Written by: Ronnie Vaughan – Staff Writing Intern (@AyePaisano)
Toronto Raptors @ Chicago Bulls +4.5, Total – 207
TOR ranks 22nd in pace, 5th in scoring, and allow the 11th fewest points.
CHI ranks 23rd in pace, 23rd in scoring, and allow the 7th fewest points.
Dwyane Wade, Nikola Mirotic and Paul Zipster has been ruled out, Jimmy Butler is currently listed as probable. Toronto Raptor’s have traded away Terrence Ross and a 2017 1st round pick for Serge Ibaka who I do not expect to join the team today. Patrick Patterson is currently listed as a GTD and has been out for the last 4 games.
With all the injury news on CHI, there will be some heavy interest in the value plays such as Jerian Grant, Michael Carter-Williams, Denzel Valentine, Doug McDermott and Bobby Portis. Stay tuned to new to see who is starting and if there are any notes released on what the rotation should look like. Regular starters such as Taj Gibson and Robin Lopez look to be the safer plays since their minutes are already solidified and should see an increase in usage.
On Toronto’s side, Kyle Lowry and DeMar Derozan headline the plays and look to have high ownership in a great matchup against the Bulls B-Squad. Terrence Ross has been traded so I imagine that players such as Norman Powell and Cory Joseph should see an uptick in minutes and usage. The front-court isn’t something i usually target but Jonas Valanciunas could be a nice pivot play at Center.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Minnesota Timberwolves +4, Total – 218
CLE ranks 12th in pace, 3rd in scoring, and allows the 13th most points.
MIN ranks 24th in pace, 19th in scoring, and allows the 15tth fewest points.
Kevin Love has gone under arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is expected to miss up 6 weeks. Adreian Payne continues to be out, same as J.R. Smith.
Without Kevin Love on the court, my go to has been to play both Kyrie Irving and LeBron James on my cash game teams. This isn’t rocket science because they both end up averaging more fantasy points per minute than their average on the season. Bron also sees more minutes at the Point Forward position and it looks to be the Channing Frye will be starting. Iman Shumpert will be returning to the rotation today as well. To be honest, outside of the players already mentioned, Tristan Thompson and Kyle Korver are the two players I have the most interest in rostering.
On MIN’s side, I am big on Ricky Rubio tonight because I love to target point guards against godawful Kyrie Irving defense. None of the SG have impressed me since LaVine’s injury, the play that has been my goto is Andrew Wiggins. SF gainst CLE has sneaky been a good play this season. Without Kevin Love, Gorgui Dieng looks to have a nice matchup. Shabazz Muhammad is potentially intriguing as well. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention Karl Anthony-Towns who could be the highest scoring player in this game. A sneaky narrative to discuss could be Lance Stephenson against LeBron, but he is a very risky play.
Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers -2, Total = 218.5
SAC ranks 26th in pace, 22nd in scoring, and allows the 14th most points.
LAK ranks 6th in pace, 18th in scoring, and allows the 4th most points.
Ty Lawson and Omri Casspi are listed as a GTD.
Darren Collison looks to be the biggest chalk play on the night, especially if Lawson is out. DeMarcus Cousin’s might be the highest owned center on the state and has the NUTS matchup against the Lakers, will be tough to fade. Matt Barnes continues to provide nice value but the price has risen and the rest of the King’s’ wing players are a total crapshoot. As does the rest of the power forwards.
Choosing Lakers players is always a nightmare. Between the guards such as Nick Young and Lou Williams, they are both so streaky but can go off at any moment. Julius Randle’s price is depressed and could make for a very solid play against a bad Kings defense. If you’re worried about Randle, a pivot to Larry Nance Jr makes sense because he has flashed upside recently. He has not shown upside since returning from injury. Brandon Ingram looked good for 4 games but then had a crapper in his last outing, could be a solid play but Matt Barnes is a decent defender. I think I am most interested in is D’Angelo Russell who might go be heavily under owned in a very solid matchup, but he has not taken many shots as of late. Ivica Zubac is super interesting but I always worry about similar players getting into foul trouble against Cousins, definitely a play nonetheless.