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Injuries, trades and coaching changes are the Holy Trinity of daily Fantasy, because uncertainty is where the values are. Players in long-term formats might despise these factors because they can undo months of hard work and planning, but any unexpected change is an opportunity for someone to come out of nowhere and make a big impact at a small price in daily games.
The Nuggets' decision to fire Brian Shaw this week could be an especially fruitful opportunity, though how things shake out obviously remains to be seen. Interim coaches generally don't like to rock the boat given their already unsteady footing, and we have little reason to think Melvin Hunt will buck this trend. That could be great news for Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried, who have had trouble getting on the same page with Shaw, to say the least.
Faried especially has seen his minutes jerked aroung with by Shaw for much of his two seasons; the only time that wasn't true was Faried's second-half breakout a year ago, when he basically forced Shaw's hand. Faried is the organization's biggest investment right now, and you have to imagine the long-term vision is going to win out over the interim coach's short-term goals, so we should see a lot of him moving forward.
Faried's recent play makes him a big risk, but it also creates an opportunity. His price has tumbled all the way down to $5,800, which means he could be a steal if he finds his way here. Remember, he averaged 34.5 FanDuel points per game after the break last year, so that's the kind of upside we could be talking about. At this price, the risk is so low, Faried makes perfect sense.
New York at Indiana
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 385.6
Rodney Stuckey is averaging 32.4 FanDuel points per game since the break, and is a solid play for what should be a very easy matchup. He had 31.5 the last time these two teams faced off.
Phoenix at Orlando
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 400.0
Brandon Knight's play has taken a big hit since joining Phoenix, and Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo represent a tough matchup even if the Magic aren't great overall on defense.
Utah at Boston
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 387.3
Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert are both peaking since the team's trade of Enes Kanter, and they have a fantastic matchup on the way tonight.
Charlotte at Brooklyn
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 390.9
Brook Lopez shows occasional flashes of utility, but his overall play over the last five games doesn't justify this price, especially against a squad that has become one of the best in the league on defense.
Cleveland at Toronto
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 391.5
David Blatt has shown a willingness to rest his stars on back-to-backs, but that shouldn't be a big concern in this one, with the Cavaliers fighting with Toronto for playoff seeding.
Denver at Minnesota
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 409.8
This one should turn into a track meet, so there is plenty of value to be had. Keep an eye on Nikola Pekovic's status, because Gorgui Dieng averages nearly 30 FanDuel points per game as a starter.
Detroit at New Orleans
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 391.3
Anthony Davis is questionable Wednesday, so I'm not touching this one until I know whether he's playing. He is obviously that impactful.
Philadelphia at Oklahoma City
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 401.4
Wearing a mask in his first game back, can you trust Westbrook to play 30 minutes in a game that could be a blowout? With how well he is playing, does it matter?
LA Lakers at Miami
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 392.4
If you want to spend the money, Hassan Whiteside should be dominant tonight, especially after news broke that he has avoided a suspension for his ejection Monday.
Sacramento at San Antonio
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 395.7
DeMarcus Cousins is expected back, which could limit Rudy Gay's usage some. Of course, he wasn't very good in last Friday's game against the Spurs, so you may want to steer clear anyways.
Milwaukee at Golden State
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 382.5
The Bucks have been the best team in the league against point guards for FanDuel, so it's a tough matchup for Stephen Curry, if you are looking for a reason to go away from him.
Portland at LA Clippers
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 384.8
Is DeAndre Jordan a must-start at this point? He has 38.7 FanDuel points per game in two matchups with the Blazers this season, both of which came before his massive February.
My roster for March 2 at FanDuel.com:
PG Ricky Rubio, Timberwolves vs. Denver ($8,300)
PG Tyreke Evans, Pelicans vs. Detroit ($8,300)
SG Dwyane Wade, Heat vs. L.A. Lakers ($7,200)
SG Rodney Stuckey, Pacers vs. New York($5,300)
SF Gordon Hayward, Jazz at Boston($7,700)
SF Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves vs. Denver($6,700)
PF Kenneth Faried, Nuggets vs. Minnesota($5,800)
PF Andrea Bargnani, Knicks at Pacers ($4,600)
C Gorgui Dieng, Timberwolves vs. Denver ($6,100)
Ricky Rubio, PG, Timberwolves vs. Denver ($8,300)
Rubio got off to a predictably slow start upon his return from a lengthy absence due to an ankle injury, but he has broken out in a major way of late. Since the All-Star break, Rubio is averaging 40.3 FanDuel points per game, despite shooting just 29.2 percent from the field, largely thanks to massive assist and defensive numbers. His worst outing was a 32.4-point game against the Wizards, a defense the Nuggets can't come close to matching on their best day. This game should be fast, giving Rubio tons of opportunities to stuff the stat sheet, so expect him to keep on rolling.
