–Kyrie Irving went off again last night, which is kind of becoming a trend for him. He punished the struggling Hawks on both sides of the floor with 33 points on 11-of-15 shooting (including 5 of 6 from three) with 4 assists, 3 steals, but just 1 rebound. His peripheral numbers aren’t yet where they need to be for him to be an elite fantasy player on off shooting nights, but his scoring ability is matched by few at this point. That in itself is a crazy thought for a player that is just 20 years old. He’s already a first-round value and could reach even higher if he can consistent rebound and assist going forward.
–Ersan Ilyasova continued his resurgence last night despite playing under 30 minutes again. In 27 minutes, Ilyasova scored 13 points while adding 6 rebound, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. It’s his second consecutive game with 2 steals and blocks and has obviously turned the corner confidence wise. He shot just 4 of 10, but continued to play hard. I would like to see his minutes rise to over 30 per game, but it’s hard to arge with this compared to what we were getting just a week ago. Larry Sanders is riding the wave as well, totaling 6 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal and 7 blocks in just over 30 minutes last night. He’s too good to sit if he’s playing close to 30 minutes.
–Kenneth Faried destroyed the hodge-podge frontline Orlando continues to roll out nightly for 19 points, 19 boards, 2 steals and 2 blocks in 36 minutes. Faried is by far the best offensive rebounder in the league and the only thing that really holds him back is when George Karl plays with his minutes. Obviously, he’s not without flaws as he rarely scores outside the paint and is a sub-par defender, but most of that doesn’t affect his fantasy value other than it limiting his minutes now and then.
–Derrick Williams saw his minutes upped on Wednesday night and his production followed. He’s seen increased minutes in each game since Kevin Love re-injured his hand and was up to 28 minutes last night. Williams posted an impressive line of 14 points and 11 rebounds, quieting concerns about his 1 rebound effort from the previous night. Williams offers a lot of category juice, especially when he is rebounding like that as his threes and steals can be elite for a power forward.
–Jared Sullinger played the most minutes he has all season last night (34), while posting a monster double-double of 12 points and 16 rebounds. He also added a block and a steal. The Celtics badly need rebounding and just size in general and Sullinger can provide both. Doc Rivers has expressed concern with his conditioning, much like he did with Glen Davis, but soon he’s going to have no choice but to unleash him on the league. He’s one of the best stashes widely available.
Top Lines to Target:
(Those who target the night’s highest over/unders should reap fantasy success)
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DAL @ SAC
MIA @ POR
(Guys I am trying to get into lineups tonight, ranked on comparison to perceived value.)
My early daily DraftDay Freeroll lineup is to the right.Check out our EFF Matchups to determine the best plays for yourself.
Value Play: Isaiah Thomas
Collison is priced pretty conservatively and he’s got an excellent matchup tonight in what should be a high scoring game. Lillard doesn’t have a great matchup, bu the’s simply the most elite point guard playing tonight. Kidd has been up and down since becoming the starting point guard, but he’s going to have to play well tonight for the Knicks without Melo. Thomas has been fairly solid and we’ve all seen his upside before.
Value Play: Lance Stephenson
JR Smith should see 20+ shots with Melo out of the lineup again as long as his face stitches check out alright. Wade has been playing much better of late and Wes Matthews should struggle to guard him tonight. Mayo has been really up and down of late and despite the Kings decent numbers against shooting guards, I’d expect him to be pretty solid tonight. Stephenson has been providing great value for a while and he’s coming off one of his better games of the season last time out.
Value Play: Chris Copeland
George is coming off a great game versus LeBron and the Heat and now gets a much softer matchup against Chris Copeland, one of the worst defenders in the league. James is still banged up, but he’s still been solid, even for him, in every game and his price is way down. Batum might struggle a bit against LeBron, but the minutes, threes and defensive stats should be there either way. Copeland is going to be tough to sit as he’s starting in place of Melo for a dirt cheap price.
Value Play: Elton Brand
Aldridge should benefit the most tonight from the Heat’s inability to cover big men. Nowitizki continues to provide solid value every night and the Kings aren’t an elite defensive team by any means. West bounced back last game and the Knicks have struggled to guard power forwards most of the season. Brand doesn’t offer much upside, but he’s been providing solid value in around 20-25 minutes per game.
Value Play: Amare Stoudemire
Cousins cooled off against the Grizzlies bigs, but he gets a much better matchup with Dallas tonight and should thrive once again. Chandler has been rock solid and his energy should stand out against David West and Roy Hibbert. Hickson has been alternating monster games and should at least have great rebounding numbers against the Heat tonight. Stoudemire is probably going to be limited to around 20-25 minutes again, but they’ll need his scoring prowess with Melo out.