I’m still licking my wounds from last night so I’m just going to join a few freerolls today and enjoy the games. If you cashed in last night, congratulations! You most likely missed the abundance of land mines in Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Tim Fraizer, Nicolas Batum…well I’m sure I could name a few more, but let’s just jump into today’s slate.
Actually, I’d like to take a minute to address something. I’ve been asked the following quite a few times: “You had so-and-so on your take list but they only hit 4x their salary! What gives?” or “So-and-so was under your avoid tab but they had their best game of the season. What’s wrong with you?!”
When I list someone under take it’s because I project them to be a fantastic play for one format or both. Let’s take Russell Westbrook for example. You’ll see below that he’s a ‘take’, but I don’t have him projected to hit 5x value. In fact, he’s projected to get 48.25 points on DraftKings. So why is he there? He’s there because his ceiling is ridiculously high, well over 60 points for this game against the Clippers. That makes him one of the best tournament plays on the day despite being the most expensive player on the board.
Players listed under avoid are either projected to hit well under 5x their salary, have limited upside or both. However, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t mean fade them immediately. Although my projections may not have them as good picks, a number of situations may arise. The first being injuries. I’m not always able to update my lists so it’s up to you to make adjustments. Another scenario in which you may roster them is for a contrarian low % play. We’ve seen crazier things happen. Although someone priced at $5k is projected at 18 points, they may hit every shot and end with 35. At < 5% potentially, that becomes one of the better picks on the slate. It’s highly unlikely, though, and that’s why they’re listed there.
A consider is typically someone that doesn’t ‘pop’ when you read over their name. They may be a good cash or tournament play but rarely both. A low floor, bad matchup, inconsistent playing time, nagging injury or a number of other factors may provide an explanation. I do my best to point those factors out.
Now we may begin…
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- DeAndre Jordan, C (DK: $7.5k | FD: $8.3k)
- Chris Paul, PG (DK: $9.1k | FD: $9.4k)
- Blake Griffin, PF (DK: $9.3k | FD: $9.4k)
- Steven Adams, C (DK: $3.8k | FD: $4.4k)
I explained Westbrook a bit in my intro but I’ll do my best to recap. He’s a freak of nature. CP3 plays some solid defense but we can probably ignore that fact for the most part. I’m not sure if 30 shot attempts is sustainable with Durant back on the floor, but I doubt Russ really cares. He can rebound better than any other guard. Because he attracts so much defensive attention, he also gets plenty of looks for other guys. I don’t want a ton of exposure but you’d be crazy to ignore him entirely.
Durant put up a stat in every column and hit right under 5x in his return. That was with Russell continuing to control the ball. So if he deviates from that at all, KD is getting more looks. He’ll get those looks against Matt Barnes who, especially as of late, has not been a good defender.
With Redick doubtful Crawford should see 30+ minutes as long as the game stays close. His matchup with Roberson isn’t very favorable but he’ll see Waiters quite a bit too. With all of that time on the court, it’ll be hard for him to hit under 5x.
DJ gets the majority of his fantasy points from rebounds. The Thunder are exceptionally good at rebounding. Ibaka, Adams, Durant and Russ will all be at the rim when that ball comes off. I don’t see a ton of upside there and the matchup isn’t great either.
CP3 looked better against Toronto despite a huge loss. It was expected, though, as Kyle Lowry’s legs are about to fall off. This is a huge game for both teams. The Clippers should look to go into the All-Star break with a wider margin against the rest of the West. Teams like San Antonio and their opponent here, OKC, are nipping at their heels in the playoff race. In a primetime event I struggle to see CP3 have another sub 40 game.
A similar analysis is fitting for Blake Griffin. In what promises to be a high scoring game, he’ll need to assert himself on the offensive end. Ibaka’s length shouldn’t prove to be too much of an issue, it’s the rebounding that worries me.
Adams isn’t terrible for cash games. It’s a fairly good matchup and he’s cheap enough that you only need 20 out of him. He’s hit that mark in 6 of his last 8 games.
