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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Tuesday

Jerry Donabedian

Jerry Donabedian

Jerry Donabedian writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards: The Raptors are 21-12 since trading Rudy Gay on Dec. 8, with the NBA's fifth-best defensive rating (100.5) and eighth-slowest pace (94.5) since the deal. The Wizards are 16th in pace (95.9), 21st in offensive rating (101.4), and 19th in points per game (99.3) this season, and they scored just 88 points in both of the first two meetings between the teams. The third matchup should be a relatively low-scoring affair, making players on both sides a shaky proposition on a day with a handful of potential shootouts. The Knicks-Grizzlies game also figures to run on the low-scoring side, as both teams play at a slow pace and Memphis has a suffocating defense.

Offenses to Use
Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets are playing at the league's fourth-fastest pace (99.6) this season, while the Suns (98.1) rank sixth. Phoenix has been surprisingly efficient on offense throughout the year, ranking eighth in offensive rating (106.7), sixth in points per game (104.9), and ninth in field-goal percentage (45.9). Meanwhile, the Nuggets are 20th in defensive rating (104.7) and have gotten worse throughout the season. Denver's 107.3 defensive rating since Jan. 1 is good for third-worst in the league, and they've surrendered a league-high 109.7 points per game in the new year. Injuries have clearly taken a huge toll, but the Nuggets have still maintained a solid offense, and the Suns aren't exactly known for their defensive prowess. This game should be high scoring on both sides, with Phoenix getting an extra boost for being the healthier team.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set

First game of a back-to-back: Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Bobcats, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs
Second game of a back-to-back: N/A

DraftKings.com DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
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Point Guard
Chris Paul, LAC (vs. SA), PG, ($9,000): Paul still comes at a reduced price, even after proving his health in a 20-point, 12-assist performance against Portland in the Clippers' final game before the All-Star break. Grab the discount while you can, as Paul should be his usual self against a San Antonio team that's still a bit banged up. Prior to suffering the shoulder injury that kept him out for most of January, the game's preeminent point guard was listed in the $10,000 range. Nine days after he first returned from the injury, there's no reason to think Paul will be at less than 100 percent.

Other suggestions: Mario Chalmers, MIA (at DAL), PG, ($4,900); Michael Carter-Williams, PHI (vs. CLE), PG, ($7,900)

Shooting Guard
Goran Dragic, PHO (at DEN), PG/SG, ($8,400): Dragic entered the All-Star break on a tear and has been one of the more consistent fantasy performers in the league since teammate Eric Bledsoe suffered a torn meniscus at the end of December. Putting up at least 33.75 fantasy points on DraftKings in each of his last 10 games, Dragic has further topped 40 fantasy points in seven of those contests. He's been tough to pass on lately, and that's truer than ever in Tuesday's excellent matchup.

Other suggestions: Kyrie Irving, CLE (at PHI), PG/SG, ($8,400); Kyle Singler, DET (vs. CHA), SG/SF, ($3,900)

Small Forward
P.J. Tucker, PHO (at DEN), SG/SF, ($4,700): Tucker offers solid value at $4,700, even if you ignore both the friendly matchup and his increased playing time right before the All-Star break. Averaging 30.3 minutes this season, he logged at least 36 minutes in each of Phoenix's final three games before the break. There was no obvious explanation for the bump in playing time, so it may have just been a temporary change. Still, Tucker should see a minimum of 25-30 minutes in a game that figures to be a shootout. He's averaging 22.9 fantasy points on DraftKings this season and is a good bet to top that mark Tuesday.

Other suggestions: Wilson Chandler, DEN (vs. PHO), SG/SF, ($6,000); Jordan Hamilton, DEN (vs. PHO), SF, ($3,100)

Power Forward

Amar'e Stoudemire, NY (at MEM), PF/C, ($4,200): Stoudemire logged a season-high 37 minutes in the Knicks' final game before the break, finishing with 20 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks against the Kings. He's averaging 17 points and 6.8 rebounds over the last four games, as he's arguably playing his best basketball of the season. With Kenyon Martin (ankle) sidelined Tuesday and Andrea Bargnani (elbow) out indefinitely, Stoudemire may threaten the 30-minute threshold, even though the Knicks are playing the first game of a back-to-back set. The price here is simply too kind to pass on, given how good Stoudemire has looked lately.

