Fading Yogi is a Boo Boo

J.J. Barea is out tonight, and Yogi Ferrell has topped 30 fantasy points in each of his last three games, so make sure to lock him in 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 (G):

Jamal Murray, Nuggets, $11,000 – According to Nuggets beat writer Harrison Wind on Twitter, Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee will not start together on Tuesday, and the sense around the team is they will play small to counter the small Mavericks. Makes sense, right? Small lineups mean more minutes for the guards and Jamal Murray has played at least 32 minutes in five of his last six games (including two games at least 39 minutes during that stretch). Prior to his flop last game, Murray had scored in double-digits in 10 consecutive games, and he is in a great spot to get back on track against the Mavericks. Not only do the Mavericks rank dead last in defensive efficiency versus opposing point guards (PGs) but they also allow the most points per game (PPG) to the position despite playing at the sixth slowest pace in the league. For what it is worth, Murray dropped 22 points (PTS) and 28 fantasy points in 28 minutes in his only meeting against the Mavericks this season, and his minutes should be up this go-around. At $11,000, Murray should be a safe investment in all formats.

 

Evan Fournier, Magic, $10,000 – Speaking of safe investments, what in the world is this price tag for Evan Fournier? To be fair, Fournier has been worse without Nikola Vucevic in the rotation, averaging 4.40 fantasy points fewer per game without the starting center active. However, Fournier has topped 26 fantasy points in two of his last four games, and he will face a defense susceptible to spot up shooters. Only seven teams have allowed more points to spot up shooters this year than the Timberwolves and Fournier leads the Magic with 4.1 PPG off spot up shots. While he will probably face the defense of Jimmy Butler at times, he did not have much issue scoring the last time these two teams squared off. In that game, Fournier scored 19 PTS in 34 minutes, although he quite literally did almost nothing else. The price on him has gotten incredibly affordable especially with this game featuring the highest over/under of the slate (at least until the Trail Blazers line is released). All the risk is built into the price tag and Fournier is worth the shot.

 

Yogi Ferrell, Mavericks, $8,800 – Do not look now but Yogi Ferrell has started back-to-back games and has topped 30 fantasy points in each of those contests. In fact, he has topped 30 fantasy points in each of his last three contests, and his solid performance against the Magic probably led to Coach Rick Carlisle inserting him into the starting lineup. Other than an upgrade to his role, his minutes have been ridiculous in his last few games as well, playing 36 and 43 minutes in those contests respectively. Even more importantly, J.J. Barea has been ruled out for Tuesday’s tilt against the Nuggets, so additional minutes and usage are available for players like Ferrell. Oh, by the way, the Nuggets rank 25th in defensive efficiency versus PGs, so the matchup is a solid one as well. At this price point, Ferrell is a stone-cold lock in all formats, so fade him at your own risk.

 

Forward/Centers (F/C):

DeMarcus Cousins, Pelicans, $19,100 – Heading into Tuesday night, DeMarcus Cousins has double-doubled in seven of his last eight games, including two straight games of 60-plus fantasy points. On a slate devoid of true superstars other than the Pelicans, Cousins is a mismatch for any member of the Celtics despite the fact they rank first in terms of team defensive efficiency. If Coach Brad Stevens decides to put Aron Baynes on Cousins, Cousins is way too athletic for him. If the coach decides to go with Al Horford, Cousins is way too big for him. Any other option will have no chance either so Cousins is a one-on-one nightmare for this squad just like any other squad. For what it is worth, Cousins faced the Celtics once last year, and they were a very different team, but he dropped 28 PTS and nine rebounds in that game. On competing sites, Cousins is priced over 20-percent of budget on this slate, and yet he will only cost 19.1-percent on FantasyDraft. With values aplenty, spending up for Cousins makes sense to create the highest possible floor for a lineup, and he could top 70 fantasy points on any given night (including in a game against a tough defense).

 

Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves, $16,700 – The Magic have been crushed by guards all season long and they have their hands full once again against a player of Jimmy Butler’s caliber this evening. The Magic rank 26th in defensive efficiency versus opposing shooting guards (SGs) this year and they have also allowed the fourth most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to the position. Butler possesses such an insanely high floor because he averages the fifth most minutes per game (MPG) of any player in the league and he is mighty talented. In fact, Butler has averaged the 14th most FPPG of any player in the league in the month (43.3) of January alone on the heels of 22.1 PPG, 4.9 rebounds per game (RPG), 6.3 assists per game (APG) and 2.6 steals per game. With his team being implied to score the most points of any team on the slate, Butler is worth building around in both cash games and tournaments.

 

Al-Farouq Aminu, Trail Blazers, $8,700 – Minutes are the name of the game in daily fantasy basketball and Al-Farouq Aminu remains on the court for chunks at a time. Prior to tonight’s tilt against the Suns, Aminu has played 31-plus minutes in eight of his last 10 games, and he has erupted for 38-plus fantasy points twice during that span. In other words, Aminu should possess both a high-floor in a fast-paced affair and a high ceiling. The guards getting out in transition often leads to wide open shots for Aminu and teams get out in transition against the Suns at the third highest frequency (15.9-percent). The personnel on the Suns has not changed much over the course of the last two seasons and Aminu has faced them a whopping six times during that span…he has managed at least 25 fantasy points in all but one of those contests (and he only played four minutes in the outlier performance). Convincing sample size, ain’t it? Use him.

 

*Statistics are accurate as of Monday, January 15

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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