We get a full, but not too full, 10 game schedule for tonight's NBA DFS slate. There are plenty of high scoring games that Vegas predicts to be close on tap tonight: ATL-DEN, MIN-PHX, HOU-POR, and another potential blowout at Oracle Arena as Golden State hosts Detroit. The biggest decisions you'll make tonight probably involve the highest priced players, Russell Westbrook ($13,300), DeMarcus Cousins ($10,600), and Chris Paul ($10,500). James Harden ($10,800) looks like an easy choice to use tonight. Cousins is still dealing with a sore ankle, and the Hornets are one of the best teams at defending big men. CP3 is also hurt but expects to play against the Thunder tonight in what amounts to one of the best PG matchups in the league. Paul's production has been way down in the last two games though, making me a little nervous about spending on him. If you aim to score 300 FanDuel points, Westbrook needs 66.5 fantasy points to pull his weight in your lineup at his salary. He's basically done that in each of the last five games he's played without Kevin Durant (one was 62.1--close enough). With Paul playing at less than 100%, don't be scared to deploy Westbrook even at this price. Of course, to do so, you'll need some cheap players to fill in the rest of the roster. As always, I try to keep these guys under $5500 on FanDuel.
Denis Schroder ($5000): Schroder has been exactly what the playoff bound Hawks need down the stretch. He's put up double digit points in his last five games and in seven of the last eight. While his minutes have been a little sporadic, his fantasy totals haven't. This is largely due to the high number of assists he's tallying every night. A matchup with Denver isn't cake, but Schroder benefits by coming off the bench and this game is one of the highest totals on the board tonight (208.5). He's a safe bet for 25 fantasy points and a nice complement to Westbrook in your lineup.
Ishmael Smith ($4400): Isaiah Canaan ($5100) will play tonight as he recovers from a respiratory illness, but Smith may draw the start. Both guards have been playing well lately, but I'll give the slight nod to Smith particularly if he starts, because of the reduced cost. When Smith has played at least 20 mpg over the past three weeks, he's averaged 24.8 fantasy points. His assist numbers are still on average superior to Canaan's, and have boosted his fantasy production nicely. The 76ers host the Bulls, a team that has allowed the 5th most fantasy points to opposing PG this season.
Advice: Your value PG really depends on how much money you have left to spend. You might also consider Aaron Brooks ($4800) facing the 76ers, though his shooting is so streaky there is more risk with him than the other two players. Patrick Beverley ($4500) gets a nice matchup with Portland in a high scoring game, but he's been playing significantly below his season averages lately. Guys with Williams in their last name (Mo and Michael Carter-) make for nice mid-range plays if you're fading Westbrook or finding a lot of good value at F (which I'm not). Note: Kemba Walker returns tonight but will come off the bench. That tempers my enthusiasm for Mo Williams somewhat, but not completely.
Austin Rivers ($3900): Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? With Jamal Crawford expected to miss more time, Rivers is seeing enough playing time to warrant consideration. Playing at least 22 mpg over the last four games, Rivers has put up between 13.7 and 30.8 fantasy points. The bad game vs Portland is the outlier here. If you can get 20 fantasy points, you're meeting value, and in a top 5 matchup for SG, he has the potential for more. JJ Redick ($5600) is also a good play tonight.
Kyle Korver ($4800): Again, attacking the point totals with a value player that starts, and leads the league in 3P% (49.7%), isn't a bad strategy. Korver rested for the Hawks game vs Philadelphia Saturday, then returned with 20 points on Monday. He plays over 30 mpg, and Denver has no one to play him tough on the perimeter. He should be able to get his shots up, but like so many 2 guards, you're relying on them falling. I like that he's coming off a big scoring game tonight.
Advice: As I said in the intro, James Harden is the relatively safest stud play tonight in a Western Conference showdown with the Trail Blazers. I have no problem going high-low at SG too. In the mid-range, you could consider Kevin Martin, Klay Thompson, or Eric Bledsoe, among others. There are plenty of options I like in the $6-8K range tonight.
PJ Tucker ($5400): He is my go-to SF value play and I know it. He starts, plays around 30 mpg, and he's good for about 20-30 fantasy points most nights. Since the Suns play at the 2nd highest pace in the league, they are usually involved in high scoring games with plenty of opportunities for rebounds and a few steals as well. Tucker has scored double digit points in eight of the last ten games, and has three double digit rebound games in that span. Facing Minnesota tonight, who plays at relatively high pace but is worst in the league in overall defensive efficiency, Tucker should be a solid cheap SF option.
Jeff Green ($5100): Jeff Green and the Grizzlies seem to have figured some things out. He's getting 30-36 minutes off the bench and has six consecutive games with over 20 fantasy points (average 25.6). He's back to contributing in multiple categories, with 5-6 reb, 2-3 ast, the occasional steal or block, plus 10-20 points. I like him a lot tonight against the Celtics who are 5th in fantasy points allowed to opposing SF.
Advice: There are not a lot of options I'm excited for at SF tonight (shocking, I know). Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green are the mid-upper range guys I'd spend for, while Nic Batum is always in play in GPPs (I'm still not buying him enough to use in cash games, even with Wes Matthews out).
Marvin Williams ($3900): He should get the start tonight with Cody Zeller already ruled out for tonight's game with the Kings. Williams has been productive when starting earlier in the year, typically giving us about 25-30 fantasy points when he plays around 30 mpg. The Kings are a fine matchup for bigs, and it bodes well for Williams that Al Jefferson will likely be on DeMarcus Cousins. Williams' best nights come when he's able to shoot some three's and get to the line; I think both are likely tonight.
Thomas Robinson ($3900): Nerlens Noel says his shin is good to go tonight, but if you're really looking to save at PF, Robinson has been good enough to use at this price. Even in the 15-20 minutes he's been seeing off the bench for Philadelphia-in some tough matchups too-Robinson has put up 15-25 fantasy points regularly over the past two weeks. Chicago is not too intimidating a matchup here, but Robinson should benefit somewhat from playing in the second unit.
Advice: If you're going to save at PF, you might as well save big. At least that's the conclusion I arrive at. I expect the sensational Adreian Payne to return to the bench tonight; if so, don't go chasing his 40 fpt outburst, even against the Suns weak frontcourt. The crowded rotations in Milwaukee and Houston dampen my enthusiasm for any of their PF options, and I'm probably the only one steering clear of the potential value in Miami. Udonis Haslem is a GTD...with Hassan Whiteside out and him at minimum salary, I understand it if he starts, but Haslem isn't a good basketball player. Paul Millsap and Pau Gasol are nice plays to spend on tonight, as is LaMarcus Aldridge.
Robin Lopez ($5100): There really isn't much to like at cheap center tonight. Lopez gets the nod here for being a safe guy in a good situation. This should be a really fun game to watch tonight. The thing with Lopez is that if you watch him it seems like he should end up with more fantasy points than he does, but such is life. Coming off a long rest, in what should be a close game, I hope to see Lopez with 30+ minutes tonight approaching a double double like he does so often.
Advice: Alex Len is in a good matchup tonight with the Timberwolves, as is Gorgui Dieng on the other side of that game. However, neither is playing well enough or enough to trust in cash games at their respective salaries. I'm inclined to pay up a little for Enes Kanter ($6000) against the Clippers, in another game I'm excited to watch, or a lot on someone like Al Jefferson. I'm probably not able to pay up for DeAndre Jordan, and it is a matchup that has given good bigs trouble all year.