet he will only cost 15.4-percent of the budget tonight here on FantasyDraft. For a player destined to take 20 shot attempts minimum, DeRozan is legitimately underpriced, and is worth starting in all formats.


Shabazz Napier, Trail Blazers, $11,600 – Prior to the upcoming tilt versus the Thunder, Damian Lillard has sat out five previous games this season, and Shabazz Napier has played heavy minutes in his absence. Sans Lillard in the rotation, Napier and C.J. McCollum are really the only ball-handlers left, so there is no reason to wonder why Napier has averaged nearly 37 minutes with Lillard. To round out his stat line, Napier has also averaged 18.0 points per game (PPG), 4.6 rebounds per game (RPG), 5.0 assists per game (APG), 2.2 steals per game (SPG), 0.4 blocks per game (BPG) and 36.5 FPPG without the team’s starting point guard (PG). The matchup against the Thunder does not stand out on paper really, as they have been one of the better defensive teams in the league both against PGs specifically and overall, but the Napier minutes are too plentiful to pass on. Lock him in and move on.


Delon Wright, Raptors, $8,500 – Stack the Raptors backcourt, because Lowry’s absence opens up additional minutes for all the other ball-handlers, including Delon Wright. Hell, Wright is only two games removed from a 60-plus fantasy point explosion against the Bulls and Lowry played in that contest. Lowry played in the following game as well where Wright dropped 27 fantasy points in 20 minutes. Lately, the Heat have been willing to ditch Hassan Whiteside for extended stretches (especially at the end of games) in order to play small. Tonight, the Raptors will be willing to do just that, as they habitually roll out three guards in a single lineup, and are not afraid to play either Pascal Siakam or Serge Ibaka at center if they have to. I expect tonight to be one of those games where the guards play a healthy number of minutes and Wright played 29 minutes last night following the injury to Lowry. Chalk last night’s dud up to an anomaly, roll him back out there tonight and reap the benefits.


Fred VanVleet, Raptors, $7,200 – Both the aforementioned Wright and Fred VanVleet average over 0.90 FPPM with Lowry on the bench and VanVleet should see upwards of 20 minutes if Lowry were to sit. By doing simple math, 0.90 multiplied by 20 equals 18 fantasy points, which would equate to about 2.5x value at his current price point. Clearly, the minute upside far surpasses 20 tonight, with VanVleet acting as the team’s lone backup PG. When Wright was forced to miss time, VanVleet average 21.7 MPG and 19.1 FPPG, and he is nowhere near as impactful as the starting PG. The great thing about VanVleet is his price is much more affordable than Wright’s and he will be much lower owned due to recency bias. The last three times VanVleet has topped 20 minutes, he has produced at least 19 fantasy points.


Forward/Centers (F/C):

Al-Farouq Aminu, Trail Blazers, $8,600 – The Trail Blazers are going to need all the minutes from Al-Farouq Aminu that he can handle because he is the team’s best defender and the team is going to attempt to slow down both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Aminu matches up especially well against Anthony but both are forwards approximately his size and one of them is almost always on the floor. Dating back to Dec. 23, Aminu has played fewer than 31 minutes in just one of his previous six games, and he has topped 23 fantasy points in three of his last five games. Meanwhile, over the course of their last five games, the Thunder rank 27th in defensive efficiency versus opposing power forwards (PFs) and have been burned for a 51.6-percent field goal rate by them from beyond the arc. After shooting 33.0-percent on three-point shots last year, he has improved that total to 40.0-percent this year, so he will hit them if left alone. Tonight, if rostering him, that is exactly what fantasy owners will be looking for him to do in 30-plus minutes of court time.


*Statistics are accurate as of Monday, January 8

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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