Well, I hope you started Melo last night.
If you don’t mind, I’d like to go on a little rant for a second before we get into Saturday’s slate. As you all know, Carmelo Anthony went off for 62 points and 13 rebounds last night. It was the highest scoring game in Knicks history, but I see far too many people criticize the performance because of the opponent. Is Charlotte an elite team in the NBA? Of course not. However, they are no pushover, and actually rank inside the top-seven in defensive efficiency on the year. Also, people look at Melo’s zero assists and don’t think as highly of the scoring output. Well, folks, when you are in the zone like that, would YOU pass up an opportunity to score? Besides, who is he going to feed the ball to? Pablo Prigioni?
Anytime you score 62, it’s remarkable, folks.
Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel scoring.
Damian Lillard, PG (vs MIN)
FPPG allowed to PG: 41.00 (21st)
There are a few strong point guard plays this evening, but Lillard just might be my favorite. He hasn’t been great lately, averaging a pedestrian 24.6 fantasy points per game over his last three contests. That won’t shy me away from using him tonight, however, as the Wolves are coming off a very late, physical, high-scoring game last night against the Warriors. In that game, both Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love suffered what appeared to be minor injuries, too. It doesn’t matter who is playing point for Minnesota because no one on that roster can keep up with Lillard, who put up a monster 36 points, six rebounds and six assists the last time these two teams met. Minnesota gives up so many points, struggle immensely on defense and this should be a relatively fast-paced game.
Lou Williams, SG (@ MIL)
FPPG allowed to SG: 33.85 (12th)
All the injuries.
The Hawks will be without Jeff Teague, Pero Antic, DeMarre Carrol and, of course, Al Horford tonight, so Williams, who is finally logging more minutes, should see plenty of run in this contest. He makes for one of the best value plays of the night, only costing 6,650 on DraftDay. The matchup isn’t the greatest, as the Bucks are just outside the top-10 at defending opposing shooting guards, but this play is about saving money to be able to spend on the stars of the fantasy world. And don’t forget, Milwaukee may be good against shooting guards, but they are still simply a very bad basketball team, so Williams, who is coming off a 37-minute game, should see ample opportunity to easily exceed value.
Kevin Durant/Jeremy Lamb, SF (@ PHI)
FPPG allowed to SF: 41.85 (30th)
Durant is looking like a game-time decision again, and if he is forced to sit this one out, Lamb is one of those guys that needs to be in every single lineup tonight against the Sixers. And, per usual, if Durant suits up, you’ll have to pay for him, but he’ll go bonkers. I like Lamb a lot tonight though. With KD out last night, Lamb logged 30 minutes, scoring 19 points while adding six boards, three assists and two steals, resulting in a solid 33 fantasy points. His shots will be in the high teens with Durant out, as he fired up 17 shots last night. No team in basketball allows more fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards than the Sixers league-wort defensive unit, as DeRozan went off for 34 points last night.
Serge Ibaka, PF (@PHI)
FPPG allowed to PF: 43.96 (27th)
If Durant plays, I love Ibaka tonight. If Durant doesn’t play, I REALLY love him.
Exploit the Sixers defense, folks. It’s that simple. Ibaka should flirt with a 15 point, 15 rebound, 5 block performance this evening against Philadelphia. The Sixers are allowing 12.1 offensive boards per game (5th-most) and 34.9 defensive rebounds per game, which is good for the second-most in basketball. Their frontcourt is incredibly soft and inexperienced, so Ibaka should thrive in this matchup, Of course, Ibaka is known for his shot blocking, and he should make in impact in that department in this game, as Sixers’ opponents are averaging a league-leading 7.3 blocked shots per contest this season. Lock him up tonight.
Nikola Pekovic, C (@ POR)
FPPG allowed to C: 44.08 (21st)
It’s getting to the point where you can’t stop Nikola Pekovic.
You can only hope to contain him.
The monstrous Timberwolves center is averaging 18.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game over his last five, and is coming off a stellar 22-point, 14-rebound performance against the Warriors. That was against a strong frontcourt, too, but I love him tonight against a good Portland team, but a bad defensive Portland team, nonetheless. The Blazers are surrendering the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing centers, and quite simply, Robin Lopez will not be able to keep with him. Portland also struggles limiting points in the paint, allowing the second-most per game on the year (47.5). That bodes well for Pekovic, who is seeing 9.7 close touches per game this year, which is the most in all of basketball.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.