- Timofey Mozgov, C (DK: $5.1k | FD: $5.5k)
- Jeremy Lin, PG (DK: $4k | FD: $4.7k)
- Robert Sacre, C (DK: $3.5k | FD: $4k)
- EVERYONE ELSE – I’ll highlight some guys below
Timo gets a good matchup here. The Lakers struggle to defend or out-rebound opposing big men. Not having Jordan Hill won’t help them. He’s getting more and more playing time as he positions himself to be one of my favorite cash plays on the day.
Lin is the more consistent of the options in the LA backcourt. He may not see as many minutes as Clarkson but his game is more finely tuned. For that reason he isn’t so much a tournament play as he is a low-tier cash play.
Sacre saw more minutes against Orlando because he was the only guy who could match up with Vucevic. I believe something similar will happen tonight with Moz. Although once he comes out and Thompson comes in, Boozer and Davis will see more time. I’m not expecting 32 minutes but in 26-30 he should hit well above value.
LeBron James – The King! He’s not been all that fantastic lately with Cleveland handily winning games. The story will continue against the Lakers. High floor, lower ceiling. Too low for my liking although you can still pop him into a tournament or two.
Not huge on Kyrie but you can’t ignore the stats. The Lakers are top 5 in giving up points to Point Guards. The question here is, will he attempt more than 20 shots?
Kevin Love? Eh, I’d rather not. But the matchup is absolutely ridiculously in his favor.
Boozer should booze it up a bit more than he did against Orlando.
Ed Davis isn’t a bad low % target but you can likely do better.
- Read below. Yes I’m doing this again although I hate it.
Teague is poised to be a good tournament play. Conley and his backups just don’t play the same defense we saw from them earlier in the season. Is it the ankles? Possibly. With bad matchups at C, SF and even SG at times, Teague will need to continue his streak of 20+ point performances.
His backup, Schroder, is a rather nice punt play that’s gone under the radar on DraftKings. He has 9x upside with a floor around 5x.
So let me just say this one thing about this game – it sucks. It’s very frustrating trying to pick out who I like and dislike. Millsap has the best matchup aside from Teague but he hasn’t hit 5x in 5 straight games. Horford’s matchup is atrocious and his price has risen significantly. I want to claim him as a cash play but I feel like it’s far too risky.
Gasol just hasn’t rebounded the ball well at all as of late and that’s a huge part of his game. Even at his very reasonable price, his floor is cause for concern.
Zach Randolph and Mike Conley are probably my favorite mediocre plays in this game. Randolph has had a few rough games but they were all against relatively tough defenders and/or good rebounders – Markieff Morris, Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, Gorgui Deng and Nikola Pekovic. Millsap isn’t a great defender and he’s back home where he plays best. Conley’s price is actually in a fairly good spot now. If he plays over 30 minutes it’s likely to reaches 5x his salary.
Both teams pride themselves on the defensive end. Neither favors a fast pace and neither team have 1 stud that I can single out. I just don’t see a ton of upside here so there’s a chance I ignore the game entirely.
- Pau Gasol, PF (DK: $9.3k | FD: $9.4k)
- Nikola Vucevic, C (DK: $8.5k | FD: $8.9k)
- Joakim Noah, C(DK: $6.6k | FD: $7.1k)
- Tobias Harris, SF (DK: $6.3k | FD: $6.1k)
- Jimmy Butler, SG (DK: $7.7k | FD: $8.6k)
- Derrick Rose, PG (DK: $7.5k | FD: $7.1k)
- Victor Oladipo, SG (DK: $6.6k | FD: $6.9k)
Pau is one of the better cash game plays at PF and has been for a while. He was able to take advantage of AD’s absence in last night’s game and put up a terrific stat line. Orlando doesn’t provide much in the way of defense, particularly not at the PF position, so he should have another field day in (potentially) more minutes.
The Orlando offense revolves about Vucevic and Harris. Both of them are good plays here although I like Harris more. Noah isn’t a terrible defender but Vuc gets too many minutes for us to ignore. Harris takes plenty of shots and gets FP in other ways as well. His price saw a little jump but he’s still cheap enough where we can project 5-7x his salary.
Vucevic can rebound and score but he doesn’t play defense. Sadly, Noah doesn’t play offense. Still, at his price he has to be considered. There is quite a bit of value on the slate but he could be a nice contrarian play for tournaments.
Butler will probably have another 40+ minute game as this one is poised to stay closer. They’ll need a defender like him on Oladipo and Harris. His price hasn’t changed so we can still project him to hit 35-45 FP.
