RotoWire Partners

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 Cleveland Cavaliers: There are just four games on Tuesday's slate, and the only other above-average defensive team in action, Oklahoma City, is facing a Mavericks squad that not only owns the NBA's third-best offensive rating (108.6), but also recently beat the Thunder by a score of 109-86 on March 16. While the matchup isn't good, the Mavs at least have their best player healthy and sport an efficient offense that can overcome even the toughest of opponents. Cleveland, on the other hand, will be playing without Kyrie Irving (biceps), and the Cavs rank 24th in offensive rating (100.3) this season, despite having their star point guard healthy for most of the campaign. Toronto ranks sixth in defensive rating (101.4) and 22nd in pace (94.6) this season, while the Cavs (95.64 pace) don't play much faster. Opportunities to take advantage of Irving's injury have dried up, with both Jarrett Jack ($5700) and Dion Waiters ($6900) receiving sizable price hikes for Tuesday. Furthermore, Anderson Varejao and Spencer Hawes are splitting time at center, while Tristan Thompson is still struggling at power forward.

Offenses to Use
New York Knicks at Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers are still playing hard, but the lack of talent remains glaring, and meaningful signs of progress on defense have unsurprisingly been absent. With their 106.55 pace factor over the last 10 games leading the NBA by a wide margin, the Lakers are always a great bet to end up in a shootout, even on the rare nights when they play a bit of defense. The Purple and Gold has surrendered 121 points per game over its last 10 contests and 117.2 points over its last five. The Knicks, meanwhile, surprisingly lead the league with a schedule-assisted 113.0 offensive rating over the last 10 games. Such a statistic obviously overstates the team's ability, but merely being decent is usually enough to top 110 points against the Lakers. With Pau Gasol (vertigo) likely out and Chris Kaman likely starting, a weak defensive frontcourt should be at its very worst Tuesday night.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks
Second game of a back-to-back: Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder

DraftKings.com DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
If you've never played on DraftKings.com before, we recommend reading our Daily Fantasy Basketball 101: How to Win on DraftKings strategy article.

Qualify for this Friday's $100K MegaCrossover for as low as $2. Sign up now!


Point Guard
Russell Westbrook, OKC (at DAL), PG, ($7900): Westbrook survived an injury scare Friday, then was rested Monday night for the first game of back-to-back. With the knee sprain looking like a non-issue, OKC's star point guard should be his usual self in a friendly matchup Tuesday night. Teammate Kevin Durant is scoring 1.42 fantasy points per minute on DraftKings this season, while Westbrook is scoring 1.39. Obviously, Westbrook is still on a minutes limit and won't see as much playing time as KD, but the per-minute production is shockingly similar. Before he left Friday's game early, Westbrook had topped 42 points on DraftKings in 5 straight appearances, despite playing no more than 31 minutes in any of those games. At this price, with a four-game slate, Westbrook could easily be used in more than half of all lineups. He's still hard to pass up, but it's something to keep in mind if you're looking to avoid such players.

Other suggestions: Kendall Marshall, LAL (vs. NY), PG, ($4800)

Shooting Guard
Victor Oladipo, ORL (vs. POR), PG/SG, ($6600): With Jameer Nelson (knee) ruled out for a fourth straight game, Oladipo is in line for another start and another 35+ minutes. Not that he's glued to the bench when Nelson plays, but the rookie is averaging 18 points, 7.7 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and two steals in 37.3 minutes over the last three games. That he also piled up a whopping 18 turnovers in those three games isn't particularly discouraging, as DraftKings only subtracts half of a point for TOs, and it shows that Orlando's offense was running through the rookie. There was a price hike from $6200 here, so Oladipo isn't quite the same steal that he was over the weekend.

