Fantasy Basketball 2014: Daily Dose; January 8th
For hours yesterday, I had a set lineup, but was waiting to submit. Why? Because there were a handful of injuries that still needed to be determined, which would impact lineups drastically. This lineup was almost guaranteed for me, but closer to tip off, I made a few changes.
That’s right. I benched C.J. Miles.
50-plus fantasy points later, I was hurting inside, but hey, that’s part of the game. A strong nine games are on tap for Wednesday night, so let’s get to it.
Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel.
Goran Dragic, PG (@ MIN)
FPPG allowed to PG: 41.69 (23rd)
Dragic should continue to see high usage with Eric Bledsoe still sidelined, especially against this Timberwolves unit. Only the Sixers play at a faster pace than Minnesota, which presents plenty of opportunity for Dragic. Minnesota also allows the 8th-most fantasy points to the point guard position this season, while also surrendering the third-most points per game (22.38) to the position. The Wolves defense isn’t tough by any stretch, allowing 102.6 points per game, the sixth-most in the NBA. Dragic is averaging a healthy 34 minutes per game since Bledsoe went down, will touch the ball at a high rate for the foreseeable future.
James Harden, SG (vs LAL)
FPPG allowed to SG: 39.26 (30th)
Harden is without a doubt the top-play across the board tonight. No team surrenders the most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards, and considering the Lakers are incredibly banged up (down to 8 healthy players), Harden should torch this unit. Both teams rank inside the bottom-10 in points per game allowed (104.4, 102.5, respectively) so plenty of points should be put on the board tonight. And both teams play at a very fast pace, so there will be plenty of possessions for Harden this evening. He’s scored at least 50 DraftDay fantasy points in each of his last two games, and if the Lakers can keep this game close, he’ll have a strong chance to make it three straight. Harden is averaging a ridiculous 51 fantasy points per game when in the comfy confines of the Toyota Center, and I think he goes absolutely bonkers in this game.
Paul George, SF (@ ATL)
FPPG allowed to SF: 37.56 (23rd)
George hasn’t been the best fantasy option as of late, posting number sporadic point totals. However, part of it is simply because Indiana is such a good team and have many players that can contribute, especially when they are ahead. I do like him tonight, though, as the Hawks should be able to hang with the Pacer, especially since they play much better on their home court. George, meanwhile, is averaging five more points and fantasy points away from home this season, and Atlanta has no one that can consistently guard him tonight. Look for some extra rebound opportunity from George tonight, too, as Atlanta is coughing up the 4th-most rebounds per games to small forwards (8.35). They haven’t been the same interior team since Al Horford went down.
David Lee, PF (@ BKN)
FPPG allowed to PF: 40.35 (14th)
In the zone.
That’s the best way to describe how Lee is playing lately. He is a double-double machine, ranking fifth in the league with a whopping 21. He’s posted a double-double in 13 of his last 17 contests, and is now averaging an impressive double-double on the season, coming in at 19.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per contest. It’s hard to get away from him, so I’m not going to. Meanwhile, the Nets are one of the worst defenses per 100 possessions in all of basketball, and over the last 15 days, they are sporting the worst rebounding differential in all of basketball (-7). Keep feeding the hot hand, folks.
Dwight Howard, C (vs LAL)
FPPG allowed to C: 48.10 (29th)
Start all your Rockets.
A handful of Houston players are worth playing tonight, but especially Howard, who has seemingly everything going for him tonight. First, there’s that always discussed “revenge game”, as Howard will face off against his former team in the Lakers. But that means nothing to me when you look at how fantasy friendly the Lakers frontcourt is. The Lakers are surrendering the second-most points to opposing centers this season, but over the last 15 days, no team has coughed up more points to the position. LA also is coughing up a healthy 48.2 points in the paint per game, which is good for the second-most in the NBA. And Howard, arguably the league’s most dominant rebounder (12.9 per game), gets a ridiculously soft rebounding unit tonight. No team is giving up the most offensive rebounds per game (12.9) or defensive rebounds per game (34.9). Centers, in particular, are averaging a league-leading 15.78 rebounds per game against the Lakers.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.