Defenses to Avoid
Oklahoma City Thunder at Denver Nuggets: While a matchup between two fast-paced teams always sounds fun for fantasy purposes, the Nuggets may have their hands full Tuesday night. Oklahoma City has been one of the league’s stingiest teams this season, with top-five rankings in defensive rating (5th- 97.0), opponent’s field-goal percentage (2nd- 42.1), opponent’s three-point percentage (5th- 33.5), and rebounding percentage (1st- 52.8). Despite playing at the third-fastest pace in the NBA, Oklahoma City is tied for 10th in opponent’s points per game (98.7). It doesn’t hurt that the Thunder have no significant injuries to speak of, after Thabo Sefolosha (knee) returned to the lineup Sunday.
Offenses to Use
Golden State Warriors vs. New Orleans Pelicans: Stephen Curry has been carrying the Warriors lately, but the league’s preeminent sharpshooter shouldn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting on Tuesday. New Orleans ranks 26th in points allowed per game (102.1), 23rd in defensive rating (104.5), 28th in opponent’s field-goal percentage (47.0), and 20th in opponent’s three-point percentage (36.7). Meanwhile, the Warriors remain one of the league’s better offensive teams, even though they’ve been mildly disappointing on that end this season. Known more for their guards than their frontcourt, the Warriors should still have an edge up front against a New Orleans team that’s been starting Jason Smith and Ryan Anderson. Despite putting up solid fantasy numbers, the Pelicans’ aforementioned frontcourt duo isn’t particularly imposing on defense.
Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Bobcats, Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans
Second game of a back-to-back: Los Angeles Lakers
DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
Damian Lillard (at CLE): Facing a weak defensive team with a point guard that expends most of his energy on the offensive end, Lillard should be able to make the most of his matchup against Kyrie Irving and the Cavs. There’s little doubt that both Irving and Lillard will be motivated, as this could become the NBA’s next big point guard rivalry. In a measuring-stick game for the league’s top two young points, look for Irving and Lillard to trade blows via baskets. Much to the delight of daily fantasy gamers, neither point guard has the defensive chops to match his scoring prowess.
Other options: Isaiah Thomas (at CHA), Kemba Walker (vs. SAC), Ty Lawson (vs. OKC), Jerryd Bayless (vs. LAL) if Mike Conley (thigh) doesn’t play
Eric Gordon (at GS): The matchup could be better, but it’s no death sentence for Gordon’s fantasy prospects. Even after struggling in Sunday’s loss to Denver, the oft-injured shooting guard is 32-of-60 (53.3 percent) from the field and 9-of-18 from three-point range over his last five games. If he keeps shooting like this, Gordon will have little choice but to increase his average of 13.2 field-goal attempts per game. The increased volume would be a welcome development, as he’s shown excellent balance as a scorer this season, attempting 3.6 free throws and 4.0 three-pointers per game. Gordon is a dangerous player when healthy, and he still seems to be flying under the radar.
Other options: Klay Thompson (vs. NO), Wesley Matthews (at CLE), Kobe Bryant (at MEM), Jeremy Lamb (at DEN)
Rudy Gay (vs. CHA): The Bobcats have a nice pair of wing defenders in Jeff Taylor and Gerald Henderson, both of whom are at a size disadvantage against Gay. The matchup still isn’t particularly good, as highlighted above, but it’s hard to go against Gay if his daily price is based on what he did with the Raptors. He seems to have his shooting back on track in Sacramento, as he made 18-of-32 field-goal attempts in his first two games with his new team. New uniform or not, Gay always figured to rebound – at least to some extent – from a disastrous start to the 2013-14 campaign.
Other options: Nicolas Batum (at CLE), Kevin Durant (at DEN), Wilson Chandler (vs. OKC)
Jon Leuer (vs. LAL): The matchup is fantastic, Leuer has seen consistent playing time lately, and his price is still relatively low on most daily gaming sites. With all of the stars aligned, why not go for the former Wisconsin Badger, who is averaging 16.4 points and 8.2 rebounds in 29.8 minutes over the last five games? Furthermore, the Lakers have allowed their opponents to grab a league-high 47.2 rebounds per contest, and only the Jazz have given up more points within five feet of the hoop. While he may not benefit from the Lakers’ weaknesses as much as other power forwards, Leuer still offers excellent value.
Other options: David Lee (vs. NO), Serge Ibaka (at DEN), LaMarcus Aldridge (at CLE)
Jordan Hill (at MEM): While his playing time has been a point of confusion this season, there’s little doubt that Hill can produce for fantasy owners when he’s on the court. He owns per-36 averages of 16.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.5 blocks. Of course, Hill’s per-game averages fall well short of those numbers, as he’s seen just 21.8 minutes per contest. Luckily for fantasy gamers, Hill played 28 minutes against the Hawks on Monday, and 31 minutes in the game before that. If you’re willing to absorb the risk of an unexpected drop in playing time, Hill should make for a nice bargain.
Other options: Andrew Bogut (vs. NO), Jason Smith (at GS), Al Jefferson (vs. SAC)
Carl Landry (hip) still doesn't have a timetable to return.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (hand) is unlikely to return before January.
Steve Blake (elbow) is expected to miss a minimum of six weeks.
Jordan Farmar (hamstring) is targeting a Friday return.
Steve Nash (general soreness) remains without a timetable to return.
Marc Gasol (knee) is still out with a Grade 2 MCL sprain.
Quincy Pondexter (foot) is likely out for the season.
Anthony Davis (hand) is two weeks into a four-to-six week timetable.
Andre Iguodala (hamstring) is likely out for another one-to-three weeks
Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) underwent surgery Friday and does not yet have a timetable to return.
Mike Conley suffered a thigh contusion during Sunday's loss to Minnesota.
Randy Foye twisted his ankle Sunday but should be available Tuesday.
Tyreke Evans (ankle) missed Sunday's game and could be a game-time decision Tuesday.