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FantasyDraft NBA: Sunday Picks

Juan Carlos Blanco

Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for close to 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, and the NFL for, including serving as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' beat writer. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports.

Sunday brings a considerably different slate from those of the last two nights, as there are only three games on the docket. That naturally narrows our options significantly, but fortunately, there are still some highly appealing individual matchups to exploit. Without further ado, let’s identify some the best investments at each price tier:


Premium Option

Victor Oladipo, IND at SA ($16,500): The Spurs aren’t normally a team one attacks at shooting guard for DFS purposes, but a combination of the short slate and San Antonio’s recent uncharacteristic struggles versus the position put Oladipo in play Sunday. Gregg Popovich’s squad has allowed 54.3 fantasy points per contest to two-guards over the last 10, a notable bump up from the 42.7 they’re yielding on the season. Moreover, they’re giving up a robust 3.9 made three-pointers to the position over the former span, while Oladipo has scored 32.75 to 57.00 fantasy points in eight of the last 10 contests and is shooting 48.0 percent over that span.


Tim Hardaway, Jr., NY at LAL ($12,700): Hardaway has jumped right back into the fray after a long layoff due to a leg injury, scoring over 40 fantasy points twice in his four games back and posting a 52.6 percent success rate from the field on an average of 14.3 shot attempts per contest. He’d be hard-pressed to walk into a better matchup Sunday, as the Lakers come in allowing the most fantasy points to small forwards on the season (49.5) and the last 10 (68.9). They’re also yielding the most points (34.9), rebounds (13.6), assists (5.9), steals (3.6) and made three-pointers (3.8) to the position over the latter span, offering Hardaway plenty of paths through which to pay off a reasonable price.


Courtney Lee, NY at LAL ($10,200): The Lakers’ Tyler Ennis ($8,000) is under consideration as a tournament-only play with Lonzo Ball (knee) already ruled out, while the duo of Corey Brewer ($6,300) and Josh Hart ($9,700) could also come into play if Brandon Ingram (ankle) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Achilles) sit out. However, Lee’s starting spot and minutes are assured, and he’s scored 24.25 and 30.75 fantasy points, respectively, in his last two games, despite Hardaway’s return to the lineup. Meanwhile, the Lakers could be facilitators for more of the same, considering they’ve allowed the fifth-most fantasy points (49.4) to two-guards on the season, along with the second-most points (28.8), third-most steals (2.2) and the sixth-most made three-pointers (3.7).



Andre Drummond, DET vs. BKN ($18,100): Drummond is the clear-cut choice for those paying up at forward/center on the three-game slate, as he’s scored 56.75 to 62.00 fantasy points in four of the last five games and has compiled them at an impressive rate of 1.49 per minute on the floor. The high end of that range came against this same Brooklyn squad on Jan. 10, and the Nets come in allowing the most fantasy points to centers on the campaign (40.2) and over the last 10 (49.2). They’re also allowing the most points (17.1) and rebounds (12.2) to the position on the season, while their league-worst 43.6 shooting percentage figures to afford Drummond plenty of opportunities on the glass.


Pau Gasol, SA vs. IND ($12,400): Domantas Sabonis ($12,700) is also a possibility on the other side of this matchup. However, Gasol has scored 31.75 to 40.00 fantasy points in three of his past five games, and he’s averaging 1.14 fantasy points per minute with Kawhi Leonard (quadriceps) off the floor this season. The Pacers have been among the most vulnerable teams in the league to centers, allowing the second-most fantasy points (40.1), and league-worst or bottom-five figures in multiple other categories to the position. Gasol has also seen an uptick in playing time over the last five games, as the 28.4 minutes he’s averaging over that stretch is a notable bump over his season average of 25.2.


Kyle Kuzma, LAL vs. NY ($12,000): Kuzma is an enviable spot Sunday against a Knicks team that’s been eviscerated by power forwards in recent contests. New York has allowed the most fantasy points over the last 10 (65.4) and the last five (79.3) to fours, and they’re yielding the second-most made three-pointers (2.3) to the position on the season. The latter figure is particularly relevant in Kuzma’s case, considering his long-range proficiency. He’s also scored 25.50 to 38.75 fantasy points in six of his last seven games, giving him plenty of upside for cash or tournaments at a relatively modest price.


LaMarcus Aldridge, SA vs. IND ($16,900): Aldridge has essentially become a must-play in the wake of Leonard’s continued absences, especially on such a short slate. He comes into Sunday’s contest having scored 44.00 to 55.00 fantasy points in seven of his last nine games and is now sporting a 30.6 percent usage rate with his teammate off the floor this season. He’s also putting up a whopping 20.8 shot attempts per contest over his last four, while the Pacers come in allowing 51.9 fantasy points to power forwards over the last five games, a notable increase over their 41.8 season figure.

Kristaps Porzingis, NY at LAL ($16,500): Porzingis will enjoy a five-inch height advantage over Kuzma in Sunday’s matchup, leaving him poised to build on a current stretch in which he’s scored 39.50 to 51.50 fantasy points in six of the last seven games. He’s sporting a 30.2 percent usage rate and averaging 1.21 fantasy points per minute during that sample, and he already ran roughshod over this same squad for 66.75 fantasy points on the strength of a 37-point, 11-rebound double-double on Dec. 12. The Lakers have also allowed the fourth-most fantasy points (46.6) to power forwards on the campaign, along with the third-highest shooting percentage (48.0).

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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. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.