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I’m pretty bummed out today guys. My Green Bay Packers lost in a devastating game yesterday. I won’t drone on for too long, but we had that game in the bag. Kudos to the Seattle Seahawks for keeping their heads in it but man that was a tough way to go.
Now moving on to NBA! We have plenty of games to look forward to on this national holiday so get your lineups taken care of early. As usual I will do my best to edit picks if and when injury news arises. There is a lot of info here, so sit back and soak it all in! All times shown are Eastern Standard Time (US/Canada EST).
I’d also like to answer a question that I’ve been asked a couple of times, ‘What is the relevance of hitting 5X value?’ I understand I use that phrase a lot. It mostly refers to the chance that a player, on DraftKings in particular, will score 5 times the amount of their price in Fantasy Points. It happens to be the optimal average for cash game (H2H and 50/50) players. So for example let’s look at Brandon Knight. On DraftKings he is listed at $7,800. 5 X 7.8 = 39 FP. If I believe he can achieve that (and he can) then he becomes a viable option. FanDuel, I find, is closer to 6X while DraftDay is near 3X.
Now let’s get started!
Take – Mo Williams, Thaddeus Young, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams, Gerald Henderson, Bismack Biyombo - There’s a lot of value in this game today. With injuries to both teams, other guys have to step up. Luckily for us a lot of these guys are dirt cheap. Mo Williams has been on fire lately. He cooled off a bit against the Denver Nuggets as Andrew Wiggins took over, but it’s not much cause for concern. His price has risen a bit but he is still a good bet to hit 5X. Thad is an interesting choice. There have been trade talks surrounding him so he may want to play a little bit harder and this would be the perfect matchup to do so.
MKG does a little bit of everything. He’s a poor man’s Kawhi Leonard. After grabbing 16 boards against the Pacers last week, he’s worth a look here with Kemba Walker doubtful. Marvin Williams has a similar outlook with a slightly lower floor. However he is much cheaper than MKG and will therefore likely have more value.
Henderson’s analysis, surprisingly enough, hasn’t changed much with the news of Kemba’s injury. His minutes are unlikely to see much of a boost and he isn’t being given additional control of the ball. Against the Timberwolves, a team that likes to get up and down the floor, he will need to put up around 20 shots to stay close. That makes for great upside. Biyombo is the prime beneficiary of that fact. Both teams are bound to miss plenty of shots so we can feel comfortable expecting a double-double from him.
Avoid – Nobody. Everyone is up for consideration.
Consider – Gorgui Dieng, Andrew Wiggins, Lance Stephenson, Brian Roberts - Dieng’s price is a bit high but he does draw a favorable matchup. That was also the case in his last two games where he failed to hit 5X the price. I think there’s better value elsewhere. Wiggins’ price has skyrocketed after his huge game against Denver. I don’t feel comfortable taking him there but he’s a decent enough tournament play. Stephenson’s playing time and usage is still unclear as we’ve seen little of him and even less with Kemba out. His minutes worry me enough to push me away. Roberts was a huge disappointment against the Pacers. However, he did see 40 minutes of playing time and that’s hard to ignore. Minnesota struggles against opposing guards, so with Kemba sitting out again he deserves another chance.
Take – Michael Carter-Williams, Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat, Nene Hilario - MCW will always be a valid option if Wroten is out. He had a disappointing outing against Detroit, a team that is fairly solid against point guards, but I’m not worried. John Wall and company allowed Jarret Jack to have two solid back-to-back games. MCW will be fine. Beal has hit value in 5 out of his last 6 games and should make that 6 for 7 tonight.
Gortat draws a great matchup and sits at a reasonable price given his ceiling. He could easily get a double-double in this one as long as the 76ers keep it close. Hilario can be discussed in a similar fashion although I doubt he gets 10+ rebounds. He may, however, put up 20+ points.
