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We have a typical Tuesday in the NBA, so we have just four games on tap tonight. They should be fun games to watch, however, as we have the Timberwolves taking on the Magic, the Pelicans taking on the Celtics, and Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, and Portland all taking the court, as well. All the games should be fairly high scoring, with three games projected over 210 points and the Phoenix at Portland game being offline as we await injury news. Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Marquesse Chriss, and T.J. Warren are all names to keep an eye on as we await injury news. None of the teams on tonight's slate are on the back-end of a back-to-back which is helpful, and the Celtics are extremely rested as they last played on the 11th.

Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

33 112.75 24 54.09 20.68 47.80 47.35

DK Salary: $9,500 / FD Salary: $9,500

Wintertime is here which means it is #YarnSZN for Karl-Anthony Towns. The young big man has been on an absolute tear of late, averaging 49 fantasy points per game over the last six games. He has nine, yes nine, consecutive double-doubles, including some in bad matchups, and recently feasted on Boston to the tune of 25 points, 23 rebounds. He leads the NBA with a total of 37 double-doubles on the season and is a key part of an offense that has averaged 117 points per game during their current five-game winning streak. Towns has failed to eclipse 40 fantasy points just three times over the last ten games, which is appealing on a slate like tonight, and he has been over 50 fantasy points four times over the last ten games. His price is a little tough to stomach, sitting at $9,500 on both sites, but on a short slate we have to adjust how we consider value and sometimes need to take the guys that have upside. Towns gets an excellent matchup against an Orlando Magic team that has been one of the worst teams against centers, allowing 54.09 fantasy points per game, and ranking 24th in defensive efficiency to the position over the last ten games. The Magic have surrendered 46.4 rebounds, 49 points in the paint, and 13.4 second-chance points per game on the season, and they have been a terrible rim protection team, allowing opponents to shoot 64.8 percent at the rim. The Magic have allowed opponents to score 115.9 points per game over their recent seven-game losing streak, making the entire Timberwolves team an option on the slate.

Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trail Blazers

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

32

-

28

48.41

28.97

41.83

40.43

DK Salary: $9,300 / FD Salary: $9,300

While I don't generally like looking at how a specific player has performed against a team as an initial point of analysis, it is extremely tough to overlook how Lillard has performed against the Suns. Dame has notched 25 or more points in six consecutive outings against the Western Conference foe and is averaging 26 points with seven helpers in two games this season. Those numbers are pretty much to be expected, given how bad the Suns have been over the past few seasons, and I just can't overlook this spot for him tonight. Lillard has only been back from a nagging injury a few games, and his three-point shot has been terrible since coming back, but he has been outstanding of late. In his three games since returning, Lillard has notched 50.75, 43.5, and 40.6 fantasy points and has eclipsed 20 real points in all three games. His three-point shot, as I mentioned, has been off and he has only connected on 5-of-23 attempts from beyond-the-arc but I would expect that to regress soon. The defense has been, well, absent, for the majority of the season for Phoenix, as evidenced by their 109.2 defensive rating, and they have been absolutely terrible against point guards all season. They are giving up 48.41 fantasy points per game, the third most in the NBA, to point guards, rank 22nd in defensive efficiency to the position over the last ten games, and they have struggled to defend isolation and the pick-and-roll this season. Lillard leads the Trail Blazers in both isolation efficiency, averaging 1.09 points per play, and as the pick-and-roll ball handler, averaging 1.01 points per play, and is one of the most efficient guards in the entire NBA on both play types. As is the case with both Towns, and Dennis Smith who I get to below, I expect there to at least a decent amount of ownership on Lillard. That being said, he has 50-plus fantasy points upside in this matchup, and that is just something you can't ignore on a short slate like this. If you want some exposure to this game, with potential lower ownership, consider backcourt mate C.J. McCollum who has six straight 20-point outings against the Suns.

Dennis Smith Jr., PG/SG, Dallas Mavericks

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

33

102.5

29

48.68

28.4

32.22

31.30

DK Salary: $6,300 / FD Salary: $6,500

As I mentioned above, I do not expect Dennis Smith Jr. to be a low owned option today, I also do not care what his ownership is. The young rookie is in such an amazing spot against the Nuggets, I just cannot pass him up. Not only is Smith pretty much guaranteed heavy minutes tonight, with J.J. Barea sidelined, but he is also facing a team that has struggled against points guards all season long. Smith has been solid of late and is coming off a 23 point outing against the Lakers. He has eight straight games with double-digit points, including three with at least 20 points, and has at least 30 fantasy points in three straight games. Smith leads the team in usage at 28.4 percent, is top-15 in the NBA in drives per game, and is scoring 38.4 percent of his points on drives this season. He is attempting 41 percent of his shots at the rim, with another 28 percent coming on above-the-break threes, which is interesting when looking at the weaknesses in Denver's defense. In addition to his shot profile, 55 percent of his possessions come in either isolation or as the pick-and-roll ball handler, and I will get to why that is important in just a moment. He isn't extremely effective with either play type, ranking in the bottom half of the NBA in efficiency on both. Over the last ten games, the Mavericks have been playing at a faster pace, 99.19, compared to their season average of 94.20, which makes this an even more interesting spot. The Nuggets have posted a 107.7 defensive rating over their last ten games, rank 24th in defensive efficiency to point guards over that span, and have given up the second-most fantasy points per game (48.68) this season. The Nuggets are surrendering .98 points per play in isolation and .87 points per play to the pick-and-roll ball handler, both totals in the bottom-10 of the NBA, and struggle against spot-up shooters, as well. My one concern with Smith is that he draws the defense of Gary Harris at times but his ability to drive and attack the rim can negate that defense a little. Overall, I think Smith is an incredibly high-upside option on tonight's slate, and will probably be lower owned than his backcourt partner Yogi Ferrell.



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