Tuesday may only offer a modest five-game slate, but there’s plenty of intriguing storylines and matchups within it. Isaiah Thomas makes his long-awaited return to the court for the Cavs, and Damian Lillard should also be back in action for the Blazers. Meanwhile, there’s a potential West Coast high-scoring affair at the end of the night and a good amount of value at forward/center that allows you to fit in some elite plays. Without further delay, let’s dive into some of the most appealing options on the night:
Devin Booker, PHO vs. ATL ($15,900): The Suns-Hawks tilt could well turn into a high-scoring affair, a development right in Booker’s wheelhouse. The matchup is an inviting one for the young sharpshooter, who’s scored between 37.25 and 48.25 fantasy points in the three games since returning from a nine-game absence due to a groin injury. The Hawks also come in allowing 49.6 fantasy points per contest to twos, along with 4.0 made three-pointers and a 42.0 percent success rate from the field. Booker is back to putting up 20-plus shot attempts per contest and boasts a 39.5 percent usage rate and an average of 1.27 fantasy points per minute since returning.
Dennis Schroder, ATL at PHO ($13,500): Staying with this same game, Schroder walks into one of the most inviting matchups of the night, considering the Suns continue to be the most generous team in the NBA to point guards in terms of fantasy production. They come in allowing the most fantasy points (53.8) to ones on the season, along with the second-most points (25.6), most rebounds (7.8), most steals (2.8), most blocks (0.7) and second-highest shooting percentage (45.0) to the position. Schroder has generally been one of the most reliable cash game plays at the point guard spot while still offering tournament upside, as he’s scored no less than 27.25 and as many as 50.25 fantasy points in the last eight games.
Buddy Hield, SAC vs. CHA ($9,500): Hield finished December with a bit of a shooting slump overall, leading to some uneven fantasy production. However, he’s still flashing plenty of upside, having scored 39.50 and 39.25 fantasy points, respectively, in two games over his last seven. He’ll be in a favorable spot to bounce back while likely handling a robust workload Tuesday, as the Hornets have allowed the third-most fantasy points (52.2) to two-guards on the season – including 70.9 over the last five - and the fifth-most (45.6) to small forwards on the campaign, the two positions that Hield would potentially fill.
LeBron James, CLE vs. POR ($22,100): While the Cavs will celebrate the return of Isaiah Thomas to the court Tuesday, they could well be without Kevin Love (illness), who missed Tuesday morning’s shootaround and is questionable for the contest. His potential absence furthers James’ prospects, but he already checks in as a top play after having scored between 51.50 and 72.75 fantasy points in 10 of his last 11 games and hitting the 60-mark in nine of those contests. The Blazers have been relatively stingy against small forwards, but James typically transcends matchups and also sports a 32.4 percent usage rate and averages 1.67 fantasy points per minute with Love off the floor this season.
Blake Griffin, LAC vs. MEM ($15,800): Griffin hasn’t missed a beat since returning from his lengthy absence due to a knee injury, as he promptly scored 41.00 and 47.75 fantasy points in his first two games back. Griffin played 32 and 33 minutes in those contests, so there aren’t any playing time concerns either. That sets him up well for a matchup against a Grizzlies squad that’s allowed 41.8 fantasy points per game to power forwards, along with the seventh-most rebounds (11.8), fourth-most steals (1.4), sixth-most blocks (1.4) and a 46.0 percent success rate from the field. Griffin is sporting a robust 34.2 percent usage rate in the two games since his return, leaving no doubt that he’ll be heavily involved.
Frank Kaminsky, CHA at SAC ($8,500): As alluded to earlier, there’s an abundance of appealing affordable options at forward/center Tuesday, including the Hawks duo of Ersan Ilyasova ($10,300) and John Collins ($9,500), along with Marquese Chriss ($9,100), Michael Beasley ($9,000) and Al-Farouq Aminu ($8,600). However, Kaminsky checks in cheaper than all of them and with virtually as much upside. He’s scored 32.50 and 34.00 fantasy points in his last two games, and between 23.50 and 38.25 in three of the prior five games as well. He’s sporting a solid 22.7 percent usage rate and averaging 1.05 fantasy points per minute off the bench during that span, while the Kings come in allowing the most fantasy points (48.8) to fours on the season, along with the most points (23.4), second-most rebounds (12.4), most made threes (2.5) and the third-highest shooting percentage (48.0).
Lou Williams, LAC vs. MEM ($14,500): Williams comes in underpriced for a player that exceeded 50 fantasy points twice and 40 once in the last five contests. His best game in that sample, a 59.00 fantasy-point explosion against the Hornets on New Year’s Eve, came with Blake Griffin back on the court, dispelling any concerns about the latter’s presence affecting Williams adversely in terms of usage. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies have had trouble defending the backcourt with Mike Conley (Achilles) sidelined, and they’ve given up the fourth-most fantasy points (60.4) to two-guards over the last 10, including the 68.8 over the last five contests. They’re also surrendering a whopping 6.2 made three-pointers per game to shooting guards over the latter sample, while Williams is shooting an impressive 49.0 percent from long distance on an average of a robust 9.8 three-point attempts per contest in his last five games.
T.J. Warren, PHO vs. ATL ($13,400): Warren remains one of the Suns’ most reliable sources of offense next to Booker, as he’s scored between 32.75 and 45.50 fantasy points in six of his last seven contests. He’s exceeded the 20-point mark in five of those games, and he’s still sporting a solid 26.3 percent usage rate with Booker back on the floor with him in the last three contests. The Hawks set up as inviting targets as well, as they’ve allowed the second-most fantasy points (46.6) to small forwards on the season, including 59.0 over the last 10 games. They’re also surrendering the highest shooting percentage (49.0) to threes on the campaign, while Warren comes in shooting a red-hot 55.4 percent over the last five contests.