Fantasy Basketball 2014: Daily Dose; January 7th
After countless weeks of writing these daily hoops columns, it just recently occurred to me. This series has yet to receive an official name.
I decided to do something about that.
From now until the rest of the season, my daily fantasy hoops series will be called “Daily Dose.” Clever, right? I know, I know. Simply put, I felt “strong plays for (insert date)” was getting pretty dry. Anyway, let’s get to the plays.
Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel.
Kyrie Irving, PG (vs PHI)
FPPG allowed to PG: 46.08 (30th)
For those of you who don’t know, the Cavs are my favorite team and, as you may expect, Kyrie is my favorite player. So, having him out of the lineup for the last three games with a knee injury has been very difficult for me. However, all signs are pointing towards him returning to the lineup tonight against Philly. He was seen participating in morning shootaround, and as long as he is out there, he is virtually a must-play against the worst defense in basketball. No team is surrendering more fantasy points per game to point guards on the season, and no team is coughing up more assists (10.60) either. In two games against the Sixers this season, Kyrie is averaging 24.5 points, 10.5 assists, four rebounds and three triples per game. I like his chances of producing from beyond the arc, as the Sixers are allowing a league-leading 30.6 points per game from three this season.
Keep tabs on this, as Irving continues to look like a game-time decision.
Monta Ellis, SG (vs LAL)
FPPG allowed to SG: 39.26 (30th)
Ellis has cooled off a bit since his scorching start to the season. Over his past five games, his scoring outputs have been sporadic at best, posting totals of 13, 13, 23, 9, 22. He’s averaging just 16 points during that span, and looks to be acting as more of a facilitator than scorer. Ellis is also refusing to attack the basket as often as he did to start the year, where he was averaging about 12 drives to the basket par game, the most in the league. Now that number is down to about 10. However, if there were any night to get back on track, it’d be tonight against the Lakers, who are the worst in the league at defending shooting guards. Also, Ellis could find success if he chooses to attack the basket, as the Lakers are coughing up 47.9 points in the paint per game, the second-most in basketball. The last time Ellis faced the Lakers, he went off to the tune of 30 points, nine assists, three rebounds and a steal. I like him to get back on track this evening with a nice stat line.
Evan Turner, SF (@ CLE)
FPPG allowed to SF: 41.62 (30th)
Turner continues to have one of the best seasons that no one is talking about. Averaging a strong 19.5 points, four assists, 6.5 boards and one steal per contest, Turner has served as a top-15 overall small forward in fantasy land all year. Part of a rather ugly small forward position, I love Turner tonight against my Cavs, who have been the worst against the position all season long. Granted, they did just make a huge move to acquire strong defender and All-Star Luol Deng, but it doesn’t look like he’ll make his Cavs debut tonight. Turner is a versatile player, a guy who can contribute in many categories. I see him doing that tonight, as opposing small forwards are averaging 23.73 points, 8.81 rebounds, 3.55 assists and 1.52 steals per game against Cleveland. In two meetings with the Cavs earlier on, Turner went off, scoring 43 points, while adding 20 rebounds, six assists and two triples. This should be a relatively high-scoring, close game, and Turner will benefit.
David Lee, PF (@ MIL)
FPPG allowed to PF: 41.25 (19th)
I’m not entirely sure why Lee doesn’t get more fantasy (as well as real life) love. The guy is putting together an outstanding season, averaging 19 points, 9.8 rebounds and is shooting .523% from the field. He has been a double-double machine, ranking seventh in the league with 20. Lee even went on a streak where he posted 10 consecutive double-doubles. I tend to play him any chance I can, and while there could be a blowout concern in tonight’s game, I still like him. The matchup is too good to pass up. Lee, one of the best rebounders in the league, will face arguably the worst rebounding team in basketball in Milwaukee. This unit is coughing up 12.4 offensive boards per game (2nd-most) and 33.2 defensive rebounds per game (8th-most). And the 54.2 total rebounds they are allowing per game is the third-most in the NBA. At least he was recently named the Western Conferences’ Player of the Week.
Perhaps we are getting somewhere.
Anderson Varejao, C (vs PHI)
FPPG allowed to C: 46.33 (27th)
Wild Thing. You make my heart sing.
Varejao is such an underrated fantasy contributor, largely because he was behind the sloth that was, Andrew Bynum. However, Bynum is officially out of the picture in Cleveland, and the center position belongs to Varejao, who has been killing it over his last five games, averaging 10.2 points, 1.4 blocks and a ridiculous 14.6 rebounds per game. Remember, towards the beginning of last season, this was a guy averaging 14 rebounds per game and was one of the better fantasy centers out there. His price has climbed because of his recent play, but for tonight, he’s worth it. The Sixers frontcourt is still incredibly soft, as centers are grabbing a healthy 14 rebounds per game, and teams as a unit a grabbing 55.5 total rebounds per game, the second-most. Double-digit rebounds should be a lock, and considering Spencer Hawes doesn’t threaten anyone defensively, Andy should have some strong offensive numbers, too.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.
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