Fantasy Basketball 2014: Daily Dose; January 21st
Coming off a 10-game slate where half of the games took place in the afternoon, Tuesday night seems like a bit of a drag.
Fantasy hoops fans have five games on tap for this evening, while a few lack a ton of fantasy goodness. Still, there’s degenerates everywhere, always trying to get their fantasy fix in. And hey, at least OKC and Portland play tonight, right?
Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel scoring.
Damian Lillard, PG (@ OKC)
FPPG allowed to PG: 42.71 (26th)
The love for the Blazers continues.
On Sunday, I wrote my weekly forecaster and Portland was the cover team. Tonight will be their second of five games during Week 13, and I’m firing up Lillard everywhere. The Thunder have been crushed by point guards this year, allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to the position, but especially since Russell Westbrook went down. Reggie Jackson is a very putrid defender who also turns the ball over frequently, so I am not worried about the matchup at all. Over the last five games, the Thunder have been the second-worst team at defending point guards, and Lillard had a strong outing last time he faced OKC, going for 21 points, six rebounds, 11 assists, one steal and 47 fantasy points. Lillard should also have some opportunity from beyond the arc in this game, as the Thunder are allowing 25.4 points per game from three (6th-most) and point guards are averaging a healthy 2.52 triples per game against them (3rd-most). Lillard, meanwhile, is nailing a whopping 3.2 triples per contest on the year.
Arron Afflalo, SG (@ BKN)
FPPG allowed to SG: 37.75 (27th)
Shooting guard is brutal this evening, folks. However, Afflalo should be a strong option tonight, and has been since returning from injury, averaging 22 points, 8.5 rebounds, four assists and three triples per game over his two contests. Brooklyn is improving on defense, but is still allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to the shooting guard position. And per my buddy Davis Mattek, Afflalo’s usage is impressive, as he is using about 25 percent of Orlando’s possessions this season, so there will be ample opportunity for him to produce in what should be a closely fought game.
Kevin Durant, SF (vs POR)
FPPG allowed to SF: 35.68 (12th)
You have to play Durant.
On a five-game slate, in a high-scoring, high-pace game, you have to. Durant has scored at least 30 points in seven straight games, is dominating the Thunder possessions with Westbrook out, and over his last five games, is averaging a ridiculous 22 field goal attempts per game. The Trail Blazers are strong against small forwards, but this isn’t any ordinary small forward. Not to mention Portland just struggles defensively in general, allowing 103.5 points per game, the fourth-most in the NBA. Although Portland is set to play in their third game since Saturday, I don’t see Oklahoma City blowing them out by any means, forcing Durant to play his usual 38-40 minutes in this one. Not sure how you can expect to win without Durant or at least LaMarcus Aldridge in your lineups tonight.
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF (@ OKC)
FPPG allowed to PF: 42.42 (23rd)
Noticing a trend here? You need to invest in this game tonight. It should be played at the highest pace and easily has the highest over/under at an impressive 216.5. Aldridge, meanwhile, has been the second-best player in fantasy in my eyes, averaging an impressive 44 fantasy points per game. OKC is vulnerable against power forwards, despite the presence of Serge Ibaka, and Aldridge is quietly leading the NBA in shot attempts per game (21). In two games against the Thunder this year, Aldridge is averaging a gaudy 31.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. I’m pumped to see my two NBA MVP’s square off this evening.
Nikola Pekovic, C (@ UTA)
FPPG allowed to C: 44.74 (24th)
One of the most underrated players in fantasy, Pekovic just continues to get the job done. Over his last five games, he’s averaging a strong 20.4 points, eight rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals per contest, making for one of the more consistent options at center each and every night. Outside of DeMarcus Cousins, he’s my favorite center tonight against a weak Utah frontcourt allowing the 7th-most fantasy points per game to centers. Derrick Favors also may not play in this game, making Pekovic’s job a bit easier. Utah has struggled in the paint all year, coughing up 47.3 points per game in the area this year, which is the third-most in basketball. And with Gordon Hayward likely to return this evening, I don’t think it’ll be a blowout like we saw the last time these two teams went at it.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.
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