Philadelphia 76ers at Cleveland Cavaliers Has Fantasy Gold
With only three NBA games taking place last night because of the BCS National Championship, we’ve got 12 Tuesday contests in the NBA. But despite having plenty of players to choose from, the 76ers-Cavaliers matchup is has some fantastic fantasy plays.
As most of you know, the Cavs finally shipped Andrew Bynum (now waived) and three draft picks to the Chicago Bulls for Luol Deng. However, Deng will not be suiting up for Cleveland tonight. Also, Jarrett Jack (back spasms) has been ruled out.
On the 76ers side, all the starters are in tonight, but Tony Wroten is questionable after missing last night’s Timberwolves matchup with flu-like symptoms.
It should be noted that this game has an over/under with the Cavs being a 5.5-point favorite. The 76ers are dead last in points allowed while the Cavs are 18th. Philadelphia also runs the most possessions per game (105.7) while Cleveland runs the 12th most (99).
But here is the most remarkable thing about the Cavs. They always play to their competition at the Q and they always play at the opponents’ pace. Look at their recent home games:
L Indiana 82-78
W Orlando 87-81 OT
L Golden State 104-104 OT
L Atlanta 127-125 3OT
L Detroit 115-92 (Bynum 0-of-11)
W Milwaukee 114-111 OT
L Portland 119-116
With all this in mind, here are three fantasy plays you must consider.
Kyrie Irving – $7,500. Irving took part in shootaround today, but is still listed as a game-time decision. Irving hasn’t played since December 31 because of a knee injury. Having said this, Irving at $7,500 against not only the worst scoring defense in the league and the team that turns it over the most, but the second-worst defense in fantasy points allowed to point guards is a great situation. Plus, $7,500 is Irving’s lowest salary of the year and he has a very high ceiling with Jack out of the equation. Obviously check in about a half hour prior to tip off, but if Irving suits up, he’s a great start.
Anderson Varejao – $6,100 – For whatever reason, DraftKings hasn’t reacted to Varejao’s increased minutes with the absence of Bynum. Varejao has put up over 30 FPTS in five of his last seven games (two against Indiana), including a 56.25 FPTS outing vs the Magic. The 76ers give up the fourth-most FPTS to centers and are 20th in rebounding. Outside of DeMarcus Cousins, LaMarcus Aldridge and Anthony Davis, Varejao has as much potential as anyone tonight.
Michael Carter-Williams – $8,200 – MCW hasn’t been living up to his high salary as of late, but tonight could be the night for a monster game. While the Cavs are dead last in FPTS allowed to point guards, Jack is also out. Then if Wroten can’t go, MCW could see extended minutes, especially if the game is tight as expected. MCW is also likely a guy most people won’t use given his recently average statistics. He’s been averaging about 33 FPTS in his last five games, but was averaging just under 50 FPTS in the five games prior. Look for MCW to get back on track in a favorable situation.
Evan Turner – $7,400 – The Cavs are last in FPTS allowed to small forwards. That will change when Deng starts playing. Turner is someone who performs particularly well in great matchups and always gets a high-number of minutes in close games. In five of his last 10 contests, he’s gone over 40 FPTS. The opponents were the Kings, Nuggets, Lakers, Nets and Raptors.
Outside of this, I wouldn’t recommend anyone else given the high volume of games tonight. The Cavs never get any fantasy value from the small-forward position. Tristan Thompson is fairly inconsistent and has a somewhat limited ceiling. Assuming Irving is back, you don’t know who will be the guy to step up at the 2.
For the 76ers, both Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes are fine plays, but don’t expect to any great value out of either. The shooting-guard spot is as inconsistent as it gets.
If you are looking for the best plays of those four, I’d recommend the Cavs players first. Irving you know will have the ball a high-percentage of the time. Varejao is essentially a lock for double-digit rebounds (averaging 15.6 in last five games) and will bring a double-double while blocking a shot or two. Since the Cavs have more limited options tonight offensively and the 76ers are the worst fantasy defense top-to-bottom, Irving and Varejao are the guys to go with.
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