The NBA never fails to disappoint in terms of exciting, unexpected, mind boggling performances, does it? Mo Williams with 52 real points is the best in that category that we've seen in a while. 64 FanDuel points on a $5500 salary could be the poster for our Bargain Bin columns for the rest of the season! I'm not promising that kind of return on investment here, but I will help you find the cheap plays that allow you to take advantage of all the high priced studs in tonight's 10 game slate. I try to keep these plays under $5500 where possible, and to provide some guidance on when and where I think it's best to deploy value at a position vs paying up. Good luck tonight!
Mario Chalmers ($4500): With Dwyane Wade more than likely out tonight with a so-called minor hamstring strain, Chalmers becomes a solid value play for the Heat. They face Steph Curry and Golden State, who has stepped up their defense (they have five players in the league's top 10 in defensive efficiency, including Curry) but still represent an exploitable matchup for PG. Whether Chalmers gets the start or not is irrelevant here; he will play 30+ minutes and be the primary ball handler even in the event of a blowout. In 34 minutes last night at the Lakers, Chalmers put up 19/3/8 and 2 steals. We all know what he's capable of in this role. He'll be popular, but for good reason.
Patrick Beverley ($5600): Beverley gets a primo matchup with the Orlando backcourt tonight in a game in which the Rockets are pretty heavy favorites. The Magic allow the 4th most fantasy points to opposing PG, and Beverley typically finds the upper range of his fantasy output in good situations. He also should play 25-29 minutes even in the event of a blowout. Beverley contributes fpts in multiple categories (11.5 pts, 5 reb, 3.5 ast), averages 2.4 3PM (38.8%) per game, and could see his steals rise as Oladipo and Payton are somewhat turnover prone (over two per game each).
Advice: Chalmers is the best form of salary relief at the position today, hands down. It's a tempting night to roster two top tier PG. In particular, Chris Paul and Ty Lawson find themselves in excellent match ups in high scoring and close games according to Vegas.
Lou Williams ($5300): Toronto gets Philadelphia tonight in what Vegas predicts to be a fairly high scoring huge Raptors win (spread -15). Of all the positions, the 76ers are perhaps most generous, in terms of fantasy points allowed, to SG. In a blowout, I'm reluctant to spend up for Kyle Lowry, but it's a great spot for a shooter like Lou Williams. Williams has been playing 25-30 minutes lately in DeMar DeRozan's absence, and has a 25% usage rate when he's on the floor. Even if DeRozan does return tonight (he's a GTD), I expect the game to get out of hand early enough that Williams should have plenty of run. There's no official word on whether DeRozan will be on a minutes limit, but it makes sense to ease him in when facing a pretty easy win. Four turnovers hurt Williams' value a little bit in his last game vs Detroit, but he has scored at least 15 points in each of his last five games and is shooting 56% on the season. He's a safe cash game play.
Tony Allen/Courtney Lee ($4700/4100): Tony Allen is expected to play after tweaking his hamstring on Sunday. If he's out, pivot to Lee, but if he plays, Allen is my guy. He's probably the least exciting player to use in DFS, but I go to him in good situations and he nearly always returns value. Brooklyn is a team in trouble and their defense is really lacking. While this game doesn't have a high total, it's one that Memphis should excel in. Allen is known for his excellent defense; in fantasy terms, he averages 2.2 steals/game (tied for first in the league with Westbrook) and had a ridiculous seven steals against the Knicks last week. The Nets aren't that bad, but Allen should snag a few tonight.
Advice: SG is pretty deep tonight. You have your pick of top tier studs, mid-range high floor guys, and value plays. I lean toward at least one value play here tonight, because I'm likely to pay up at PG. I like Monta Ellis in the night's highest scoring game with Denver. There should be tons of fantasy points from Dallas again tonight. Tyreke Evans is another mid-range play I'll be using some. If you want to pay up for James Harden, I certainly won't stop you. He's due for a monster game and Orlando could be just the right situation to get it. I never won't mention JJ Redick ($4800) in a high scoring, close game.
Kyle Singler ($3800): It's a high scoring game, and Singler has at least 26 minutes in his last three games. He's only really exceeded value in one of those (a 30 fpt effort vs Atlanta), but at his salary, even 18 fantasy points is worth it. He's mainly dependent on his shot for value, but can contribute in rebounds and assists. The Pelicans will be shifting rotations to accommodate the absence of Jrue Holiday, which can hopefully open things up for Singler.
