Defense to avoid:
Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic
The Celtics are an elite defense (99.2 points allowed per 100 possessions, fifth in NBA) but they play at a relatively high pace (99 possessions per game). The Magic, however, play at a slower pace (95.6 possessions per game) that would hinder their production. Meanwhile, the Magic are one of the worst offenses in the NBA already (102.3 points per 100 possessions, 23rd in NBA) and their offense is driven by perimeter players, which is exactly the strength of the Celticsí defense, led by Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder. The Pacers are the other strong contender as another elite defense playing a terrible offense (the Lakers).
Offenses to Use:
Indiana Pacers at Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have consistently been one of the worst defenses in the league (109.2 points allowed per 100 possessions, last in NBA). In fact, the biggest reason not to pick the Pacers is the potential that they blow the Lakers out and sit their starters early. But it is a home game for the Lakers, which gives them a better chance to stay close enough for the Pacers to have to leave their horses in the game.
Teams on Back-to-Backs:
First game: Celtics, Pistons, Rockets, Clippers, Bucks
Second game: Nets, Lakers, Raptors
Daily Player Recommendations
Isaiah Canaan, PHI at MEM ($4,300): Canaan has been playing well for the past week-plus, and he has re-taken the starting job in Philadelphia. He is averaging 17.8 points, 3.5 treys, 2.5 boards, 2.3 assists, 1.0 blocks and 0.8 steals in 30.5 minutes per game over his last four. All of these are great value at his price point, and if the 76ers can avoid getting blown out, Canaan actually has a solid matchup against a Grizzlies defense that is 21st in the league in limiting fantasy points to opposing point guards.
Other suggestions: Isaiah Thomas, BOS at ORL ($7,500); Reggie Jackson, DET at BKN ($7,000)
Avery Bradley, BOS at ORL ($6,400): Bradley has played very well while Marcus Smart has been sidelined with his knee injury. Outside of a flukey bad game against the 76ers, Bradley has averaged 21.3 points, 3.5 treys, 2.5 steals, 2.8 boards and 1.8 assists per game over his other previous six. On Sunday he matches up against a Magic defense allows the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing shooting guards.
Other suggestions: James Harden, HOU at NY ($10,200); Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, BKN vs. DET ($4,700)
Robert Covington, PHI at MEM ($6,000): Covington has exploded back to health over the last week, averaging 19.5 points, 8.3 boards, 4.8 steals, 3.5 treys and 1.0 blocks in 35 minutes per game over his last four. He is facing a Grizzlies defense that is 20th in the NBA in limiting production to opposing small forwards.
Other suggestions: Carmelo Anthony, NY vs. HOU ($8,000); Paul George, IND at LAL ($10,100)
Josh Smith, LAC vs. MIN ($3,600): There is a whole lot of yuck on the menu at power forward on Sunday. Thaddeus Young is the closest thing there is to a sure thing, and heís listed in the suggestions below even though he faces a tough Pistons front line, but outside of that there are really no sure-things for even 30 fantasy points. So, you may as well go with value, and Smith has been that of late. Over his last six he has averaged 20.5 fantasy points per game, with a low of 16 and a high of 26. For his price point, thatís actually solid production. Especially when the competition is players several thousand dollars more expensive whose expected output really isnít that much higher.
Other suggestions: Thaddeus Young, BKN vs. DET ($6,900); Julius Randle, LAL vs. IND ($5,900)
Jared Sullinger, BOS at ORL ($6,400): Sullinger is coming off consecutive 15-rebound efforts and is averaging 40.0 fantasy points over those two games. The Magic are average (14th) in fantasy points allowed to opposing centers, and are relatively light-weight up front with Channing Frye starting next to Nikola Vucevic. Thus, thereís no reason that Sullinger canít continue to do his thing in the paint and from the perimeter.
Other suggestions: Jahlil Okafor, PHI at MEM ($6,700); Clint Capela, HOU at NY ($4,900)
Marcus Smart, BOS (knee)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, CHA (shoulder)
Brandon Jennings, DET (Achilles)
Jodie Meeks, DET (foot)
Donatas Motiejunas, HOU (back)
Jordan Hill, IND (back)
Myles Turner, IND (finger)
Brandan Wright, MEM (knee)
Nikola Pekovic, MIN (Achilles)
C.J. Watson, ORL (calf)
Kendall Marshall, PHI (knee)
Tony Wroten, PHI (knee)
Jonas Valanciunas, TOR (hand)
Evan Turner, BOS (eye)
Cody Zeller, CHA (ankle)
Frank Kaminsky, CHA (back)
Spencer Dinwiddie, DET (knee)
Louis Williams, LAL (bereavement)
Kobe Bryant, LAL (age/rest)
Zach Randolph, MEM (knee)
Ricky Rubio, MIN (ankle)
Nemanja Bjelica, MIN (knee)
Evan Fournier, ORL (hip)
Richaun Holmes, PHI (hamstring)
Tyson Chandler, PHO (hamstring)