Avoid – John Wall and all Philadelphia big men - Until Wall’s price drops I’m going to fade him regardless of the matchup. I realize how difficult it may be to fade guys like Nerlens Noel and Robert Covington but I highly suggest doing so. There is far too much value and consistency across the board tonight to take a chance here. Washington has very good interior defense and is one of the best in keeping opposing big men from scoring.
Consider – Kris Humphries, K.J. McDaniels - Humphries looks like a solid punt play at the PF position. He isn’t going to hit 7 or 8X value for you, but he’s almost guaranteed to reach 5X which is perfect for cash games. McDaniels has been fairly disappointing lately but I have confidence in him. He’s hit a shooting slump but still sees enough minutes to merit consideration here. There is definitely risk involved but I believe he returns to 5X+ value.
Take – Greg Monroe and Al Horford - Neither team plays very good interior defense but both teams play solid on the perimeter. Therefore I won’t advocate locking in any guards for this one. Monroe has been fantastic lately averaging 12 rebounds and 16 points in his last 10 games. He is a bit pricey but he also happens to be one of the most consistent forwards in the game right now. Horford’s price has risen after a few outstanding performances. I’ve yet to see Monroe and Drummond play strong defense, so his trend of 5-7X games is likely to continue.
Avoid – Andre Drummond and Paul Millsap - Naturally since I like Horford and Monroe so much, I look for these two guys to have fewer opportunities. Both of them are priced higher as well which makes them less likely to reach that desired value of 5+. Drummond hasn’t achieved that value in nearly 2 weeks. Millsap hasn’t hit that value with all of his teammates healthy since New Year’s Eve.
Consider – Jeff Teague, Brandon Jennings and Kyle Korver - Teague is a sneaky option that won’t burn you too badly. He’s a lock for 4X his price with a lot of upside. Most of his FP come from assists to his wing players and big men, both of which should be score easily in this one. Jennings is a lot less reliable than Teague but has more upside. It isn’t a great matchup for him but he could pop off in any given game. I’d only take him in GPP’s. Korver has been hit or miss lately but, at his price, there’s a better chance of a hit than a miss. Not my favorite play at the SG position today but certainly not a bad one.
Take – Blake Griffin, Matt Barnes, Marcus Smart - Griffin is a given in this contest. Despite the fortune you’ll need to spend up for him, he draws one of the best matchups on the day. Even in a blowout scenario Griffin is going to log 35+ minutes. Against the light defense of Jared Sullinger he should put up loads of FP. Barnes and Smart have hit 5X value in consecutive contests and make perfect cash game options.
Avoid – Chris Paul and Evan Turner - I’m far too concerned about CP3 hitting below 5X value to suggest him for your lineup. Avery Bradly and Marcus Smart play solid enough defense to limit his upside. With guys like Griffin, Jordan and Barnes looking to have no issue scoring the ball tonight, Paul is a risky play that I don’t believe pays off. Turner is extremely turnover prone, something the Clippers are very good at taking advantage of. The size of athleticism of the Clippers will cause a lot of trouble for Evan and his dribble-drive style.
Consider – DeAndre Jordan, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk - None of these guys really jump out to me as cash game plays. Each of them have too much variation in their performances to make that a good idea. However, they each have the ability to hit a double-double. Olynyk is a high risk, high reward punt play. Sully and DJ are luxuries for an already safe lineup.
Take – Ty Lawson, Klay Thompson, J.J. Hickson - Ty makes an interesting choice in this matchup. He will likely be one of the lesser owned guards in your leagues. Like Teague, he isn’t going to burn you even on a bad night. You can thank all of the assists for that. It’s a good matchup and plenty of baskets are going to be needed. Klay draws a good matchup with Afflalo, a guy that refuses to play on the defensive end. He’s coming off of a couple of great showings so get him while he’s hot. Hickson is a lock for 5X value even in an unfavorable matchup like this one.
