Fantasy Basketball 2014: Daily Dose; April 9th
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?
Okay, good because while many see the end of the NBA season and love the final fight for the playoffs, I see the end of daily fantasy basketball which means ugly slates and millions of questionable players.
Alas, the playoff push is a very fun thing to watch, especially when six thousand Eastern Conference teams are still alive. But if you are looking to make a final push of your own, make sure you play the right guys for Wednesday night’s huge slate.
Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel scoring.
Aaron Brooks vs HOU - Revenge is always fun. Brooks faced his former team just a few nights ago and exploded for 24 points, eight rebounds and 15 assists, resulting in a healthy 60 fantasy points. Meanwhile, it looks like Ty Lawson will be out again for this game, meaning Brooks will get all the run he can handle at the point guard position tonight against a vulnerable Houston defense that is surrendering well above the league average fantasy points to point guards over the last 15 days. Houston also allows about 103 points per game, while Denver is coughing up 106.4 (3rd-most), so this game figures to be very high-scoring. Brooks is capable of lighting it up from downtown, and the Rockets are allowing a strong 24.7 points per game from beyond the arc this year (9th-most). His price hasn’t gone up too much either, so Brooks makes for an ideal play this evening.
DeMar DeRozan vs PHI - The 76ers, believe it or not, have been looking better on the defensive side of the ball as of late. The good news, however, is that they went from horrible to bad. Philadelphia is still coughing up the third-most fantasy points to shooting guards this year (38.67), and DeRozan will be heavily owned tonight. Sure, the Raptors have already locked up a playoff spot, and with point guard Kyle Lowry still ailing, it wouldn’t at all surprise me if they limited DeRozan’s minutes a bit. But if he still plays 30 minutes, he should meet value. We’ve seen guys like Russell Westbrook post triple-doubles in just over 20 minutes against this team, and if Lowry is again out, DeRozan will have to do more. When Lowry has been off the court this season, DeRozan is averaging an impressive usage rate of 28.9. That bodes well, as shooting guards against Philly are posting the fourth-most rebounds, second-most assists and third-most steals per game this season.
Josh Smith @ CLE - I never play Smith unless he is one of the elite matchups because he can be extremely streaky and volatile. Tonight is one of those nights, as the Cavs have struggled against small forwards all season long, surrendering the third-most fantasy points per game to the position this year (39.78). Their interior defense is very weak, lacking rim protection, so Smith could find his way to the cup quite often in this game. And for whatever reason, he is attempting 3.4 triples per game, but has struggled with the deep ball. Luckily, Cleveland is the team that could get him back on track, as they are allowing the most points per game from three in basketball, coming in at 28.1. Smith should have a nice all around game, assuming his knee is good enough for him to start. Keep an eye out.
Terrance Jones @ DEN - Monitor the status of Dwight Howard, who is still dealing with an ankle injury. The Rockets said he could return for this game, but it’s unclear right now. Even if he does play, Jones could still have a monster game against this frontcourt. Howard probably would play limited minutes heading into the playoffs, and like I said, the matchup is too good. Power forwards are torching Denver this year, averaging 46.07 fantasy points per game (3rd-most), while dominating the glass. The position is also averaging 12.71 rebounds per game against the Nuggets this year (5th-most), while teams in general have been cleaning up. Denver is allowing 53.2 total boards per game (3rd-most), and in two games against them this year, Jones is averaging 14 points, 8.5 rebounds and three blocks per game. That’s even more impressive when you consider he has played less than 29 minutes per game during those meetings.
Marc Gasol vs MIA - Centers absolutely dominate Miami. The average basketball fan may not realize it, but fantasy degenerates have been well aware for a while now. The Heat are coughing up the 6th-most fantasy points per game to centers this year (45.52), but they have done most of their damage on the glass. Only the Lakers are allowing more rebounds per game to the position than Miami this season (15.47), and while Gasol is only averaging 6.2 boards per game over his last five, this is the perfect matchup to get him back on track. I particularly like Gasol because he provides peripherals, averaging 16.2 points and 3.6 assists during that same span.