The NBA is back in grand fashion Tuesday, rolling out a whopping 11 games with an abundance of star power and even more options in the price levels below that. A number of potentially high-scoring games abound, including a pair of potential scoreboard-busters out west to cap off the night in the Cavs-Suns and Nuggets-Lakers tilts. The Clippers-Bulls and Hornets-Pelicans battles also hold some intrigue as games between teams with offensive upside that aren’t familiar with one another, and both the Pacers-Sixers and Wizards-Timberwolves matchups should be tightly contested wire to wire, considering the postseason aspirations of all four squads. With an overload of information to analyze, let’s dive right in:
Bradley Beal, WAS vs. MIN ($16,100): Unsurprisingly, the T-Wolves have been increasingly vulnerable to two-guards since Jimmy Butler’s knee injury, as they’ve allowed 53.0 fantasy points to the position over the last 10, eighth most during that span and a notable spike over their 37.4 season figure. They’ve also allowed a bottom-10 figure of made three-pointers (3.6) to shooting guards during that span, and the 10th-highest percentage of scoring from three-pointers (30.5) overall on the season. Beal saw a significant minutes reduction in the Wizards’ last game – a blowout loss to the Heat – which led to a deceptively low 20.25 fantasy points, but he’d scored 33.50 to 50.25 over the previous four in contests where he saw a normal allotment of playing time. Washington has also played at a notably faster pace the last three games (104.5 possessions per game, second highest during that span) -- another point in Beal’s favor in what should be a highly competitive affair.
Nicolas Batum, CHA at NO ($13,300): Tuesday’s slate has plenty of attractive options at each price level, and as usual, the guard mid-tier is a fitting example. A case could be made for several players priced just above or below Batum, but the Hornets’ two-guard has been outpacing his current price by a wide margin of late and is locked into a premium matchup. Batum exploded for 59.00 fantasy points in a similarly appealing scenario against the Suns on Saturday, and he’d also scored no fewer than 30.75 and as many as 46.25 fantasy points in nine of the prior 10 games. Batum is averaging 1.15 fantasy points per minute during that stretch -- an even better rate than that of Kemba Walker’s during the same span. The Pelicans also come in allowing the most fantasy points (44.2) to shooting guards on the season, along with the highest shooting percentage (45.0). They’re operating at a league-high pace of play of 105.1 possessions per game as well -- a rate that even inches higher (105.4) at Smoothie King Center.
Denzel Valentine, CHI vs. LAC ($9,000): For those that need the savings, Corey Brewer ($7,600) is also an excellent option at a price that basically refuses to budge despite a successful three-game stretch as a starter. However, Valentine holds considerable appeal in his own right, having scored over 30 fantasy points in four of the last seven, and 25.50 fantasy points in another contest during that sample. Valentine is averaging nearly a fantasy point per minute (0.97) in that stretch and seeing solid playing time, as he’s logged no less than 21 and as many as 31 minutes in the last 10 contests. The Clippers line up well in terms of matchup, considering they’ve allowed the fourth-most fantasy points (63.3) to shooting guards over the last five, along with the fourth-most made three-pointers (4.6). Likewise, they’ve been more vulnerable to small forwards -- the other position Valentine could be deployed in – of late, allowing 44.0 fantasy points to threes over the last five, as well as the eighth-highest offensive efficiency rating (20.8) on the season.
