OMG OMG OMG...*panic*. The All Star Break starts tomorrow (for DFS purposes). Get ready for the withdrawal. We have a nice big slate of 12 games to empty our accounts play with tonight. Looking at the Vegas lines for tonight's games I scratched my head more than once, but we do have some high scoring games on tap. Note: The Pacers Pelicans game total, which was originally, mystifyingly at 215 is now at a more reasonable 190. With so many games and the nature of the matchups tonight, I find myself wanting to pay up everywhere. As you know, in order to make the most of the studs you just have to play one more time before the break, you'll need to find some value. Here are the options I like at each position, trying to stay under $5500 on FanDuel.
JJ Barea ($4800): I'll keep using him until Rajon Rondo is back or his price goes up, but for where is he right now, he's meeting value with ease every night. Dallas is pretty banged up heading into the break with Tyson Chandler and Monta Ellis also out/questionable. Even if Ellis plays Barea is fine, or better because his assists should go up with Ellis on the court. Barea isn't going to put up 40 fpts, but he's consistently giving us 20-27 since entering the starting lineup. Utah has decent season long defensive efficiency numbers to PG, but they are ranked 29th over the last ten games. Barea is a safe cash game play.
Jose Calderon ($4600): I like all the Knicks a little more with Carmelo Anthony likely out tonight. Orlando doesn't play tough defense at all, but is especially generous to PG, giving up the 2nd most fantasy points in the league to the position this season. Calderon is about as exciting as warm milk at this point, but he has shown that he can still take advantage in good situations. With a day of rest in a fairly close game, he should see 26-28 minutes and get us 20+ fantasy points tonight.
Advice: Jordan Clarkson ($4900) disappointed last night, but remains a solid option as the Lakers are so shorthanded. He's going to play heavy minutes even in a blowout, and Damien Lilliard (who is also a top option tonight) isn't known for his defense. George Hill ($5200) looks to be back to normal, playing nearly 30 mpg. His fantasy numbers are up and down a little, but he has a decent matchup with the Pelicans tonight. Brandon Knight is a guy I like a lot in the mid-range tonight. Stephen Curry is tempting, as always, in a fantastic high scoring matchup with Minnesota, but he's always a risk in big blowouts and I won't be using him tonight.
Jamal Crawford/JJ Redick ($5200/4300): Take your pick here. I'm not concerned about Crawford coming off the bench, he's been very productive in that role all season and almost always plays at least 30 minutes. In what should be a great game to watch, even minus Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard, we can expect Patrick Beverley to be on Chris Paul, leaving plenty of open looks for Crawford and/or Redick. The Rockets are fully exploitable by opposing shooters and Vegas predicts lots of scoring in Los Angeles tonight. JJ Redick is significantly cheaper and has a similar range of outcomes in terms of fantasy production as Crawford, so I slightly prefer him. Back spasms are something you either have or don't; Redick played 31 minutes in his return after missing three games with the issue and I haven't heard anything about a recurrence.
Wayne Ellington ($5000): Portland is the biggest favorite of the night, but the Lakers just aren't deep enough to rest anyone in a blowout. Ellington will play between 30-40 minutes, and while he isn't the most efficient player in terms of peripherals, he is shooting the ball well (double digit points in every game except that awful SuperBowl Sunday game against the Knicks). Ellington represents a fairly low upside volume play against an average Portland wing defense.
Advice: As you may have gleaned from my lack of enthusiasm about Ellington, there's not much to love at value SG tonight. It just makes a ton of sense to me to spend here tonight. With James Harden, Klay Thompson, Tyreke Evans (still SG eligible at FD), Victor Oladipo, and Giannis Antetokounmpo all in pretty great spots, either with favorable game flow or good individual defensive matchups, spend that cap.
James Johnson ($4000): The people that know such things, like Josh Lewenberg (beat reporter for the Toronto Raptors), say that James Johnson has a good chance of sticking in the starting lineup and that it just makes sense for the team to have him play more minutes on the wing. He has 16 and 20 real points in the last two games after missing a few with a sore hamstring. He doesn't do a ton for fantasy other than score, but he seems pretty dialed in right now. FanDuel is perhaps right to be skeptical of his recent success--keeping his salary low-- if history is any indicator. The Raptors have switched things up a lot at the 2/3 spots this year.
