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Matchup Analysis: Lakers-Cavaliers and Bucks-Nuggets 2/5

In the 12 matchups this evening, several of them involve weak frontcourt defenses squaring off against each other. Here, I’ll focus on two matchups specifically – Lakers-Cavaliers and Bucks-Nuggets.

Lakers

First off, when I wrote about the Lakers before last night’s game, a few things to note. Mike D’Antoni said Steve Nash would be limited to 6-8 minutes to start each half. He played 25. Jordan Hill was injured four minutes into the game (why Robert Sacre had extended minutes). Jodie Meeks was injured two minutes into the game (Why Wesley Johnson had extended minutes). Jordan Farmar dressed and was expected to play limited minutes, but right before the start, D’Antoni decided to let him rest one more day and gave Manny Harris a shot before he was released after the game.

As for tonight, here is the Lakers situation. Kobe Bryant, Xavier Henry and Pau Gasol are all still out. Meeks is also out the rest of this road trip and the Lakers plan on resting Nash tonight. Hill is a game-time decision.

This likely leaves the Lakers with a starting five of Kendall Marshall, Steve Blake, Wesley Johnson, Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre. Nick Young will fulfil his usual sixth-man duties with Farmar, Chris Kaman and possibly Hill as the backups.

Picks:

Ryan Kelly $3,400 – Kelly should get the start tonight again. If Hill is out, then that’s potential bonus minutes for him. Kelly took the most FG attempts of all Lakers starters last night, but struggled only going 2-of-11.  Kelly can also matchup up with the more finess Tristan Thompson and scrawnier Tyler Zeller. Kelly should get more than the 21 minutes he had last night.

Wesley Johnson $3,900 – With Meeks and Hill both going down early last game, Johnson took on 38 minutes and put up 31.75 FPTS. Johnson is really the only player on the Lakers who can play SF and PF. Should Hill have to sit this one out, expect Johnson to get extended minutes again tonight. The Cavs are better at defending the SF with Luol Deng now in the mix, but they are still average, and it’s not nearly enough to make you not play him.

Cavaliers

In terms of the primary rotation, the Cavs are healthy for this evening. They are on a five-game skid and have lost each game by nine or more points. Although, the Cavs were competitive in the last couple and the score wasn’t as bad as it looks.

One interesting note if you haven’t seen the Cavs recently – Jarrett Jack has been starting and has been splitting time with Kyrie Irving between PG and SG. Dion Waiters, who has apparently been one of the biggest problems off the court for the Cavs, has been coming off the bench.

Tonight’s starters have been announced: PG Irving, SG Jack, SF Deng, PF Thompson, C Varejao

Picks:

Jarrett Jack $4,400 – The timing of playing Jack tonight is perfect. Jack doesn’t have nearly as much upside as Irving in terms of points, but since Jack is getting 30-plus minutes, a lot less risk is involved. He’s also just as likely (if not more) to get as many assists as Irving. While he doesn’t like to create his own shot very often, Jack is someone who can score from anywhere on the floor and is very good at penetrating the middle of the floor. The Lakers are one of the worst defensive teams in the league and are short handed in the backcourt.

Anderson Varejao $6,400 – Varejao was limited to 25 minutes against Dallas. Consequently, he only put up 22.25 FPTS. It’s still unclear if he will be restricted tonight. But if he isn’t – the Lakers are last in rebounding percentage, which is Varejao’s biggest strength. Varejao put up 18 points, 18 rebounds and six assists at the Lakers on Jan 14.

Bucks

Here is the situation for the Bucks – For one reason or another, O.J. Mayo, Caron Butler and Carlos Delfino are all out. Nate Wolters is a GTD with an illness. Gary Neal left practice Tuesday with a stiff back, but his status his unknown. Ekpe Udoh’s ankle kept him out of Monday’s game and his status for tonight is also unknown.

As we’ve seen time and time again, the Nuggets can’t stop dominant big men, especially at power forward. With Ty Lawson back in the lineup, the Nuggets are playing at a fast pace, which means more possessions.

The Bucks are one of the toughest teams to predict fantasy wise because Larry Drew is always changing his rotation. The Bucks are also 12-point underdogs.

Picks:

Ersan Ilyasova $5,400 – Kenneth Faried will match up with Ilyasova while J.J. Hickson takes on Larry Sanders. This is good news for Ilyasova since Faried struggles defending inside and outside. He’s also getting over 30 minutes per game finally, as long as it isn’t a blowout in the second half. If the game is close, I like Ilyasova for 30-35 FPTS with 40 being the best-case scenario. But if the Nuggets blow the Bucks out, he could be around 20. There’s some risk, but he shouldn’t get many plays so he could help you get an edge on the opponent.

I’m not too big on any other Bucks player because there is too much inconsistency with the other players and we still don’t have enough info on who is playing with a 9:05 ET start. Brandon Knight could get to 30 FPTS, but Lawson has been playing much better defense as of late and Knight won’t be able to use his speed getting to the rim.

Nuggets

If you watch the Nuggets closely, you know this is a much different team with Lawson, especially in the last week. There are no surprises injuries wise – just the usual Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee and Nate Robinson absences. Andre Miller still isn’t playing since his argument with Brian Shaw on Jan. 1.

Ty Lawson $7,600 – The Bucks are atrocious at defense inside, but they are just flat out bad everywhere. Lawson is still undervalued slightly from his short-term injury (he was $8,000-$8,600 for most of January). The good news is even if Denver dominates, Lawson should still get plenty of minutes with no true PGs active behind him. Randy Foye is a combo guard and can play some point, but even so, that won’t take away Lawson’s minutes until the very end.

Kenneth Faried $6,600 – OK, so why Faried at $6,700 instead of Hickson at $6,100? Hickson has gone over 40 FPTS his last two games and Faried only went over 50 in his last one. It all depends on the matchup (obviously) and Faried’s athleticism is by far superior to Ilyasova’s. This may not sound like good reasoning on the surface, but when the Nuggets are off and running, the Manimal’s speed and vertical is pivotal in the transition game. Also, why would I pick two players the same position in the same game? Just look at Faried and Blake Griffin from Monday night. Along with having a high correlation to his opponents, the Manimal should easily get a double-double tonight.

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View all posts by Nick Juskewycz
Nick Juskewycz

About the Author

Sked Nick is a Daily Fantasy Sports enthusiast and a former Bleacher Report Featured Columnist. Most of his time is dedicated to the sports world in front of several televisions, monitors and a projector. This involves researching, writing, watching games or simply keeping up to date on news.He graduated with honors from Bowling Green State University with a degree in sport management and journalism. Furthermore, Nick was a radio play-by-play and color commentator for Bowling Green football, men's basketball, women's basketball and baseball. He also has experience working with the BGSU athletic department.Follow @NickJuskewycz

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