Fantasy Basketball 2014: Strong Plays For January 2nd
One of my favorite parts about fantasy is keeping tabs on certain players and watching them become one of your favorites over the course of a season. They become fantasy man crushes, if you will. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love a handful of players in the NBA.
I’m not ashamed to say that I love Isaiah Thomas.
Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel
Isaiah Thomas, PG (vs PHI)
FPPG allowed to PG: 46.66 (most)
Were you expecting any other point guard after that intro? Thomas has benefited tremendously from the Rudy Gay trade. Since Gay was dealt to the King, and more importantly, fellow point guard Greivis Vasquez was sent to Toronto, Thomas is averaging 21.1 points, 7.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.5 triples per contest. That’s awesome, especially when you consider that his minutes have not been decreased whatsoever, logging 38.1 minutes per game during that span. He’s a stud, and can contribute in nearly every category. Consider him a must-start option tonight against the worst defense in basketball. Thomas, an excellent three-point shooter, should thrive against a 76ers unit allowing the most threes per game to opposing point guards (2.73), but also the most assists per game (10.89). These are also two of the worst defensive teams in basketball, allowing the first and second-most points per game. Plenty of points will be had.
Al Jefferson, C (@ POR)
FPPG allowed to C: 44.99 (7th-most)
Jefferson continues to play well during the month of December, as he posted his fourth consecutive double-double on Wednesday night with 14 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Over his last eight games, he’s posted a double-double in seven of them, and is averaging 17.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per contest during the month of December. As long as Charlotte can keep this game close tonight (which is no guarantee), Jefferson could have a very productive night. Portland is a terrific team, but they are rather weak defensively, allowing the most points in the paint to the opposition this season, coming in at a whopping 49.1 per game. Opponents are also averaging a strong 11.7 offensive rebounds per game against Portland, which is good for the sixth-most in basketball. He could have had a much bigger game last night against the Clippers, but that game got out of hand. I’m praying that doesn’t happen tonight, because Jefferson could have another monster performance.
Evan Turner, SF (@ SAC)
FPPG allowed to SF: 37.54 (10th-most)
I’ll say it again. You want everything to do with this potential shootout. That includes Turner, who is stringing together one of the more overlooked fantasy seasons this year, averaging 19.5 points, 4.1 assists, 6.6 rebounds and one steal per game. After missing Saturday’s game, Turner has now recorded back-to-back 20-point outings, averaging a strong 40 fantasy points during that span. Turner, who is already averaging 37 minutes per game on the season, should log plenty of minutes in a high-scoring, close matchup tonight. Sacramento is allowing the second-most points per game in basketball this season (104), as well as the 10th-most fantasy points per night to small forwards. Turner is also a very underrated passer, and that bodes well against the Kings, who are allowing the second-most assists per game to opposing small forwards (4.62).
Jeremy Lamb, SG (vs BKN)
FPPG allowed to SG: 39.09 (3rd-most)
The Nets are very bad at basketball, while the Thunder are very good. Simple, right? Oklahoma City should blow this team out, which will result in more minutes for Lamb, who already has an ideal matchup. Lamb is playing well lately, too, averaging 12.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, two assists, one steal and 1.4 triples per game over his last five. He only plays about 21 minutes per game, but with Russell Westbrook sidelined with injury, Lamb should continue to see an uptick in playing time, especially tonight. I like his matchup, as Brooklyn allows the third-most fantasy points per game to shooting guards, and Lamb is a very capable three-point shooter. Brooklyn is allowing 25.7 points per game from beyond the arc, the fifth-most in the NBA. Only $7500 DraftDay, he makes for a terrific value play this evening.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.
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