FanDuel Bargain Bin
This new year has brought some interesting slates and this eight-game Tuesday is a good one. All eight games have a point total over 200 (per Vegas) and there are plenty of studs to choose from. 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.
Marcus Smart $5200: Smart is a young, but proven commodity who will get another start for the Celtics with Avery Bradley sidelined. The Raptors are a good defensive team, but have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing shooting guards over the last five games, and Smart has been stuffing the stat sheet during his recent opportunity. He is among the safest value plays on the slate tonight but has enough upside for tournament use as well. EDITOR'S NOTE: Avery Bradley has been upgraded to questionable, so double check his status before clicking Smart into your lineup.
Michael Carter-Williams $4800: Chicago will be down to the bare bones tonight with both Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade out, so even though their guard rotation is a mess right now, I think we have to expect Carter-Williams to step up. The Wizards are a tough matchup for him, but he should be able to reach value if he sees around 30 minutes tonight.
Jeremy Lamb $4000: Lamb is often the guy who benefits when Nic Batum is out, and he has frankly outplayed Marco Belinelli since Belinelli has been back on the court. I’d be all in on Lamb if I could guarantee 28-32 minutes, but there is a risk that he gets less with Belinelli in the mix. That said, I’m pretty confident Lamb sees the time, and in the league’s second-best shooting guard matchup against James Harden and the Rockets in tonight’s highest point total game, Lamb should be a key way to fit the studs you want to roster.
Tim Hardaway Jr. $4500: After the Kyle Korver trade, it looks like Hardaway Jr. is the main beneficiary. Fluctuating between 20-30 minutes per game over the last four, Hardaway Jr. has exceeded value in three of those. Tonight he gets a Nets team that makes for the best matchup he’ll have seen in that span—by a lot. Vegas has this as a high scoring game with a smaller margin than I expected (Hawks -7).
Trevor Ariza $5800: Charlotte is a much safer team to target on the road, and overall this season they’ve allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing small forwards. I expect Eric Gordon to miss tonight’s fantasy-friendly game, which gives Ariza a bit more upside in terms of usage to go along with his already solid performance of late.
DeMarre Carroll $3800: The Raptors are magicians in the sense that they can take any forward’s stretch of good performance and make it suddenly disappear. It’s why I’ll rarely use Carroll, Terrence Ross, Patrick Patterson, or anyone else in cash games. That said, Carroll has played at least 34 minutes in the last three games, and finally busted out for a huge performance Sunday vs. Houston, in which he went 26/8. The Celtics are a generous fantasy matchup for him, and the game should be high scoring and close. The price for Carroll is right, and if he can again see around 35 minutes, he’s a lock to exceed value. No tricks, please, Toronto!
James Johnson $5600: Healthy again, Johnson is finally priced properly, but can still be used as salary relief in any format tonight. The Warriors provide a huge pace bump, and though they’re big underdogs on the road, Miami will have little choice but to use Johnson for around 30 minutes tonight. His ability to contribute in multiple categories—particularly the assists, blocks and steals he adds to the points and rebounds you’d expect—makes him the most reliable cheap PF option tonight.
Al-Farouq Aminu $4600: Aminu has put together three really good games over the past week, playing well over 30 minutes in each. Tonight’s game with the Lakers just barely misses highest point total (223) but the spread is just Trail Blazers minus one. This should be fantasy gold for both sides, with both teams ranking in the bottom three in defensive efficiency. The Lakers have given up the second-most fantasy points to power forwards this season, giving Aminu no reason not to keep up his hot play.
Montrezl Harrell $5300: There are at least three more expensive center options I don’t want to be without, so in full disclosure I’m not using Harrell tonight. However, I’ve already hyped this game for fantasy and center is one more position that the Hornets have failed to defend well (fourth-best fantasy matchup for the season, first over the last five games). I don’t necessarily expect another 28-point game from him, but double-digit points, a few rebounds and a couple blocks is reasonable for his price.