The Holiday Spirit

Facing a defense that struggles against ball-handlers in the pick-and-roll, Jrue Holiday is an elite per-dollar investment on Wednesday’s slate. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s NBA contests.

Guards (G):

Goran Dragic, Heat, $14,400 – Without either Tyler Johnson nor Dion Waiters on the court this season (and both have already been ruled out), Goran Dragic is averaging a healthy 1.26 fantasy points per minute (FPPM). In that setup, Dragic leads the team easily in terms of usage rate (30.7-percent), and he also owns a 34.4-percent assist rate. By comparison, Dragic’s averages drop all the way to 0.91 FPPM and an assist rate of 19.7-percent with both Johnson and Waiters on the court. The absence of the other ball-handlers is huge for Dragic’s floor as well because now he should be destined to play around 40 minutes. Heading into this game, Dragic has played 30-plus minutes in eight consecutive games, including 38 minutes last game after Johnson left around halftime due to injury. Around 40 minutes of Dragic at this price point with the other ball-handlers around is one of the safest possible investments on the slate so go ahead and roster him.


Jrue Holiday, Pelicans, $12,800 – Speaking of safe investments, Jrue Holiday once again topped 47 fantasy points on Tuesday (third straight game), and yet he is still priced below $13,000. For his career, DeMarcus Cousins has not fared incredibly well on the second end of back-to-backs, and that has led to Holiday having to become more involved in the offense when the team is on no rest. Overall, Holiday is averaging 18.4 points per game (PPG), but he is averaging 19.0 PPG specifically on the second end of back-to-backs. Dennis Schroder is one of the worst defenders in the league against spot up shooters so Holiday should be able to get the mid-range game going. The Hawks have also allowed the sixth most points per possession (PPP) to ball-handlers on the pick-and-roll this season and Holiday leads the Pelicans in pick-and-roll possessions per game as the ball-handler (4.1). What more needs to be said here? The price tag is ridiculously low for the favorability of the matchup and Holiday should be a building block on this slate.


Klay Thompson, Warriors, $12,300 – Sometimes, the pricing algorithm works in mysterious ways on FantasyDraft, but I certainly am not complaining with Klay Thompson at a $12,300 price point. Thus far, the Bulls only rank as a 35th percentile defense against spot up shooters and players spot up against them at the fifth highest frequency. Of course, that would explain why the Bulls have allowed the third most points to spot up shooters of any team in the league, and why Thompson dropped 40 fantasy points on this team in the first meeting. Additionally, the Bulls struggle against opposing shooting guards (SGs), ranking 28th in defensive efficiency versus the position. All signs point to another monster outing from Thompson so fantasy owners should take a gift when one is given to them.


Forward/Centers (F/C):

Kristaps Porzingis, Knicks, $14,400 – Amongst the Grizzlies’ starters, JaMychal Green is tied for the worst defensive rating, and his -0.6 defensive box plus/minus rates second worst behind only Andrew Harrison. Furthermore, Green only stands 6’9”, 227 lbs which will make guarding a 7’3” Kristaps Porzingis a difficult proposition. If game log hunting, Porzingis only managed 28.75 fantasy points in the first meeting between these two teams, but that game was played all the way back in early December. Since that time, Porzingis’ minutes have risen substantially, as he is now averaging 37.2 minutes per game (MPG) in the month of January alone. Although he has only shot 38.8-percent from the field this month, he is averaging 20.6 PPG and 7.6 rebounds per game (RPG), and he has topped 39 fantasy points in each of his last five games. He is starting to get rolling so now is a perfect time to invest in him…especially at this price tag. On competing sites, Porzingis is priced at around 16-percent of overall budget, while he will only cost 14.4-percent on FantasyDraft. Take that discount all the way to the bank!


Steven Adams, Thunder, $12,200 – The Lakers are such a juicy matchup for a player like Steven Adams because they struggle in the areas where he excels. First off, the Lakers allow the second most field goals per game in the paint, and they allow opponents to get there at the seventh highest rate. Meanwhile, Adams leads the league in paint touches per game, so he should be destined to dominate down low. As if that were not enough, the Lakers have been torched for the second most points on putbacks this season, and they yield the most PPP to the play type. Guess who averages the fifth most PPG in the league off putbacks…

…if you answered Adams then you are correct. As icing on the cake, the Lakers rank below average in terms of defensive efficiency versus opposing centers and neither Julius Randle nor Brook Lopez have a chance of limiting Adams. The price on him is not incredibly cheap but he is still worth every penny.


Montrezl Harrell, Clippers, $8,600 – DeAndre Jordan is once again looking unlikely to play which means an expanded role is on the horizon yet again for Montrezl Harrell. Coming off a down game, there is no reason to fear going back to the well with Harrell. Even though he had a quiet game against the Rockets, he played a whopping 32 minutes, so that is an encouraging sign. Blake Griffin being back certainly eats into his usage but still he had scored at least 17 points (PTS) in back-to-back games prior to the tilt against the Rockets. Value is few and far between on this slate and Willie Reed earning the “starter” designation is a sham. Harrell will come in and play far more minutes against a Nuggets team that ranks 25th in defensive efficiency versus opposing frontcourts over the course of their last five games. Feel free to use Harrell in order to open up some salary to spend up on the others mentioned in this article.


*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, 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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