It’s Showcase Sunday in the NBA, providing us with a quality 9 game slate. Today’s action consists of 2 afternoon games and 7 evening contests. It’s advisable to play the “late slate” only, but sometimes it’s fun to assemble an “all day” team and watch the afternoon games unfold on national TV.
This article is meant to serve as a comprehensive primer, outlining the top games to target along with some of the best individual matchups of the day.
GAMES TO TARGET
Phoenix @ Sacramento: Over/Under 209, Suns -6
This one should be fast paced track meet, as both teams love to push the ball (Sacramento 6th in possessions/game, Phoenix 2nd). That should be enough to stabilize Ramon Sessions (minimum salary) in a starting PG role, assuming Darren Collison misses another game. Check back to Rotoworld Headlines for confirmation … Otherwise, Eric Bledsoe has immense upside in this one, and Markieff Morris is another viable DFS target for Phoenix … We can’t forget about Boogie either: DeMarcus Cousins checks in as one of the highest projected players of the day. He’ll take on a Suns team that ranks 28th vs Centers and 27th in rebound rate. Phoenix is without Alex Len as well, weakening their frontcourt even more.
LA Clippers @ Oklahoma City: Over/Under 210, Thunder -4
This is an afternoon game (tip at 1 ET), so it won’t be available on the later slate. However, if you are playing the “all day” contests, this is the highest scoring matchup to target. Russell Westbrook is on a tear, but his price point is insanely expensive. He’s not a bad play, but he shouldn’t get to the rim at will (like the past few games) with Chris Paul hounding him … I really believe this is a prime spot for Kevin Durant to break-out. He’s playing his second game back, at home, and LAC has struggled vs SF’s (26th in defensive efficiency).
TOP 5 MATCHUPS
1. DeMarcus Cousins – C – SAC (vs Phoenix)
I already touched on Cousins in the “Games to Target” section, but it’s definitely worth emphasizing. Phoenix has actually improved vs the Center position as of late, but I’m expecting them to regress with Alex Len out of the lineup. Cousins tore apart Utah last night, who actually ranks 1st in defensive efficiency vs Centers. Just imagine what he can do in this tasty matchup.
2. D.J. Augustin – PG – DET (vs Minnesota)
As you probably know, Augustin has been sizzling ever since taking over starting PG duties. He’s averaging 36 fppg over the past 7, and his price still hasn’t fully adjusted. Tonight, he’ll take on a Timberwolves team that ranks 28th vs the PG position. Ricky Rubio’s return to the lineup doesn’t do much to improve that mark either. Minnesota is starting to get healthy, and they are playing very competitive basketball…well, on the offensive end at least. That should help the cause for Augustin (and the other Detroit starters), playing a full complement of minutes vs a bad defensive team.
3. Pau Gasol – PF – CHI (at Orlando)
Orlando’s defense wasn’t very good to begin with, but they have gotten especially soft over the past month. They currently rank 26th in overall defensive efficiency, 24th in rebound rate, and 28th vs frontcourt players. All of that sets up perfectly for Gasol, and the blowout factor is dampened by Chicgao playing back-to-back road games.
4. Eric Bledsoe – SG – PHX (at Sacramento)
If you read the “Games to Target” section, then you probably had a hunch that Bledsoe would make a presence in the Top Plays section. Bledsoe has James Harden-like upside for a fraction of the cost. That holds especially true in this fast paced game vs a Sacramento team that ranks 27th in defensive efficiency vs SG’s.
5. Greg Monroe – PF – DET (vs Minnesota)
Monroe profiles well tonight for similar reasons noted above with his teammate, D.J. Augustin. Detroit will have the benefit of playing up in pace (Minnesota ranks 12th in possessions/game), and they have one of the higher team totals of the day. Minnesota ranks 29th at defending PF’s, and Monroe had a colossal performance in a similar matchup on Friday: notching 21 points, 21 rebounds (55 FP) vs Denver.
Like their teammate Gasol, Chicago’s starting backcourt also has a favorable draw tonight. Orlando ranks 24th in backcourt defense, and they just allowed Lakers’ rookie Jordan Clarkson pile up 30 FP on Friday (if that gives you any indication of the defensive susceptibility). Of the two, I’m leaning more towards Rose, but only because I’d rather take Eric Bledsoe for a similar price point to Butler.
Markieff Morris – PF – PHX (at Sacramento)
Not only does Sacramento rank dead last at defending opposing PF’s, but I’m having a tough time envisioning any of their bigs chasing Morris around the perimeter. This game is set up beautifully for Markieff, as the fast-pace nature should give him plenty of transition 3-point attempts.