There are six games Sunday, but one of them is early (Bulls at Celtics, 3:30 PM ET) and FanDuel’s “main” contests are for the later five games. The article below will focus on those five games, which feature three very fantasy-friendly contests. The Trail Blazers at the Suns, the Knicks at the Nets and the 76ers at the Lakers all feature terrible defenses and potentially explosive offensive players. The game of the day actually shapes up to be the Cavaliers at the Rockets, while the Heat at the Pacers is kind of the afterthought with all of the friendly defenses in the others, but there are potential producers there as well. All in all, it should be a fun Sunday…
James Harden, HOU vs CLE ($11,700): Harden’s competition for this slot, Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving, are both on the second half of back-to-backs. Harden should be fresh, playing in a big game against the defending NBA champions, and facing a defense that has allowed the third most fantasy points to guards in their last 10 games.
D'Angelo Russell, LAL vs PHI ($6900): Russell has been playing very well since the All-Star break, which also coincided with the Lakers trading Lou Williams to the Rockets. In those seven games, Russell has averaged 21.9 points, 5.1 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 2.3 steals. On Sunday, he faces a 76ers defense that has allowed the eighth most fantasy points to point guards this season.
Tyler Ulis, PHO vs POR ($4300): Ulis had a short run as an impact guard for the Suns, then had a couple of bad games that dropped him back off the radar. However, starting point guard Eric Bledsoe has been battling a sore knee and has only averaged 12.5 points in his last two games. Ulis played well Saturday, and on Sunday could have an even bigger role if Bledsoe is in any way limited on the second half of the back-to-back.
LeBron James, CLE at HOU ($11,400): LeBron is the obvious pick for a high-priced forward, since there’s a high likelihood that he’ll lead everyone in fantasy points — if he plays. There are some questions in my mind as to whether he will play Sunday, but if he does, he’s the king. If he doesn’t, Dario Saric is the next best bet to produce among relatively high-priced forwards.
T.J. Warren, PHO vs POR: Warren has become the closest thing to clockwork since the trade that sent P.J. Tucker to the Raptors. He has averaged 16.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 combined blocks/steals per game. His production has been very low-variance, with between 14 and 23 points scored in all nine games. On Sunday, he faces a Trail Blazers defense that has allowed the 16th most fantasy points to small forwards this season.
Maurice Harkless, POR at PHO ($4800): Harkless is the other forward that has become a metronome of late. In his case, it was the Evan Turner injury that has allowed him to produce. Nevertheless, he has averaged 26.5 fantasy points in his last 10 games.
Hassan Whiteside, MIA at IND ($8500): Whiteside is the only high-priced center on the docket Sunday. He has averaged 38 fantasy points in his last 10, which is a bit low for his price tag, but he still has a reasonable chance of going into the 40s on any given day.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR at PHO ($7200): Nurkic had a relatively down game on Sunday, but he’s still averaging 17.7 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, 2.5 blocks and 1.2 steals in his last six games. His Sunday opponents, the Suns, have allowed the 13th most fantasy points to centers in their last 10 games.
Alan Williams, PHO vs POR ($5600): Williams had his double-double streak stopped at five games last Sunday, when he only managed 10 points, five boards and two blocks in 26 minutes against the Mavericks. Even so, he has averaged 13.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.5 combined blocks/steals in 26.6 minutes over his last eight games, and will face a Trail Blazers defense that has allowed the 16th most fantasy points to centers this season.