Gin(obili) and Juice

Manu Ginobili has topped 20 points in each of his last two games and now there is no threat of him sitting with tonight being a standalone, nationally televised game. Start him. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.


Guards (G):

DeMar DeRozan, Raptors, $16,700 – Due to throwing punches on Tuesday evening, Serge Ibaka has been suspended for Thursday night’s game. Additionally, Kyle Lowry is being listed as doubtful with his bruised tailbone for tonight’s tilt against the Cavaliers, so the Raptors are going to be the DeMar DeRozan show on offense. Without either Ibaka/Lowry on the floor thus far, DeRozan has garnered a ridiculous 45.0-percent of the usage and has averaged 1.53 fantasy points per minute (FPPM). Unfortunately, with DeRozan clearly being the focus of the offense, the Cavaliers may choose to shadow him with LeBron James, although Jimmy Butler showed the other day that superstars can still get it done against him. DeRozan is heavily reliant upon scoring but this is a spot where he is going to have to take 20-plus shot attempts by default and he may even flirt with 30 when all said and done. The line to this game has not been released yet, but with the Raptors playing at home, there is certainly a shot they stay in this game until the end. Despite the expensive price point, DeRozan is an elite option on this measly three-game slate.


Lonzo Ball, Lakers, $13,600 – Do not look now but Lonzo Ball’s stat lines are starting to look a lot like Draymond Green and he is typically much cheaper. In his last game, Ball became just the third player this season to produce 10-plus rebounds (REB), 10-plus assists (AST) and five-plus steals (STL) in a game this season, joining LeBron James and James Harden. Although the matchup against the Spurs is not easy on paper, Ball is not exactly much of a shooter anyways, and he impacts the game in so many ways. Heading into this game, Ball has topped 37 fantasy points in eight of his last nine games and last game was the only game during that stretch in which he failed to reach double-digit points. In the month of January alone, Ball has averaged 9.7 points per game (PPG), 8.3 rebounds per game (RPG), 7.3 assists per game (APG), 2.7 steals per game (SPG), 0.3 blocks per game (BPG) and 37.6 fantasy points per game (FPPG) in 31.2 minutes per game (MPG). His minutes have only been down because he has been recovering from a shoulder issue and soon his minutes should start hovering around 35 like they did in December. At a sub-$14,000 cost, Ball is playable against anyone.


Manu Ginobili, Spurs, $8,900 – Since the team is playing in a standalone game, and one on national television, Manu Ginobili should not be a threat to sit. Those considering rostering him should sleep easy because there is almost no risk of a late inactive which means Ginobili should be a fantastic investment at this price. While he is old, and barely ever plays much more than 20 minutes, Ginobili has scored 26 and 21 points (PTS) in back-to-back games respectively and has topped 33 fantasy points in each of those contests. At a sub-$9,000 cost, Ginobili needs around 27 fantasy points to exceed 3.0x value and put a fantasy team on pace for more than 300 fantasy points…and that has not been an issue for him lately. Since he plays on the second unit, he will mostly avoid the defense of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and the Lakers bench ranks as nothing more than league average (15th) in terms of defensive efficiency. Until his price increases, Ginobili is worth rostering at this price point, as long as the team is not playing on a back-to-back set.


Tyrone Wallace, Clippers, $7,400 – Apparently, this Tyrone Wallace trial period is for real, as Jawun Evans was benched a few times last night for him (including down the stretch in the first half). Evans is tiny and does not match up well against normal-to-large-sized NBA PGs, and unfortunately for him, De’Aaron Fox is not small either. Assuming Milos Teodosic continues to sit with the same foot issue that cost him multiple months earlier in the season, Wallace will act as the team’s backup ball-handler, but he could legitimately be the better player of the two. Sure, he is a 23-year old rookie who sort of came out of nowhere, but he looked like he belonged last night against the Warriors. On the second end of the back-to-back, where starters usually play a few less minutes, that should mean even more minutes for Wallace then there were last night. There is not a huge same size on Wallace yet but he had scored in double-digits each game prior to last game and he appears to be impressing his coaches. As long as the minutes are there, it would be hard to imagine he does at not least flirt with value against a Kings team whose bench ranks 25th in defensive efficiency. UPDATE: C.J. Williams banged his knee last night and could be questionable to play in this contest as well.



Forward/Centers (F/C):

DeAndre Jordan, Clippers, $15,700 – Sans Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan is the personification of a beast. Whereas Jordan only averaged 11.0 PPG, 13.7 RPG and 31.7 FPPG with Griffin in the rotation, his totals improve to 13.3 PPG, 17.4 RPG and 39.6 FPPG with Griffin on the sidelines this season. No team has allowed more rebounds to opposing centers than the Kings this season and they rank 29th in defensive efficiency versus the position. Only the Bucks and Timberwolves have allowed higher field goal percentages to the position the Kings (55.5-percent). Willie Cauley-Stein does not possess the proper girth to body Jordan and Zach Randolph is nowhere near athletic enough. Consequently, Jordan should dominate in this spot, and his upside is somewhere around a 20-20 double-double.


Pascal Siakam, Raptors, $7,900 – With two important members of the Raptors rotation missing, Pascal Siakam will be asked to step up and he will probably start at power forward (PF). In 402 minutes with both Lowry and Ibaka off the court, Siakam has averaged 0.93 FPPM and he has posted a rebound rate of 15.3-percent. By comparison, Jonas Valanciunas’ rebound rate with both Lowry/Ibaka out: 15.6-percent. For what it is worth, Siakam has fared quite well in Ibaka’s absence this season: 6.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 23.4 FPPG and 25.6 MPG. By doing simple math, one would realize 0.93 multiplied by 25.6 minutes equals approximately 23.53 fantasy points in an average matchup using his FPPM output. The Cavaliers play small, and start Kevin Love at center, so the Raptors could toss a bunch of lineups with Siakam at the center as a counter. Regardless, Siakam should see minutes in the mid-20s, and that is good news for his fantasy prospects.


*Statistics are accurate as of Wednesday, January 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, 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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