Now that the holidays are over, there are no gimmicks to tonight’s notes. We’re all feeling well and good after relaxing with family yesterday so let’s not kill the buzz by losing money tonight. Ride out the happy streak by following my instructions tonight and let the joy seep into the weekend. No more talk; just fantasy advice. Here we go.
So without further ado, here are the guys I will have in my lineup tonight and ones I will be throwing out from my list of possibilities. All prices are based on my favorite daily site (Draftkings).
Players I Love:
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LaMarcus Aldridge – $9,600 – One of my favorite strategies in daily basketball is starting a superstar the game after a relatively quiet game. Aldridge’s last game, where he scored 18 PTS with 8 REB, actually seems sub-par considering what we’ve come to expect from him due to season averages. The Clippers’ defense has actually tightened up substantially recently. They started the year allowing the NBA’s most points per game but have slid up (or down, whichever you want to look at it) to allowing just the 11th most at 99.3 PPG. However, the Clippers do allow the 7th most fantasy points to opposing power forwards. Aldridge’s numbers against the Clippers last season weren’t great: just 15.7 PPG in three meetings, but this is a new and improved LA. Portland plays at home tonight and LA will look to make a statement against a good team in front of the home crowd. I expect him to take the Clippers to school like many prior PFs to play them so far this season.
Zach Randolph – $7,900 – After averaging 17.0 PPG, 9.3 REB and 1.9 AST in November, Randolph has stepped his game up to the tune of 17.5 PPG, 11.0 REB and 3.3 AST in December. The absence of Marc Gasol has helped inflate Z-Bo’s numbers but we as fantasy owners don’t particularly care how it’s getting done. As long as he continues to produce, we are happy. When I examine the match up tonight, I see no reason why it cannot continue: Houston is allowing the 5th most fantasy points per game to opposing PFs over the last 15 days (and the 5th most overall for the season). They have been consistently bad at limiting the position and Z-Bo has been consistently great recently. That sounds like the perfect combination to me.
Jose Calderon – $5,600 – Speaking of teams who have been giving it up to a certain position, San Antonio ranks dead last in fantasy points allowed to opposing point guards in the last 15 days. I’m not sure whether Tony Parker will be active tonight, and frankly I don’t care, because with each passing day San Antonio gets a step older and slower. Calderon will most likely not set the world on fire, but for a reasonable price, he should give you enough PTS/AST to keep you happy.
Players I Won’t Use:
Monta Ellis – $7,900 – I’m going out on a limb here betting against Monta Ellis. Seriously, Ellis has been so freaking good this year that it almost pains me to write a negative column on him. Here it goes though; Houston defends the shooting guard position uncomfortably well. Over the past 15, Houston allows the 4th least fantasy points per game, including the least assists from the position of any team. Part of that could be the opponents but top five doesn’t seem like a coincidence. Houston has been strong against the position for the last month and will know that limiting Monta Ellis gives you a great chance to beat Dallas. For that reason, I am avoiding Ellis at his price tonight (but still playing him in yearly leagues).
Brandan Wright – $4,800 – Wright is questionable tonight with an illness. Regardless of whether he plays, Dwight Howard still plays the majority of minutes of Center for the Houston Rockets. I don’t care if Wright or Dalembert starts, I won’t be playing either tonight. Howard most likely is going to man handle them and/or cause them to get into foul trouble. If you want to play a Dallas big man, spend the money on Dirk Nowitzki. Cheap out elsewhere.
If you have any further questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @RSandersFR.