-Chris Paul was masterful in the Clippers defeat of the Lakers last night as he scored 30 points with 6 rebounds, 13 assists, and 2 steals. Paul hadn’t taken 25 shots like he did last night in a while, but he clearly was on a mission to prove something last night. Paul is easily the No. 3 player in almost all fantasy formats right now and while he won’t go nuts scoring like this very often this season, he’s an incredibly valuable asset.
-Kobe Bryant, never to be totally outdone, had a pretty impressive game of his own in the defeat. Bryant scored 38 points with 3 assists, and 5 steals. Outside of the steals, the peripheral numbers weren’t great, especially the fact that he didn’t even manage to grab a single rebound, but it’s hard to argue with how impressive he’s been on offense this season at his advanced age. Steve Nash has taken away almost no looks from Kobe since his return and actually only took 4 shots of his own last night.
-Carlos Boozer appears to be back on track for the Bulls and they have needed his scoring badly all season. He followed up a season-high 31 points from Wednesday with another 27 point, 12 rebound effort last night as the Bulls took down the Heat. The Heat interior defense has been terrible of late and both Boozer and Joakim Noah (13 points, 12 rebounds) took major advantage of the situation, leading their team to the tough win.
-Marc Gasol had maybe the most Marc Gasol-iest game of his career on Friday. Gasol is a rare player that has been able to wiggle his way into first-round production without being an elite scorer and he showed exactly what his upside can be last night even in a game where he doesn’t do much offensively. Gasol scored 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals, but the biggest part of his line was that he blocked EIGHT shots on the night. Gasol isn’t an elite shot blocker, but his defense has improved each year and he knows the right positions to be in. With Zach Randolph out, Marreese Speights dropped in 22 points and 13 rebounds on the evening.
-Wesley Matthews, who had been dealing with a tough hip injury that caused him to miss the first games of his career this season, finally got back on track for the Blazers last night. Matthews caught fire from three, hitting 5 of them, on his way to 21 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Matthews is back to playing heavy minutes and should be himself going forward. JJ Hickson added his 19th double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Top Lines to Target:
(Those who target the night’s highest over/unders should reap fantasy success)
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HOU @ CLE – 209
GSW @ LAC – 201
(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: Jason Kidd
These look awfully similar to last night, but they didn’t disappoint. Paul, after thrashing the Lakers and Steve Nash, gets Steph Curry, whom he dropped 24-4-6 on recently. Irving is a top talent on a terrible team, which is always the recipe for fantasy success in the NBA, he gets a nice fast paced matchup with Jeremy Lin and the Rockets tonight. Deron has finally started to come around the last two games and he faces the Kings who were torched by Kyle Lowry last night. Kidd’s price has dropped nicely into value range, which I’m sure is no consolation to those of you like me, who have been using him on his decline.
Value Play: Eric Gordon
Harden is simply too good to sit at his price at this point, unless he’s playing the Thunder of course. George, as I mentioned last night, is a guy that simply needs to be faded at his price on the road, but at home, he’s near a must play in most matchups. Williams has the trifecta going right now, he’s starting, playing heavy minutes and is shooting the rock extremely well. Oh, and he’s still got a nice pricetag. Gordon is expected to have his minutes expanded a bit tonight and is using a crazy amount of the teams’ possessions when he’s on the floor.
Value Play: Francisco Garcia
Melo has been the best offensively this season and there isn’t a player on Orlando that can guard him, he should get off to one of his patented hot starts in this one. AK47 is back to being consistent now that he’s over his back woes and would see an uptick in usage if Kevin Love sits this one out. Parsons struggled a bit last night, but has bounced right back every time that’s happened this season. Garcia continues to provide value for dirt cheap as long as he starts.
Value Play: Lamar Odom
Cousins is simply on fire, so I’m moving him to the top of the list tonight in what, amazingly, is another good matchup for him this week. Duncan would top this list tonight if Big Cuz wasn’t playing so well, I love his matchup and he’s one of the few guys who didn’t play last night. Davis struggled last time out and his price has dropped in a matchup that he should be able to take advantage of his athleticism in. Odom continues to be as solid as anyone for a low, low price.
Value Play: Omer Asik, Tyler Zeller
Lopez continues to prove that his max deal in the offseason was worth it and that maybe teams would have been better off acquiring him than either Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum after all, he gets another plus matchup tonight as well. Jefferson has been his usual self of late and he should trash Kosta Koufos tonight. Pek struggled in a good matchup last time out, but the TWolves will need him to bounce back tonight whether Kevin Love plays or not. Asik gets the Cavs frontcourt tonight, which you should be targeting every time Varejao is out. Zeller continues to provide value, but almost no upside.