Fantasy Basketball 2014: Daily Dose; January 10th
After a one-night hiatus (curse those two-game evenings), I have returned. Fantasy basketball is truly becoming an addiction, and I have loved every minute of it. Thankfully, Friday night sports a glorious 12-game evening. Oh, and guess what? The 76ers play tonight.
You know what to do.
Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel.
Trey Burke, PG (vs CLE)
FPPG allowed to PG: 43.13 (27th)
Burke hasn’t exactly been shooting the ball well lately, sporting a field goal percentage of just .328 over his last five games, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have immense fantasy upside. During that span, he is also logging a healthy 34.4 minutes per game, and continues to make a presence in the peripheral stats, as well. Over his last five, Burke is averaging four rebounds, six assists, one steal, 12.2 points and 1.2 triples per contest. I like him tonight, especially for a relatively cheaper price, against a weak Cleveland defense. Point guards are scoring the fourth-most fantasy points per game against the Cavs, and those peripheral stats will help Burke in this game. Opposing point guards are also posting the most rebounds (6.26), the second-most assists (9.74) and the seventh-most steals (2.14) per game. It also helps that this game is in Utah, where Burke has been better this year, averaging about four more points and eight more fantasy points per game than when on the road.
Jamal Crawford, SG (vs LAL)
FPPG allowed to SG: 40.10 (30th)
The injury to Chris Paul has really opened up opportunity for Crawford to play a much larger role for this Clippers team. He is still taking plenty of shots, averaging almost 19 per game over his last five, but he has recently played more of the facilitator role. Averaging less than three assists per game on the year, Crawford is now averaging a strong 5.4 over his last five. He is playing tons of minutes, is seeing a high volume of touches and shots, and gets the best possible matchup tonight against the Lakers, who are the worst team in basketball at defending the shooting guard position. The Lakers allow the most fantasy points per game to shooting guards, and also surrender the second-most steals (2.02). That bodes well for Crawford, who is swiping 1.2 balls per game over his last five. The pace is the real factor here, as both of these teams (99.4 and 98.1, respectively) rank inside the top-10 in terms of pace, making this a game with plenty of offensive possessions. The Lakers are also allowing the third-most points per game in basketball, coming in at 104.6, so Crawford could be in line for a very nice contest.
Evan Turner, SF (vs DET)
FPPG allowed to SF: 40.70 (28th)
Turner likely burned a ton of people a few nights ago with an ideal matchup against the Cavaliers, posting an ugly 5.50 fantasy points. However, the game got out of hand very quickly, and Turner (as well as the entire 76ers roster not named MCW) had a lost game. It was the second game of a back-t0-back set on the road, and after a few days of rest, Turner should be much better tonight against Detroit. This game should be close, as well as relatively high scoring, which will benefit Turner. Also, Detroit is very fantasy friendly to small forwards, allowing the third-most points (40.70), most assists (4.71), second-highest field goal percentage (48.18) to opposing small forwards in 2013. I like him to return to his strong fantasy ways this evening at home.
Blake Griffin, PF (vs LAL)
FPPG allowed to PF: 49.28 (30th)
Here is your obligatory “start your big men against the Lakers” section.
Griffin is playing some of the best basketball of his career right now, averaging 24 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, one steal and a whopping 10 free-throw attempts per game over his last five. With Chris Paul sidelined, he may not necessarily be getting better looks, but he is getting a ton of them, averaging an incredible 80.9 touches per game, which is awesome for a power forward. He’s also making the most of his touches, scoring 0.27 points per touch. Expect a monster performance against the worst frontcourt in basketball tonight, in what will be a high-scoring affair. The Lakers are surrendering the most offensive rebounds per game (13) and defensive rebounds per game (34.9). Also, the Lakers are coughing up a strong 48.4 paint points per game (alliteration), which is the second-most in basketball. That bodes well for a guy like Griffin, who makes most of his damage from inside, posting 6.6 close touches per contest. Griffin should be one of the top plays of the night, for sure.
Andre Drummond, C (@ PHI)
FPPG allowed to C: 47.36 (28th)
Don’t think, just do it. Play Andre Drummond.
The talented big man started the season on fire, cooled off a bit, but is now picking it back up again. Over his last five games, the Pistons center is averaging a strong double-double (10.6 points, 14 rebounds) to go along with 1.6 blocks. Drummond could legitimately haul in 20-plus rebounds in this matchup against the softest frontcourt in basketball. Over the last two weeks, the Sixers are allowing the most fantasy points per game and rebounds to opposing centers. And the last four centers to face them have all posted at least a double-double. The last time Drummond faced Philadelphia, he had himself a career night, scoring 31 points, 19 rebounds, six steals, two blocks and 12 field goals, resulting in a whopping 71 fantasy points. The blocks could be there again tonight, as the 76ers are coughing up a league-leading 6.9 blocks per game.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.