Mike Conley, PG, Grizzlies at Houston ($6,200)
The Rockets have been one of the toughest matchups for opposing point guards all season long, allowing the second-fewest FanDuel points per-minute to them, per RotoGrinders.com. Combine the tough matchup and Conley's ongoing slump, and you might be wondering why I have him here as a good value. Well for one thing, the Rockets have been a bit more vulnerable of late, ranking around the middle of the pack over the last 21 days, though still well below a point per minute. And Conley's slump works to your advantage here, given how much his price his dropped. He has averaged 29.7 FanDuel points per game in three matchups with the Rockets, and has 27-plus in four of six games since the All-Star break, a decent number given his price. Conley's play has been exceedingly frustrating of late, but he might be a nice contrarian pick in a big tournament, where standing out can help you win big.
Andrea Bargnani, PF, Knicksat Indiana ($4,600)
I don't feel great about this one, but it really does make sense. What's the biggest knock on Bargnani's game, defense aside? That he puts up empty stats and doesn't really help a team. Well, hey, that's perfect, because Fantasy players don't care if he's helping his team win and, frankly, neither do the Knicks. Bargnani has been the Knicks' primary offensive centerpiece since the All-Star break, and is averaging 28.5 FanDuel points over the last five games. This is a tough matchup for him, but the Pacers have also struggled at times over the last few seasons following big men around the perimeter, so he might be able to take advantage of Roy Hibbert's or David West's lack of mobility. If you don't want to trust Bargnani, I can't blame you, but I'll take my chances tonight.
Overpay of the night
D.J. Augustin, PG, Thundervs. Philadelphia ($6,800)
This one simultaneously seems completely obvious and also somewhat risky. With Russell Westbrook likley to return tonight, Augustin will make his way back to the bench, a role that has seen him average just 17.8 FanDuel points since joining the Thunder. However, the Thunder likely won't push Westbrook much while playing with a mask, and the matchup against Philadelphia could be one that allows them to ease Westbrook back in, with Augustin getting a larger role than usual. If his price was about $1,500 cheaper, I might be willing to roll the die on Augustin, but at nearly $7,000, there are far too many safer point guards with similar ceilings available tonight.
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@awkwardsport:I would not be surprised if Faried is top-25 ROS after he and Brian Shaw cost me a Fantasy playoff spot.
CT: The impact of Shaw's firing is going to take a while to figure out, especially with the Nuggets going with an interim coach who isn't likely to change things too dramatically. Still, it could help Faried by just settling down the rotation, because Faried has had his minutes jerked around with under Shaw. Faried hasn't been anywhere near as good as he was last season, when he averaged 18.1 points per-36 minutes on 54.5 percent shooting, but the rest of his production has mostly held steady over the last few seasons, so an increase in his playing time would only be a positive. I'm not sure how much of a boost we should be expecting for Faried, but I like him more today than I did yesterday, and that's all you can ask for.
CT: I would say Gasol will be better on a per-game basis than Whiteside, though the question is whether that will be enough to make up for the advantage Miami's schedule provides. In each week from Week 21 (March 16-22) through Week 23 (March 30-April 5), the Heat play four times while the Bulls only play three times. If we assume Gasol will be better, he still has to be at least 33 percent more productive than Whiteside to make up for it, and that seems unlikely. Whiteside is going to have a clear edge in blocks, rebounds and field-goal percentage on a per-game basis anyways, so Gasol's scoring and assists are going to have to carry the day, and I'm not sure he can do enough there to make up for the difference. Go with Whiteside.
Waiver Wire flier
Ersan Ilyasova, F, Bucks
I was one of the last people off the Ilyasova bandwagon, though I have been safely clear of it since about midway through last season. He has the skillset to do a decent Ryan Anderson impersonation for Fantasy owners, but has struggled mightily with consistency throughout his career. He is averaging 11.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game since the All-Star break, and is starting to come back on Fantasy radars, but I wouldn't trust it. Ilyasova has topped 20 minutes per game in November and February this season, and has never really had a steady role, which is in keeping with Jason Kidd's overall philosophy. This has been a nice run for Ilyasova, who has even worked his back into the starting lineup, but I'm not ready to trust him. In 12-team or shallower leagues, I would stay away until I have more evidence.