Welcome to the last day of the NBA regular season. It even matters! The 8th spot in both conferences will be decided tonight. If the Pacers beat the Grizzlies it's theirs in the East, but if they lose and the Nets beat the Magic, Brooklyn gets the spot. In the West, the Thunder need to beat the Timberwolves and have the Spurs beat the Pelicans to make it in Otherwise, NO gets the last spot. A bunch of teams including the Grizzlies, Rockets, and Spurs are playing for seeding considerations tonight. The most likely teams to rest players are the Celtics, Wizards, Hawks, and Cavaliers. The Warriors seem intent on entering the playoffs at full steam ahead mode and play in what's sure to be a high scoring game vs Denver at home. With so many players questionable, do not play tonight without confirming starting lineups before lock. These are the value plays I feel are most likely to return on your meager investments tonight. My focus is more on opportunity than defensive matchup at this point in the season. As always, I try to stay below $5500 on FanDuel.
Ray McCallum ($5200): Playing, perhaps alone based on the Kings injury report, against the Lakers is a great spot for the young guard. McCallum doesn't wow you, but does contribute in every category pretty much every night making him a safe cash game bargain PG. He has averaged almost 25 fantasy points per game over the last ten, if you exclude the one awful showing vs Utah. Expect similar tonight.
Bryce Cotton ($3800): I just wanted to write up someone I haven't done yet this season. Trey Burke is expected back tonight, and Dante Exum is in the mix for minutes, if not production, for the Jazz, but Cotton has played 25 and 26 minutes in the last two, and averaged 14 real points over the last three. If he gets 20 minutes tonight, he easily pays off this price tag in a high scoring game at Houston.
Advice: Also consider Tony Parker ($5200), who says the Spurs will do what needs to be done to get the #2 seed tonight. Beno Udrih ($3700) is up again for the Grizzlies. He hasn't been very efficient with his increased playing time--we'd like to see more assists and steals, but at his price, he can get by just scoring 15+ ppg. If Kyrie Irving were to sit out tonight, Matthew Dellavedova ($3700) makes for a solid option vs the Wizards. Ramon Sessions ($4900) is a serviceable cash game play as well. Russell Westbrook is a no brainer if you can fit him in.
Jabari Brown ($4100): The Lakers are out of options, and honestly, it's too bad it took so long to get to Jabari Brown. He's been playing over 40 mpg the last three, and averaging 27 fpts over that stretch. He scores, dishes, and adds a couple rebounds and is capable of notching a few steals too against the turnover prone Kings. Another first timer to this space if you're keeping track at home.
Randy Foye ($5100): Randy Foye is never an exciting pick and the defense of Golden State isn't one to pick on, but Foye has managed to reach value most nights recently not just on the strength of his three point shooting but his peripherals have picked up as well. He's averaging 15/5/5 over the last five games, in which he's played an average of 35 minutes (range 28-47).
Advice: I like the idea of pairing Harden and Brown at SG tonight. If you're inclined to keep with the value plays at the position, I also like Eric Gordon ($5100) in the must win game for the Pelicans. Jrue Holiday is due to play some tonight, but I don't think it will significantly impact Gordon. Kent Bazemore ($3800) is always an option if the Hawks rest their wings, and Jodie Meeks ($3900) has been decent lately in a great matchup with the Knicks.
Bogan Bogdanovic ($3900): Six games ago, Bogdanovic saw an uptick in playing time that has allowed him to average over 30 mpg. Over that span, he has had four games where his value was roughly 5X his salary, one game where is was 8X!!, and one where he was barely 3X. His chief contribution is scoring though he typically adds a few assists and rebounds, and has four steals over the six game stretch.
Quincy Acy ($3900): Ditto everything I just wrote about Bogdanovic for Acy, except the minutes are more like 22-24 per game and the production is likewise a tad lower. He's a solid bet for a cheap 20 fpts and not much more vs the Pistons tonight in the NY finale.
Advice: If you're gonna save, save big. Most of the $4-5K SF are not in play for me today. The Corey Brewer, Mike Dunleavy, Jae Crowder, Omri Casspi types all have big questions as to health, playing time, and especially in the case of Dunleavy, production within that playing time. Kawhi Leonard is the top SF play today in my opinion. I could also see Tobias Harris having a good night trying to play spoiler in Brooklyn and Luol Deng gets a nice matchup with the 76ers. However, I don't want to underestimate the level of dejection this Heat team may feel tonight.
Lakers ($4700-5300): You can choose from Tariq Black, Ryan Kelly, and Ed Davis tonight vs the depleted Kings. The game projects as close and high scoring and it's definitely worth getting some exposure to it as mentioned above. All three guys have been a bit up and down. Davis was most successful vs the Kings on Monday, but Black and Kelly have higher upside in my opinion.
Taj Gibson ($5200): Getting another start for Joakim Noah, Gibson is always a great fill in option. He's dealing with some shoulder soreness, but you have to believe it's not a big deal. He comes close or gets a double double just about every time he starts and is coming off a four block game Monday night in Brooklyn. The Bulls will look to win to keep the 3rd seed as they face a Hawks team playing for nothing tonight.
Advice: Anthony Davis should be a popular play tonight as the Pelicans play for their playoff hopes tonight. Ersan Ilyasova and Jason Thompson are other cheap alternatives tonight, while Kenneth Faried and Nikola Mirotic are solid mid-range options.
Festus Ezeli ($3600): No, I'm not just rounding out the first timer list here. I actually think Ezeli might have been here before. If I were Golden State, I'd play Andrew Bogut very sparingly tonight. He only played 17 minutes in the last game which seems like a good plan again. That would leave the generous Denver frontcourt largely to Ezeli, who can be productive given enough court time. For example, he put up 9/5/1 and 3 blocks Monday night in just 18 minutes. He's a GPP only play, but one that could allow you to fit two of the top three studs going tonight.
Bismack Biyombo ($4600): He'll start again with Al Jefferson out for the eliminated Charlotte Hornets, who are heavy underdogs to the Raptors tonight in Toronto. The matchup is decent, and Biyombo was great across the board in his last start. He gets you critical blocks and steals to go along with his rebounds, which is so important with the value plays.
Advice: I'd like to consider Tyler Zeller at Milwaukee tonight, but given that we're not sure what the Celtics plan to do about resting guys now that they're locked into the 7 seed, you have to proceed with caution. I like Enes Kantor and Brook Lopez to have huge games in the mid-range salary pool, and I don't think it's worth spending more than that tonight.