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Happy New Year ladies and gentlemen! I hope everyone had a successful 2017 and is looking forward to a big 2018! We have four games on tap tonight, and they should be an enjoyable set of games to watch. We have a couple of games that are off the board at the time of this writing, but it looks like all four should be pretty high scoring affairs. Damian Lillard is the biggest injury concern, and is listed as a GTD, but we always have to monitor the news for surprises. Tonight's matchup between the Lakers and Timberwolves is in Minnesota, so LA will be without the services of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who is unable to leave the state of California.

Aaron Gordon, SF/PF, Orlando Magic

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

31 104.75 29 54.5 21.42 39.99 40.61

DK Salary: $7,900 / FD Salary: $7,900

Aaron Gordon has only been back for two games and I am already regretting the fact that I overlooked him last time out. That won't happen tonight, and I expect the industry to be high on him, but I am not too worried about his ownership on this slate. Gordon is coming off a massive 55.75 fantasy point outing against the Heat, where he put up 39 real points, and will benefit from the absence of Vucevic and a great matchup. Gordon has looked solid since returning from injury, and it looks like he will be a full go for tonight's slate after playing 36 minutes against the Heat. As I already mentioned, Orlando is without the services of Nikola Vucevic, so they are stuck with the offensively challenged Biyombo at center. Because of that, Gordon has an even better opportunity to produce, and he has a 29.4 percent usage rate with him Vucevic off the floor. He is also averaging 1.17 fantasy points per minute in the 152.2 minutes that he has played without him.

To put it nicely, the Brooklyn defense is bad. They are just about as bad as the Magic defense, just about. They are giving up 110.7 points per game to opponents, while allowing them to shoot 46.8 percent from the floor. Opponents are shooting almost 37 percent from three-point range against them, as well. They rank 26th in fantasy points allowed to power forwards, giving up 48.92, and rank 23rd in defensive efficiency to the position on the season. They are giving up 1.19 points per play to the roll man, .91 points per play on post ups, and 1.05 points per play on spot ups. Gordon ranks in the top-10th percentile on both post ups and as the roll man this season, scoring 1.4 and 1.15 points per play on those plays, respectively. He is also spotting up on 22 percent of his possessions and is averaging 1.07 points per play. Everything lines up for Gordon to replicate his 41-point, 14 rebound, performance he notched the last time he faced this team.

Andrew Wiggins, SG/SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

35

109.5

22

50.3

27.09

40.44

40.11

DK Salary: $5,600 / FD Salary: $5,500

We have basically hit rock bottom with Andrew Wiggins and his price across the industry, mostly because he has been terrible for the majority of the season, but I am willing to overlook that in tonight's matchup. There are several things working in his favor, mostly that Jeff Teague is out, but the Lakers will also be without a key member of their perimeter defense. With Jeff Teague off the floor this season, Wiggins is posting a 27.5 percent usage rate, to go along with .88 fantasy points per minute, which is a 4 percent increase over his season average. In five games without Teague, not including yesterday's game against the Pacers, Wiggins is averaging 34.4 fantasy points per game, compared to the 27.7 per game he is averaging in games that Teague has played in.

The Lakers were looking to build on a strong November that saw their defensive rating climb to 103.0, the ninth best mark in the league, but that didn't happen and they have closed out the month of December posting a 111.7 defensive rating (prior to the Rockets game). Combine their failing defense, and the fact they Caldwell-Pope is not with the team, and you have a recipe for plenty of points tonight. The last time these teams faced off, Wiggins played 34 minutes and attempted 16 shots but was only able to connect on seven of them. His shooting percentage has increased over his last two games (again, this is prior to the Pacers game) and he has shot at least 50 percent in his last two games. Using Wiggins is often painful, but I am willing to push that pain down tonight and give him one more shot here.

Jonas Valanciunas, C, Toronto Raptors

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

35

-

14

47.5

21.05

38.5

37.10

DK Salary: $5,300 / FD Salary: $5,300

Jonas Valanciunas is extremely frustrating to roster for many reasons, mostly because he always plays limited minutes, but tonight he is in an excellent spot against the Milwaukee Bucks. Valanciunas is coming off a big game against the Hawks, which has raised his price, and has posted at least 30 fantasy points in two of his last four games. Those games are surrounded by a couple of 20-point duds, showing his volatility, but he does have at least 30 fantasy points in five of his last 10 games.

The Bucks, as we all should know by now, are a defense that you can attack with big men. They are giving up the sixth most fantasy points per game (54.32) to centers and rank 20th in defensive efficiency to the position over the last 10 games. They are giving up 26.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1,8 combined blocks and steals over that stretch of games. Opposing big men have shot 54.6 percent from the floor against them, including 47.6 percent from three, in those games. Those numbers, surprisingly, are a slight improvement over their season averages. On the season, they rank 30th in defensive efficiency and have allowed 24.6 points, 15.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and a combined 2.2 blocks plus steals. JoVal's limited minutes and elevated price make him a risky option, but one that I love tonight.



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