The Core 4
Kenneth Faried– with power forward being absolutely terrible today you might as well pick someone who hustles against guys who are not known for hustling or playing defense. Portland’s front line is not going to give Faried any problems and Denver will be at home in the up tempo game that favors Faried’s food speed.
Blake Griffin– Again power forward is awful so going with Griffin seems like a simple thing to do. Memphis has lost a few steps defensively and going against Zach Randolph is a massive quickness advantage for Griffin. The Clippers have lost two games in a row and Chris Paul might not play. Griffin seems to be a lock to have a good game.
Emmanuel Mudiay– Damian Lillard plays no defense and the game is in Denver. Mudiay has yet to have a breakout game and this game makes perfect sense for that to happen tonight.
Joakim Noah– Fred Hoiberg looks like he will be starting Noah tonight with the struggles of Mirotic. The starting lineup needs his defense a lot, but in reality it all comes down to Noah making a few layups. Noah’s floor game will be there it just comes down to him making the shots he is given. If he does that he should have a good game against Philadelphia’s two big men.
Richaun Homes– If you think Faried could be a bit risky Homes will be getting the start for the injured Nerlens Noel. He does not fill the stat sheet up but he will play 25 minutes at least so I imagine Holmes finding some baskets and rebounds.
Andre Drummond- If you are not courageous enough to play Noah, Drummond is probably your guy. Drummond is such a safe play against anyone that you do not have to worry about the matchup.
Nemanja Bjelica-At this point you are probably trying to pronounce his name because he seems to show up every game. Like I have said in the past his rebounding gives him such a safety net that it is so difficult not to play him. Bjelica plays all over the floor and can fill up any stat category. Play him while he is cheap.
Kawhi Leonard- His matchup with Rudy Gay screams great option. Like I have said in the past if Leonard has to play against a good small forward that elevates his entire game. I wish every player was like this and is a reason why Leonard is a special player.
Doug McDermott- McDermott has only had one game this season were he has caught fire to some degree. If Noah starts that is to compliment McDermott’s shooting. His price has fallen and plays an awful Philadelphia team. You can punt small forward tonight and be satisfied with the result.
CJ McCollum- This game screams up-tempo shoot out and McCollum is taking a lot of the half court shots when the ball actually gets worked around in whatever you call Portland’s isolation offense.
Damian Lillard- I guess you could list every player in this Portland Denver game as someone to consider. Lillard will be battling with Mudiay so this game could look like something straight out of the Drew League. Nobody really will want to play defense in this game so a lot of scoring will be done by tons of different players.
Marco Belinelli- He does not start but is the top guard off the bench for Sacramento. The teams needs shooting in a bad way and Belinelli will get his playing time based solely on that skill. Belinelli will be facing his former team so I would like to think that he will show up and try and show San Antonio that he is a good player regardless of where he plays.
Paul George- Just think about the size advantage George will have on Fournier (who is not a good defensive player to begin with). George is taking the ball to the basket like a mad man and making jump shots from all over the court. So much flexibility with where you can save your salary cap at George makes a great play with not much to worry about.
Jahill Okafor- With Noel not playing tonight that gives Okafor a solid uptick in his usage in the half court. If he is going against Noah the matchup is horrible, but Okafor finds a way to get his points because of his skill around the basket.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope- Against Golden State the game could go away from Caldwell-Pope and be more of Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris on the perimeter. (At least it would appear the way.) I like Pope tonight because of the assists he will get from drive and kicks and long rebounds from the misses of Curry and Thompson.
Stephen Curry- Curry had for his standards a down game against Sacramento. Tonight against Reggie Jackson he should have no issue going where he wants to go on the court.
T.J. McConnell- Today has tons of value and McConnell’s game does not matchup against Chicago very well. Noel is the primary guy on the other end of McConnell’s assists, and with Noel out tonight it seems like the game could become more half-court isolation with Okafor tonight.
Marcus Morris- He should see Harrison Barnes and Andre Igoudala a lot tonight. I can see the ball being forced into Morris’s hands late in the shot clock and shooting horrible shots. Morris’s game tends to disappear when his shot is not falling or he is not getting shots period.
Andrew Wiggins- Atlanta will try to take him away and make him more of a passer. Atlanta has the most underrated defense in the league and Wiggins will see the defenders playing more on his side of the court to keep him from penetrating.
Final Notes: I do not collaborate with Mike when writing this article every day. For all I know he could be leaning towards using everyone I say to fade. This article is intended to be another viewpoint. Always use the RotoMinds projections and Optimal Linueps as a primary source and use The Eye Test as another look on everything.