Even on small slates, you have to find creative ways to fit in the studs, and this Thursday is no different. With a lot of tantalizing talent across the board tonight, you need to reach for value. In this column, I generally set $6000 as the bargain threshold, and I try to indicate when I think a position is particularly well-suited--or not--to using the cheap plays given the landscape of the particular slate.
Kris Dunn $4900: Well, Dunn was a bargain play on Tuesday and came through big for those who rostered him (five steals!). I’m not sure his popularity could get any higher, but tonight Dunn will face a Denver Nuggets team that has been a gift for opposing point guards for quite a while. He pairs awfully nicely with Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, or Isaiah Thomas.
Ty Lawson $4900: Another great matchup at a discount comes for Lawson against the Orlando Magic. Lawson is well past his prime, but can still put up the stats with assists and steals. When he’s shooting well, you get the 30-fantasy point game. If you’re into NBA narratives, it is his birthday today (cake emoji).
J.R. Smith $4400: I’m not using LeBron James tonight, and it’s not only because I’m worried about his mental state after the Indians lost an amazing Game 7 last night at about 1:00am. One reason is that I’m all about Kevin Durant, the other is the Celtics and Jae Crowder’s way of giving opposing small forwards a hard time (note that Crowder will not play tonight). That said, I do think there’s value in this Cavs game with Boston. They’re a very solid defensive team, but opposing shooting guards (e.g. Dwayne Wade) have been finding room against them. Smith is always a risky play, but he’s scored over 15 points in each of the last two games and racked up a few rare peripheral stats.
Zach LaVine $6000: LaVine is one of my favorite players in the league, and he gets the same Denver inexperienced and fantasy-generous backcourt matchup as Dunn. He’s been rock solid. He’s flashed some sky high upside last season, but I’m happy with right around 35 fantasy points tonight as shooting guard gets tough after Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Also consider Jamal Murray $3500
Andre Roberson $4300: Going with a bargain starter in a super high scoring game is a winning formula. He’ll be charged with defending Durant, which is no small task-but one he should know-and the fact that he only played 24 minutes last night might have been in preparation for that. He should be able to reach value at this meager salary in a fast paced game where there will be ample opportunity for rebounds and steals.
Wilson Chandler $4800: With Gary Harris and Will Barton both out tonight, I expect Chandler’s usage, at least, to go up a bit with rookie Jamal Murray accompanying him on the wing. His minutes could get a little higher, but I think he does more with his normal 30 mpg either way.c Chandler is a multi-category player, and Minnesota has been generous so far to opposing forwards.
Enes Kanter $5000: Golden State hasn’t prioritized defense so far, and Kanter is an interesting way to take advantage of their frontcourt, which has given up the most fantasy points to opposing PF so far this season. Playing alongside Steven Adams has been good for OKC, while Kanter himself has been up and down. He’s very capable of posting a double-double tonight.
Thaddeus Young $6200: On a short slate, I occasionally go over my self-imposed bargain limit, because there’s a guy I think you need to own. Picking on the Bucks’ frontcourt has been a favorite strategy of mine for years. Young is a nice combination of high floor and high ceiling in a great matchup tonight. A perfect complement to any lineup tonight.
Myles Turner $6900: Ditto for Turner. If you’re not spending up on DeMarcus Cousins, Turner is the guy. It’s a short slate, and you only get one center slot on FanDuel. Turner has picked up right where he left off last season and rejuvenated this Pacers team. This is the second-highest point total of the night (212.5), and the Pacers are only small favorites, suggesting a fast paced closely fought game.