Sked’s Favorite NBA Plays Jan. 22
It’s another full slate of NBA-Wednesday contests. But today provides some unique matchups.
There are the injury related games. We’ve got the Los Angeles Clippers at the Charlotte Bobcats, but not only is Chris Paul still out, so is Kemba Walker, who sprained his ankle against the Heat. Centers Al Horford and Nikola Vucevic are both out with the Atlanta Hawks playing at the Orlando Magic.
There are the struggling franchises. The Philadelphia 76ers have lost seven of their last eight, and they visit the New York Knicks, which have lost their last four. The Boston Celtics have lost 12 of their last 13, and they will face the Washington Wizards that have another chance to finally get over the .500 mark.
There are the games with interesting storylines. Brandon Jennings and Brandon Knight both square off against their former teams with the Detroit Pistons taking on the Milwaukee Bucks. The Chicago Bulls travel to square off against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which features Luol Deng going against the team that traded him two weeks ago.
There are the improving teams in out-of-conference play. The Dallas Mavericks head north to the Toronto Raptors, while the Indiana Pacers are in the desert to face the Phoenix Suns.
And of course, there are the expected high-scoring matchups of the Sacramento Kings at the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the San Antonio Spurs.
This may not all be highly relevant to fantasy, but we should get a variety of entertaining games. Also, as usual, there are several new injuries to consider and developing situations off back-to-backs. Therefore, we have an abundance of great value plays at different salary levels.
Let’s see where the best plays are at each position for a low, mid and high-salary player.
(Salaries are via DraftKings)
Phil Pressey $3,700 – Reports are that Rajon Rondo won’t play against the Wizards (this isn’t confirmed). If this is true, Phil Pressey should get a boatload of minutes and the starting role. Jordan Crawford was traded to the Warriors, Avery Bradley is out with an ankle injury and Jarryd Bayless is out with a toe injury. Plus, daily-fantasy sites didn’t get to adjust Pressey’s salary given Bradley’s injury and Rondo’s potential absence since the Celtics are on the second of a back-to-back. Pressey should get around 30 minutes and be a steal for $3,700.
D.J. Augustin $4,900 – Kirk Hinrich left Monday’s game against the Lakers with a hamstring injury and didn’t return. He didn’t travel to Cleveland. Augustin is on fire as of late, posting over 40 FPTS in four of his last six games. Some of that has been boosted because of the overtime periods, but you bet he’ll get more than his usual mid-20s minutes. The Cavaliers give up the second-most FPTS to point guards, they are 2.5-point favorites over Chicago and the Cavs always seem to play to their competition and have close games at the Q (home). Augustin is a must start.
Isaiah Thomas $7,300 – To be fair, I’m not crazy about a high-salary point guard today, but Thomas is my pick. He’s really shown great consistency and is getting a very-high number of minutes as of late. His only bad FPTS output recently was at the Pacers when Sacramento was blown out and Thomas only got 27 minutes. Thomas has gotten at least 39 minutes in each of his last four games and scored over 41 FPTS in three of those four. The Rockets play at a fast pace and Thomas should get a lot of chances for points, assists and steals.
Patrick Beverley $3,300 – I realize Beverley is a point guard, but you can play him at SG in DraftKings. Beverley returned to action and the starting lineup after missing 15 games with a broken hand. He looked fantastic with 17 points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal in 29 minutes. That resulted in 26.5 FPTS. Against a poor defense like the Kings and that they give up the third-most FPTS to PGs, Beverley is also a must start.
Ramon Sessions $4,800 – Again, I’m cheating on DraftKings’ combo positions. Unless something insanely unexpected happens, Sessions will start in place of Walker. You can look at Sessions’ stats and say you aren’t that impressed. You can also see that Sessions hasn’t reached 30 FPTS once in the last 10 games, and that he’s played some games in the upper 20s and even two games in the upper 30s for minutes played. However, with Walker out, the Bobcats will lose a lot of their firepower. Sessions should get around 35 minutes and be a vocal point of running the offense. I’d expect over 30 FPTS, which is pretty good given his salary.
DeMar DeRozan $7,500 – DeRozan has been nothing but consistent. He’s averaging 35.4 FPTS on the year, but over the last 10 games, he’s scored in the 30s or 40s each time and has scored in the 40s in six of those. The Mavericks are an average defensive team all around, the over/under is 203.5 and Toronto is a 1.5-point favorite.
Omri Casspi $3,000 – Casspi got increased minutes (33) on Monday with Terrence Jones and Francisco Garcia out. This resulted in 28.5 FPTS. Garcia is out and Jones is a game-time decision vs. the Kings. Hopefully news breaks before 7:00 E.T. for daily fantasy players who are on sites that don’t allow you to edit your lineup after the tip of the first games. If not, this is a bit of a gamble. But if Jones is out, Casspi is great value against the Kings.
Terrence Jones $6,000 – He’s a game-time decision (thigh), but if Jones plays, he should do well and I wouldn’t expect his minutes to be limited with only a potential one-game absence. Jones is averaging 47.65 FPTS in his last five games. The Kings give up the ninth-most FPTS to PFs.
Carmelo Anthony $10,100 – The 76ers defense is atrocious and they run the most possessions per game. They also give up the most FPTS to SFs on the year and in the last 15 games. With all the great value plays, you should have no problem affording a guy like Melo. Melo should also get a lot of rebounds with Spencer Hawes pulling Tyson Chandler away from the basket, as well as Kenyon Martin and Amare Stoudemire still out with injuries.
Josh McRoberts $3,800 – McRoberts is starting to develop some fantasy consistency that goes beyond his low salary. He’s posting 25.6 FPTS in his last six games and is getting well over 30 minutes per game, but the Clippers also give up the most FPTS to PFs. The Clippers are six-point favorites, but this will be the Bobcats’ first game without Walker, so there is potential for a blowout. It’s a small risk though.
Kris Humphries $4,400 – Humphries is clearly the starting PF moving forward. If you eliminate his 11-minute game against the Lakers, he’s averaging 32.9 FPTS in his last six games. With Jordan Crawford gone, he’s taken on a larger role offensively too and the Celtics are playing more inside-out basketball. He’s also been very active on the glass. His salary will go up soon. Take advantage while you can.
Al Jefferson $9,100 – Yes, another cross position DraftKings allows. The Clippers also give up the most FPTS to centers. No Kemba Walker. Jefferson posted 53.75 FPTS in his last five games. You’ll get near Kevin Durant production for $2,200 less.
Kyle O’Quinn $3,300 – His salary remains low while he gets increased minutes with Vucevic out. He’s posted 26.7 FPTS in his last four games and that’s enough of a reason to play him. But if you need more of a reason, the Hawks give up the sixth-most FPTS to centers.
DeAndre Jordan $6,700 – He’s on a monster run in his last 10 games, racking up three 50 FPTS games and three in the 40s. Jordan’s averaging 11.9 points, 14.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in January. He only had six points against Charlotte in the first meeting, but the Clippers blew out the Bobcats by 27 at home. This game will be closer and Jordan will surpass his salary.
DeMarcus Cousins $9,300 – Cousins continues to put up dominant numbers and is averaging 24.1 points and 12.9 rebounds in January. He has an active streak of 15-straight double-doubles. Despite being a 10-point dog to the Rockets because the Kings are on the second of a back-to-back, Sacramento is 2-0 against Houston this season with Cousins posting 21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and one steal in the first matchup, plus 17 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, four steals and one block in the second. Some may think that Houston has a great frontcourt defense, but they are actually near the bottom against PFs and below average against centers for FPTS allowed.
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