–Carlos Boozer has been a double-double machine lately and has been playing extended minutes, so it only makes sense he would top this column at some point. He had exactly the kind of game he needs to have to really go off. Boozer shot 16 of 24 from the field for 36 points and 12 rebounds. But, we’ve always known he can score and rebound, so the scary thing here is that despite playing 41 minutes, he totalled just 1 steal and no blocks, which would make me lean heavily toward selling him high right now.
–Kyle Lowry continues to explode when nobody expects it, which makes him very frustrating to run out there as a fantasy owner. Lowry posted 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists in 34 minutes off the bench last night and simply looked like the best player on the floor at all times. The presence of Jose Calderon is going to continue to make him inconsistent as long as both are on the roster, but just for games like this you have to keep running him out there.
–Zaza Pachulia got a rare start again last night with Josh Smith suspended for conduct and didn’t disappoint He neared a triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists. Al Horford, as he usually does, excelled as the power forward last night, posting 17 points and 13 rebounds. I find it hard to believe the Hawks best lineup isn’t with Smoove at the 3 and Zaza starting at the 5, but hey, I’m not the coach I guess, so he must see something there.
–LeBron James, as I’m sure you’ve heard 18,386 times already if you’ve turned on ESPN, became the youngest player to 20,000 points on Wednesday. He scored 25 points with 7 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 steal and 1 three in the dominant win over the Warriors. He’s just simply too good to be guarded by most teams and isn’t going to stop dominating any time soon.
–Eric Bledsoe and Jarrett Jack are going to continue to start for the injured Chris Paul and Steph Curry going forward it looks like. Both are must-owns in all leagues right now for the chance that these injuries linger. Bledsoe would be my preferred choice, but in a deeper league, Jack probably has more value when both are playing on healthy teams.
Top Lines to Target:
(Those who target the night’s highest over/unders should reap fantasy success)
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MIA @ LAL
MIL @ PHX
(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: Ricky Rubio
Jennings isn’t getting a pass from me on his dud the other night against the Lakers, but his price dropped and he’s got a pretty good matchup as the only high-upside point guard playing today. Nash has been consistent, but he’s going to have some trouble with a more athletic Heat team tonight, so his upside looks a little limited. Bledsoe is expected to start for Chris Paul again tonight and he’s been solid filling in. Rubio should see at least 25 minutes tonight and makes a great upside value play.
Value Play: Willie Green
Bryant is of course a must-start on a night like this where it’s hard to spend your whole salary. Crawford should excel much like Bledsoe as long as Chris Paul remains out. Monta Ellis has slowed a lot of late, but has a solid matchup tonight in what I expect to be a pretty high scoring game. Willie Green has been playing more significant minutes with both Chauncey Billups and Chris Paul hurt.
Value Play: Derrick Williams
Lebron James is another guy close to a must-start tonight, although he costs significantly more than Kobe. AK47 was battling the flu, but he’s clearly the second best small forward tonight if he goes. Barnes has been playing well of late again and played over 30 minutes last time out even with Grant Hill back in the fold. Williams has been outplaying Dante Cunningham and is averaging 26 mpg over his last 4.
Value Play: Lamar Odom
Griffin is really up and down and hard to predict, but he’s simply the best option at power forward today in a pretty decent matchup with the Wolves backup PFs. Scola has been better of late and has a pretty good matchup with Ilyasova. While Ilyasova is a good matchup for Scola, Scola is also a good matchup for him, so look for them to go at each other tonight. Odom continues to provide solid value and there’s not much else I need to say about him.
Value Play: Larry Sanders
Howard looked as healthy and energetic as he has all season in his return and gets a great matchup with a Heat team that has no one to body him up. Pekovic fits the mold of centers who thrive against the Clippers. Gortat’s post game should fair well against the Bucks shot blockers. Sanders’s athleticism should give him an advantage over a pretty unathletic Suns big man group.