Well, that trade deadline was rather… bleh.
The night after the NBA deadline, not a ton has shifted in the fantasy hoops world, other than maybe the Evan Turner trade to Indiana. Oh, and my Cavaliers got Spencer Hawes, so that’s super exciting.
Kyle Lowry, PG (vs CLE)
FPPG allowed to PG: 43.30 (28th)
Lowry has been one of the best point guards in the league this season, averaging a healthy 37.1 fantasy points per contest. Those numbers are good enough to rank him as the number three overall point guard on ESPN’s Player Rater. He’s been as big a part as any for the Raptors impressive season, as they sit at the three-spot in the East. I love him tonight and believe he is the top point guard play against a Cavs team that has won six straight games, but still struggles on defense. Kyrie Irving lacks the lateral quickness to handle a point guard that moves around as much as Lowry, and the Cavs are allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards. But the number that catches my eye most is 9.80, as in the number of assists per game point guards are posting against Cleveland this year (2nd-most). Lowry is a guy who can fill up the assist totals in a hurry, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he eclipsed 10 helpers in this game. The Cavs are playing better, so I think this game stays close, and Lowry will reap the benefits.
Wesley Matthews, SG (vs UTA)
FPPG allowed to SG: 33.82 (8th)
With LaMarcus Aldridge out the other night, Matthews played a much larger role, logging 37 minutes and firing up 18 shots, resulting in a respectable 32.50 fantasy points. Now, Nicolas Batum is questionable for tonight’s game, and if he can’t go, I’ll have a hard time keeping Matthews out of my lineup. According to Michael Leone of RotoExperts, Matthews’ usage rate spikes up about seven percent when Aldridge isn’t on the court, so imagine his usage if Batum isn’t active for this game. Even if he does play, at just 9,900 on DraftDay, Matthews is still a solid play against a poor Utah defense that can be had.
DeMarre Carroll, SF (@ DET)
FPPG allowed to SF: 39.58 (28th)
A vastly underrated fantasy asset, Carroll traveled with the team to Detroit, and looks to be on track to return to the starting lineup for Friday night. During his five games prior to going down, Carroll was averaging a very respectable 14.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, three assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 triples per game. The Pistons are a struggling defense, allowing the 6th-most points per game this year, coming in at 102.9. Meanwhile, small forwards have been getting it done against this unit, averaging the 3rd-most fantasy points per game against Detroit. Carroll is a guy who can fill the peripherals, which bodes well for this matchup. Small forwards are averaging the most assists per game (4.34), the second-most steals (2.11), the fourth-most triples (2.26) and the second-highest field goal percentage (46.87%) against Detroit this year. Small forward is pretty ugly tonight outside of Carmelo Anthony and DeMar DeRozan, so Carroll is an intriguing option.
Dirk Nowitzki, PF (@ PHI)
FPPG allowed to PF: 46.96 (29th)
It’s hard to avoid Dirk tonight because of the matchup, but with the 76ers, you always have to worry about the potential blowout factor.
I don’t care. It’s the Sixers.
Dirk had a nice double-double (20 pts, 10 reb) the last time he faced Philly, and this team just lost two of their best post presences via trade, making it even easier for Dirk. I love Dirk’s rebounding potential in this game, but even more so, I love his potential from beyond the arc. The Sixers are the worst team in the league at defending the three, allowing a league-leading 28.1 points per game from three-point land. Dirk, meanwhile, is taking four triples per game this year, sinking 1.6 of them. Power forwards, in general, are averaging 0.90 threes per game against the Sixers, the third-most in basketball. I believe the spread is 12 in favor of the Mavericks, but we’ve seen in the past that players only need three quarters to have monster games against this atrocious defensive unit.
Joakim Noah, C (vs DEN)
FPPG allowed to C: 45.38 (27th)
I had a tough time with this final position.
I really, really wanted to put Andre Drummond here because of the matchup, but mainly because I love him. However, Noah has asserted himself as an elite center this year, and his matchup is better, so here you go.
Noah gets the Nuggets vastly undersized frontcourt that is allowing 11.8 offensive rebounds per game (7th-most), as well as the fourth-most total rebounds per game this year (53.5). Noah, meanwhile, ranks 6th in the league in rebounds, coming in at 11.4 per contest. He is also seeing an insane 18.2 rebound chances per game, which is good for the 5th-most in the NBA. He’s basically a lock to haul in double-digit boards each and every night, but especially in this game against a Nuggets squad that can’t rebound the basketball. And, what is most exciting about playing Noah is the rare assist totals. I mean, the guy is averaging 4.6 assists per game, which is awesome for a center. In fact, his three games this season with 10 assists or more is the first time a center has done so since 2005-06. He has 31 assists over his last three games.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.