Players to Watch (01/06/16)

By Tom W. Brewer @Tom_W_Brewer
NBA DFS: Players Poised to have a Big Week!

I'm sure you've had those days at the office where everything is just clicking. You finish projects early, your initiatives are all well-received, and you've figured out a way to save the company some money. Your every idea is sharp, your every decision hits the bullseye, and your performance even earns you an “Atta boy” from the C-suite, where you're sure to find yourself if you keep up this hot streak. An invitation to hit the links with the boss confirms what everyone's been whispering about in their cubicles: You're the man.

The same thing happens in the NBA. Just ask Draymond Green, who seems to tally a triple-double every time he laces up his sneakers. Some weeks, between matchups, schedules that allow for rest, and good old-fashioned hard work, players blow up. You need to ride the hot hands to win big in NBA Daily Fantasy.

The players below are all poised to have big fantasy weeks. All have favorable matchups, and I've done you the favor of including their opponents' defense versus position ranking in parenthesis. No need to thank me, it was no trouble thanks to this handy-dandy chart from RotoGrinders. Remember, the higher the number, the more points a team allows from that position.

1. Kyle Lowry, PG Toronto Raptors
(Nets – 27, Wizards – 5, 76ers – 21)

If you can get Lowry for less than $8,500 this week, then snatch him up. Not only is the Raps' point guard making a case for a second straight All-Star appearance, but he gets a Brooklyn team without Jarrett Jack, and a 76ers team that more or less belongs in the D-League. He'll face a tough test in the Wizards' John Wall, but as a team Washington is allowing opponents to score about 104 points per game, the ninth most in the NBA. Plus, the last time they met, Lowry went off for 27 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Full disclosure: Wall forced Lowry into six turnovers that night as well. Can you hear the “The More You Know” music playing? Overall, expect Lowry's stellar play to continue and for him to add to his usual 21-5-6 line this week, racking up serious fantasy points in the process.

2. Wesley Matthews - SG Dallas Mavericks
(Pelicans – 27, Bucks – 14, Timberwolves – 20)

Remember when we all thought that missing out on DeAndre Jordan meant the Mavs were more or less left for dead in the Western Conference? That's conventional wisdom for you. Dallas is playing well at 20-15, and Wesley Matthews is a big reason why. After getting off to a slow start, Matthews has come alive in the months of December and January, averaging 15+ points and over 2.5 rebounds a game while shooting north of 40% from beyond the arc. Dallas draws three defenses who fall in the bottom 11 of opponent points allowed, so expect Matthew's upward trend to continue and to see his Katniss Everdeen bow-and-arrow routine all week long. May the odds be ever in your favor.

3. LeBron James - SF Cleveland Cavaliers
(Wizards – 29, Timberwolves – 12, 76ers – 30)

Okay, you probably think I'm cheating by including LeBron. After all, when isn't King James a fantasy monster? But James is set to have an enormous week; just look at who he's up against. He's got the much smaller Otto Porter who he can dominate in the paint, followed by a way-past-his-prime Tayshaun Prince, and then a Philly team that couldn't guard him if they were allowed to play six-on-five. LeBron is an expensive play, but the $10,000 salary is especially worth it this week.

4. Serge Ibaka - PF Oklahoma City Thunder
(Memphis – 16, Lakers – 25, Portland – 18)

The Serge Ibaka hype train has really quieted down this season, due in large part to excellent play from fellow fours Draymond Green, Blake Griffin, and LaMarcus Aldridge. But make no mistake, Ibaka still puts up huge numbers. He's scoring over 25 fantasy points a night thanks to a solid combination of points, rebounds, and blocks. He's a force inside, and look for him to dominate this week. His toughest test will come against Memphis. Don't get me wrong, the Grizzlies D is still tough, but the last time they met, Ibaka scored 17 points and grabbed four rebounds. Mind you, this was in the Grindhouse, so expect Ibaka to have an even better game at home before facing off against the Lakers and the Blazers later this week.

5. Al Horford – C, Atlanta Hawks
(76ers – 29, Chicago – 24)

Horford is having a great year, averaging 15 points, seven boards, and about three assists per game. That all adds up to 30+ fantasy points a night. The former Florida Gator has a couple interesting matchups this week. First, he travels to Philly to play a pair of young bigs that can't handle his footwork and mid-range game. That game is followed by a tilt against the Bulls at home. The Thibs years in Chicago conditioned us to think of them as a defense-first team, but that's just not the case anymore. Fred Hoiberg's squad isn't a bad defensive team, they just aren't as suffocating as they once were. In fact, Chicago's faster style suits the Hawks' personnel, so expect Horford to put up a ton of points.

In most ways, NBA players aren't like the rest of us. But just like you and me, sometimes things fall their way. Take advantage of these matchups to play smart and get money.