It’s the time of the NBA season where paying attention to and keeping current with injuries and which players are going to be rested is of paramount importance. As such, it’s going to become increasingly difficult to construct lineups hours before the first games tip off. Often, you’re going to find yourself waiting until the absolute last second, hoping that a team like the Miami Heat lets you know who is actually going to play that night. My advice is to always have Twitter and Rotoworld open, and be ready to act as soon as information hits.
Let’s take a look at who I’m targeting on FanDuel tonight, assuming no major injury information hits that changes tonight’s landscape.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, $12500 – Westbrook’s price is extremely high, but I still think you need to make every effort to get him into your lineups tonight. His recent production is unprecedented, and in close games, he has the ability to eclipse 70 fantasy points. When a player is this likely to deliver a score that you cannot win without, he has to be your top priority. He draws a plus matchup with a Raptors team that has really been struggling lately, especially on the defensive end. I don’t think Kyle Lowry has a chance on defense here, and I fully expect another dominant performance from Westbrook tonight.
Rajon Rondo, Dallas Mavericks, $5600 – Rondo seems to finally be playing better as a member of the Mavericks. He had been awful until putting a couple of solid games together recently. He draws a very favorable matchup with the Lakers, and at his reduced price, he needs to be on your radar in both cash games and GPPs tonight. He’s been more aggressive lately, and his rebounding and assist numbers are up as well. Maybe his altercation with Rick Carlisle helped motivate him, or perhaps he’s feeling more comfortable in the offense. Either way, he should be good for around 30 fantasy points tonight, which is more than enough at his price.
Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic, $7700 – Oladipo has really come on lately. If you didn’t have Oladipo on Friday, you likely didn’t win anything. Shooting guard is very thin tonight, and I think it’s likely the same will hold true again tonight. Oladipo is by far the top shooting guard play tonight, and if Nikola Vucevic is forced to sit out again, he’s going to be a must-play option across all of your lineups. He draws a very favorable matchup with a Celtics team that will be without Avery Bradley, their best wing defender. This game should be close, and somewhat high scoring. I expect another very solid performance from Oladipo, and I’ll be using him in all of my lineups tonight.
DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors, $7300 – It’s likely going to be difficult to construct a roster with Westbrook, Oladipo, and DeRozan, but I still need to write up DeRozan as my second favorite shooting guard option. Tonight’s matchup with the Thunder should be fast-paced and high-scoring (Vegas is projecting over 212 points), and we know DeRozan is going to take plenty of shots. He’s been very up and down lately, but I think tonight is more likely to be one of his up games. Plus, shooting guard has no value. It makes a lot of sense to spend as much as you can at the position without making too many sacrifices elsewhere.
Additional Plays: Evan Turner
Jae Crowder, Boston Celtics, $5100 – Crowder should draw the start for Avery Bradley, and he’s been a surprisingly consistent option for the Celtics recently. He played 37 minutes last game against New Orleans, and it’s reasonable to expect a similar workload tonight in what should be another close game against Orlando. Given he’s consistently getting you around 25-30 fantasy points, he’s a very easy choice tonight not only because of his price, but because of the lack of viable small forward options. He should be locked into all lineups tonight.
Tobias Harris, Orlando Magic, $6400 – Harris will be a terrific play if Nikola Vucevic is forced to sit out again. I think he’ll be fine if Vucevic does play, but his usage and rebounding rates increase quite a bit when Vucevic is off the court. As of this writing, I have no idea what Vucevic’s status is, so please make sure you’re paying attention to injury news throughout the day. If Vucevic plays, I don’t think Harris needs to be a priority, and you can always punt with Terrence Ross, who is getting 30+ minutes again for some strange reason. If Vucevic is out, the matchup here is too good, and the expected bump in scoring and rebounding would make Harris a very solid play.
Additional Plays: Terrence Ross
Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons, $8100 – The Hornets have been near the bottom of the league against opposing power forwards this season, and I don’t expect the tandem of Cody Zeller and Marvin Williams to have any success stopping Monroe tonight. He continues to be a focal point of the Pistons offense, consistently posting solid numbers in both scoring and rebounding. As of now, there’s no value at the power forward position, and it’s likely that you’re going to have to spend on at least one of your players. I like Monroe a bit more than Ibaka due to matchup.
Channing Frye, Orlando Magic, $4100 – Frye is only an option if Nikola Vucevic is forced to sit out. He drew the start last game, and while I do not expect anywhere near the same type of performance, on a day where there is currently little to no value, you’re going to have to take what you can get. If Vucevic is out, he should play heavy minutes against a Boston frontcourt that has been awful on the defensive end all season. It’s difficult to imagine him not reaching at least 20 fantasy points in that scenario.
Al Jefferson, Charlotte Hornets, $8400 – Center is a mess, and Jefferson is the only option I feel comfortable rostering in cash games tonight. In GPPs, you can certainly take a shot on other guys, but their floors and inconsistencies make them a scary proposition for me in double ups and head to heads. Jefferson is in a great situation tonight. He’s been posting terrific fantasy totals lately, and he draws a matchup with a Pistons frontcourt that is completely inept on the defensive end of the floor. Andre Drummond is lost on defense, and only the Sixers have given up more fantasy points to opposing centers than Detroit. Jefferson is definitely worth spending on tonight.
Tyson Chandler, Dallas Mavericks, $5900 – If you can’t make Jefferson work, drop down to Chandler. He’s been anything but impressive lately, but the matchup with the Lakers should help him get going again. This game should be played at a fast pace, which should mean extra rebounding opportunities for Chandler. I’m not expecting a big game given how bad his fantasy production has been lately, but at a thin center position, we have to take what we can get.