Avoid – Draymond Green and Kenneth Faried - Neither of these guys are worth the price. They’re just not playing up to par and the inconsistency in their game makes them difficult to rely on. Come back Dray, please!
Consider – Stephen Curry - I typically don’t like taking the super high priced guys like Curry on a large slate of games. It’s easy enough to find value elsewhere. That being said, this is a gorgeous matchup. The pace and O/U for the game make Curry a tantalizing option. If you have the guts to take him then do it because you’re probably not going to be disappointed.
Each players’ value in this game, particularly those of the Memphis Grizzlies, relies heavily on the health of Mike Conley. If he plays everyone else takes a hit. If he’s out, everyone gets a bump.
Take – Every Memphis starter (If Conley is out) - All of them have nice looking matchups and will likely hit value. I’m listing the following guys as starters: Beno Udrih, Courtney Lee, Tony Allen, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Allen is probably my least favorite play of the group. If his hamstring becomes a problem, Jeff Green is a fine option as well.
Avoid – Monta Ellis and Tyson Chandler - Ellis is too unreliable for his price. Not the worst GPP play but there are plenty of options you’d be more comfortable with. Chandler draws a very bad matchup against Gasol.
Consider – Rajon Rondo and Chandler Parsons - Rondo isn’t exactly reliable either, but he offers a lot of upside and his versatility is nice. If he happens to be matched against Udrih then I believe he’ll have a career game. Parsons’ price has finally dropped! Now he has a chance to hit 5X value!
Take – David West, Donatas Motiejunas, Patrick Beverley - West is a cheap man’s Greg Monroe. He holds a similar range of consistency at a much lower price. He also tends to score in more ways than one. West has found himself 1 rebound shy of many a double-double. Regardless, he is one of my favorite cash game options. D Mo is the same story at a cheaper price. Beverley has managed to hit 5X value in his last 6 contests. That trend will continue against a Pacers team that struggles to defend opposing point guards. Definitely another good cash game play.
Avoid – James Harden, Dwight Howard, Roy Hibbert - Harden is priced far too high for this one. The Pacers play slow ball focused on defense. Neither of those things work in Harden’s favor. Howard vs. Hibbert, the battle of the big babies! Seriously these two guys are so soft relative to their size. Hibbert’s price jumped a bit after his performance in Charlotte which isn’t going to happen again. D12’s price is slowly dropping to more accurately reflect the numbers he posts, but it’s still not there yet.
Consider – Corey Brewer and Trevor Ariza - Neither of these guys have much upside. C.J. Miles and Solomon Hill play hard defense, so I’d look at other options first. That being said, you could do much, much worse. Brewer is my favorite of the two as I usually like to find a punt for the SF position.
Take - Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Alexis Ajinca, Omer Asik, Langston Galloway - Each of the Pelicans players listed above should have no trouble hitting 5X+ value. Evans is the riskiest of the listed options but has the highest upside next to Ajinca. Gordon and Asik are safer plays although they come with limited upside – perfect, however, for cash games. Ajinca is my favorite option of the group if Davis is out and he will likely find his way into all of my lineups. Galloway is the only player worth taking from the Knicks as he is likely to hit value while sitting at minimum price.
Avoid – All of the Knicks - After the beat down I witnessed between the Knicks and Bucks I can’t honestly tell you to take anyone from New York other than Galloway. There is far too much variance in nearly every other player and I struggle to find someone with a ceiling worth a look in tournaments.
Consider – Jimmer Fredette and Ryan Anderson - I’m not honestly considering either of these guys for my own rosters. There is too much value elsewhere at both the PG and PF positions to risk these guys, but the Knicks are known to light a fire under certain guys. If Davis and Jrue sit one, if not both, of these choices may pay off.
Take – LeBron James, Pau Gasol, Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson - The Cavaliers are looking a lot better with the king back in the lineup. He’s the best player in the NBA and one of the best $10k+ options in DFS. He hits the jackpot of all matchups in this one and he’ll likely need another 30 point game if the Cavs want to come out with the win.
