Lakers and Cavaliers.
That’s all you need to know for tonight’s NBA action.
There are only four games on tap for this evening, but there is plenty of fantasy goodness to be had. However, there are also a few key injuries to keep track of, as both Kevin Durant and Pau Gasol are looking like game-time calls. That’s especially rough for those planning on playing Gasol, considering tip-off isn’t until 10:30. Tread carefully, my friends.
Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel.
Mike Conley, PG (vs OKC)
FPPG allowed to PG: 42.58 (25th)
Conley is one of the hottest point guards in the league as of late, but no one seems to notice. Over his last five games, he’s averaging a strong 42.65 fantasy points per contest, and has been especially productive at home, where he is averaging 36 fantasy points per game on the year. And, especially with Marc Gasol sidelined, the Memphis offense runs through Conley, as he is touching the ball a healthy 89.4 times per game, which is good for fifth-most in the entire NBA.
Meanwhile, his matchup this evening isn’t threatening by any means, as only five teams are surrendering more fantasy points to opposing point guards than the Thunder. And Conley, who is averaging 1.6 steals per game, should be good for a few steals in this one, as opposing point guards are posting the most steals per game against OKC (2.46), while Reggie Jackson is turning the ball over 3.2 times per game over his last five. Memphis should be able to keep this game close, as the Thunder clearly haven’t been the same team without the likes of Russell Westbrook (just 6-5).
C.J. Miles, SG (@ LAL)
FPPG allowed to SG: 40.48 (30th)
Ride the hot hand, right?
Miles continues to put the ball in the basket, scoring double-digit points in each of his last six games, and averaging 19.8 per game during that span. He’s taking plenty of shots to matter (13 per game over last five) and is making an impact from beyond the arc, sinking 3.6 triples per game during that same span. He continues to start at shooting guard, and even though Cleveland has plenty of players on the wing, I still think he can hit or exceed value in this ideal matchup against the Lakers. Remember, Luol Deng is still on a minutes limit, so Miles should see the court a lot. Meanwhile, the Lakers are coughing up the most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards, and are surrendering the 5th-most three-pointers to the position this year (2.63 per game). This game should be quite the high-scoring affair, as both teams are inside the bottom-12 in points per game allowed (105.1, 101.2, respectively).
Carmelo Anthony, SF (@ CHA)
FPPG allowed to SF: 35.31 (11th)
How can you get away from Melo?
The guy has been killing it since returning from injury, posting at least 36 fantasy points in every game since December 23rd. And with Durant a game-time decision for tonight’s contest. Melo is virtually the safest play of the evening. Charlotte is pretty solid against small forwards, but to that, I give you two thoughts.
1) It’s Carmelo Anthony, one of the best players in the world. Over his last five games, he’s averaging 25.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.2 steals and 2.6 triples per contest. He is averaging a ridiculous 21 field-goal attempts per game on the season, and the Knicks are playing some inspired basketball, so you know this game will be competitive.
2) Rebounding. Like I said, he’s averaging a stellar 8.8 rebounds over his last five, largely due to the absence of Tyson Chandler. The loss of their center has allowed Melo to play plenty of power forward for the Knicks, which is why he hauled in an incredible 16 boards last night. If Chandler sits again tonight (which he probably will) Melo will play plenty of PF, which bodes well against Charlotte. The Bobcats are surrendering a healthy 12.28 rebounds per game to power forwards (10th-most). They are also coughing up the second-most defensive rebounds per game on the year, coming in at 34.9).
Play him, y’all.
Anderson Varejao/Tristan Thompson (@LAL)
FPPG allowed to C: 49.50 (30th)
I’m placing Thompson and Varejao here because they should both easily exploit the best matchup possible tonight against the Lakers. Centers are averaging the most fantasy points per game against the Lakers, while power forwards are scoring the most as well. Power forwards are also notching the second-most rebounds per game (13.58) and centers, well, let’s just say the 15.80 rebounds they log per game against LA are pretty darn good.
Varejao is the better play for sure, however. I mean, you can start any big men against the Lakers and feel good, but an elite rebounder like Varejao? Yes please. Since the whole Andrew Bynum dilemma ended, Sideshow Bob is dominating the glass, averaging 12 rebounds over his last five games. Combined that with the fact that the Lakers are the worst rebounding team in the NBA, coughing up the most defensive (35.1) and offensive rebounds (13) per game, and I’m sold. And oh, by the way. Gasol may not suit up for this contest either.
Okay, now it’s just stealing.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.