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Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: December 11, 2015

Spirit Airlines sucks. Expecting there to be wifi on my flight, I waited to crank out this article until I sat down on the plane. Apparently Spirit is stuck in the 1980’s and does not offer such things so now I am sitting in my suite at the Venetian spittin’ fantasy advice instead of getting my blackjack on. You’re welcome.

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Since we’re short for time this week, let’s get straight to the hoops. There’s an 11 game slate so plenty of information to cover.

Time to grind:

Point Guard

“The Play”: Many will be on Stephen Curry tonight for good reason but I am going to avoid paying up for him against the number one point guard (PG) efficiency defense. Instead, Patty Mills is the guy to roster tonight with Tony Parker already ruled out. Last season, Mills’ usage percentage increased from 21.6 to 25.4 percent, his minutes increased from 15.3 to 20.5 per game and he scored four more Draftkings (DK) fantasy points per game (FPPG) without Parker…and Cory Joseph was in the mix. Now he is firmly supplanted as the backup point guard and will square off against a Lakers team that ranks 29th in point guard efficiency defense this season. The good news is, without Parker, Mills should remain in the game even when it reaches blowout levels (14.5 point spread) so his floor is firmly supplanted. Save money on Mills and spend up elsewhere as he may even gain some additional usage as Kawhi Leonard continues to regain health from his illness earlier in the week.

Others to Consider: Okay so Steph Curry is still worthy of consideration as he possesses the highest upside on the slate (especially if Klay Thompson sits). John Wall would be the logical alternative if saving some money because he has been en fuego, surpassing 58 fantasy points in four of his last six games. He’ll square off against New Orleans’ league worst defense overall and last place PG efficiency defense. Russell Westbrook is in play against a Utah team lacking rim protection without Rudy Gobert as a contrarian option with elite upside. Brandon Knight will benefit from the defense (or lack thereof) of Damian Lillard in what should be a close, high-scoring game so he’s in play if spending up elsewhere as well. Besides those handful of options, Damian Lillard, Isaiah Thomas, Ricky Rubio and Reggie Jackson all look like enticing GPP options but are a tier behind the aforementioned studs.

Shooting Guard

“The Play”: Remember the 70 fantasy points James Harden dropped on Washington Tuesday night? Now it’s Tyreke Evans‘ turn to get a crack at them in what should be one of, if not the fastest-paced game of the night. Evans possesses triple-double upside every time he steps on a court and the recency bias will likely come into play (just 6.50 fantasy points in 17 minutes last game) leaving him vastly under-owned. If there was ever a spot for him to rebound in a big way, it would be a game against a Wizards team determined to kick up the pace. Evans had played at least 30 minutes in his previous four games so this was likely just a blip on the radar and I think Evans gets back to his double-double ways. At an affordable price, his ceiling is as high as anyone at the position’s not named Eric Bledsoe

Others to Consider: There are some fantastic games to target tonight in terms of pace and targeting multiple players from Trail Blazers/Suns certainly fits the bill. The projected Vegas total is 210 and Bledsoe is almost a nightly lock for 20-real points; a plateau he should eclipse once again tonight. Minnesota/Denver is another of my favorite games to target and Andrew Wiggins against the worst shooting guard (SG) defense by efficiency makes sense as well. DeMar DeRozan‘s production is mostly tied to his scoring ability but he has taken his all-around game to the next level this season so I do feel confident using him at home against Milwaukee. If looking for bargain options, O.J. Mayo, Terrence Ross (if no DeMarre Carroll) and Alec Burks are prime targets.

Small Forward

“The Play”: By George, this guy Paul on the Pacers is good. Fine so that was a miserable pun but Paul George is absolutely the guy to spend up for at the small forward (SF) position. The two teams took the court earlier this season and all George did was drop 36 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block or 64.0 fantasy points. Hassan Whiteside is a great help defender but George’s game has so many elements that he can succeed without consistently taking it to Whiteside’s house. He’s also incredibly quick and powerful for 6’11 so his first step is so fast he may actually beat Whiteside from the help-side to the basket. Oh by the way Miami ranks 25th in defensive efficiency against opposing small forwards (SF) and dead last in efficiency recap difference to SFs. In other words, the Heat are a prime matchup to the position and George is simply one of the best. Roster him in all formats and reap the benefits.