Gasol has been picking up the slack since Noah’s injury, hitting near 5X value in his last two games. Rose is helping him and finally showing us why he was named MVP all those years ago. He’s still cheap enough to be a lock for most people. Taj isn’t a great option for tournaments but not bad for cash games as he’s going to finish around 5X.
Avoid – Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love - Butler, in his last ten games, has only hit cash game value twice. That’s not enough to make him worth $8.2k on DraftKings. Irving had a great game against the Clippers but it was more of an anomaly than an assurance. He isn’t reliable enough for anyone to pay up for. Love is battling injury issues and although he has a nice looking matchup, he isn’t worth paying for either.
Consider – J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson - We are all aware of the risk that comes with taking J.R. That also means we’re aware of the FP that he can put up. With Love doubtful for this game he’ll need to support James and Irving in getting points on the board. He’s still cheap enough to keep us from worrying too much about his floor. If Love does happen to miss the game, TT might find a spot on my roster. The Bulls are terrible against opposing power forwards and he’ll get all of the minutes he can handle.
Take – Brandon Knight, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, Khris Middleton and O.J. Mayo - Knight absolutely demolished the Knicks during their trip to London. It was an embarrassment to the New York nation. He gets another good matchup here as the Raptors don’t really know how to play defense either. DeRozan is a solid pick as he’s been on fire since returning from injury. Amir offers some of the best tournament value at the PF position, Middleton is the best punt at SF and Mayo is the most reliable punt at SG.
Avoid – Giannis Antetokounmpo - Giannis has either hit a major slump or got on Kidd’s bad side. His minutes seem to fluctuate quite a bit and he hasn’t hit 5X value in his last 4 games. He will eventually return to form and be worth his price again but until that time comes I’m fading him.
Consider – James Johnson and Zaza Pachulia - I wouldn’t recommend either guy for cash games as they’ve both had disappointing outings recently. That doesn’t mean there isn’t value there. Both of them have the potential to hit 6-7X their value when given a decent matchup and tonight they have it. Deploy at your own risk!
Take – Goran Dragic, Jordan Hill, Markieff Morris, Alex Len - Dragic’s price has dropped despite a 5X performance against Minnesota. Now he takes on Jeremy Lin and the Lakers, the worst team in the NBA when it comes to defending point guards. He’s a fairly safe play. Hill has strung together a couple of great games. At his price he deserves a look. Morris and Len draw fantastic matchups as the Lakers despise defense.
Consider – Isaiah Thomas and P.J. Tucker - Both guys have had their fair share of dud performances, but they’ll turn it around tonight. I’m not a proponent of stacking more than a few players from the same team, but if I were, Phoenix would be the most likely candidate.
Take – LaMarcus Aldridge and Jason Thompson - Aldridge’s price has plummeted in the past month and just in time too! The Kings near the worst in the NBA in defending the PF position. Aldridge has a solid chance at hitting 5X with near 7X upside which is hard to find in the $7k+ range of players. Thompson’s value is closely tied with the health of DeMarcus Cousins. I believe he’s going to end up playing but if he and Rudy Gay both happen to miss, Thompson should have no trouble hitting value.
Avoid – DeMarcus Cousins, Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum - Cousins’ injury worries me quite a bit. Even if he’s good to go, it’s likely something that will bother him throughout the game. We all know how beastly he can be, particularly against low grade centers like Chris Kaman, but for $11k I’m looking elsewhere. Lillard and Batum aren’t reliable enough for consideration despite a nice matchup.
Consider – Darren Collison and Chris Kaman - If Cousins is listed out I’m probably going to avoid Collison. Cousins is a big source of assists for Darren and often spreads the floor well enough to open up looks around the arc. Kaman would be happy to see DeMarcus on the bench as it would boost his value tremendously.
Here is a sample lineup for FanDuel using my suggestions. Good luck everyone!
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