Harrison Barnes ($4400): I hate recommending Harrison Barnes because he's one of those guys whose minutes fluctuate in unpredictable ways and so does his production with whatever minutes he gets. For those reasons, I'd only use him in a GPP tonight. Minnesota is terrible across the court in every category you care about. The total on this game is the highest of the night so it'd be silly not to get some exposure to the Warriors side. Barnes has a starting role and plays pretty consistent minutes even in blowouts. He has 30+ fpt upside, and I think ~20 is a reasonable floor tonight.
Advice: LeBron James is going to show Hassan Whiteside what a 'good' player looks like tonight don't ya think? Embrace all the narratives here and have fun before the break by putting LeBron in at least one lineup. You can pair him with one of those value SF or look to Dallas again, as Al-Farouq Aminu ($4600) should be in line for extended minutes thanks to all the injuries. Watch the news on the Mavs closer to tip off. CJ Miles ($4700) is a volatile player who could be worth a look in tournaments tonight. He completely disappeared in 24 minutes vs Charlotte the other day, but other than that has been decent with at least 20 fantasy points since returning to his steady role with closer to 30 mpg.
John Henson ($5100): The Bucks host the Kings tonight in a game where Vegas predicts them to score 100 points. I'm a Henson fan, and not a Zaza Pachulia fan. Pachulia is back, but maybe not really back, as Henson continued to start and play 25 minutes Monday night. I'm a fan of Henson because he is one of the more steady presences on the Bucks roster. He's just under a fantasy point per minute player. The Kings give up the 5th most fantasy points to C on the season (which is where Henson is spending most of his time on the court lately despite his FD eligibility) which adds to his appeal.
Nene Hilario ($5200): The game between the Raptors and Wizards will hopefully be really good. The last one (Jan 31, 2015) ended with a Raptors 116-120 win in OT. More, please! Since returning, Nene has been a stable source of fantasy points at the PF position, typically scoring double digit poitns and adding a few rebounds and sporadic assists, blocks, and even a steal last Saturday. It's good for 20-22 fantasy points, which while not glamorous, is close to guaranteed.
Advice: There's plenty to spend on here too, with Paul Millsap leading my list of top PF options tonight. Greg Monroe is also in a nice spot. If you're going all cheap however, I don't hate Amar'e Stoudemire as he's been good when he plays and as I already mentioned, everyone is a better option with Melo out. His price is a little steep ($5500), so don't go out of your way to get him in your lineup. If you really need to save, the semi-awful and fully frustrating Jason Thompson ($3700) gets the Bucks frontcourt tonight. It'll be hard for him to not get you 18-20 fpts. Not one to ditch a "have fun it's the last night of NBA for eight days" theme, I'll give Mitch McGary a mention. I drafted (and then had to release) McGary in a seasonal dynasty league, so I've been a fan for a while. He has 31 fantasy points in both of his games and is just $4300. The only reason he's not spotlighted here is because he's been talked about so much and is facing the Grizzlies. It's an interesting test for him, given the defensive prowess of Memphis everywhere, but notably in the frontcourt. Throw McGary in a tournament lineup...it's awesome because he doesn't have to occupy the lone C spot.
Robin Lopez ($5200): A starting Center against the Lakers is what I'm giving you here. Lopez has been pretty mediocre but the position is not pretty down here ~5K. He teased us with a 32 fantasy point double double against Phoenix's poor frontcourt defense, but otherwise has been right around 20 fpts. He's scored double digit points in the four games he's played in since returning from a broken hand, but he's been out-rebounded and hurt by turnovers a couple times. I like him to get another double double tonight in a big win over the Lakers.
Advice: Omer Asik ($4800) is another vanilla value option in an uninspiring value center landscape. His minutes and subsequent production ticked up a bit with Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson both out. Davis is still officially questionable for tonight, but Asik is in play regardless of his status. With no Tyson Chandler, both Rudy Gobert and Enes Kantor are nice options in the mid-range tonight, as is Andrew Bogut. If you have money to spend, Nikola Vucevic is $8400 vs the Knicks and I like Al Horford ($8300) at Boston.