Others to Consider: LeBron James is still the king and worthy of a spot in most formats as well if only to differentiate from your George shares. James scored at least 53 fantasy points in all three meetings versus Orlando last season and put up 44.5 in their first meeting this year. Kevin Durant messed around and got a triple-double last night but he’s my least favorite of the elite options as he has a date with Gordon Hayward and the Jazz tonight…Speaking of Mr. Hayward, he has scored at least 31 fantasy points against the Thunder in six of their last seven meetings including three games over 40 and one game of 67.75 fantasy points. He’s the prime value at the position and I would have no qualms about rostering both him and George in both GPP and cash games. Others to consider: Nicolas Batum, Al-Farouq Aminu, Marcus Morris, Jae Crowder and C.J. Miles.

Power Forward

“The Play”: Who on the Boston Celtics is athletic enough to guard Draymond Green? Let’s take a look at the Celtics’ big men: Amir Johnson, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, David Lee and Jonas Jerebko. Which of those guys have enough talent to step out and guard Green’s outside shot, run with him on the break and defend him in the post? Correct answer: none of them. Boston has been trying to speed up the pace this season (rank fifth in pace just behind the fourth place Warriors) and those are typically games where Green succeeds. Fast speeds typically mean there are a plentiful amount of opportunities for both rebounds and defensive statistics…and teams are more prone to mistakes as they play faster. That means this could be one of those four steal, four block games for Green who already is a threat for a triple-double with a healthy Thompson. With Thompson 50/50 to sit this one, Green is a building block for cash game lineups and has the potential to give Curry a run for his money for the team’s top fantasy point producer.

Others to Consider: Before we get to who I do like, I would not consider Derrick Favors at his inflated price. He has eclipsed 30 fantasy points just twice in the last six meetings against Serge Ibaka so it’s sort of a pointless risk on such a large slate even with the additional usage due to Rudy Gobert‘s absence. Anthony Davis will square off against a depleted Wizards frontcourt and therefore should have his way but his price is tough to stomach especially with his recent injury debacles (aka leaving games early). Serge Ibaka, Kenneth Faried and Zach Randolph are all around $6,000 range coming off of some of their best performances of the season and at least one of them is bound to duplicate it.

Center

“The Play”: Hallelujah: Scott Skiles has found a guy he loves. While many are spending time trying to figure out what he’s doing with just about everyone else in the rotation, Nikola Vucevic is out there playing 30-plus minutes a night and dropping consistent double-doubles. Vucevic has now double-doubled in five of his last six games and the exception came due to a 16 point, eight rebound, three assist, one steal and two block performance against the defensive-minded Utah squad (35 fantasy points). Looking at Vucevic’s output versus Cleveland earlier this season can be deceiving because he only received 25 minutes in that one as it was only his third game back from injury and his minutes were still ramping up. I’d expect closer to the 22 and 15 he dropped last season in his one meeting against Cleveland as he’s back to being an absolute monster.

Others to Consider: Charlotte has absolutely no one to match up against Marc Gasol without Al Jefferson so he should eat by default. Karl-Anthony Towns doesn’t play big enough minutes for my liking but it may not matter against the Nuggets. Although Bismack Biyombo is physical, Greg Monroe‘s post game is so refined he should be able to drop a hefty double-double on him anyways. Lastly, I have to mention Andre Drummond against Jahlil Okafor who certainly is not known for his defense…because he doesn’t play any. Otherwise the center position is rather ugly tonight and there are a bunch of fringe options at best (Marcin Gortat, Jared Sullinger, Aron Baynes, Gorgui Dieng, Frank Kaminsky and Mason Plumlee).

Good luck tonight! Grind on….

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