There is no shortage of options in today’s 13-game slate. With several players hurt and resting, and other teams “evaluating younger players” (tanking), it really is shaping up to be a stars and scrubs sort of night.
What’s important tonight is figuring out where to save and where to spend. With players like James Harden, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and LeBron James all in play, how do you decide which value plays to use, and which stars to roster? I’ll try to help with that by focusing on the players I intend on targeting on FanDuel tonight.
Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves, $5,100 – The nice thing about tonight is the Timberwolves’ injury situation is well known in advance. Instead of being questionable, the players that have all been missing games are doubtful, so there’s little reason to believe that they’ll suit up for a team that’s playing for nothing more than ping pong balls. With Minnesota likely to have very few active players tonight, LaVine should be in line for 40 or more minutes against a dreadful Lakers team. Considering he’ll either draw Jeremy Lin or Jordan Clarkson, both of whom are poor defenders, I like LaVine’s chances for a very nice game tonight. He’s an easy value play.
Jeremy Lin, Los Angeles Lakers, $5,500 – Byron Scott is experimenting with Lin and Jordan Clarkson playing together in the backcourt, which led to Lin playing 30 minutes and scoring 29.9 FanDuel points in Oklahoma City last night. He’ll draw a better matchup against the Timberwolves, and should easily pay off his price tag. This game is going to be a popular target tonight, but there’s little reason to go another route. The players involved are cheap and expected to play heavy minutes in a game that will likely be close, fairly high scoring, and feature little to no defense.
Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies, $5,100 – The Grindfather has been one of the more consistent options recently, and if Courtney Lee is forced to miss another game, he should be locked into heavy minutes in a marquee matchup with Cleveland. Allen is typically thought of as a defensive specialist, but he’s contributing enough in scoring to make himself a very safe play. I think he’ll see around 30 minutes if Lee plays, and possibly more if he doesn’t. Either way, he should pay off his modest price tag and make for a solid value play at a position where the top options don’t offer much, if any, upside relative to their price.
James Harden, Houston Rockets, $11,500 – If I can, I just roster Harden every night the Rockets play. Sure, he’s not going to pay off this hefty price tag all the time, but his upside relative to every other shooting guard’s upside is ridiculous. Combine that with the fact that there are almost always better value options available at every other position, and it just makes a lot of sense to spend at the shooting guard position and roster a guy that has a legitimate chance at 60 against nearly every opponent. I’m certainly not concerned about a matchup with the Pelicans. Like Indiana, they have absolutely nobody that can defend him, and even though Dwight Howard is expected to play tonight, I like Harden’s chances for yet another huge game.
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs, $8,500 – I absolutely love Leonard in this matchup. This game projects to be very high-scoring when we look over the NBA odds, and I expect the Spurs to come out ready to go after playing very poorly in Dallas last night. While Tony Parker and Tim Duncan were essentially non-factors last night, Leonard just kept doing what he always does, posting monster stat lines and putting up elite fantasy totals. I think he’s underpriced at $8500, and given Oklahoma City has no wing defender with a prayer of keeping up with him, I think he’s in line for a huge performance tonight. He’s an extremely safe cash game play, yet he offers the upside you’re looking for in a GPP as well.
Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves, $6,000 – Wiggins may have to play nearly the whole game tonight as Minnesota is dealing with a bunch of injuries and may only have eight active players. His price has come down a bit as his production has trailed off, but tonight’s matchup with the Lakers presents a very good opportunity for him to get back on track. This is the sort of game that only a daily fantasy player can possibly watch, and there are going to be plenty of good plays, including Wiggins, from this game.
Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz, $7,900 – Gordon Hayward is doubtful tonight, and with Utah having nothing to play for, I think it’s safe to assume he won’t be suiting up. When Hayward sits, Favors becomes an elite option as his usage and involvement in the offense increase. Normally I wouldn’t love a matchup with Portland, but if LaMarcus Aldridge is forced to sit out again, Favors is going to have an extremely favorable matchup with the likes of Meyers Leonard or Joel Freeland. The game has a very low over/under, but don’t worry about that. Favors should have no trouble reaching at least 35 fantasy points, and I think something over 40 is very likely.
Marcus Morris, Phoenix Suns, $5,500 – Brandon Knight might be able to play tonight, but there is talk of him coming off the bench in order to preserve the current starting lineup. He’ll likely be limited anyway due to missing multiple games with an ankle injury. Morris has been very solid with the starting unit, and his worst performance was a 23.6 FanDuel point outing where he shot 1-for-11 and scored two real points. If that’s as bad as it’s going to get, he’s a steal at $5500, especially given he has over 35 point upside. A matchup with a bad Kings team that just allowed the Sixers to score 106 points is just icing on the cake.
Enes Kanter, Oklahoma City Thunder, $6,900 – There is just no reason not to roster Kanter at this price with the numbers he’s been putting up. San Antonio doesn’t offer much resistance inside, and given Kanter has a floor of about 35 fantasy points (5x) and a ceiling of nearly 50 (7x), I just can’t justify using another center over him tonight. I would confidently roll him out in every one of my lineups and not give it another thought. He’s severely underpriced and is an elite play in both cash games and GPPs tonight.
Gorgui Dieng, Minnesota Timberwolves, $6,700 – Once again, Minnesota is extremely thin in the frontcourt with Nikola Pekovic already ruled out, Kevin Garnett unlikely to play, and Justin Hamilton questionable. If I had to guess, I would say Hamilton doesn’t play, which basically just leaves Dieng and Adreian Payne, who can’t stay out of foul trouble. Dieng is going to have to play over 40 minutes tonight out of pure necessity, and he could be in line for a monster performance against the Lakers, who are currently starting Ryan Kelly and Tarik Black in the frontcourt. Kanter is my preferred option, but I like taking Dieng in some GPP lineups because he has a legitimate shot of ending the night with a higher score.