Other suggestions: Monta Ellis, DAL (vs. OKC), PG/SG, ($7700)

Small Forward
Carmelo Anthony, NY (at LAL), SF/PF, ($10,200): Let's put aside the idea that ‘Melo will want to takeover Tuesday's game to impress his potential future fans. Not only is the star forward unlikely to land in Los Angeles, but he hasn't put himself in position to worry about such things, with the Knicks in very real danger of embarrassingly missing the Eastern Conference Playoffs in a soft year. Now, having said that, Anthony is an elite offensive player facing the league's fastest-paced team, which also arguably has the league's worst defense. The Lakers don't really do anything well at the moment, and Anthony has consistently beaten up on the league's lesser teams this season. As an added bonus, the Knicks are bad enough that Tuesday's game doesn't have a ton of blowout potential.
Other suggestions: J.R. Smith, NY (at LAL), SG/SF, ($5400)

Power Forward
Amar'e Stoudemire, NY (at LAL), PF/C, ($4500): Best avoided when his knees are acting up or his playing time is limited to under 25 minutes, Stoudemire has offered excellent value on a number of occasions this season, as his per-36 production remains strong. With the Knicks playing a reasonably light schedule over the last two weeks, and Stoudemire topping 25 minutes in each of his last six games, another 25-30 minutes seems likely Tuesday. The Lakers make a great matchup for any position, but big men benefit the most. With Chris Kaman (foot) likely replacing Pau Gasol (vertigo) in the starting lineup Tuesday, an atrocious defensive frontcourt will be even worse than usual. Everything seems to be lined up for Stoudemire, on a day without a ton of great value plays.

Other suggestions: Kyle O'Quinn, ORL (vs. POR), PF/C, ($4100),

Center

Jonas Valanciunas, TOR (at CLE), C, ($5200): Look elsewhere if you're searching DraftKings' lower-middle class for a player with the potential to produce a huge game. Valanciunas has just one 20-10 performance and two 20-point games this season, and he doesn't offer a whole lot in terms of assists/steals/blocks. However, his disappointing playing time has looked much better lately, with the Lithuanian center averaging 33.3 minutes over his last five games. There was a 20-minute outing in there, but Valanciunas logged 45 minutes in Friday's overtime loss to the Thunder, before playing 33 minutes against the Hawks on Sunday. His total against the Hawks is particularly significant, as the disappointing 20-minute game came against that same Atlanta team just five days prior. Still nothing special as a player, the 6-11 Lithuanian should offer nice value at $5200 by virtue of being a big man with a solid chance to top 30 minutes against a team that's (presumably) starting Spencer Hawes at center.

Other suggestions: Jordan Hill, LAL (vs. NY), PF/C, ($4600)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Jameer Nelson (knee) will miss a fourth consecutive game with a sore left knee.
LaMarcus Aldridge (back) will not return until Thursday at the earliest.
Joel Freeland (knee) is targeting a playoff return.
Pattrick Patterson (elbow) has been cleared for contact portions of practice.
Kyrie Irving (biceps) is out through March.
Anthony Bennett (knee) is out with a patellar strain.
Kendrick Perkins (groin) is progressing slowly in his recovery from surgery.
Thabo Sefolosha (calf) fit in light work during Sunday's practice.
Kenyon Martin (ankle) still has no timetable but is hoping to return before the end of the regular season.
Andrea Bargnani (elbow) still has not been cleared for contact.
Kobe Bryant (knee) is out for the season.
Jordan Farmar (groin) may miss the rest of the season.

Game-Time Decision
Amir Johnson bumped his knee during Sunday's game but finished out the contest.
C.J. Miles (knee) played two minutes in his return to the lineup last week and has since failed to log any playing time in the subsequent three games.
Russell Westbrook (knee) will return Tuesday, after missing the first game of a back-to-back Monday.
Jose Calderon (mouth) will return Tuesday, after leaving Sunday's game in the first quarter with a facial injury.
Raymond Felton (finger) suffered a hyperextended thumb during Sunday's game but still finished with 14 points and eight assists in 32 minutes against the Cavs.
Iman Shumpert (illness) missed Sunday's game with flu-like symptoms.
Steve Nash (back/soreness) returned Friday and played 19 minutes but didn't play Sunday after tweaking something.
Pau Gasol (illness) was diagnosed with vertigo and is doubtful for Tuesday.
Xavier Henry (wrist) expects to play through a torn ligament in his wrist, but he did not play Sunday.
Chris Kaman (foot) is expected to return for Tuesday's game, and he will start at center if Gasol (illness) does not play.
Top Fantasy Basketball Player News
No major news stories have been reported recently.