We’ve revamped the NBA Targets post to give a little bit more of a diverse look at each slate rather than focusing on just a couple games. Here's a preview of each matchup and my thoughts on the top picks, other picks to consider, and some players to avoid for tonight.
CLE @ DAL over/under 201, Cavaliers -5
This is one of the more tempting games of the night to go after as most of the players on both teams are underpriced a bit due to recent injuries or struggles and the game is expected to be pretty close and fairly high scoring. However, both of these teams have been a bit unpredictable and hard to eek value out of this season. I think the safest play from this game is Monta Ellis despite not a great matchup on paper, while LeBron James could be able to provide comparable numbers to Davis if the game comes down to the wire.
DET @ LAL over/under 202.5, Pistons -2.5
This game should be chalk full of fantasy goodness, with two poor defenses squaring off in a competitive game. I think this total could get much higher than 202 if the Pistons bigs can stay out of foul trouble and the guards on both teams are knocking down shots. If we could sort out or had any idea what the Lakers were going to do with their big men, it would make this night a lot easier, but it sounds like Tarik Black will draw another start.
Anthony Davis -- PF NO
Davis continues to turn in monster lines since returning from his injury. He gets another great matchup tonight with the Brooklyn Nets who started Thaddeus Young at power forward last game, which would leave him in a very favorable matchup. It’s possible the Nets start Mason Plumlee and Brook Lopez together to combat the size of the Pelicans, but they’ve grown accustomed to playing smaller recently and it’s worked for them, so it seems unlikely they’d change that right now. Brooklyn has been a bottom 10 team in terms of efficiency against power forwards for the last six weeks and that’s not going to be getting better tonight.
Kawhi Leonard -- SF SAS
Leonard has been much most consistent of late, averaging almost 40 fantasy points per night on 21 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.6 blocks and 2.2 steals in the last 5 games. Leonard’s minutes had been really low right after the All-Star Break, but in those same 5 games, he’s playing over 34 minutes. This game actually has the highest over/under and pace rating of the night, so there should be plenty of stats to go around.
Tony Parker -- PG SAS
Parker has finally returned to some kind of consistency of late, which has been tough for him to achieve while he’s battled a hamstring and other nagging injuries all season up until the last couple weeks. He’s now tallied back to back 40 fantasy point games, while playing more than 30 minutes in each and has averaged 30 fantasy points in 28 minutes per night over the past 5 total. For his still depressed price, those are very solid numbers. He’s always a risk for reduced minutes or an in-game injury, but facing off against Toronto’s defense that has been dead last against point guards since the break is a perfect situation to deploy him before his price catches up.
Reggie Jackson -- PG DET
Jackson is another point guard who has really gotten it going of late. The Pistons have been a great fit for his style of play as a ball dominant player on a team that have no other real perimeter creators. Jackson has topped 40 fantasy points multiple times already for the Pistons and none of those matchups have been as good as this one with the Lakers in a high-scoring game. Jackson should top 35 minutes if the game remains close and he’s been approach 20 shot attempts nightly.
Andre Drummond -- C DET
Another Piston on this list, Drummond will draw journeyman Tarik Black to start this game if the rumors that Black will get another start tonight are true. This provides him with an undersized opponent who also should give him few foul worthy issues on the other end. The matchup is a dream, as it is anytime a talented big man plays the Lakers, but just because Black shouldn’t cause him problems, doesn’t mean we don’t need to worry about foul trouble for one of the league leaders in that category.
Greg Monroe -- PF DET
All the Pistons are moving today, as Greg Monroe has to crack this list as well. He’s their second option on offense behind Jackson and is the beneficiary when Drummond deals with foul trouble. Assuming Jordan Hill starts at power forward, he’ll have to deal with the best of the Laker bigs, which is annoying, but not something we have to avoid as the Lakers rank near the bottom of the league against both power position regardless of if Hill is playing or not.
Tim Duncan -- PF SA
Duncan’s price continues to fall into more and more tempting territory, but it’s falling for good reason. He simply hasn’t been productive and it’s because he isn’t getting the minutes he needs to be productive. That coupled with the simultaneous resurgence of both Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard and he’s simply not an appealing fantasy option at this point. It’s been 8 games since he topped 28 minutes and the matchup with Toronto tonight simply isn’t enough for me to believe he can produce what we need.