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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Sunday

Michael Chua

Michael Chua

Michael Chua is a basketball statistics expert from the Philippines. He has worked as a student manager for the University of Wisconsin Men's basketball team. He is also the basketball program consultant for his high school alma mater, Shanghai American School, in China.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Phoenix Suns at Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers have been struggling lately, scoring an average of just 85.1 points over their last seven losses. Other than Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao, they've struggled to find a consistent rhythm on offense, adjusting to the newly arrived Luol Deng on the wing. They're fifth-worst in the league in terms of offensive rating, averaging just 98.6 points per 100 possessions. On a night with multiple offensive-minded teams, daily players can search elsewhere for value plays for Sunday's slate.

Offenses to Use
Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors: The Blazers and Warriors are both offensive-minded teams that are loaded with fantasy options throughout the roster. The Blazers feature a league-best 110.6 offensive rating, and a pace of 97.87 possessions per game (ninth-fastest). They've displayed their offensive proficiency throughout the entire season, most recently in Saturday's 115-104 win against the Timberwolves, where six players hit double-digits in scoring. Meanwhile, the Warriors score 104.2 points per 100 possessions, and run at a pace of 99.11 possessions per game (fourth-fastest). Consider the Blazers-Warriors matchup a producer of strong fantasy lines Sunday.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix Suns
Second game of a back-to-back: Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers

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Point Guard
Stephen Curry, GSW (vs. POR), PG/SG ($10,300): Curry has been on fire over his last four games, averaging 30.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 10.3 assists, 2.0 steals, and 4.3 three-pointers made during that span. He'll have a good opportunity to torch the Blazers, who give up 28.0 points (third-worst), 7.0 rebounds (fifth-worst), 9.9 assists (twelfth-worst), and 2.3 steals (thirteenth-worst) per game to opposing eligible point guards. Although he's an expensive option, he's demonstrated the consistency to warrant a hefty price tag for daily play, making him a prime option for guards in Sunday's slate.

Other suggestions: Ty Lawson (at SAC), PG ($8,400), Isaiah Thomas (vs. DEN), PG ($8,100), Deron Williams (at BOS), PG ($6,600)

Shooting Guard
Victor Oladipo, ORL (at NOP), PG/SG ($6,700): Oladipo is averaging 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.2 blocks, and 1.0 three-pointers made over his last five games. He's been developing in his rookie season as a solid all-around fantasy contributor, able to stuff the stat sheet on any given night. With Nikola Vucevic (concussion) doubtful for Sunday, Oladipo should remain in the starting lineup, giving him more opportunities to perform well. The Pelicans give up 40.5 points (third-worst), 11.3 rebounds (fifth-worst), 10.6 assists (worst), 3.2 steals (seventh-worst), 1.2 blocks (second-worst), 4.6 three-pointers made (eighth-worst), 13.1 three-pointers attempted (fourth-worst), and 44.2 percent FG (eighth-worst) to opposing eligible shooting guards.

Other suggestions: Monta Ellis (vs. DET), PG/SG ($7,800), Wesley Matthews (at GSW), SG/SF ($6,000), Vince Carter (vs. DET), SG/SF ($4,800)

Small Forward
Wilson Chandler, DEN (at SAC), SG/SF ($6,000): Chandler has been one of the most consistent Nuggets this season and has been scoring at a rather efficient clip over his recent stretch of games. He's averaging 21.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.0 blocks, and 3.2 three-pointers made over his last five games, numbers certainly worth his modest price tag. He'll be facing the Kings on Sunday, who will be without Rudy Gay (Achilles) once again. The Kings have struggled to defend the small forward position this season, giving up 36.0 points (worst), 6.2 assists (seventh-worst), 3.0 steals (fifth-worst), 1.3 blocks (eighth-worst), 4.2 three-pointers made (third-worst), 10.1 three-pointers made (sixth-worst), and 47.9 percent FG (second-worst) per game, making Chandler a solid choice for Sunday's tilt.

Other suggestions: Josh Smith (at DAL), SF/PF ($7,400), Nicolas Batum (at GSW), SG/SF ($7,000), Shawn Marion (vs. DET), SF/PF ($5,500)

Power Forward
Dirk Nowitzki, DAL (vs. DET), PF/C ($7,000): I've always found it amusing how Nowitzki's price tag has remained ridiculously low this season, despite his consistent play throughout the season. While he hasn't been particularly on fire over recent stretches, his price tag is certainly exploitable, particularly for Sunday's matchup. The Pistons have solid low-post defense, but Greg Monroe may struggle guarding Nowitzki from the perimeter, where he's shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc this season. Nowitzki has the ability to post semi-elite numbers, and it's an enigma that his price tag floats around the likes of mid-tier options in fantasy.

Other suggestions: LaMarcus Aldridge (at GSW), PF/C ($10,300), David Lee (vs. POR), PF/C ($7,800), Tobias Harris (at NOP), SF/PF ($6,600)

Center
Robin Lopez, POR (at GSW), C ($5,400): Lopez remains one of the low-priced options available at the center spot who have the potential to post double-doubles at a high rate, in addition to contributing in blocks. Lopez is averaging 13.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.6 blocks over his last five games, and he's logged three double-doubles during that span. The Warriors give up 18.0 points (fifth-worst), 10.7 rebounds (seventh-worst), 2.5 assists (sixth-worst), and 1.2 blocks (twelfth-worst) per game to opposing eligible centers. Consider Lopez a budget option at the center position for Sunday.

Other suggestions: Andre Drummond (at DAL), PF/C ($7,700), Anderson Varejao (vs. PHO), PF/C ($6,800), Miles Plumlee (at CLE), PF/C ($4,800)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Rudy Gay (Achilles) had an MRI reveal a strain and is wearing a walking boot before being re-evaluated.
Eric Bledsoe (knee) hopes to return this season sometime after the All-Star break.
Brook Lopez (foot) is out for the season.
Ryan Anderson (back) will be re-evaluated in early March and could possibly sit out longer.
Kobe Bryant (Achilles) hopes to return before the All-Star break.
Steve Nash (back) hopes to return next week.
Xavier Henry (knee) will miss another two weeks.
Jordan Farmar (hamstring) hopes to return by mid-February.
Steve Blake (elbow) will be re-evaluated after Sunday's game.
Andrea Bargnani (elbow) is without a timetable to return.
Amar'e Stoudemire (ankle) will miss approximately one more week.
Kenyon Martin (ankle) will miss approximately one more week.
Avery Bradley (ankle) is expected to miss a couple of weeks.
Jerryd Bayless (toe) is expected to miss about another week.
Kawhi Leonard (finger) will miss three-to-four weeks.
Danny Green (hand) will miss approximately two more weeks.
Tiago Splitter (shoulder) will miss approximately two more weeks.
Danilo Gallinari (knee) is out for the season.
JaVale McGee (leg) is still without a timetable to return.
Jason Smith (knee) is without a timetable to return.

Game-Time Decision
DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) is a game-time decision Sunday.
Dwyane Wade (knee) practiced Saturday and is considered probable to play Sunday.
Nikola Vucevic (concussion) is traveling with the Magic on their road trip, but is highly doubtful to play.
Tyreke Evans (illness) was a late-scratch Friday and is probable to play Sunday.
Darrell Arthur (hip) is questionable to play Sunday.
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