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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 evening’s four-game schedule offers plenty of flexibility, as there’s only one $20K option on the board and a number of solid value plays due to injuries and individual matchups. That should allow for the building of some well-balanced lineups in either cash or tournaments, so let’s dive in and see how best to stock your roster on the short slate:



Russell Westbrook, OKC at PHO ($21,200): Westbrook is essentially the one option you have if you’re paying up Sunday, and he’s an extremely appealing one at that. His track record naturally speaks for itself, and the fact that he’s even taken his game up another notch recently (between 60.00 and 77.25 fantasy points in seven of his last eight games and 54.5 percent shooting over his last 10) furthers his case. The Suns are the proverbial icing on the cake, as they’ve allowed the most fantasy points (51.9) to point guards on the season, along with bottom five figures in multiple other categories against the position.


Lonzo Ball, LAL vs. ATL ($12,800): Ball scored 28.50 fantasy points in 27 minutes during his first game back from a shoulder injury on Friday night, and perhaps most important, drained 50.0 percent of his eight attempts. The strong shooting effort not only helped corroborate his health, but also represented an extension of the improvement that he’d been demonstrating before being sidelined following a Dec. 23 tilt against the Trail Blazers. He’s now shot 44.6 percent over his last eight contests overall, scoring between 26.25 and 43.50 fantasy points in that stretch, all solid-to-excellent returns on his current price. He’ll be in a favorable spot to continue that caliber of production Sunday, as the Hawks have allowed 48.8 fantasy points to ones over the last 10 games, along with the fifth-highest shooting percentage (47.0) to the position over that span.


Marco Belinelli, ATL at LAL ($7,600): For those that need to save a few hundred more, the Spurs’ Bryn Forbes ($7,200) is also an option while drawing another start for Danny Green (groin). Meanwhile, Belinelli is potentially one of the best per-dollar values on the four-game slate himself, considering his upside and reduced price. He saw a downturn against the Trail Blazers in his most recent contest (9.25 fantasy points in 18 minutes), but he’d scored between 21.00 and 29.25 fantasy points in his four prior games, and 40.75 two games prior to the onset of that stretch. The Lakers could facilitate more of the same, as they’ve yielded the third-most fantasy points (52.0) to two-guards on the campaign, and the second-most (67.1) over the last five. They’re also giving up 37.8 points and 4.5 made three-pointers to the position during the latter span, while Belinelli is shooting 52.9 percent – including 50.0 percent from three-point range – over his last five games.



Paul George, OKC at PHO ($15,000): The Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis is also a very strong option at this same price, but George comes into Sunday’s game in the midst of a torrid stretch. He’s scored no fewer than 36.75 fantasy points and as many as 50.75 in the last six games while shooting an eye-popping 62.2 percent – including 59.0 percent from three-point range – in his last five contests. Those numbers seem to indicate he’s fully adapted to playing alongside Westbrook, and he’s encouragingly sporting a 25.5 percent usage rate and averaging 1.10 fantasy points per minute over his last 10 games. The Suns have tightened up their small forward defense over the course of the season, but they still allow a 44.0 percent success rate from the field and 20.6 points to the position. Moreover, T.J. Warren is listed as a game-time decision for Phoenix due to an illness, and his potential absence would make matters even more favorable for George.


Julius Randle, LAL vs. ATL ($11,000): Randle is currently drawing starts at power forward and performing well, as he’s scored between 30.50 and 58.25 fantasy points in four of his last five games. He’s sporting a robust 28.5 percent usage rate and is averaging 1.25 fantasy points per minute over that span, making him a strong value play versus a Hawks team that’s had its share of struggles with fours throughout the season, especially lately. Atlanta comes in allowing 48.7 fantasy points per contest to the position over the last five games, a notably higher figure than the 42.2 they’ve surrendered on the season. With what remains a very reasonable price given his recent production, Randle shapes up as a solid option for cash or tournaments provided he’s announced as part of the first unit once again.


Kyle O’Quinn, NY at DAL ($7,200): Many will rightfully flock to Kyle Anderson ($9,300) at the affordable level with Kawhi Leonard already announced as out for the Spurs on Sunday, but O’Quinn is a viable option for those needing to save significantly more. To begin with, he could see some extra run in his own right behind Porzingis on Sunday, as Michael Beasley is considered very questionable with an ankle injury suffered in Friday’s loss to the Heat. That would naturally bump O’Quinn’s stock up even further, but the big man has turned in some solid efforts as of late anyhow in some relatively modest minutes. He’s scored between 20.50 and 34.00 fantasy points in three of his last six contests, with the high end of that range having come two games ago versus the Wizards over 24 minutes. He could approximate that allotment of playing time if Beasley does indeed miss, and the matchup against a Mavericks squad that’s allowed the second-most fantasy points (67.7) to power forwards over the last five contests could certainly propel him to a strong return on his bargain price.


LaMarcus Aldridge, SA at POR ($14,000): Aldridge is always in play whenever Leonard is out, and a matchup against his old squad only serves to sweeten the deal Sunday. Moreover, Tony Parker (rest) and Green (groin) will also be sidelined, and Aldridge is sporting a 28.9 percent usage rate and averaging 1.18 fantasy points per minute this season with all three players off the floor. He scored 37.00 fantasy points against Portland in his most recent meeting with them on Dec. 20, and has tallied between 35.75 and 46.00 fantasy points in his last six contests. The Blazers have also been increasingly vulnerable to fours, allowing the third-most fantasy points (66.1) to the position over the last five games.

Ersan Ilyasova, ATL at LAL ($11,200): Ilyasova has hit his stride as of late and makes for an attractive option in what should be an uptempo contest for the Hawks. He’s scored between 30.75 and 36.75 in six of his last seven games, efficiently averaging 1.03 fantasy points per minute during that span. The veteran has been supplementing his typically strong scoring with some equally impressive work on the glass lately as well, as he’s brought in between seven and 11 rebounds during the last six contests. Additionally, the Lakers have displayed a season-long vulnerability to power forwards, allowing the third-most fantasy points (47.3), fifth-most points (22.0), most rebounds (12.4), most blocks (1.8) and third-highest shooting percentage (48.0) to the position on the season.

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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.