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Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Sunday

Adam Wolf

Adam began writing for RotoWire in the spring of 2012 as an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He previously headed the site's NHL and NBA coverage and works primarily as an NFL and MLB editor these days.


Defenses to Avoid
New York Knicks at Chicago Bulls: Without any sort of dynamic point guard captaining their respective squads, the Bulls and Knicks both rank in the bottom three in the league in terms of pace factor, preferring to slow things down in the half court and limit possessions. While New York isn't anywhere close to Chicago's class in terms of efficiency on the defensive end, the reluctance of either side to speed up the game should nonetheless amount to an all-around low-scoring affair. The first two meetings between these two teams this season resulted in final scores of 82-81 and 83-78.

Utah Jazz at Indiana Pacers: The Pacers have shown some leakage defensively of late in allowing 95 or more points in six consecutive games, but that's only relative to the impossibly high standard they set in the first half of the season. Indiana still remains far and away the league's best defense on a points-per-possession basis, and they should have little trouble holding down a Jazz offense that operates at the NBA's fourth slowest pace, just the way the Pacers like it.

Offenses to Use
Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic: The matchup between these two teams Wednesday produced a rather unexciting 101-90 score in favor of the Magic, but that stands out as aberration compared to what we've seen from the Sixers give up of late. Owners of a 13-game losing streak, Philadelphia has surrendered an average of 116.4 points per game during that span, with the 101 points allowed vs. the Magic actually representing their best defensive effort. As the league's fastest-paced team, the Sixers simply don't have the horses to hang with other teams for the full 48 minutes as they continue to push the tempo. Their 14.9 turnovers per game rank second-worst in the NBA and create several extra possessions for their opponents to eventually turn competitive games into blowouts. Expect the Magic to take advantage of the Sixers' vulnerable defense, especially with Philly forced to travel to Orlando for its second game in as many nights.

Utah Jazz at Indiana Pacers: Playing a string of weak opponents in the Bucks (twice), Lakers and Celtics over the last four games, the Pacers haven't quite dominated to the extent we might have expected, but they've still come away with wins on each occasion while averaging 107.7 points per game. The Jazz represent another such lottery-bound team, and may have one of the league's worst defenses, despite showing signs of improvement of late. Utah ranks dead last in the NBA with 107.3 points surrendered per 100 possessions and have allowed opponents to shoot 46.2 percent from the field (23rd in NBA).

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz, Charlotte Bobcats
Second game of a back-to-back: Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS

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Point Guard
Victor Oladipo, ORL (vs. PHI), PG/SG ($6,900): Oladipo delivered a 17-point, 11-rebound performance when the two teams played Wednesday, and while the rebounding numbers will probably fall off in the rematch, his usage on the offensive end should remain high. So long as Arron Afflalo (ankle/illness) remains out of the lineup Sunday -- something that bears monitoring prior to the game tipping off -- Oladipo figures to stay in the starting five and look for his own offense. Turnovers always remain a concern for Oladipo, but he's managed to compensate for his shakiness by averaging 16.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and two steals while Afflalo has been out the last four games.

Other suggestions: Russell Westbrook (vs. CHA), PG ($8,300), Michael Carter-Williams (at ORL), PG ($7,900), Jeff Teague (at PHX), PG ($6,800)

Shooting Guard
Lance Stephenson, IND (vs. UTA), SG/SF ($6,900): Even with the recent addition of Evan Turner to the team's stable of guards, Stephenson has still seen plenty of run for the Pacers, receiving 33, 41 and 43 minutes in the last three games. The heavy court time in Saturday's win over the Celtics probably had a lot to do with George Hill (shoulder) being unavailable, and with the point guard uncertain to play again Sunday, Stephenson could be tabbed for a similarly large workload. Stephenson has been even more active on the boards than usual of late with nine or more boards in four of his last five games, and he's always a nightly threat to pick up a triple-double. He's already turned the trick a league-leading four times this season.

