Thursdays always stink for daily fantasy basketball, so I never play.
After watching the Lakers lose by nearly 50 (yes, 50) points last night, I’m ready to watch and partake in some competitive games for Friday night. And, with an 11-game slate on tap, there are plenty of fantasy options to be had, making it difficult to choose from the crop of studs. Let’s get to it.
Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel scoring.
Kemba Walker, PG (vs CLE)
FPPG allowed to PG: 43.31 (28th)
After two miserable outings over his last three contests, Kemba’s price has dropped a bit on most sites, coming at the perfect time. The Bobcats host the Cavaliers, who are coughing up the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards this season. Walker is a guy who thrives off peripheral stats, which I absolutely love. In two games against Cleveland this year, Walker is only averaging 17.5 points, but has been making his impact in other categories. In those two games, he’s also averaging seven assists, 4.5 rebounds, two blocks and four steals. It wouldn’t surprise me if he flirted with a triple-double, as the Cavs are also surrendering the most rebounds per game (5.92), 2nd-most assists (9.77) and 2nd-most blocks (0.51) to point guards this season. As much as I love Kyrie Irving, he’s an absolutely putrid defender, so Kemba should get his in this one.
Tyreke Evans, SG (vs MIL)
FPPG allowed to SG: 35.37 (17th)
Ride the hot hand, folks.
Evans has been absolutely on fire since being thrust into the starting lineup. Over his last five outings, Evans is logging almost 38 minutes per game, while averaging 18.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, seven assists, one steal and one triple. Those are mouth-watering numbers for fantasy purposes, because not only is he scoring, but he’s flirted with a triple-double in three of his last five games. The volume Evans has been seeing lately is so intriguing for fantasy purposes. Like I said, he’s playing about 38 minutes per game, but at the same time, his usage rate is pretty high, too. According to my co-host Dave Loughran, when on the court, Evans sports the 4th-highest usage rate among small forwards (his position for Pelicans) since joining the starting lineup. That’s just beautiful. Milwaukee is in the middle of the pack against shooting guards/small forwards, but they are just a bad defensive team, ranking inside the bottom-three in overall defensive efficiency.
Paul George, SF (@ HOU)
FPPG allowed to SF: 37.25 (19th)
George didn’t hit a single shot on Wednesday night against the Bobcats, resulting in a putrid 9.50 fantasy points. He hasn’t been the most consistent fantasy star this season, but it’s so difficult for me to get away from him in this game against the Rockets. This game should remain close, as well as high-scoring. Many may be concerned about George coming off a horrible outing, but if you look at his game log, you notice that he tends to bounce back in a big way after a rough night.
Nov. 16th: 12 pts, 6 reb, 2 ast (18.25 fantasy points).
Nov. 20th: 35 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast (58.50 fantasy points).
Jan. 7th: 11 pts, 2 reb, 2 ast (15.25 fantasy points).
Jan. 8th: 28 pts, 12 reb, 3 ast (50.75 fantasy points)
During the first meeting with the Rockets this season, George helped the Pacers to a convincing victory, scoring 24 points, four assists and nine rebounds, resulting in 49.25 fantasy points. I’d be willing to bet that George shows out on Friday night.
Pau Gasol, PF (@ DEN)
FPPG allowed to PF: 45.57 (28th)
Gasol is as close to a must-play as possible this evening.
Power forward is absolutely stacked this evening, but Gasol has as much upside as any big man tonight, while being relatively cheaper on most sites. Gasol is currently seeing the highest usage rate of his career in 2014, which isn’t surprising when you consider the state of the Lakers roster. He should go off against this undersized Denver frontcourt that is coughing up the fourth-most rebounds per game to power forwards (12.83) and the most points per game (22.99). In two games against Denver this season, Gasol is averaging 25 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. He’s averaging 50 fantasy points per game in those two outings. The Lakers are allowing the second-most points per game, while Denver is right behind them, allowing the third-most. This game will be the highest-scoring of the night, as the over/under for each of the Lakers last five games has been well over 200. Gasol will see plenty of touches in this fast-paced game, and could be one of the best players in fantasy for the night.
Nikola Pekovic, C (vs DET)
FPPG allowed to C: 45.19 (25th)
Pekovic’s price is still down a bit after coming off injury, and while he isn’t the sexiest play this evening, I think he has a good night ahead of him. The Pistons are allowing the 6th-most fantasy points per game to opposing big men, coughing up the second-most assists and a field goal percentage of 51. In fact, the Pistons are the worst defense in the league when it comes to field goal percentage, and Pekovic is a guy who takes high percentage shots.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.