Anthony Davis, NO vs. CHA ($21,600): Neither rain nor snow nor ankle sprains can apparently slow down Davis, who fought through his injury in a tough matchup against the Jazz on Sunday and racked up 71.75 fantasy points in a performance that included an eye-popping 10 blocks. His overall production in that game isn’t even necessarily out of the norm since DeMarcus Cousins went down for the season with an Achilles injury, as Davis had also eclipsed the 70-mark two games prior, along with 80 fantasy points in another instance and 90 fantasy points in a pair of additional contests over the previous 10. He now draws a matchup against a Hornets squad that’s allowed the ninth-most fantasy points (38.9) to power forwards, including the fifth most (58.3) over the last five. They’re also surrendering the most made threes (4.2) and fourth-highest shooting percentage (54.0) to the position over the latter span, while the versatile Davis is draining an impressive 50.0 percent of his 4.7 three-point attempts over his last three. Charlotte’s recent propensity for allowing points in the paint (52.7 per game over the last three, fifth most during that span) also dovetails nicely with Davis, who’s averaging 15.0 points per game and logging over half of all his scoring (53.6 percent) in that area of the floor.
Nikola Jokic, DEN at LAL ($16,500): Jokic has bounced back from a recent three-game downturn to score 40.50 to 61.25 fantasy points in the subsequent three contests. He has a double-double and triple-double in two of those games, and he could be poised for more of the same against a Lakers squad that’s allowing the third-most fantasy points (54.7) to centers over the last five, along with the fourth-most rebounds (14.4) and most assists (5.8). Los Angeles also offers Jokic two other advantages – a league-high pace of play (105.1 possessions per game) and the second-most points in the paint allowed (48.7) – furthering his case in what projects to be a high-scoring battle (231 projected point total).
Bojan Bogdanovic, IND at PHI ($10,200): As with the affordable tier at guard, there are a number of appealing options, but Bogdanovic likely carries as much or more upside than any player in close proximity of his price. The fourth-year wing has taken a step forward this season and really hit his stride since late January, eclipsing 30 fantasy points on five occasions and the 40-mark in another two instances over the last 16 contests, while scoring 23.00 to 29.50 fantasy points in eight of the other nine games within that sample. He’s also averaged an impressive 20.0 points (on 52.0 percent shooting), 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 2.0 steals across 30.5 minutes in two games against the Sixers this season, while Philadelphia is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points (36.2) to small forwards on the campaign, including 40.3 over the last 10. The Sixers are also allowing a notably higher percentage of scoring from three-pointers over the last three (32.9) compared to their season figure (28.6) and should afford Bogdanovic a few extra opportunities with which to exact damage, as they’re operating at the fifth-fastest pace of play (102.9 possessions per game), including the fourth fastest (103.3 possessions per game) at home.
Devin Booker, PHO vs. CLE ($16,100): Booker (triceps) is now considered probable for Tuesday’s game after putting in a full practice Monday, affording him the opportunity to exploit one of the best matchups for shooting guards in the NBA. The Cavaliers have allowed the third-most fantasy points (42.5) to twos on the season, including 55.0 over the last five. They’re allowing the most made threes to the position (5.2) over the latter span as well, and the third-highest percentage of scoring from three-pointers (32.2) overall on the campaign. Booker’s typically robust usage has gone up a notch or two recently, as he’s averaging 23.8 shot attempts (as compared to 19.6 on the season) -- including 8.0 three-point tries -- in the last five contests, while draining the latter at an impressive 45.0 percent clip.
Ricky Rubio, UTA vs. DET ($12,600): Rubio’s price remains largely unchanged following a 54.00 fantasy-point haul against the Pelicans on Sunday, and tallies of 30.00 to 41.50 fantasy points in the prior five games as well. Rubio is sporting a 26.0 percent usage rate and averaging 1.13 fantasy points per minute during that six-game span, and he already produced an 11-point, 10-rebound, five-assist, one-steal effort over 37 minutes in one prior meeting with the Pistons this season. Detroit also comes in allowing the second-most fantasy points (42.9) to point guards on the season, including 56.7 over the last 10. They’re yielding league-worst or bottom-five figures in multiple categories over the latter span as well -- including assists (10.8), made threes (4.1) and shooting percentage (48.0) – while Rubio has seen a notable spike in dimes (6.3), three-point shooting percentage (45.5 percent) and shot attempts (16.7) in the last three games over his respective 5.3, 32.2 and 10.6 seasonal figures in those categories.