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Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: December 4, 2015

Hey, at least they managed to get the Mexico City game in this year. Remembering back a few years, the arena caught fire and had to be evacuated so the game was postponed. The product on the floor was hot garbage as the Celtics ran away with it and DeMarcus Cousins barely played in the fourth quarter…as was the story in the NBA on a six game Thursday slate last night.

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As Rebecca Black’s lyrics suggest, now it’s “Friday, Friday and we gotta get down on Friday.” Unfortunately there are only six games again tonight but five of the year six carry a spread of 6.5 points or less. Only one game (Hawks/Lakers) has a favorite expected to win by double digits. With competitive basketball on the horizon tonight, let’s look forward to adding money to our bankroll before the partyin’ and partyin’ commences on the weekend (more Rebecca Black lyrics).

Time to grind:

Point Guard

“The Play”: From November 7 until the month of December, John Wall did not eclipse the 40 fantasy point plateau once. Wall went eight straight games without blowing up and the fantasy community began to wonder if something was up with him. Wouldn’t you know it; just as the world gave up on him, he has risen from the dead in the month of December and put together back-to-back monstrous performances of at least 63.75 fantasy points. This isn’t Space Jam so there’s no “stolen talent” theory to explain the cold streak, but whatever was off with him in late November seems to have passed like a common cold. Tonight Wall draws a matchup against the Phoenix Suns who allow the fourth most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to the point guard (PG) position and rank 19th in efficiency. Marcin Gortat will sit out the the next two games as he tends to a family matter so Wall will miss him some on the pick and roll and that could cut into his assist total slightly. However, as long as Wall has his buddy Bradley Beal on the court with him, the two of them seem to bring out the best in one another. This should be a fast-paced (213.5 over/under) battle of the guards and Vegas projects a close game (1.5 point spread). I’m expecting an “anything you can do, I can do better” mentality each time up the court from the backcourts and therefore all four players have the chance to go “HAM” in this one. Of the four, Wall possesses the highest upside and is the player I will be targeting in all formats.

Others to Consider: Both PGs in the Phoenix/Washington game are viable so Brandon Knight is worthy of consideration but the Wizards rank fourth in defensive efficiency to the position. Without J.J. Barea, one of Devin Harris or Raymond Felton are going to be worth their basement prices but it’s difficult to determine who is the guy on a nightly basis. My pick tonight would be Harris if in need of a punt. Otherwise point guards against the Lakers are always in play (Jeff Teague), Jarrett Jack is worth a look against the Knicks and Milwaukee’s porous defense makes Reggie Jackson an enticing tournament play.

Shooting Guard

“The Play”: Did I mention the guards in the Phoenix/Washington game are excellent targets? Well I want to reiterate because I am completely on board with using both Wall and Eric Bledsoe in cash games. Since Nov. 6, Bledsoe has scored 20-plus points in all but two games; that’s a 13 game stretch of insane consistency and, even in his “duds,” the lowest point total he’s managed is 16. Again, this game is expected to be high scoring with some of the usuals from both teams’ frontcourts missing so the guards essentially have to put on a show. Expect both teams’ guards to resemble Portland’s in the sense that they’ll be taking all the shots and controlling the game. You’ll want some shares (and popcorn).

Others to Consider: As always James Harden is in play but there’s a better superstar alternative in cash games so I would save him for tournaments barring late inactives that present serious value. Any game could be a Kobe Bryant game if the shots fall and he’ll definitely be heaving once again. The Atlanta Hawks have struggled against wings comparatively to last season due to the loss of DeMarre Carroll so Bryant is intriguing in tournaments especially coming off his first game of 40-plus percent field goals since Nov. 13. Lastly, assuming O.J. Mayo draws the start, his $4,400 price tag allows money to be allocated elsewhere and the Pistons struggle (27th in efficiency) against opposing shooting guards (SGs). Jason Kidd’s rotation is weird (Jerryd Bayless drew a random DNP last game) so reserve “Juice” (Mayo) for the GPP setting.

Small Forward

“The Play”: Trevor Ariza is one of those strange players whose fantasy point total has dropped this season when a significant producer on his own team (Dwight Howard) sits. This phenomenon is likely caused to Howard’s post presence causing defenders to try and cheat to help double-teaming him or cut off the post-entry pass. Ariza has been forced into more contested shots without him which could explain the 28-percent field goals (FGs) without him thus far. Looking back to last season, this is not a trend that should continue as Ariza averaged 29.0 DraftKings (DK) FPPG without Howard as opposed to 27.2 with him. A few bad shooting games early in the season have skewed data and may cause some to overlook what could be one of the better values of the night. Ty Lawson has been removed from the starting lineup so there’s one less ball hog to worry about stealing touches from Ariza. Dallas has struggled against wings as they rank in the bottom half of efficiency to both SGs and small forwards (SFs). It shouldn’t matter whether Chandler Parsons guards him or they slide over Wes Matthews because Ariza will hang in the corner and should be a lock for multiple three-pointers. The game is also projected as the second highest total of the night so the pace will allow more possessions for Ariza to rack up rebounds and steals (the two categories that will likely make or break his night). In Ariza’s most recent game against Dallas last season without Howard, he dropped 26.75 DK FPs and should be safe for a similar total at just $5,300.

