In all honesty, I prefer small slates over ones like tonight.
Friday sees 26 teams in action, a whopping 13 games for the night. Plenty of daily hoops players will be looking to start their weekend off on a high note. I’ll be playing along, but with these big-game slates comes a ton of pressure, as the decisions you must make can be pretty overwhelming.
Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel scoring.
Stephen Curry, PG (vs MIN)
FPPG allowed to PG: 41 (21st)
Curry should easily exploit a plus matchup in tonight’s game against the Timberwolves, who are coughing up well above the league average when it comes to fantasy points per game to point guard. When he’s hot, Curry has as much upside as nearly anyone in all of basketball. Meanwhile, Rick y Rubio and Kevin Martin are absolutely putrid defenders, and a player of Curry’s caliber should absolutely decimate the pair. Pace is going to be your friend in this contest, as the Wolves play at the second-highest pace in basketball, while Golden State plays at the league’s fourth-highest. Quite simply, Minnesota just can’t play defense, surrendering almost 102 points per game. A primetime game on ESPN, Curry should show out.
Victor Oladipo, SG (vs LAL)
FPPG allowed to SG: 40.80 (30th)
Oh, oh, oh it’s Magic.
Play plenty of your Magic players tonight against the Lakers generous defense. Oladipo has been logging plenty of minutes lately, averaging 40 per game over his last five. The move of Arron Afflalo to small forward has allowed Dipo to remain in the starting lineup at shooting guard, which is heavenly for tonight’s matchup. No team in basketball is allowing more fantasy points per game to shooting guards than the Lakers, who are also allowing the second-most points per game (105.8). Shooting guard are scoring 23.52 points per game and are averaging 2.06 steals per game against LA, both of which are the most in basketball. Oladipo is providing great peripheral stats, sporting a slash line of 17.8/5.6/6.4/1.2/2 over his last five games. This game may not be pretty, but with the Lakers pace and poor defense, it should see plenty of points, benefiting the fantasy prospects of Oladipo.
DeMar DeRozan, SF (@ PHI)
FPPG allowed to SF: 41.85 (30th)
The universal must-play of the night, a red hot DeRozan enters this game coming off a career-high 40 point night. Emerging as one of the league’s top scorers, DeRozan is averaging over 25 points per game over his last five and now he gets the Sixers league-worst defense. In two games against the Sixers this year, DeRozan is averaging an impressive 30 points per game and 40 fantasy points per game, and DeRozan, a guy who has been slowly climbing in the rebounding department, should see plenty of chances against a Sixers team that is coughing up the most rebounds per game (8.62) to small forwards. He and Kyle Lowry are dominating each possession for the Raptors, taking almost 22 shots per game over his last five. The Sixers, though terrible, are more promising when at home, and I think they keep this one close.
Pau Gasol, PF (@ ORL)
FPPG allowed to PF: 43.13 (25th).
Gasol is literally a lock for 20 points and 10-plus rebounds each and every night. In fact, he’s done it in seven of his last 11 contests overall, and is the main man for the Lakers offense. Gasol is averaging a healthy 70.3 offensive touches per game on the year, which is very good for a big man. He’s also seeing an average of 10.2 elbow touches per game, which is the fourth-most in all of basketball. Meanwhile, big men against the Magic without Nikola Vucevic are absolutely dominating. Since he went down, Orlando is inside the bottom five in FPPG, PPG, RPG and APG against opposing power forwards. Note that Gasol has been putting up all of these numbers, despite not being at 100 percent.
Anderson Varejao, C (vs MIL)
FPPG allowed to C: 48.03 (28th)
Sideshow Bob should— no, MUST be in your lineup tonight.
One of the league’s best (yes, best) rebounders, Vareajo is averaging 10.5 boards per game on the year, but over his last five games, he’s hauling in a whopping 16 rebounds per game. He’s seeing a strong 18.1 rebound chances per game, which is good for the 6th-most in the NBA. Andy is such a hustle guy, and will always put up some peripheral numbers for you. Take all of these rebounding stats and combined the fact that Milwaukee refuses to rebound the basketball, and I’m sold. The Bucks are currently surrendering 12.4 offensive rebounds per game (3rd-most) and 33.7 defensive boards per game (5th-most). He’ll be in literally every single one of my lineups tonight.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.