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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
Despite a wide selection of seven games on Sunday slate, not a single matchup stands out as one to avoid in fantasy. Each set has the potential to produce strong lines, so consider individual positional matchups when deploying Sunday's plays.

Offenses to Use
Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves: The Timberwolves have been among the better offensive teams in the league, scoring 105.5 points per 100 possessions and playing at a pace of 99.74 possessions per game (fourth-fastest). Despite playing without starting center Nikola Pekovic (center), they've managed to produce monster fantasy plays from throughout the roster over recent games. Continue to expect Kevin Love, Kevin Martin, and Ricky Rubio to put up their usual numbers, while Gorgui Dieng fills in as a value option for Pekovic, who's doubtful to play Sunday once again.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set

First game of a back-to-back: Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns
Second game of a back-to-back: Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic

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Point Guard
Ramon Sessions, MIL (at SAC), PG/SG ($5,000): Despite having his price tag increase to quite a level over recent games, Sessions is still a worthy option for Sunday's slate. Nate Wolters (hand) has been ruled out for the remainder of the season, and Sessions figures to take on a bulk of those minutes, as he's been playing impressively for the past month. Sessions is averaging 19.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.0 three-pointers made over the last three games, and he could continue to keep that up with more minutes at his disposal.

Other suggestions: John Wall (at DEN), PG ($9,700), Ty Lawson (vs. WAS), PG ($7,700), Eric Bledsoe (at MIN), PG/SG ($7,300)

Shooting Guard
DeMar DeRozan, TOR (vs. ATL), SG/SF ($8,300): DeRozan has caught fire lately, averaging 31.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.0 steals, and 0.7 three-pointers made over his last three games. Last Tuesday we saw him torch the Hawks for 29 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, and one steal, and he's been playing well against them in three games this season, averaging 30.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.3 steals throughout the series. He may carry an expensive price tag with him, but DeRozan's been performing at the top level for shooting guards, and Sunday's matchup could be favorable for him in daily fantasy.

Other suggestions: Goran Dragic (at MIN), PG/SG ($7,500), Dion Waiters (at NYK), SG ($5,800), Nick Young (vs. ORL), SG/SF ($4,300)

Small Forward
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL (at SAC), SG/SF ($3,800): Here comes my crazy recommendation of the week: the Greek freak. Those of you who have an appetite for high-risk, zero-guarantee plays can focus your eyes on Antetokounmpo for Sunday's slate of games. He hadn't hit the 30-minute mark for 14 consecutive games, until Thursday's matchup put Nate Wolters (hand) on the pine for the remainder of the season. Result? Giannis posted 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and one block in 31 minutes. Those numbers may not appear to be significant in fantasy, but keep in mind there was a period early in this season when the rookie was producing $4,500-worth of value. Coach Larry Drew has never been fully committed to anyone on his roster this season other than Brandon Knight. However, he may be out of options at this point, and knowing his strong distaste for Mayo, he may want to select the fresher choice in Antetokounmpo. Do not deploy him if you want to play it safe.

Other suggestions: Trevor Ariza (at DEN), SG/SF ($6,900), Wilson Chandler (vs. WAS), SG/SF ($5,000), Khris Middleton (at SAC), SG/SF ($4,100)

Power Forward
Nikola Vucevic, ORL (at LAL), PF/C ($7,100): Vucevic remains as one of the underpriced big men in daily games this season. He's been dominating since the All-Star break, averaging 15.8 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.7 blocks per game, and he's a daily threat for double-doubles. I understand that he plays at the center position, but his multi-positional availability puts him at an advantage in daily games, allowing us to deploy him at the power forward spot. However, consider these stats for eligible centers who play against the Lakers: 23.3 points (third-highest), 14.8 rebounds (highest), 3.8 assists (highest), and 1.6 steals (highest). In other words, consider Vucevic a solid option for Sunday's slate.

Other suggestions: Dirk Nowitzki (vs. BKN), PF/C ($7,400), Tobias Harris (at LAL), SF/PF ($6,400), Drew Gooden (at DEN), PF/C ($4,400)

Center
Gorgui Dieng, MIN (vs. PHX), C ($4,700): There's word on the street that Nikola Pekovic (ankle) will continue to ride the pine Sunday, which means extremely-cheap-super-breakout-rookie-that-came-out-of-nowhere Dieng may get the start again. He's coming off an unexplainable 22-point, 21-rebound, four-assist performance Thursday, and he's now averaging 14.7 points, 14.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.0 blocks over the last three games. Chances are, his daily game ownership will jump to 40 percent on Sunday. I'd give him that same percentage chance (40 percent) to pull off a five-point, four-rebound dud against the Suns. Yet, riding on the bandwagon is always fun, and if it crashes someday, at least you'll know you weren't the only one who came down with it.

Other suggestions: DeMarcus Cousins (vs. MIL), PF/C ($9,800), Pau Gasol (vs. ORL), PF/C ($8,400), Tyson Chandler (vs. CLE), PF/C ($5,300)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Kyrie Irving (biceps) will miss two weeks before being re-evaluated.
Kyle Korver (back) will not play Sunday.
J.J. Hickson (knee) will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.
Nene Hilario (knee) is out for at least another two weeks.
Nate Wolters (hand) will miss the remainder of the season with a broken hand.
Kevin Garnett (back) will not play Sunday.
C.J. Miles (ankle) is still without a timetable to return.
Andrea Bargnani (elbow) is still without a timetable to return.
Kenyon Martin (elbow) is still without a timetable to return.
Jordan Farmar (groin) could miss the remainder of the season.

Game-Time Decision
Rudy Gay (illness) is a game-time decision Sunday.
Monta Ellis (thigh) sustained a thigh contusion but is expected to play Sunday.
Nikola Pekovic (ankle) is doubtful to play Sunday.
Jameer Nelson (knee) is a game-time decision Sunday.
Patrick Patterson (elbow) is doubtful to play Sunday.
Vince Carter (finger) is expected to play Sunday.
Steve Nash (soreness) is a game-time decision Sunday.
Wesley Johnson (illness) is expected to play Sunday.
Chris Kaman (foot) is doubtful to play Sunday.