PG - Tyler Johnson, Miami Heat @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Johnson admittedly hasn’t been at his best since returning from a back injury. He’s scored just eight points in each of his first two games back. However, the Cavs' defense has been making just about everyone look like world-beaters recently. Catching an injury ravaged Cavs team in disarray and on the second night of a back-to-back could be just the thing that gets Johnson back on track.
Also consider: Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Mavericks @ Phoenix Suns
Smith has been struggling with his shot of late. He's gone under 30 percent in three of his last four games. However, he has one of the most advantageous matchups on the schedule as he takes on the Suns, who are giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards.
SG - Kent Bazemore, Atlanta Hawks vs Charlotte Hornets
There’s something about the Charlotte Hornets that Bazemore loves going up against. Perhaps it’s their awful defense against opposing shooting guards. Bazemore is averaging 18.5 points on 56 percent shooting in two meetings against the Hornets this season. That includes his 26-point explosion last week which yielded 39 fantasy points per FanDuel. Bazemore is also coming off a stellar 38-fantasy point performance against the Timberwolves, so he should be all warmed up for another matchup with the Hornets.
Also consider: Wesley Matthews, Dallas Mavericks @ Phoenix Suns
Matthews can be pretty up-and-down, but when he’s feeling it, he can be awesome. He’s coming off one of those games as he lit up the Heat for 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, and three 3-pointers. It’s not that hard to imagine him coming up with a similar line against the Suns and their awful backcourt defense.
SF - Josh Richardson, Miami Heat @ Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs’ wing defense reached new levels of awfulness as they allowed Stanley Johnson and Reggie Bullock to combine for 48 points on 53 percent shooting last night. Richardson is a markedly better player than either of those two and while he usually picks up around 28-38 fantasy points, his ceiling figures to be significantly high against the Cavs.
Also consider: Denzel Valentine, Chicago Bulls @ Portland Trail Blazers
With Zach LaVine currently in the midst of a shooting slump, Valentine has stepped up to the plate for the Bulls. He’s averaging 17 points, eight boards, four assists, and three 3-pointers over his last two games, far exceeding his fantasy value. With the Bulls likely to be without Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, and possibly even Nikola Mirotic, Valentine could continue to get his share of shots. Valentine had a strong line of ten points, seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals against the Blazers on New Year’s Day.
PF - Bobby Portis, Chicago Bulls @ Portland Trail Blazers
On the same note as Valentine, the absence of Markkanen and possibly Mirotic will give Portis all the playing time he wants at power forward. Portis has exceeded 6x his value in four of his last six games. With enough minutes, Portis has the potential to do the same against a Portland team that’s on the second night of a back-to-back.
Also consider: Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers @ Orlando Magic
Kuzma has fallen back down to earth this January, as he’s averaging just 12.6 points on 41.6 percent shooting. However, he has still put up some big-time fantasy performances and could be in line for another one against Orlando. Aaron Gordon could potentially still be out for the Magic, who will also be on the second night of a back-to-back.
C - Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers vs Chicago Bulls
Nurkic responded very well to his benching against the Mavs by putting up 14 points and a season-high 20 rebounds against the Clippers last night. Consistency has been a major concern for Nurk this season, and another monster performance on the second night of a back-to-back may bee too much to ask. But he’ll have a highly advantageous matchup against the Bulls, one which yielded 45 fantasy points per FanDuel in their earlier meeting on New Year’s Day.
Also consider: Greg Monroe, Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks
The Suns could be without both Tyson Chandler and Alex Len tonight against the Mavs, which would give Monroe the lion’s share of the minutes at center. That should be good news for him fantasy-wise, especially considering how badly the Mavs have been burned by opposing big men recently. Hassan Whiteside ripped them for 25 points and 14 rebounds, while Nikola Jokic posted a triple-double on them.
Have any thoughts about tonight’s fantasy picks? Let us know about them in the comments below!