Happy New Year everyone! We have an interesting five game slate in the NBA tonight, and here are some targets I will be looking toward in daily fantasy tournaments on FanDuel here on this first day of 2016.
Top Play – John Wall, Washington Wizards
This is a great slate to go balanced with your lineup construction. If I am paying up for one player, it will likely be John Wall. He draws a fine matchup tonight with either a hobbled Elfrid Payton or an inexperienced Shabazz Napier, and Wall is the engine that drives the Washington offense. He gets even more usage with Bradley Beal on the shelf, and he should battle for the designation as the top overall fantasy play of the day.
Value Play – Ish Smith, Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers were 1-30 without Ish Smth this year, and now they are 2-1 with him. They also get another potentially winnable game here against the Lakers. This is going to be an awful game from a real-life perspective, but it should be golden from a fantasy perspective. It has the highest projected point total on the NBA odds board at 206.5 points, and it has a very reasonable three-point spread. The players on both teams get a nice boost, and Smith has been fantastic in his first three games as a Sixer (for the second time). He has logged back-to-back 40 fantasy point games and should be in line for another one against a team that really struggles against point guards.
Top Play – DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
DeRozan's play tends to go up and down in stretches, and he is clearly in the zone right now. He is coming off a fantastic game on Wednesday against the Wizards, and he draws a fine matchup against a Charlotte team that struggles mightily against opposing shooting guards. If you are spending up at the shooting guard position, DeRozan is my favorite tournament target of the bunch.
Value Play – Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic
After being declared fully healthy following a mysterious finger injury that nobody really knew about, Evan Fournier is playing massive minutes once again for the Magic. He has topped 29 fantasy points in five of his last six contests, and the Wizards are the worst team in the league at defending opposing wing players. On a dollar-for-dollar basis, Fournier is one of the safest plays on the board this evening and can be used in any format.
Top Play – Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
Most of the elite small forward options get the night off tonight, so we are limited in our options at the top. If you choose to pay up at the position, Carmelo Anthony is basically the only option you have. Of course, he also delivers plenty of upside on nights where his shot is dropping. This is basically a default picks, but Anthony makes sense as a high-upside DFS tournament option.
Value Play – Chandler Parsons, Dallas Mavericks
Parsons has seen his minutes bump into the low-to-mid 30s of late, and he hit 31 minutes in the last game despite it being a 30 point victory for the Mavericks. Parsons has 40 fantasy point upside when his shot is falling, and he is a sneaky option tonight. He carries a little more risk than some of the other options on the slate, but the increase in minutes is certainly a positive sign. He will be on a lot of my tournament lineups on this Friday.
Top Play – Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers
Noel loves playing with Ish Smith, and his play has dramatically improved since Smith was acquired. He has set season highs in points in each of the last two games with 18 and 20, respectively, and his minutes are on the rise. Power forward is a fairly tough position to peg tonight, but Noel's recent surge combined with a matchup against the Lakers make him a fine play in all formats. The upside that he brings with potential blocks and steals also boosts his GPP upside.
Value Play – Frank Kaminsky, Charlotte Hornets
Frank The Tank is carving out a nice role off the bench for the Hornets, and he is clearly one of their better big men. With Al Jefferson out of commission and Spencer Hawes' status in question for tonight, Kaminsky's role is as solidified as it has been all year. He showed marked improvement in the month of December and should be good for 26-28 minutes on a nightly basis going forward. His price remains very fair, and he is one of the better values on the board on this Friday night.
Top Play – Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic
This was a tough call between Vucevic and Marcin Gortat, and the truth is I like both players tonight. I would probably lean toward Gortat in cash games because he comes at a slight discount, but it's hard to argue with the recent play of Vucevic. Scott Skiles has stopped messing with his minutes, and the production has followed. He could be an All Star this year, and he deserves consideration as a high-upside tournament target on this five game slate.
Value Play – Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors
Valanciunas returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday night, and let's not forget that he was off to a great start this year before getting injured. He will likely still be held to minutes in the mid-20s, but the price tag remains cheap and he is a solid per-minute fantasy producer. Give him a look as a high-risk, high-reward tournament option in a favorable matchup against a small Charlotte front line.