Today, we have a small three-game slate with Charlotte at Toronto (-12, 199.5), Houston at New York (+11.5 194), and Miami at Portland (-8.5, 197). Currently, it appears that the only injury question is whether Wesley Matthews will suit up for the Trail Blazers tonight.
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors, $9,800 - DeMar DeRozan is not quite ready to return, so Lowry will have an insane usage rate for a little longer. Also, the Raptors have lost three straight games, so I’m expecting Lowry to come out and have a big game to try to end the losing streak. Kemba Walker is not a great defender and the Hornets are 21st in DvP against PGs, so it’s a plus matchup for Lowry. He’s taken at least 17 shots in each of his last five games and he can fill up the stat sheet, so he is the top PG option on the night.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, $9,500 - Portland has been hit by the injury bug, and now could be without Wesley Matthews for this one, meaning Lillard will continue to see heavy minutes. He’s a guy who plays his best in big moments, so I like this spot for him in a nationally televised game. Lillard’s played at least 39 minutes in each of his last three games and will have to pick up even more shots if Matthews is out. I expect Kyle Lowry and Kemba Walker to be the highest owned PGs today, and both are obviously great options, but for a GPPs I think Lillard is a tremendous play.
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, $8,900 - Wade is currently healthy and playing very well, as he has 40 or more FD points in four of his last six games. James Harden is an attractive option as well, but Wade is $2,100 cheaper, and the Houston/New York game could easily turn into a blowout (just check out the NBA odds for reference), so I’ll taking the savings and roster Wade tonight. Portland has been very tough on opposing SGs this year, but Wesley Matthews could miss this game. In addition, the Blazers have allowed the 6th most FD points to SGs over the past 10 games. If Matthews is ruled out, most people will be looking at his replacement as an option, but the guys who gets the biggest boosts in my opinion would be Wade and Lillard.
Tim Hardaway Jr., New York Knicks, $5,400 - This one honestly came down to a coin flip for me between Tim Hardaway Jr. and Lou Williams for the second SG position. Theoretically, Hardaway Jr. should be in a great spot to put up big numbers without Carmelo, Amar’e and JR Smith on the court. However, that hasn’t truly played out quite yet, although his matchups recently have been tough. The matchup tonight isn’t much better with the Rockets, and if the Knicks stick with their same starting lineup as last game, he’ll likely draw the defense of Trevor Ariza rather than James Harden (who has been a much better defender this year). However, Hardaway Jr. should get a minimum of double-digit shot attempts and his role in the offense is more secure than Lou’s. I do think he’ll be the higher owned of the two, but he isn’t a lock to out-produce Lou, so I’ll be looking towards the latter, who has been playing very well recently, in some GPPs.
Gerald Henderson, Charlotte Hornets, $4,900 - I’m finding myself rostering both Charlotte wings tonight. The SF position is very weak, and both Henderson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist have seen an uptick in minutes and usage with Al Jefferson and Lance Stephenson out. Over his last five games, Henderson is averaging 31 MPG, almost 14 field goal attempts per game, and has topped 30 FD points in his last two games. Toronto has defended the SG position very well over the course of the season, but has slipped recently, as they have allowed the 8th most FD points to SGs over the past 10 games.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Hornets, $5,400 - With Big Al out the past five games, MKG has seen a bump in minutes, field goal attempts, and especially rebounding, as he is averaging 29.4 MPG, 12.8 PPG, and 9.8 RPG since Jefferson’s injury. He’s been very good in four of those five games, with the one bad outing due to early foul trouble (he only played 18 minutes). MKG draws a quality matchup with the Raptors, who are 28th in DvP against SFs.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers, $10,100 - The matchup with Miami is not ideal, as they are 1st in DvP against PFs. However, Aldridge is one of the top PFs in the league, and he is the only safe source of points at the position tonight, so I think he’s a guy you need to fit into your lineups. With Portland thin on the interior, he is averaging 38 MPG over his last three and has attempted at least 19 shots in each game. I think his volume and usage will overcome the tough matchup. Also, Miami is the worst rebounding team in the league, so Aldridge should be able to do some work on the glass.
Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors, $4,800 or Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets, $5,200 - If you’re looking for a dependable second PF tonight, you aren’t going to find one. I’d lean towards Cody Zeller as the top option in cash games, as he has at least 20 FD points in each of his past six games, and Toronto has allowed the 10th most FD points to opposing PFs. However, his upside is limited, so it sets up as a nice night to roll the dice on Amir Johnson in GPPs. His minutes are incredibly volatile so he’s very risky for cash games, but when he gets minutes his ceiling is higher than Zeller’s.
Chris Kaman, Portland Trail Blazers, $4,600 - Most people will gravitate towards Cole Aldrich, but I don’t like the matchup with Houston and his price is on the rise. Chris Kaman has been very productive this year, but is only averaging 19 MPG on the season. However, with the injuries to Robin Lopez and Joel Freeland, you’ll see that bump up to around 25 to 27 minutes per game, so there is some built in value here, as he’s still priced on 19 MPG production. Kaman started and played 27 minutes last game, and Terry Stotts said that he hopes to play Kaman “12 to 13 minutes per half.” He’s averaged slightly over 1 fantasy point per minute so far this year and had 29.7 FD points in 27 minutes last game, so 25 FD points (over 5x value) is a reasonable expectation. Miami is weak on the interior, as they are 28th in DvP against the center position and are dead last in rebounding differential, meaning it’s a good matchup for opposing big men.