PG - Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Mavericks vs Cleveland Cavaliers
Smith is an admittedly risky pick, but there are still a few reasons why he’s an intriguing one. For one, he’s coming off his best game as a pro, putting up 22 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists to help the Mavs get a much-needed win over the Washington Wizards.
That performance kept up Smith’s sizzling hot start to November. He’s averaging 18.5 points through the first four games this month. While he’s shooting just a shade under 40 percent from the floor, the fact that he’s launching nearly 19 shots up per game speaks to the Mavs’ sheer lack of offensive options at the moment.
Smith should once again have a similar usage rate tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have been outrageously generous in terms of handing out huge performances recently. The possibility of Smith being the next beneficiary on that growing list should be a compelling enough reason to take a chance on him.
SG - Tyreke Evans, Memphis Grizzlies @ Houston Rockets
The Tyreke Evans gravy train still hasn’t stopped giving. The veteran Grizzlies sixth man had another terrific outing against the Portland Trail Blazers, putting up 21 points, five assists, and three steals en route to a 41-fantasy point night per FanDuel scoring. Evans is now averaging 23.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists with 2.4 3-pointers over his last five games.
It could be any game now that the Evans carriage turns back into a pumpkin, but give it at least one more ride against the Houston Rockets tonight.
Evans admittedly hasn’t lit it up in his first two meetings against Houston this season, but that was at a time before he was averaging over 30 minutes and 16 shots per game. This version of Evans should be much more prepared to use the Rockets’ run-and-gun style to his advantage.
SF - Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves @ Phoenix Suns
Butler’s unusually barren scoring run continues. He had another disappointing showing against the Golden State Warriors, putting up just 11 points in a Wolves blowout defeat. The man formerly known as Jimmy Buckets can’t really buy one at the moment, as he’s averaging just 12.8 points per game this month.
But if there’s ever a matchup that Butler simply has to capitalize upon to show he’s still got that scorer’s mentality, it’s against the Suns. Phoenix continues to struggle to contain opposing wings and if Butler is back to his best, hardly any defense can live with him.
Picking Butler will once again be a bit of a risk, but the reward he can deliver given his motivation to prove people wrong, as well as his well below-market price, is certainly high.
PF - Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks vs Sacramento Kings
Unicorn’s back! After a brief one-game absence, Porzingis is set to return to the Knicks lineup against the Kings. You’d have to think it should be back to regular service for Porzingis, who has been one of the most reliable fantasy players thus far this season. He’s averaging 30 points and 2.3 blocks per game while chipping in with 7.5 rebounds and nearly two 3-pointers.
After the Knicks had their winning streak snapped in Porzingis’ absence, look for Kristaps to make up for it by putting more points up against an over-matched Kings frontcourt that’s been burned on multiple occasions by opposing power forwards this season.
C - Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz vs Brooklyn Nets
Outside of a few random instances, the strategy of simply going with the opposing big man who’s taking on the Brooklyn Nets has hardly steered people wrong this season. Just take the Nets’ last five games, where they’ve been burned by prodigal son Brook Lopez (34 points, 10 rebounds, six 3s, three blocks), Jusuf Nurkic (21 points), and of course, Nikola Jokic (41 points, 12 rebounds, four 3s). And in the two games against the Suns mixed in between, Alex Len grabbed a total of 29 rebounds.
Rudy Gobert is the latest lucky big man to get a crack at the Nets’ incredibly generous frontcourt, and look for him to take full advantage of it, either by scoring, rebounding, or blocking his way toward a monster fantasy night.
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