We have a typical Sunday schedule in the NBA with a couple of early games followed by a solid six-game evening slate. I’ll be covering all eight games in this article, as FanDuel is running some decent all day tournaments that many readers will likely be interested in. As of this writing late on Saturday night, Ricky Rubio is the only real injury concern. If he’s unable to play again, Zach LaVine would draw the start in a poor matchup against Chris Paul and the Clippers. Overall, it’s a good slate of games for daily fantasy. Let’s take a look at who I think you should be rostering today.
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Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors, $8600 – Aside from road games against the Clippers and Jazz (both terrible matchups), Lowry has been at or above 40 fantasy points in every game since November 10. He’s as safe as it gets at the point guard position, and since Toronto’s offense runs through him, he’s going to be posting big totals in both points and assists. He’s been lethal from three-point range this season, and his ability to grab rebounds and contribute in blocks and steals gives him much more value than your typical point guard.
Both Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight are terrific on-ball defenders, but the Suns are still allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. At least part of that can be attributed to their pace, which is currently second in the NBA. In what should be a fast-paced, close, high-scoring affair between Toronto and Phoenix (the Vegas odds currently show a total of 204.5 and a five-point spread), Lowry is poised for another big game and should be targeted in all formats.
Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics, $7300 – With Marcus Smart out of the lineup, Thomas is locked into the starting point guard role for Boston. He’s playing well over 30 minutes in non-blowout situations, and recently played 39 in a close win against the Sixers. Tonight’s road matchup with the Magic should stay close, and Thomas is poised for a big game against an Orlando team that is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards. It’s no fluke as the Magic were dreadful against the position last season as well. Thomas is a high usage player that is capable of monster stat lines. He should be targeted in all game formats tonight.
James Harden, Houston Rockets, $10,700 – The Rockets are a mess, and they needed a monster effort from Harden to stage a late comeback and knock off the lowly Sixers at home. Harden has scored over 54 fantasy points in each of his past three games, including a 54.4 point outing against the Knicks. Expect a close game in New York, which will likely lead to another huge stat line. The Knicks couldn’t defend Harden when they last played, and they won’t be able to this evening, either. Harden is still well worth his elevated price tag, and I’ll be locking him into my lineups tonight.
Jeremy Lamb, Charlotte Hornets, $4600 – Lamb is likely not the sort of play you’d expect in this article, but I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to find a second shooting guard play with no luck. Most options are simply too expensive relative to their expected output, and, therefore, make for below average plays today. I’d rather save at a position that looks difficult and spend elsewhere, and that’s what I’m doing today. Lamb has easily surpassed 20 fantasy points in all but one of his past ten games. He’s a solid option against a Bucks team that ranks last in defensive efficiency.
Matt Barnes, Memphis Grizzlies, $4000 – Barnes is only an option if Zach Randolph is out, but given Randolph has missed several games with a sore knee, and Memphis is facing the Sixers, there’s a good chance he doesn’t play again this evening. If he’s out, Barnes will draw the start and see plenty of time at power forward. He’s been very productive as a member of the starting unit, and his only down game was due to foul trouble. He should have no trouble eclipsing 20 or more fantasy points against the Sixers, but remember only to use him if Randolph is ruled out. Fortunately, for those playing the evening-only slate, we should have news on Randolph’s status before rosters lock.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brooklyn Nets, $4100 – It seems odd to say, but small forward is a loaded position today. There are solid value plays, while Paul George is very attractive on the road against the Lakers. My position has always been that you cannot afford to pass up players that can offer you an incredible return on your investment. Hollis-Jefferson has been stuffing the stat sheet as a member of the starting unit, and at $4100, he can get you up to 8 points per $1000 spent. You simply cannot get that sort of production from other players. Hollis-Jefferson should be targeted in all game formats tonight.
Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks, $7000 – Like shooting guard, there’s not a whole lot to get excited about at power forward. Sure, there are some good players, but no one is particularly intriguing at their respective price points. Porzingis was limited to only 24 minutes last game because of foul trouble, but before that, he had been seeing around 36 minutes per game. In what should be a close game between the Knicks and Rockets, Porzingis should see heavy minutes. We’ve already seen the type of upside he’s capable of, and I think he’s in for a big game against a Rockets team that’s been terrible on the defensive end of the floor. They also happen to be surrendering the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards.
Thaddeus Young, Brooklyn Nets, $6400 – Young is one of those players whose price doesn’t seem to go up despite the fact that he’s out-performing his price tag nearly every night. Detroit is surrendering the tenth-most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards, which shouldn’t be too surprising given Ersan Ilyasova has never been much of a defender. Expect a close game between the Nets and Pistons in Brooklyn, which should lead to heavy minutes and another 30+ fantasy point performance from Young. He’s finished with under 30 fantasy points just twice in his past ten games, and there’s no reason to expect him to finish under that threshold this evening. He’s an excellent play based on expected production relative to his price.
Bismack Biyombo, Toronto Raptors, $3600 – Yesterday, I wrote up Biyombo in an incentives article for RotoGrinders, saying that he was an outstanding value play since he was crushing his value threshold despite not recording any blocks. There was no way that was going to continue, and, right on cue, he blocked four shots and recorded 30.2 fantasy points without scoring a single real point. He’s not much of an option an offense, but I don’t expect him to score zero again tonight against a fast-paced Suns team that will likely be without Tyson Chandler. Raptors head coach Dwayne Casey loves Biyombo, and you can be sure that he’s going to continue seeing big minutes as long as Jonas Valanciunas remains out. At his $3600 price tag, he’s an easy play that offers significant upside relative to his near-minimum price tag. In cash games, I don’t see much reason to consider rostering anyone else. Save the money and spend at position that isn’t offering the same sort of value.
Clint Capela, Houston Rockets, $4600 – Per StatMuse, Capela is producing 1.1 fantasy points per minute this season. He started last game and played 25 minutes, and he’s already been named the starter going forward. Houston is in a back-to-back situation, and while Dwight Howard has been cleared to play in both games, it’s also been suggested that he might be somewhat limited in both, which would open up a bit more playing time for Capela. Regardless, if Capela is going to see 25+ minutes, he’s going to pay off his $4600 price tag and then some as we can reasonably expect him to finish with around 27 or 28 fantasy points. I prefer Biyombo, as I think you can get the same production at a much cheaper price, but Capela is a solid option as well.