Other suggestions: Markieff Morris, PHO (at DEN), PF/C, ($5,100); Tristan Thompson, CLE (at PHI), PF/C, ($6,100)

Center
Nikola Vucevic, ORL (at MIL), PF/C, ($7,300): The Bucks have been a friend to opposing big men this season, as you might expect of a team with the league's worst record. Things don't figure to get much better now that Larry Sanders (eye) is out for six weeks, with the Bucks likely getting by with Zaza Pachulia and John Henson at center. That's good news for Vucevic, who posted a double-double in each of his last three games, despite facing three tough opponents in the Thunder, Pacers, and Grizzlies. The sledding should be much easier Tuesday, against a Milwaukee squad that allows 101.8 points per game and owns the league's second-worst rebounding percentage (47.5).

Other suggestions: Spencer Hawes, PHI (vs. CLE), PF/C, ($6,900); J.J. Hickson, DEN (vs. PHO), PF/C, ($6,100); Boris Diaw, SA (at LAC), PF/C, ($3,800), if Tiago Splitter (shoulder) doesn't play

INJURY REPORT

Out

Pero Antic (ankle) is 1.5 weeks into a 2-to-4 week timetable.
Anderson Varejao (back) is out Tuesday and possibly longer.
Andrea Bargnani (elbow) is out indefinitely.
Kenyon Martin (ankle) did not travel for Tuesday's game.
Larry Sanders (eye) is out for at least six weeks.
Gal Mekel (knee) returned to practice Monday but doesn't figure to be ready for Tuesday's game.
Eric Bledsoe (knee) is making progress but won't be ready by Tuesday.
JaVale McGee (leg) is weighing surgery and should make a decision by Mar. 1.
Nate Robinson (torn ACL) is out for the season.
Ty Lawson (ribs) is at least a few days away from a return, according to Nuggets coach Brian Shaw.
J.J. Redick (hip) will miss a fifth consecutive game Tuesday.

Game-Time Decision

DeMarre Carroll (ankle/hamstring) missed the final game before the All-Star break but will likely be back in action Tuesday.
Hollis Thompson (ankle) missed the final two games before the break.
Amir Johnson (ankle) missed the final two games before the break but is expected to return Tuesday.
Iman Shumpert (hip) is questionable for Tuesday.
J.R. Smith (face) said that he would play Tuesday, regardless of whether his facemask is comfortable.
Tony Allen (hand) practiced Monday and is a game-time decision for Tuesday. He was mentioned in trade rumors Monday night, specifically in connection with the Timberwolves.
Mike Conley (ankle) will return for Tuesday's game.
Marc Gasol (knee) practiced Monday and is questionable for Tuesday.
Caron Butler (ankle) practiced Monday and expects to play Tuesday.
John Henson (ankle) is probable for Tuesday's game.
O.J. Mayo (conditioning) is also probable for Tuesday's game.
Ekpe Udoh (ankle) is questionable for Tuesday's game.
Dwyane Wade (foot) played 12 minutes in the All-Star Game and will likely play Tuesday.
Devin Harris (knee) missed the final game before the break with minor ankle and knee injuries.
Manu Ginobili (hamstring) is expected to return Tuesday following an eight-game absence.
Tiago Splitter (shoulder) is questionable for Tuesday.
Willie Green (hip) is questionable for Tuesday.
Kawhi Leonard (hand) hasn't played since Jan. 22 but was cleared for Monday's practice that ended up getting canceled because of a late flight to LA. He hasn't been ruled out for Tuesday's game but doesn't seem particularly likely to play.
Tony Parker (hand/general soreness) said that he's been dealing with a sprained hand for a few weeks. The injury didn't prevent him from playing in Sunday's All-Star Game, but he did miss two of San Antonio's final four games before the break.
Randy Foye (ankle/hamstring) is healthy enough to play but missed Monday's practice due to a family emergency. He's still expected to play Tuesday.