Others to Consider: If Ariza doesn’t float your boat, studs like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony both play in Friday night’s slate and are in favorable spots. James and co. head to New Orleans to face a Pelicans squad that doesn’t really have anyone worthy of the task of guarding him. Only Anthony Davis and Alexis Ajinca possess defensive ratings sub-110 which personifies how favorable squaring off against them is in fantasy. Alonzo Gee will likely guard James since he and Davis are the only two players on the team with a positive defensive box plus-minus rating..but James should still have his way with him. As for Anthony, Brooklyn ranks 27th in SF defensive efficiency and I don’t see either Joe Johnson or Rondae Hollis-Jefferson slowing him down much either. James’ floor is much higher so he’d be my preference even with a salary $2,000 greater than Melo’s. Others to consider: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mirza Teletovic (especially if Markieff Morris out again) and Marcus Morris.

Power Forward

“The Play”: Stud of choice for Dec. 4: Anthony Davis. The fact that Tyreke Evans is back hurts Davis’ stock slightly as Davis did average nearly four FPPG more without Evans last season but “the Brow” is still a monster. Defense has never been Kevin Love‘s specialty. Last season, he allowed virtually the same FG percentage at the rim as names such as Zach Randolph, Carlos Boozer and Jared Sullinger. So far, opponents are shooting a slightly higher FG percentage on both contested shots and at the rim, meaning Davis is going to eat him for dinner. Against the Cavaliers, Evans should help to create a diversion from Davis, meaning the whole team can’t commit to helping Love guard Davis in the post. For that reason, I think this is going to be a huge scoring game for Davis. Stepping out to cover Love will limit his block potential although his long arms will likely still lead to at least a few by accident. Davis shot 64 percent against Love last season, so if he can replicate that type of efficiency, he will emerge as above and beyond the best play of the night.

Others to Consider: Terrence Jones receives the Dwight Howard inactive bump and his salary has dropped all the way to $4,900. Considering he is averaging 32.1 DK FPPG when the starting center sits, his cost feels like Walmart Throwback pricing. Power forwards are always in play against Milwaukee but Ersan Ilyasova is as volatile as they come. This is a “revenge game” and he will be carrying added motivation to succeed so make sure you have a share or two. Surprisingly Dirk Nowitzki has turned back the clock this season and is proving to be a lock for 30 FPs every time he steps on the court. If Markieff Morris sits, Jon Leuer has continued to make the most of his opportunity and $4,100 would simply be too cheap to ignore. The Washington frontcourt situation is unclear at this point but I like whomever starts (either Nene Hilario, Kris Humphries or maybe even Drew Gooden). Oh, and although I hate his inflated price these days, Kristaps Porzingis is an absolute beast and is emerging as one of the most consistent DFS plays already. He’s going to be scary good. Others to consider: Paul Millsap, Ryan Anderson and Julius Randle.

Center

“The Play”: While the masses flock to Clint Capela tonight (and I may as well), there is a player I think will get off the “schneid” in a big way tonight: Al Horford. There is no way in hell Roy Hibbert will be able to step out and guard Horford’s jumpers. This season, Horford has even decided to consistently fire from beyond the arc, and again, Hibbert will not be able to step out and defend it. The Lakers already rank 28th in efficiency to centers and allow the ninth most fantasy points to the position so it’s not like they matchup especially well with anyone. Horford creates an especially difficult matchup for him and I think he drops 20-plus points even if the game turns into a blowout. Paul Millsap is the safe option that everyone will lean towards but Horford’s price has bottomed out at $6,700 and it’s time to buy.

Others to Consider: As mentioned above, Clint Capela is a strong play especially with Howard sitting out and he could flirt with 35 fantasy points at just $5,800. Greg Monroe will seek revenge against Andre Drummond and the Pistons…Spoiler alert: I think Drummond wins out. In Madison Square Garden, the Lopez twins will battle it out against one another and neither are particularly impressive defenders. Robin Lopez is worse in both facets of the game so Brook Lopez is the play of the two and always possesses GPP winning upside.

Good luck tonight! Grind on….

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