Baseball baseball baseball. It's taken over!! And I love it. But we still have some great basketball going on now and in the weeks ahead. Tonight is another huge 13 game slate with a few big blowouts in the forecast. Remembering that value plays from either team in a blowout are more likely to hit value than studs, we'll hit a couple of those games below. Games with playoff implications include Boston-Detroit, NO-Memphis, and Indiana-NY. Let's get to the value you need to round out your lineups. As always, I'm attempting to keep these salaries below $5500 on FanDuel.
Zach LaVine ($5700): You know to play LaVine by now, even in bad matchups as he torched Utah the other night for 21/5/6/1/1. His price is still very reasonable given the 35+ minutes he's playing every night for the Timberwolves. Tonight's game with Portland projects as a high scoring blowout, but LaVine should still get his given Portland's utter lack of defense vs opposing PG and the team's injury riddled status.
Ray McCallum ($5000): Ray McCallum fills the stat sheet across the board making him a viable value play any given night. The Kings played Utah on Sunday when McCallum went 8/5/7 with 4 steals. He has back to back 30+ fantasy point games and has become one of the most reliable bargain guards on FanDuel.
Advice: There's not a ton else here. Aaron Brooks has a nice matchup, and has been very solid outside of a terrible game vs Detroit but Derrick Rose plans to play about 20 minutes tonight. If you want to "get cute" as they say, you could consider one of the cheapest backup PG from the games with little meaning and huge spreads. That would include Steve Blake ($3500), Donald Sloan ($3500), and Matthew Dellavedova ($3600). All are risky plays reserved for tournaments only in a lineup where you might want to fit in both James Harden and Anthony Davis for example. Ish Smith and Elfrid Peyton, both former frequent guests of this column, make for nice mid-range plays tonight as does Michael Carter Williams.
Eric Gordon ($5200): The absence of Tony Allen from the Grizzlies lineup is always nice when you're considering one of their opponents. The Pelicans moved into the 8th spot last night and will look to secure that spot with another win tonight. While this projects as a low scoring game, Gordon is a consistent cash game value SG, with over 30 mpg, double digit scoring in eight of the last ten, and a steal in four of the last five. You're mainly relying on scoring with Gordon, but he's been delivering.
Lou Williams ($5200): The maddening wing rotation in Toronto strikes again. I never quite feel confident recommending Williams as just when he seems to really get in the groove Coach Casey will shake things up and he'll play 11 minutes or something. That said he's not just in the groove right now, he's on fire. Averaging 19 real points per game over the last eight and cranking out 25+ fantasy point games with regularity, it's hard to not play Williams at this price.
Advice: There are some better options to pay up for tonight. Harden, of course, in a premier Western Conference matchup with the Spurs is a top play, but also consider Eric Bledsoe in one of the league's best SG matchups over the past three weeks with the Mavs tonight.
Rodney Hood ($4200): Hood missed a game with concussion symptoms and came back better than ever. With back to back high powered efforts good for 28 and 39.6 fantasy points, Hood looks locked in to around 30 mpg and is shooting 55% in those two games. If Rudy Gay is out I like the play even more, but it shouldn't be hard for Hood to reach value either way tonight.
Wes Johnson ($4500): Wes Johnson gets the nod here as a solid matchup based play. Denver has allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to SF on the season and this projects as a fast paced, high scoring game. While the Lakers are heavy underdogs, Johnson has shown that he can score and rebound at rates more than sufficient to pay off this meager tag, and there's no reason to think he'll play less in a blowout.
Advice: LeBron James is the top play at the position tonight and unless the game gets way out of hand early is a good bet to fill the stat sheet again coming off a couple days of rest. I like Tobias Harris at $6600 a lot tonight, and if you want another cheap idea, consider Mike Dunleavy, who gets the other side of that one. Dunleavy is coming off an exceptionally good game, but is reliable for about 20 fpts any given night, especially in a good matchup. Paul George is intriguing against the Knicks at $5500. He can do some damage in 15+ minutes.
Tariq Black ($4300): A matchup with the Nuggets frontcourt is too good to pass up, even though the Lakers many bigs aren't necessarily knocking any socks off. Tariq Black and Ryan Kelly ($4200) stand out. Black now has four consecutive games of over 22 minutes and over 20 fantasy points. Kelly sees an average of 35 minutes, but his production is very similar to Blacks. This choice comes down to personal preference on playing time vs efficiency, but getting some exposure to Denver's league worst frontcourt defense should be worth it.
John Henson ($4600): I prefer Henson over all the other Bucks bigs, which isn't saying much, granted, but I find him to be the biggest and most consistent producer (points, rebounds, and especially blocks) when he gets the minutes. That's always the issue in Milwaukee isn't it? Ersan Ilyasova ($5800) saw more court time the last time the Bucks met Cleveland, but neither was very effective. Either makes for a contrarian play for GPPs tonight (I'll go cheap with Henson), but I never use either in cash games.
Advice: There's too much to pay up for tonight to use more than one bargain PF, in my opinion. Anthony Davis had another spectacular game against Golden State last night, and LaMarcus Aldridge should be back in action against Minnesota tonight. Pau Gasol gets a great matchup with the weak Orlando defense. In the mid-range, Thaddeus Young is an interesting option.
Tyson Chandler ($5500): Tyson Chandler certainly isn't what he was to start the season, but at this price, he makes for a very safe option against an exploitable Suns frontcourt. He's still getting his double doubles, not every night, but often enough or close enough to be a safe play for his price. This should be a nice high scoring game in which Dallas is the big favorite. Expect 25-30 fpts from Chandler.
Tyler Zeller ($4800): Projecting the Boston frontcourt hasn't been the easiest thing this season, but right now, Tyler Zeller and Kelly Olynyk ($4400) are both worth a look. Detroit ranks 2nd on the season and 5th over the last three weeks in fantasy points allowed to opposing C. Zeller's 25 minutes are a little more steady and he's my preferred play, but we all know what Olynyk is capable of when he does get enough time on the court to knock down a few threes.
Advice: Consider Jordan Hamilton ($5100) for a contrarian play at C as Portland is a tough matchup on paper. Given the shorthandedness of the Timberwolves, though, as well as his ability to stuff the stat sheet, he's been reaching around 20+ fpts no matter the matchup. Marcin Gortat has the 76ers tonight, if you can handle his volatility, and I really like Marc Gasol against the leagues worst C defense (fantasy points allowed) over the past three weeks. At the top, my sense is that neither Andre Drummond nor Nikola Vucevic pay off tonight. If you feel like you must pay up, spend on Rudy Gobert, but I think the low-middle tier is how to play C tonight.