Welcome back to the Friday edition of NBA Top Plays! Nine games are on the schedule tonight with seven of them tipping at or before 8:00 ET, so it could be a hectic pre-lock news period. The upside there is that we should have most pertinent news by the time rosters lock, so make sure to keep up with the RotoGrinders DFS Alerts App to stay up with injury news, and tune into the RotoGrinders Court Report at 5:00 EST through lock to get my updated thoughts on the night ahead as news comes in.
Point Guard – Jamal Murray ($6,800 on FanDuel, $5,800 on DraftKings) – The $5,800 tag on DraftKings sticks out even in a draw with a slow-paced Grizzlies team. They aren’t as dominant defensively as they’ve been in recent years, but they definitely make an effort to slow the game down which helps to suppress fantasy production. Murray has been locked into a heavy minutes load of late in competitive games with Emmanuel Mudiay not currently in the rotation, and the upside Murray brings in raw points alone can lead to some huge fantasy lines when he’s getting a full workload. I don’t see the Grizzlies having quite as much success controlling the pace on the road in Denver, and Vegas seems to agree by setting the Nuggets implied total just a point below their season average. Chris Paul is the top overall play at the PG spot with John Wall setting up as an elite tournament pivot. Spencer Dinwiddie is another viable mid-range option in a plus draw with the Hawks.
Shooting Guard – Eric Gordon ($8,100 on FanDuel, $7,400 on DraftKings) – I don’t really understand why Gordon doesn’t generate the same type of buzz as a guy like Lou Williams would in a matchup like this. With Harden and all inactive/non-rotation members off the floor, Paul and Gordon hold nearly identical usage rates (30.1% for Paul, 29.9% for Gordon) and while Paul does hold the advantage in fantasy points per minute (1.44 to 1.11), that’s factored into the price difference (and then some). Gordon is about $1K cheaper than Lou Williams has been in recent games and while I’m not expecting Gordon to come in and drop 50 against the Suns, the floor/ceiling combination he offers with 18-24 shot attempts and a bump in assists makes him an elite option in all formats. If you’re rostering a superstar not named Chris Paul and still want some exposure to this game, here’s a great place to start.
Small Forward – T.J. Warren ($7,500 on FanDuel, $6,200 on DraftKings) – Warren’s production has spiked since Devin Booker’s return, but his price hasn’t yet reflected that production. The $6,200 tag on DraftKings is laughably low for this spot and it’s going to lead to some heavy exposure on my end, especially given the potential stacking options on the Houston side. The Suns are just seven point dogs as of this writing so I’d expect this one to stay competitive to the point where the starters see a normal allotment of minutes. If you’re looking for a salary saver at SF, Gerald Green is priced at under $5K on FanDuel and offers a really nice GPP ceiling in an up-tempo game, especially if he’s able to clear 30-32 minutes with the Rockets shorthanded.
Power Forward - Dragan Bender ($3,500 on FanDuel, $4,300 on DraftKings) – Here’s your value play of the day. Bender is going to start with Marquese Chriss ruled out and he should play north of 30 minutes with the Suns lacking much in the way of depth in the front-court behind him. The Suns still seem hesitant to play all three centers in the same game, so it seems unlikely that Greg Monroe works his way into the rotation despite Chriss’ absence. There is merit to a GPP fade here given the high ownership, and if you’re going that route you could look to Ryan Anderson on the other side of this game. Anderson could be forced into playing some minutes at center with both Tarik Black and Nene ruled out, giving them no depth behind Capela.
Center – Clint Capela ($7,600 on FanDuel, $7,100 on DraftKings) – I honestly wanted to list a player from another game outside of Phoenix, but Capela is a really strong play industry wide. It’s obvious how much intrigue this game has from a fantasy perspective, and Capela’s already high ceiling rises further with both Nene and Tarik Black out. He produces well north of a fantasy point per minute – his biggest downfall for the most part has been playing time – and has a fantastic draw with a Suns team that ranks 3rd in pace and middle-of-the-pack in rebounding. There aren’t many better bets for double-doubles on this slate and while I do think there is a chance Ryan Anderson sees some time at the 5, it’s hard to imagine Capela being limited to fewer than 30 minutes of floor time if he’s able to avoid early foul trouble. He’s a fine stacking partner with either Gordon or Paul, but profiles as a slightly better pairing with CP3. DeMarcus Cousins will once again be an elite play if Anthony Davis is ruled out, and I like the upside of Kevin Love in a bounce-back game for the Cavs.