Fantasy Basketball 2013: Strong Plays For December 18th

By Adam Pfeifer
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


12 games of NBA action are scheduled for this evening, so you can bet your bottom dollar that fantasy hoops owners will be scheduling a date with their couch, computer and television.

Take a break from the stress of the fantasy football championship week, and let’s dive into the addicting world of daily fantasy basketball.

Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel.

Blake Griffin, PF (vs NO)

FPPG allowed to PF: 42.69 (7th-most)

Coming into the season, I had Griffin penciled in as a fantasy bust. Safe to say, I was dead wrong. Griffin is currently averaging a strong double-double, sporting 20.3 points and 10.3 boards per contest. He’s been red hot lately, scoring at least 30 DraftDay fantasy points in all but two contests this entire season. He has an ideal matchup to continue his strong play tonight, as the Pelicans have been getting carved down low without Anthony Davis in the lineup. The Pelicans have surrendered an average of 43.9 points in the paint per game this season (7th-most) and are allowing opposing power forwards to average 12 rebounds per game. Ryan Anderson and Al-Faoq Aminu are good players, but aren’t nearly as physical or athletic to match Griffin. Blake is an overpowering force at times, getting to the line seven times per game. He could find himself at the line a lot tonight, as opponents are averaging 24.7 free-throw attempts per game on the year.

Gordon Hayward, SG (@ ORL)

FPPG allowed to SG: 39.58 (2nd-most)

Hayward may be coming off a horrible outing against the Heat on Monday night, but he could be in line for a 50-point fantasy outing this evening. Only the 76ers (duh) are worse from a defensive efficiency standpoint against the shooting guard position, and Hayward has the skill-set to provide monster numbers in all categories. Just look back to his game on Friday where he posted a stat line of 30/5/13, resulting in a monster 57 fantasy points. Hayward is also touching the ball a ton, which is what I like most. The Jazz like a top-tier point guard, so the Utah shooting guard is averaging a strong 70.3 offensive touches per game. He is also leading the NBA in distance traveled (70.2 miles), which means not only is he on the court a lot, but he is everywhere. That should bode well against the Magic tonight.

DeMarcus Cousins, C (@ ATL)

FPPG allowed to C: 43.64 (11th-most)

The last time Cousins failed to post at least 35 fantasy points, it was November 17th. A full month of pure dominance from Cousins, and the addition of Rudy Gay hasn’t done anything to slow him down. In the three games since the Kings brought in Gay, Cousins is averaging a stellar 22 points, 14.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, all while logging almost 35 minutes per game. With Gay looking like a game-time decision for Wednesday night, Cousins will touch the ball religiously if Gay is sidelined. He also thrives when Isaiah Thomas is running the point, and that is going to be the case from here on out. The two have strong chemistry, and if Rudy can’t go, we should see a lot of the tw0-man game in a relatively friendly matchup tonight.

Jerryd Bayless, PG (@ DAL)

FPPG allowed to PG: 38.68 (11th-fewest)

The matchup isn’t as great as last night’s against an inept Lakers defensive unit, but I’d be willing to roll Bayless out there again tonight as a strong value play. It’s looking like Mike Conley will be sidelined again in this game, which makes Bayless an intriguing option. Memphis is a depleted bunch right now, as Mike Miller and Tayshaun Prince may miss this game as well. That will result in plenty of shot opportunity for Bayless, and considering Dallas is weak against the small forward and shooting guard position, perhaps Bayless will exceed his weak two assists from Tuesday night. If you are looking to save your money, Bayless should exceed his value this evening.

Arron Afflalo, SF (vs UTA)

FPPG allowed to SF: 40.49 (4th-most)

Afflalo continues his outstanding start to the season, seemingly scoring at will. He’s scored 20-plus points in each of his last two games, resulting in over 30 fantasy points. He is taking a healthy 16 shots per game, and has one of the best matchups possible on Wednesday night against the Jazz. Only three teams are allowing more fantasy points per game to small forwards, and I don’t see the likes of Richard Jefferson being able to shadow Afflalo, who is shooting .468 % from the field this year. Considering he has shot the ball well and the Jazz are surrendering the highest field-goal percentage to opposing offenses this year (47.5%), Afflalo could have one of those 30-point nights where he is unconscious from the field.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.


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