Madness, mayhem, and matinee NBA games. The NCAA tournament is in full swing, but don’t completely ignore this pleasant 11-game “all-day” slate of professional basketball. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time we’ve seen 10+ games on a Sunday. It’s kind of strange that it coincides with March Madness, but that’s neither here nor there.
Let’s get into some of the top individual matchups for today’s hearty NBA slate:
TOP MATCHUP PLAYS
Nikola Vucevic – C – ORL
Denver’s frontcourt defense has been abysmal for the last 2-3+ years, so this pick should come as no surprise. A tight (1 point spread), high-scoring (207 over/under) home draw vs an up-tempo team provides the perfect game environment for Vucevic to make fantasy backers proud. He’ll get another small boost in production if Tobias Harris (questionable) sits out.
Andre Drummond – C – DET
There will definitely be some debate between Vucevic and Drummond for similar price points. As a general rule of thumb, I’d feel more confident in Vucevic for cash games, then mixing and matchup Drummond into tournaments for upside. Greg Monroe will continue to miss time, meaning Andre will maintain the heavy lifting for Detroit’s frontcourt. Boston ranks 27th in defensive efficiency vs Centers and 5th overall in pace.
DeMar DeRozan – SG – NYK
If Kyle Lowry (questionable) is ruled out, DeRozan becomes a fantastic play against the lowly Knicks. New York ranks 26th in defensive efficiency vs SG’s, lacking any sort of viable wing defender to counter DeRozan. Even if Lowry plays, I still think DeRozan is worth a look, as the Toronto PG will likely be limited in some capacity. The only thing holding DeRozan back is the potential blowout factor (Raptors favored by 12).
Victor Oladipo – SG – ORL
Oladipo will enjoy the same matchup outlined in his teammate’s write-up above. Denver ranks 27th in defensive efficiency vs SG’s and 4th overall in pace. This has the makings for an up-tempo affair, which feeds into Oladipo’s “wide-open” playing style. If Tobias Harris misses this game, he’ll get a sizable boost in usage rate.
Bradley Beal – SG – WAS
Beal has been rather inconsistent this entire season, but he’s still worth consideration today based purely on matchup potential. Sacramento ranks dead last in defensive efficiency vs SG’s, and Beal is seeing enough minutes 35-40 to inflict some serious damage. He’s the type of player who sometimes defers when things aren’t going his way. However, he also possesses monstrous upside when things get rolling. The matchup couldn’t be much better for that to take place.
Ishmael Smith – PG – PHI
Call me Ishmael; I am the new starting PG for Philadelphia … Even though Ish only sees 27-30 minutes per game, he has been an extremely solid fantasy contributor with 28 fppg in the past eight. Tonight marks the most favorable matchup of that stretch, against a Lakers team that ranks dead last in defensive efficiency vs PG’s. Even though the price point has grown, feel confident in Ish to continue this heater.
Brandan Wright – C – PHX
Alex Len returned last game, but Brandan Wright still saw the lion’s share of minutes (30 to 18). He has always been a fantastic FP/min producer, and now he’s seeing enough minutes to post some solid fantasy lines. The matchup against his former team is great, as Dallas ranks dead last in rebound rate. As I said in the Ish Smith write-up, the price tag is rising, but I still expect Wright to surpass his value threshold.