Basketball on New Years Eve is so much better than no basketball on Christmas Eve. There are five games in the main FanDuel slate tonight, all starting between 6:00-8:00 EST so you'll know by the time the ball drops how things turned out for you. Because most of the DFS slates will be limited to the later games, I'll focus on those. Fortunately, lineup lock comes long before appetizers and champagne.
As usual, the purpose here is to find some guys you can turn to with some confidence in order to fit the studs you want in your lineups tonight. With Phoenix, OKC, the Clippers, NO, HOU, and San Antonio on the schedule tonight, you'll have ample opportunities to spend your salary cap. Here's how to save. I try to keep these plays under $5500, but that's not always possible. Hope your DFS year ends on a high note. Happy New Year!
Cory Joseph ($5400): You know Joseph is an option whenever Tony Parker sits, and with this extended absence he's really turned into a viable starter in the Spurs offense. His upside is limited, but he has a decent matchup against the Pelicans who give up the 10th most fantasy points to PG. Joseph earns most of his fpts through his shooting, and puts up double digit points most of the time while contributing a few rebounds, assists, and steals. Jrue Holiday is a pretty good defender, but Joseph's steady floor makes him a safe money saving option tonight.
Patrick Beverley ($5800): I don't like using Beverley at this price, but there is no value to be had at this position today. A second knock on him is that this is the lowest projected scoring game on the slate. He is known as a great defender, but after returning from his hamstring injury Beverley turned up the offense as well. He is 8th in the league in 3PA and drains them 40% of the time. Charlotte is allowing the 6th most fantasy points to PG, and is overall average defensively. Beverley should be fully over his illness and back to seeing his nearly 40 mpg.
Advice: There is no value I love at PG today. Isaiah Thomas ($5800) is in play in the highest scoring game of the day, but he's got to make the most of his limited (20) minutes to pay off this salary. It's a day where I'll probably be paying up a bit for Holiday or Brandon Knight. There's too much blowout potential in LA for me to consider Chris Paul and I don't like to pay up for a PG facing Beverley if I can avoid it.
JJ Redick ($5200): The cheaper Clippers guard is almost always in my lineups when they play. I like Jamal Crawford a lot today too, but Redick gets the nod here for being just a little less expensive. Redick will play around 30 minutes and no one should stop him from taking shots. He's tied for 7th in the league in 3PM with 2.5 per game and is averaging 18 ppg over the last ten games. He's a nice way to get a piece of this high scoring game without worrying about the blowout factor too much.
Tim Hardaway Jr.($5500): Yes, I do come back to the same guys. If JR Smith is out again (he's questionable for tonight), Hardaway Jr. remains a solid fill in. The Knicks should lose this game by a wide margin, but with all the injuries they're dealing with, Hardaway is a safe play. He's taking 15-20 shots a game, and playing about 35 minutes a night. He doesn't have the peripherals to really blow up, but makes a good cash game play with a 22 fpt floor.
Advice: It's hard to pay $11,300 for James Harden...but as I always say, it's hard not to too. I'll probably resist tonight because based on how I feel about PG, it just isn't possible to pay up everywhere. There's a decent chance I'll be slapping myself in the face later too (don't worry, the champagne will numb the pain). I like Eric Bledsoe a lot tonight, and don't think you sacrifice much upside coming down $3K from Harden in what should be a much faster paced higher scoring game in OKC.
PJ Tucker ($4600): The Phoenix wing rotation has been a busy one all season with everyone healthy. Gerald Green and PJ Tucker have traded value at times, but lately, it's Tucker who is seeing the floor more often, and producing accordingly. He's a safer DFS play because of the rebounds he adds on a nightly basis. Green is the hotter three point shooter (2.3 per game), which allows him to have those 20+ point games. Neither gets a great matchup, but using Tucker (or Green) makes it easier to help stock up on the studs in this game.
