Todays article will be a little shorter because of how obvious some of the plays are. I do like to keep it short on days when you can basically put the roster together with relative ease and constraint the obvious plays make on the rest of your lineup. I will give you a few more fades tonight to offset that
The Core Four
Russell Westbrook– This is about as obvious as it can get. No Durant in the lineup means that Westbrook becomes the biggest ball hog in nba history. I have a theory that Westbrook only passes the ball because of getting an assist. If he could take the ball down the court every time and shoot it he would. Having Durant makes it plausible in his mind to pass the ball, but with no Durant, Westbrook will be trying to do everything himself.
Rajon Rondo– Rondo has played all but four minutes in his last three games. Sacramento has no other point guard with Darren Collison out. If a player plays every minute of every game and is reasonably affordable play him and move on in your lineup.
Derrick Favors– If Tobias Harris is going to try and guard Favors good luck. Favors is a machine and will dominate Harris. His shot blocking will come down from last night so do not expect anything like that, but he is a very safe option.
James Harden– Houston plays in Denver tonight so this will be an up-tempo game once again between these two teams.
Omri Casspi and Marco Belinelli– With Rudy Gay out tonight both of these players have to see a massive uptick in minutes and shots.
Marcus Thornton– Just like Harden, Thornton will be exposed to the up and down nature that is Denver home games. You have to be a little careful with Thornton now through because Terrence Jones is back for Houston and could take away minutes from everyone in the rotation besides Harden.
DeMarcus Cousins– Without Rudy Gay tonight it is actually acceptable to play three or four Sacramento players. Cousins will be getting his tonight it is just a matter of can you afford to have him in your lineup with Westbrook.
Al Horford– If you cannot afford Cousins Horford is a great way to save some salary cap. The way coach Bud rotates the starters for Atlanta allows for Horford to play against all the different big men Boston has. I can see Horford getting off to a slow start and get going in the second quarter when he gets to play against the backups.
Jared Sullinger– Still priced as a backup or someone who is not as productive as he has been over the last week and a half. Great way to save on salary and get a solid player.
James Johnson– Carroll and Ross are out again tonight, as it would appear so Johnson is going to absorb those minutes on the wing. He does not have to do much to have a solid game.
Enes Kanter– A lot of people will want to play Kanter because of Durant being out. I say stay away because his defense is so bad and Philadelphia has two big men who can be a problem for poor defenders.
Ryan Anderson– He is now a bit expensive for my taste and Davis could easily play tonight so he is a bit risky.
Kosta Koufos– I have basically listed the entire Sacramento team on guys who you can play. I feel like Koufos is getting way too cute with that notion so stick to the guys who are listed.
Paul George– If you are fitting George onto your teams it means you do not have other players on your roster that you should. George has a good matchup and should be a solid play but he is expensive now and is not such a must play now because of that price increase.
Serge Ibaka– He has to guard Noel so he is not worth playing in my opinion.
Kent Bazemore– I know that Bazemore has been playing really well lately, but I do not think that against the great perimeter defenders Boston has is the time to play Bazemore.
T.J. McConnell– McConnell is turning out to actually be a solid pro but tonight against Westrbrook seems a like a bad idea. McConnell will be having to deal with Westbrook constantly attacking the basket and that gets exhausting after awhile.
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.