Rasual Butler ($3800): Butler is playing at least 20 mpg off the bench, and has a fantasy output range of about 12-23 fantasy points. It's not sexy, but at his price, he too can reach value fairly easily. He shoots 3's at a 48% rate, averaging 1.7 per game. Chicago is a decent matchup for him, as they allow the 6th most fantasy points to SF.
Advice: There are many ways to go at SF tonight. I'm avoiding Draymond Green, the most expensive option on the board tonight, because I want to use that salary money on players with a higher ceiling than I think his will be against the Heat tonight. If you couldn't guess, I'll be going rock bottom at SF this evening, using one or perhaps both of these fellas. I also like Matt Barnes, KJ McDaniels, and Jae Crowder in the slightly more expensive value tier ($4300-4600). Nic Batum is a tempting GPP play for me at $6100.
Donatas Motiejunas ($5500): I hate rostering Motiejunas, I'll just say that at the outset. I've been burned by foul trouble, by poor shooting, by limited minutes...you name it. But the Donut (as those kind of games have led him to be called) has scored double digit points in nine of his last 10 games and he's double doubled in his last two. He seems pretty secure in the rotation, notching 36-37 minutes in the last three games (his floor, barring foul trouble, has been about 27 minutes), and has a good matchup with the Orlando frontcourt, who should be too busy fouling Dwight Howard to interfere with Motiejunas' 51.4 FG% and 5-10 rebounds per game.
Amir Johnson ($5100): Amir Johnson is another up and down player, the kind that most DFSers aren't a big fan of using, me included. After a horrible slump last week in which his minutes and production were severely limited, he's had two back to back nice games including a 12/10 double double against Detroit. Tonight he gets one of the best match ups possible against the 76ers. He's now averaging nearly a steal per game and shooting 57.4% from the field. I think as long as he's producing the minutes will be there tonight and 30 fpts is a reasonable expectation.
Advice: My strategy will be to pay up for one of Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap, or even Zach Randolph and save with one of these guys. Millsap after a night of rest in one of my favorite spots against Boston is a top play. There's not much of a middle today at PF. You could play Kenneth Faried roulette, which I typically lose, or look at Jared Sullinger, who has a safe floor for cash games. The Washington time share of Nene and Kris Humphries is a little too muddled for me...I'm opting for the cheaper of the two if I want exposure to this one, but given the low total and other options I really don't tonight.
Jusuf Nurkic ($5200): Dallas at Denver is the highest expected total of the night so getting as much exposure as you can is a good idea. Getting it cheap is even better. Nurkic came on strong just before Timofey Mozgov was traded and after his six games with real playing time, he's been remarkably consistent. He has double digit points in all but one of those, two double doubles, at least four rebounds in each, and over 30 fantasy points in four. He's added a ton of value with at least two and up to five blocks in each game while turning the ball over just once per. Dallas gives up the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing C, and given the expected pace of this game, I expect double double #3 for Nurkic at home tonight. Bonus: Mike Gallagher just named him fantasy rookie #1.
Hassan Whiteside ($5200): The story of Hassan Whiteside is a lot like the story of Nurkic. In Whiteside's case much is made of whether he starts, or starts the second half or what, but I could care less. What I care about is 24, 22, 22, 34, 27, 50, 36...his fantasy point totals from the last seven games. He is producing, he is being used, and the Heat need him to keep doing that. Like Nurkic, a lot of his value comes from blocks and he too, has at least two and up to five in those seven games. He's double doubled twice and just missed last night with 15/9. Tonight Whiteside faces Golden State and Andrew Bogut, which I normally don't love. The game should get out of hand fairly quickly, but Whiteside shouldn't pay for it as the Heat are still relatively shorthanded, and he's the healthy one. If Bogut gets some extra rest due to the blowout, all the better for Whiteside.
Advice: I'd play them both if I could, despite the other C options. Both will be very popular picks, but I give the slight nod to Nurkic for game flow expectations. Given the rest of my lineup plans, I'm going cheap at C, but I do like Marcin Gortat at Chicago and Marc Gasol at Brooklyn for mid and upper range options. I'm not ready to go back in on Bogut yet, partly due to his reduced minutes off his knee injury, partly due to the blowout potential. Jonas Valanciunas is crushing good match ups this season so for $6600 he makes a great mid-range play as well.