Corey Brewer ($5500): Brewer has stayed hotter than I would have guessed through some really tough games with Washington, Portland, Memphis, and San Antonio. He's had at least 25 fantasy points in all but the Memphis game, which I hold against no one. Brewer could see some extra time behind Trevor Ariza if the game is as big of a blowout as Vegas expects. Ariza is just a couple hundred dollars more and as the starter he usually plays more minutes, but his fantasy production has just been terrible this year. Brewer should have no trouble scoring tonight as the Hornets allow the 12th most fantasy points to SF, a situation that should be even better with all the injuries they're nursing.
Advice: I think you have to go cheap at SF today. It's always the toughest position to fill, but even with LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony on the docket, you can't trust any of them for cash games at their salaries. Anthony, with his sore knee, might be limited in a blowout, James' status isn't known yet, and Durant over $10K in his first game back from a pretty bad ankle sprain doesn't inspire me. I've written about Jared Dudley ($5300) a lot, and while his price has risen, his production has been stably high. He's a great play today too. Gerald Henderson was my value pick of the Hornets wings on Monday and that went well. So well that his price jumped $900. I'm not confident enough to use him in cash games at that $4600, but he makes a decent tournament play. Matt Barnes finally scored double digit points Monday, but he's been cold for a couple weeks and I'll be avoiding him tonight.
John Henson ($4200): Henson is another guy I'll keep writing up until he prices out of this column. He's now played three games and seen over 20 fpts in all. With Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders out again today, Henson is a great option. Cleveland gives up the 10th most fpts to PF. It looks like Kevin Love plans on playing through his back spasms, so that soft defense will remain (that's for the K Love haters, I adore him).
Cody Zeller ($4900): With Al Jefferson sidelined for a few weeks with a groin strain, we'll see more Cody Zeller on the floor. Bismack Biyombo will technically get the start at C, but it'll be Zeller with the additional responsibilities and fantasy production. Do not use Biyombo. Zeller has performed well in the past with a bigger workload and in 32 minutes on Monday put up 6/5/1/2/3 in 32 minutes. He won't have an easy matchup with Dwight Howard, but at his salary and with all the other Hornets injuries, should meet value tonight.
Advice: If you can afford Anthony Davis, you do it. He's got a nice matchup with the 7th most generous to PF Spurs in a 200 total point game. I also like Tristan Thompson ($5600) a lot tonight. He's been good, not great with about 28 fpts a night since Varejao got hurt, but a matchup with the Bucks frontcourt is one of my favorite things in DFS. Serge Ibaka is always under owned and he gets an underrated matchup with the Suns bigs. He's a little pricey at $7300 and can disappear, so I'd only use him for GPPs.
Steven Adams ($5100): Adams has posted some purty lines over the past couple of weeks, reaching at least 20 fpts in all of his past six games. He had a huge 16/15 double double vs the Spurs last week, but even as he's come back to Earth somewhat since then he's meeting value. Whether that continues with Durant back in the lineup tonight remains to be seen but he's certainly earned the opportunity. The Suns are quietly giving up the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing centers, something I first noticed and started paying attention to when I watched Jonas Valenciunas destroy them back in November. And by paying attention, I mean taking advantage of, like Adams should do tonight.
Advice: Adams will be my go-to if I'm not paying up for Howard or DeAndre Jordan. Center is weird in this slate. After those two, at $9300 and $8100 respectively, Adams is the next man up at $5100. There is no middle. With Andrea Bargnani active for the first time today, monitor the Knicks news. Cole Aldrich has been a tremendous value play over the past week, and if it sounds like Bargnani will be active, but not used in the game, he remains a good play at $5K. Omer Asik ($4800) is never a sexy play and disappoints more often than not, but he can produce in good match ups and San Antonio isn't a terrible one. Alex Len ($4900) was on a really nice little hot streak but came down with just 11.7 fpts against NO on Monday. In a neutral matchup, using him will be a gamble tonight.