Tuesday’s NBA slate is a rare big one, with nine games on the main slate. There are a ton of injuries to keep an eye on today, including Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Deandre Ayton, Dorian Finney-Smith, Victor Oladipo, and LaMarcus Aldridge, who is doubtful. Minnesota at Houston is by far the fastest-paced game, with a 244.5 point total, though Houston is a double-digit favorite. The Lakers and Clippers are other huge favorites tonight. The best fantasy matchups go to Clippers, Knicks, Timberwolves, Rockets, Magic, and Suns tonight. In this column, I generally set $6000 FD/$5000 DK as the bargain threshold, and I try to indicate when I think a position is particularly well-suited--or not--to using the cheap plays given the landscape of the particular slate. Tonight’s slate tips at 7:00 pm EST.
Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando Magic at Memphis ($4100 FD, $4300 DK)
I could also make a case for Markelle Fultz or DJ Augustin, who have all been worth the price as the Magic deal with the absence of Evan Fournier. This is really about whose salary fits best with the rest of your lineup; the matchup is a good one, as the Grizzlies play at the league’s seventh-fastest pace and give up the ninth-most fantasy points overall.
Shabazz Napier, Washington Wizards vs. New York ($5700 FD, $5600 DK)
Napier has a way of coming out of the woodwork every so often with a monster game like he had on Sunday. A couple of things I like in addition to that high ceiling are the matchup (the Knicks are eighth in fantasy points to PG) and the Wizards’ team total. He’s a solid option with upside.
Malik Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston ($5700 FD, $6200 DK)
Beasley is playing a ton of minutes and enjoying a high usage rate, where he frequently is taking 20-plus shots from the field. He is averaging well over 20 points per game since the All-Star break, and when he kicks in some peripherals is exceeding value with ease. I want all the pieces of this game I can afford, and Beasley is one of the better values, even at his closer-to-mid-range price.
Damion Lee, Golden State Warriors vs. LA ($5200 FD, $5800 DK)
Lee would be a more obvious play if Curry were to miss tonight’s game, but even with Curry on the floor (once), Lee held onto his steady value. It’s not as good of a matchup as some others, but if you’re looking for a solid option in this range, I don’t think Lee disappoints.
Denzel Valentine, Chicago Bulls vs. Cleveland ($3900 FD)
I’m not paying crazy money for Valentine at DraftKings, but for this salary on FanDuel, any starting wing against the Cavaliers is on my radar. Valentine has been filling in decently for Zach LaVine, but all eyes are on Coby White these days. Valentine has played over 21 minutes in three of his last four games, and put up between 18-28 fantasy points in those. Cleveland not only ranks in the Top 3 in fantasy points overall, the Cavs give up the second-most fantasy points to guards and SFs, and turn the ball over more often than any other team. Get your Bulls!
Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns at Portland ($5400 FD, $5800 DK)
Bridges is playing some great basketball right now, and it’s nice to see it. If you’re concerned that he may not be able to sustain this level of production, I think it helps that he’s seeing almost 40 MPG with Kelly Oubre out, and that he’s had Portland’s number this season. In three meetings with the Trail Blazers, Bridges is averaging about 30 fantasy points a game, including an 18-point, 5-rebound, 2-assist, 2-steal, 1-block game last week.
Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago ($4400 FD, $5400 DK)
Osman is another guy I’m looking at much harder on FanDuel than DraftKings given the salary discrepancy there. A big weekend has his price soaring, but there is reason to believe he can continue his run. One of the ways he’s been padding the stat sheet is with multiple steals, and Chicago ranks sixth in turnover rate. In the last four games he’s played around 38 MPG and averaged over 13 FG attempts per game for around 16 PPG.
Naz Reid, Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston ($5300 FD, $6000 DK(C))
As long as Karl-Anthony Towns is out, Reid looks to be getting heavy minutes and decent usage. Again, this game is a priority and Houston ranks second in fantasy points allowed to opposing PFs.
Trey Lyles, San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas ($4900 FD, $5300 DK)
Lyles is another solid injury-fill in, assuming Aldridge’s doubtful status translates to out. He’s been great, aside from a blip vs. the Hornets, and with Dallas missing Luka Doncic, this game should be a lot closer than it would otherwise.
Larry Nance, Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago ($5600 FD, $6400 DK)
Chicago has been an historically good matchup for opposing bigs this season, so we have to give a quick nod to Nance, who should continue to get good run with Tristan Thompson now sidelined.
Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks at Washington ($5700 FD, $5500 DK)
Washington is the best fantasy matchup on the slate, and Robinson is one of the best ways to take advantage. With the Wizards offering up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing centers, Robinson’s a good bet to double-double for the fourth time in five games while adding to his impressive numbers in the blocks column.
Aron Baynes, Phoenix Suns at Portland ($5300 FD, $5900 DK)
If Ayton is out, Baynes becomes a super popular center option. He’s been terrific in each of the last two games, though it’s his numbers against Portland last week that stand out: 37 points and 16 rebounds. I’m not suggesting he’s a lock for 60-plus fantasy points, but should be able to reach value again in a matchup that opposing centers are crushing this season.