Fantasy Basketball 2014: Daily Dose; February 5th
There is no better way to describe last night’s action of hoops. Outside of maybe Kevin Love, Tuesday night’s four-game slate was pretty disappointing. Players were either underperforming, getting hurt or getting into foul trouble. Thankfully, daily hoops players get a great shot at redemption, as 11 games are on schedule for this evening, and plenty of stars are out.
Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel scoring.
Kyrie Irving, PG (vs LAL)
FPPG allowed to PG: 42.69 (27th)
Breaking: The Lakers will be starting Smush Parker at point guard for tonight’s game against the Cavaliers.
That above headline is 100 percent false, but with the way the Lakers season is going, it totally wouldn’t surprise me. All the injuries, and now, after getting Steve Nash and Steve Blake back, the team lost Jodie Meeks and Jordan Hill on Tuesday night. So, the point being, who in the heck is going to cover a guy like Kyrie in this game? The Lakers are surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards this year, coughing up the third-most assists, second-most rebounds and the sixth-most steals to the position. Seeing as Nash won’t play in a back-to-back, it’ll be Blake and Kendall Marshall (a poor defender) guarding Kyrie in this contest. The Lakers play at the league’s third-highest pace (99.6), so Irving should see plenty of possessions to add to his already healthy 81.8 offensive touches per game (16th-most). Kyrie got into foul trouble the last time these teams played, the only thing that could stop him from having a nice game.
Nick Young, SG (@ CLE)
FPPG allowed to SG: 35.27 (17th)
Because the Lakers medical staff has been so busy this season, Swaggy P will have no choice but to be thrust into a larger role for the foreseeable future. Jodie Meeks is out for at least the next two games and Steve Nash won’t play in this contest, opening the door for Young to log at least 35 minutes in this game. It’s the perfect timing, too, as the Cavs are struggling against shooting guards lately, allowing the third-most fantasy points (40.42) to the position over the last 15 days. Young, a guy who can get hot from downtown, should have some three-point upside in this game, as the Cavs are coughing up 26.4 points per game from beyond the arc (2nd-most) and the fourth-most triples per game to opposing shooting guards (2.68). The last time these teams faced each other, Young went off for an impressive 28 points and six assists, sinking four of eight triples. Both defenses are immensely struggling, as the Cavs are allowing the most points per game over their last three games (115.7) while the Lakers are coughing up 107.7, the fourth-most.
Carmelo Anthony, SF (vs POR)
FPPG allowed to SF: 36.27 (15th)
I likely won’t be willing to pay up for Kevin Durant tonight, so Melo, whose price is significantly lower, has similar upside almost every night. After losing a game to the lowly Bucks, Melo will want to come out firing in MSG against one of the Western Conference’s best. Portland is pretty strong against small forwards, but Melo went off for 34 points and 15 rebounds against them last time, as the Blazers continue to struggle in the paint. They are surrendering the third-most points per game in the paint, coming in at 46.7. And because they struggle in the paint, Melo, who has been awesome on the glass all season long, could have some serious double-double upside in this contest. If the Knicks have any shot of winning this game, they will have to lean on Carmelo, which means plenty of shot attempts, which will be good when you consider the Blazers play at the eight-highest pace in basketball.
J.J. Hickson, PF (vs MIL)
FPPG allowed to PF: 43.14 (24th)
Hickson has quietly been playing extremely well for the Nuggets this year, but especially lately. Over his last five games, he’s averaging a double-double (12.8 points, 10.6 rebounds) to go along with 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He’s logging over 31 minutes per game during that span, as Kenneth Faried has taken a bit of a back seat. Hickson, a physical, hustling player, can rack up rebounds in a very short amount of time, especially tonight against an undersized, weak rebounding Milwaukee group. On the season, the Bucks are allowing 12.1 offensive boards per game (5th-most) and 33.6 defensive rebounds per game, which is also the 5th-most. And to add to that great news, no team in basketball is giving up more rebounds per game (13.82) to opposing power forwards than the Bucks. A blowout could be a factor here, but I think Hickson can at least meet value before that happens.
Jared Sullinger, C (@ PHI)
FPPG allowed to C: 48.91 (29th)
It’s a shame that his price continues to rise, but it’ll be hard to avoid Sullinger during tonight’s dream matchup with the 76ers, who are allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing centers. Sullinger has taken over the starting job, averaging 37 minutes per game over his last two games while Kris Humphries has been serving a more limited bench role lately. Sully absolutely destroyed Philadelphia during the last meeting between these teams, going off for 24 points, 17 rebounds, two assists and a steal. He seemingly scored all of his buckets close to the basket, as Spencer Hawes simply couldn’t contain him. And over the last three games, only the Lakers are allowing more points in the paint per game than the Sixers’ 50. And while he isn’t deadly by any means, Sullinger can hit the three-ball, taking 2.5 shots per game from that range. I think he hits one or two in this game, seeing as no team in basketball is allowing more points per game from beyond the arc (28.7).
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.