Other suggestions: DeMar DeRozan (vs. GS), SG/SF ($8,100), Goran Dragic (vs. ATL), PG/SG ($7,600), Jimmy Butler (vs. NY), SG/SF ($5,400)

Small Forward
DeMarre Carroll, ATL (at PHX), SF/PF ($5,100): Given his production the last three games, Carroll stands out as an absolute steal at this price. The absence of Paul Millsap has forced Carroll to shoulder more of an offensive burden during that time, with the forward supplying averages of 20.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 3.0 threes per game. With Millsap set to miss his fourth straight game Sunday, expect more of the same from Carroll as he logs big minutes once again.

Other suggestions: Kevin Durant (vs. CHA), SF/PF ($11,300), Kawhi Leonard (vs. DAL), SG/SF ($5,200), Mo Harkless (vs. PHI), SF ($3,600)

Power Forward
Thaddeus Young, PHI (at ORL), SF/PF ($7,900): Young's price is up $100 from his listing in Saturday's Daily Games Cheat Sheet, but there's still plenty of value to be had here now that he's more firmly entrenched as the team's No. 1 offensive option in Philadelphia following the trades of Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes. Young is averaging 23.5 points per game over his last four contests, and there's reason to think he'll eventually pick up his declining rebounding numbers. Though he's failed to grab more than five boards in three straight games, he's still averaging 6.2 per game on the season. With the sorry likes of Henry Sims, Arnett Moultrie and Byron Mullens holding down rotation spots in the frontcourt, Young's rebounding almost has to go up eventually if only by default.

Other suggestions: Al Jefferson (at OKC), PF/C ($8,900), Serge Ibaka (vs. CHA) PF/C ($7,300), Amir Johnson (vs. GS), PF/C ($5,600)

Nikola Vucevic, ORL (vs. PHI), PF/C ($7,800): Look no further than the list of Sixers big men mentioned in the previous sentence to see why Vucevic is a player to be bullish about Sunday. He carved up the team that drafted him with the 16th overall back in 2011 for 21 points (9-of-19 shooting) and 13 rebounds in Wednesday's win. After delivering an 18-10 performance in just 23 minutes Saturday vs. the Heat, Vucevic has notched double-doubles in five of his last six games. With no viable defensive threat in the Philadelphia frontcourt to stop Vucevic, Jameer Nelson and Victor Oladipo figure to feed him early and often.

Other suggestions: Tim Duncan (vs. DAL), PF/C ($7,700), Roy Hibbert (vs. UTA), C ($6,300), Cody Zeller (at OKC), PF/C ($3,400)


Gustavo Ayon (shoulder) will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery this week.
Andrea Bargnani (elbow) remains without an update on his status and has no timetable for a return.
Eric Bledsoe (knee) should receive clearance to take part in 5-on-5 drills in practice in the coming days.
George Hill (shoulder) was ruled out for Saturday's game and would seem uncertain to suit up Sunday.
Paul Millsap (knee) won't play in Sunday's game but will travel with the Hawks during their road trip.
Kendrick Perkins (groin) will miss up to five more weeks after undergoing surgery on his strained left groin.
Jason Richardson (knee) plans to make his debut at some point in March, but he has yet to establish a firmer timetable on approximately when he might be available.
Thabo Sefolosha (calf) has been ruled out for Sunday's game and will undergo an MRI for further information on the injury.
Iman Shumpert (knee) will miss at least one more week while he tries to gain more confidence with his ability to cut.

Game-Time Decision
Arron Afflalo (ankle/illness) did not travel to Miami for Saturday's game and is questionable for Sunday's game.
Pero Antic (ankle) was limited at practice Friday, but is now considered day-to-day with his injury.
Jeremy Evans (ankle) suffered a sprain during Saturday's practice and is questionable for Sunday's game.
Kyle Lowry (ankle) turned his ankle in Thursday's game against the Wizards but says he will play Sunday after practicing a day earlier.
Kenyon Martin (ankle) continues to be bothered by injury and suited up in just one game in February.
Nemanja Nedovic (toe) resumed practicing in full last week but has yet to make return to the court.
Tony Parker (rest) is expected to return to action Sunday against the Mavericks.
Terrence Ross (ankle) is considered probable for Sunday after leaving Thursday's game with a sprained ankle.
Amar'e Stoudemire (undisclosed) was rested Friday against the Celtics but could be available Sunday.
The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.