I’m in pain.
Not emotionally, but physically. You see, here in Pennsylvania, we were absolutely blanketed with snow, while you “unfortunate” folks in Florida bundle up for your 60 degree weather. Because of that, I had to shovel an immense amount of snow and you see, I did something to my back. Okay, okay. Rant over. However, there is a really, really good thing about being snowed in.
It makes for the perfect writing weather.
Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel scoring.
Kyle Lowry, PG (vs DAL)
FPPG allowed to PG: 39.75 (19th)
Lowry has served as one of the bright young point guard all season long, and along with DeMar DeRozan, has been the reasoning behind the Raptors surprise start to the season. He’s scored at least 30 fantasy points in each of his last five contests, and honestly believe he has the upside to double that in tonight’s game against the Mavericks. Jose Calderon is atrocious on the defensive end, and for what it’s worth, so is Monta Ellis, so Lowry should have no trouble scoring tonight. Also, the Mavericks faster pace will allow Lowry to see more possessions than usual, though, he is already touching the ball a healthy 90.2 offensive touches per game, which is the fourth-most in all of basketball. I also like his potential for steals in this game. Averaging 1.6 swipes per game on the year, Lowry has quick hands and is a very good defender. Meanwhile, Dallas is allowing opponents to average a strong 7.9 steals per game, which is the 1oth-most in basketball.
James Harden, SG (vs SAC)
FPPG allowed to SG: 36.42 (22nd)
Shooting guard is a bit “meh” tonight, so if you are looking to spend, I like Harden quite a bit. This game has one of the highest over/unders of the night, as the Kings are allowing the third-most PPG (103.7) while Houston is coughing up the 9th-most, coming in at 102. Opposing shooting guards are averaging the second-most points per game against the Kings (23.25) and seeing as Harden is one of the elite scorers in the game, he should have no trouble going for at least 25 points in this contest, barring a blowout. In two games against the Kings this year, Harden is averaging a gaudy 31.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, two assists and 1.5 steals.
Carmelo Anthony, SF (vs PHI)
FPPG allowed to SF: 41.94 (30th)
On one hand, I’m worried about Melo tonight because, well, it’s the Sixers. But on the other hand, I feel that I have to play him because…
It’s the Sixers.
The last time he faced the league’s worst defense, Melo had a solid 18 points, seven assists and nine rebounds, but left fantasy owners wanting more. The game got out of hand (duh) and Carmelo wasn’t asked to do much late in the game. Heading into this game, Philadelphia has dropped seven of their last eight contests and are admittedly fatigued, so I could very well see them down all game. But at the same time, the Knicks aren’t exactly a great team either. At the end of the day, it’s one of the league’s best players, who will play both small forward and power forward with Kenyon Martin and Amar’e Stoudemire out, against the Sixers. No team is allowing more fantasy points or rebounds per game to small forwards (Melo averaging a whopping 12.2 over his last five games). There’s a better chance that you feel bad about leaving Anthony out of your lineup than feel good that you didn’t.
Taj Gibson, PF (@ CLE)
FPPG allowed to PF: 40.58 (14th).
This literally has nothing to do with the matchup, which isn’t bad, by the way. Although coming off the bench, Gibson is still averaging almost 30 minutes per game to go along with 11.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. Combined that with the fact that Carlos Boozer has already been ruled out, and it’s a lock. You simply have to play Gibson when Boozer is out. In games where Taj has been in the starting lineup, he is averaging a strong 16.6 points, 11 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per contest. With so many injuries in Chicago, Gibson won’t have a choice but to play 35-38 minutes in what should be a close game against the Cavaliers. And if Jimmy Butler plays some shooting guard this evening, Gibson could very well slide over to small forward, where the Cavs have struggled to defend all year long, allowing the second-most fantasy points per game (41.12) to the position.
Andre Drummond, C (@ MIL)
FPPG allowed to C: 47.93 (28th)
If you want to spend on the best center in fantasy in DeMarcus Cousins, I surely wouldn’t blame you. However, if you want to save some money, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Drummond tonight. The league’s second-leading double-double provider with 30 of them, Drummond is actually averaging one on the year with 12.7 points and 12.6 rebounds per contest. He’s been a monster on the glass, posting just eight games all season long with fewer than double-digit boards. It’s certainly helped that he has seen a whopping 18.2 rebound chances per game (5th-most), but the fact remains that this kid is a beast. He has an elite matchup tonight against the Bucks, who are coughing up the third-most fantasy points to opposing centers, and are getting bullied on the glass. On the year, centers are averaging 15.04 boards per game against Milwaukee (3rd-most) and they are also coughing up 12.5 offensive rebounds per game to go along with 33.7 defensive boards per game, both of which rank inside the bottom-five in basketball.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.