This article is part of our FantasyDraft NBA series.
Sunday evening brings a compact five-game slate that has its share of big-name stars. Is the best approach to hone in on and stack these contests or is there potentially under-owned value to be had elsewhere as well? FantasyDraft's unique roster construction offers you the flexibility to maximize your exposure, so let's dive in to where you might best allocate your resources:
Kyrie Irving, CLE at LAL ($15,300): Irving faces a Lakers defense that's allowed the third-most fantasy points (55.6) to point guards this season, including second-most (59.0) to the position over the last five games. They also surrender the most assists (10.2) and highest field-goal percentage (46.3), and Irving will come in well rested after sitting Saturday night against the Clippers.
Ricky Rubio, MIN at NO ($13,800): For those who need to go a bit cheaper at this mid-tier level, Jrue Holiday ($12,900) and Andrew Wiggins ($12,600) are intriguing as well in this same game. Meanwhile, Rubio is in a prime matchup, considering the Pelicans have allowed the second-most fantasy points per game (55.8) to the position this season, including third-most (58.2) over the last five, along with the third-most points (24.3) and fifth-most assists (8.9). Rubio has gotten increasingly involved on the offensive end since the All-Star break, as he sports a 22.6 percent usage rate over that span, and he has eclipsed 40 fantasy points four times and 60 fantasy points once in the last eight games.
Ty Lawson, SAC at SA ($8,300):Jordan Crawford ($8,700) has also been playing very well off the bench for the Pelicans, and both Allen Crabbe and Norman Powell ($7,800) can offer some nice upside on any given night. Meanwhile, Lawson can fill out the stat sheet and had a stretch of three straight games with at lest 30 fantasy points this month, and he has eclipsed 20 fantasy points in three of his last four. Expectations should be somewhat tempered, especially against a tough Spurs unit, but Lawson is capable of providing a solid return on a very affordable price.
Anthony Davis, NO vs. MIN ($19,200):LeBron James ($20,500) is naturally an option, but whether he'll need to go full throttle for four quarters against the Lakers, and therefore have a chance to pay off his considerable price, is certainly up for debate. Davis figures to be locked in a competitive battle and averaged 43.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game in two previous starts against the T-Wolves this season. The battle down low with Karl-Anthony Towns ($18,300), who's an option as well, should certainly be entertaining, and one that Davis should be able to win on his fair share of occasions, considering Minnesota is yielding a robust 53.0 fantasy points per game to centers over the last 10.
Kevin Love, CLE at LAL ($14,400): While James' price makes one think twice about a blowout risk, both Love and teammate Kyrie Irving carry much less financial risk in this regard. Love was solid in his return Thursday in a tough matchup versus the Jazz, as he posted 10 points and nine rebounds over 20 minutes. He now draws the best matchup in the league against power forwards, as the Lakers yield the most fantasy points (51.9) on the season to power forwards, as well as the most over the last 10 (60.5). They also give up the most assists (3.3) and steals (1.9) on the season to the position, setting the stage for a potential breakout game for Love. For those who need some savings, Julius Randle ($13,200) has been very steady as well, while Jusuf Nurkic ($12,600) and LaMarcus Aldridge ($12,500) are also bargains relative to potential upside.
Ivica Zubac, LAL vs. CLE ($11,100): There are always some dart throws at the affordable tier at forward/center, a list that includes Dante Cunningham ($7,000), Shabazz Muhammad ($7,800), Skal Labissiere ($8,800), Brandon Ingram ($9,800), Tristan Thompson (9,800) and Al-Farouq Aminu ($9,800) on Sunday. For those who can spend up a bit, a roll of the dice with Zubac isn't the worst idea, considering he's proven capable of 40-fantasy-point upside when given the minutes. He'll have to stay out of foul trouble to get there, but if he can, he could well thrive in a matchup against a Cavs defense that's given up huge performances to Rudy Gobert and DeAndre Jordan in their last two games and 55.8 fantasy points per game to the position overall in the last 10.
Jordan Clarkson, LAL vs. CLE ($11,600): Sticking with Lakers-Cavs, Clarkson also seems underpriced relative to his starting role. D'Angelo Russell continues to do himself no favors with either his spotty play or on-court behavior, while Clarkson is parlaying a starting opportunity into meaningful production, scoring between 26.00 and 52.50 fantasy points in his last five while playing at least 33 minutes and as many as 39 over the last six. The Cavs have also allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game (53.7) to point guards this season while ranking in the bottom 10 in several other categories.
Jonas Valanciunas, TOR vs. IND ($9,400): Valanciunas has picked it up on the offensive end recently, as he's scored over 30 fantasy points twice and over 40 once in three of his last six. He's been over 20 fantasy points in two others over that span as well and sees a solid matchup against a Pacers squad that's surrendered the third-most fantasy points per game (61.6) to centers over the last five and fifth-most over the last 10 (56.5). They also yield the third-most rebounds (15.9) to centers this season, with boards being a significant part of Valanciunas' fantasy production.