Rose had a better game last night than his usual running. Orlando’s defense is bad and it’s worse than bad at the PG position. He’s taking a ton of shots and his assists are expected to rise back into the 6-8 range. If that happens, he hits value.
Oladipo doesn’t get a great matchup but he’s fairly cheap. If Butler is asked to guard Harris instead, this could be the perfect opportunity for him to have another 40 FP outing.
Do I have to talk about this game? Please…no…
Very similar to the MEM-ATL matchup although much, much worse. Both teams play slow. Both have fairly strong defense.
CJ Miles definitely interests me. With MKG out indefinitely, Charlotte lacks some defensive prowess on the wing.
Henderson should see an even larger bump in minutes/usage with MKG out. Stephenson could be a decent tournament play but I’m not going there.
You can play George Hill. He’s a nice mid-priced PG with a good matchup. Al Jefferson is up for consideration. Should pull down a ton of rebounds.
That’s it. That’s all I’m saying about this ugly, ugly game.
- Greg Monroe, PF (DK: $8.4k | FD: $8.2k)
- DJ Augustin, PG (DK: $7k | FD: $7.2k)
- Thaddeus Young, PF (DK: $6.1k | FD: $6.8k)
- Ricky Rubio, PG (DK: $5.7k | FD: $6.5k)
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG (DK: $8.2k | FD: $7.8k)
Augustin has only played poorly on the tail end of back to backs. This isn’t one of those games so he should be fine. Minnesota plays terrible perimeter defense. Even with his price rising, I have him projected at 40 FP.
Thad gets a good matchup against one of the weakest interiors in the NBA. He’s been playing well lately and provides you with a high floor and solid upside. Good for either format although not great.
Rubio, if he plays, gets a good matchup with Augustin. He isn’t poised to play Monday’s game if he’s active here so we can expect 30 minutes out of him give or take a few. That’s plenty of time for him to rack up some stats at hit 5-6x his salary, particularly on DK.
Don’t waste a roster spot on DK. I know those earlier game logs are enticing but he’s still going to be nursing his Achilles. He’ll have to chase Kevin Martin around the court as well. No thank you.
Drummond has ‘Barbara Walters’ potential every night. For those of you younglings, that means he can put up 20 pts and pull down 20 boards on any given night. If Pekovic is out I like his chances a bit less as Dieng would draw the start.
Perfectly transitioning, Dieng is a solid option if Pek misses. Otherwise I’m not going to play him.
- James Harden, SG (DK: $10.1k | FD: $10.8k)
- LaMarcus Aldridge, PF (DK: $9.5k | FD: $9.7k)
- Josh Smith, SF/PF (DK: $6.1k | FD: $6.1k)
- Wesley Matthews, SG (DK: $6k | FD: $5.9k)
- Trevor Ariza, SF (DK: $5.6k | FD: $5.3k)
- Damian Lillard, PG (DK: $8.7k | FD: $8.6k)
- Robin Lopez, C (DK: $4.6k | FD: $5.4k)
Harden nearly dropped 70 in his last meeting with Portland. His assist numbers have dropped a bit lately, largely in part to Dwight’s absence. However, he’s due for a big game. He has the highest floor of anyone on the slate despite a ‘tough’ matchup with Wesley Matthews.
LMA pulls a great matchup here as Houston is still missing a defensive presence in the paint. His price is still reasonable enough where we can roster him in tournaments and expect 4.5x+ his salary.
Smith’s price has risen a bit but his ceiling is still quite high. He makes for the perfect tournament play given the regular scarcity at the SF position. On FD he’s still a decent option but there are probably better value plays at PF.
Matthews makes for a good cash game play with decent upside, especially on DK. The 3-pt bonus never hurts. I don’t typically like taking players that will be tasked with defending the opposing team’s star, but I don’t mind it in this case.
Ariza apparently strained his neck Friday but should be good to go. I’m not expecting another 40+ FP outing, but POR struggles against SFs and he’s hot.
Lillard just doesn’t have the upside for me to pay that much. With Beverley guarding him, I have him projected at 38.8 FP – well under 5x. His ceiling is at 46.5 FP which doesn’t even reach 6x.
With the lack of opposition in the interior, Lopez could make for a great play. He should have no problem getting a double-double as long as he plays the mintues.
- Kawhi Leonard, SF (DK: $7.7k | FD: $8.2k)
- Kyle Lowry, PG (DK: $7.2k | FD: $8.k)
- Tony Parker, PG (DK: $4.9k | FD: $5.4k)
- Patrick Patterson, PF (DK: $4.4k | FD: $5k)
- Tim Duncan, PF (DK: $7.4k | FD: $7.9k)
- DeMar DeRozan, SG (DK: $7k | FD: $6.9k)
Kawhi gets the best matchup of any Spur as the Raptors simply can’t defend against small forwards. He’s getting the most playing time and it’s fairly consistent. His ability to stuff the stat sheet makes him a very good tournament play.
Lowry’s price has dipped low enough that I can take him in tournaments. He’s at home against the Spurs team that isn’t very good at defending PGs. He comes with a fair amount of risk but that’s why we’re limiting him to a couple of tournament lineups.
Parker is a good cash game play but has limited upside. Lowry’s knees are likely about to give out after having the put Toronto on his back for the better half of the season. So he won’t be able to defend all that well.
Patterson is seeing good minutes and the Spurs don’t defend PF well, especially not the second unit. He can spread the defense and his price won’t burn you.
Tim Duncan’s production and minutes are far too sporadic for my liking. This is the first game SA has played away from home in over two weeks, so who knows what Pop has up his sleeve. If I’m spending near $8k, it’ll be on someone else.
DeRozan doesn’t draw a great matchup here but he still has the ability to go off for 50 FP. Playing at home against a Spurs team coming north of the border, I don’t mind it.
- DeMarcus Cousins, C (DK: $10.5k | FD: $11k)
- Isaiah Thomas, PG (DK: $5.2k | FD: $5.6k)
- Ramon Sessions, PG (DK: $3k | FD: $3.5k)
- Rudy Gay, SF (DK: $7.4k | FD: $7.8k)
- Eric Bledsoe, SG (DK: $7.8k | FD: $8.4k)
- Goran Dragic, PG (DK: $5.8k | FD: $6.1k)
- Markieff Morris, PF (DK: $5.8k | FD: $6.4k)
Cousins gets a fantastic matchup here. With Len still questionable, he could potentially be matched against Brandon Wright and Miles Plumlee. That’s the best matchup of the day and I’ll likely have him in nearly ever lineup.
IT has been a consistent scorer off of the bench for the Suns. If Collison is OUT, he’ll be defended by Sessions or McCollum, neither of which will slow him down. He’s a decent tournament play with 35 FP upside.
Sessions was the better punt over Frazier last night although it was a tough decision before tip-off. With guys like Cousins, Gay and McLemore to pass to, he can get quite a few assists. His price won’t rise as this is the tail end of a back-to-back, so roster him if you want to field a couple of studs.
Gay had a terrible game against the Jazz going 1-8 from the field. He didn’t see much in the way of peripheral stats either. It was largely disappointing as quite a few people had him pegged as a top 3 SF play with Collison OUT. I believe he’ll bounce back tonight but it may not be worth the risk. Tournaments only.
Bledsoe is a tough player to predict but he does get a very good matchup – his best, in fact, in almost 2 weeks. His price has dropped quite a bit. With Dragic playing poorly he could easily post a 50+ FP game, hitting 6x+ his salary.
Dragic’s poor play isn’t likely to continue against the defense of the Sacramento backcourt. His price, alongside Bledsoe’s, has also dropped. It’s the lowest we’ve seen all season long. It’s a risky play with minimal upside, but he’s likely to be very low owned.
Markieff cooled off against Utah after a stretch of games that seemed above his pay grade. This seems like a good matchup on paper, but many of the rebounds he would like will be heading Cousins’ way. Still, he’s the second option for the Suns behind Bledsoe and Sacramento doesn’t defend the PF spot very well.
Thanks for reading, folks! Be sure to come say hi over on Twitter, @Steven_Royalty_. I run a contest every single night around 6 P.M. EST for a $2 GPP entry. It’s free money, so why not try it out? All I ask is that you follow me and @SportingCharts before you accept the prize. Also don’t forget to come back tomorrow as I do this kind of analysis every single day. Cheers!
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