I’ll be digging into the NBA slate on Fridays and will be bringing you some top plays to consider on FanDuel. If you can pull yourself away from March Madness, we have a solid ten-game slate tonight, with five games currently holding a total of at least 218 points.
As always with the NBA, be sure to monitor injuries and rest situations through the DFS Alerts at RotoGrinders. We’re still awaiting news on several players, so it’s likely things will change.
PG is loaded today and there are so many options that it’s tough to go wrong. I’m leery of paying upwards of $10,000 in potential blowouts and I like the options in the $6,200 to $8,000 range, so I’ll pass on both John Wall and Stephen Curry tonight. The range I’m eyeing today is that $6,000 to $8,000 range, and I’m liking guys like Kemba Walker, Ricky Rubio, Jeff Teague, Rajon Rondo, and Tyler Ulis. Walker has been struggling, but this game is expected to remain close and Cleveland has been awful defensively recently. He’s taken advantage of Kyrie’s poor defense this year, averaging 27 PPG in three meetings with the Cavs. For cash games, him and Rubio, would be my top options in this tier, as it’s also a great spot for Rubio. He’ll face a Lakers’ defense that is 28th in DVP against PG and Minnesota’s team total is seven points higher than their season average. Tyler Ulis also profiles as a great cash game option. He’s played at least 40 minutes in four straight games, and the matchup is great for him against another tiny PG in Isaiah Thomas. In fact, he had his breakout game against Boston a few weeks ago, with 32 fantasy points in 33 minutes. The one concern for me is the back to back and his poor shooting combined with his high minute volume. Teague and Rondo would be my GPP pivots in this range, and I think they could come lower owned than Kemba, Rubio and Ulis. Both bring more volatility but do have 40 fantasy point upside and are in great matchups.
In terms of value, one guy sticks out above the rest and that is Ish Smith. He drew the start for Reggie Jackson last game, and profiles for 25 to 28 minutes. I don’t view him as a must play due to the deep PG crop, but he currently grades out as the top points per dollar play at PG per the RotoGrinders projections. Detroit needs a win in a bad way to stay in the playoff hunt, and Orlando is just 23rd in DVP against PGs.
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors, $7,300 – I don’t think you can go wrong with James Harden or Giannis Antetokounmpo, but I always like to look towards Klay when he faces the Kings. They’ve been awful against SG for several years running now and Klay is averaging 26 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists against them this year. He’s elevated his game with Durant sidelined, and although I’m concerned about a blowout here, Klay has averaged almost 33 MPG in his last three games (which have all been blowouts). With that type of minute volume, I think he’s a great bet for 5x value in cash games, and he always carries that 6x to 7x upside if he gets hot.
For cash games, I’d look to squeeze in at least one of Harden, Giannis or Klay, with Klay being my top points per dollar play, and pairing two of the three together is a fine way to go. For GPPs, I think Nicolas Batum is an interesting option. He’s really struggling right now, which should keep his ownership down, but Cleveland is playing awful defense, and this Vegas spread is just 2.5 points. That means I’d expect at least one of Kemba Walker or Batum to have a big game here, so I’m looking to both as great GPP options. I also like Tim Hardaway Jr. in this spot, as there is a ton of extra usage to go around with Millsap and Bazemore out. Milwaukee also defends PGs well, which should push even more potential usage his way. If you’re looking to punt a SG spot, Jordan Crawford and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope currently grade out as the top points per dollar play at SG on the RotoGrinders’ projections (just ahead of Klay, who is third). Finally, I hate the matchup for Devin Booker against Avery Bradley, but he could see 40 minutes if T. J. Warren is out again, and maybe he gets some garbage time against the Celtics’ backup guards.
Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls, $9,500 – With Dwyane Wade out for the year and the Bulls battling for a playoff spot, I’ll take the $1,200 savings with Butler over LeBron James in this spot. It looks like Butler is going to play 38 to 40 minutes a night in competitive games, so he provides a lot of minute safety and a nice floor, especially against the 76ers. The spread on this game is just 6.5 points, so a blowout isn’t overly concerning, and the 76ers have struggled against wings this year (24th in DVP against SG and 21st against SF).
Outside of Butler, it will be tough for me to make a lineup that doesn’t include at least one of Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins or Karl-Anthony Towns. Wiggins dominated the first meeting against the Lakers with 47 points, so the upside is there even though he hasn’t been playing great. Given his recent struggles, he’s someone I’ll look to more in GPPs, but it’s a possible rebound spot for him. In terms of value, there are plenty of options in the $3,800 to $4,000 range as Shabazz Muhammad, RotoGrinders’ projections rank them 1. Thabo, 2. Zipser, 3. Prince, and then Muhammad in the back of the pack. For cash games, that seems fair, but I do have plenty of intrigue in Shabazz, as he’s hit 7x value in two of his last four games, and he was born in California.
Marquese Chriss, Phoenix Suns, $5,000 – PF is a position where I’ll likely be saving at in both spots, as there are plenty of interesting options in the under $6,000 range. My favorite though is Chriss because he’s playing great ball down the stretch and his minutes are on the rise. Phoenix is going to play their youngsters, so he should be in line for at least 30 minutes IF he can avoid foul trouble. Fouls are the big issue with him, as he’s still averaging 4.4 fouls over his last five games. However, he’s been worth the risk as he’s also averaging 18.6 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1.4 steals. This game is likely to blowout, but as we saw last night he should see his minutes regardless (assuming no foul trouble). Boston is 20th in DVP against PF and weak on the glass, so I’ll continue to roll with Chriss, who has produced at least 6x value in four of his last five games.
Outside of Chriss, there is plenty of other intriguing value at PF; Ersan Ilyasova, Nikola Mirotic, Gorgui Dieng, and Skal Labissiere are all under $5,000. Ersan and Gorgui would be the safer cash games options, as their minutes are at least secure, but Skal and particularly Mirotic have flashed the upside that we want for GPPs. Mirotic has topped 36 points in three of his last six games and faces the 76ers, so he’s someone I want GPP exposure to today. I also don’t mind Richaun Holmes or Tobias Harris in the $5,000 range, but I’m leaning towards the savings with the group in the $4,500 to $5,000 range.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves, $10,400 – I’m either looking to spend all the way up at center or look for a value play at center. If I’m spending up, I’ll side with Towns over Cousins, as Towns has been so dependable and the matchup is premier against the Lakers. The Lakers are 29th in DVP against centers on the season and Towns is playing upwards of 40 minutes a night right now. If you’re rolling with Ricky Rubio at PG, I’d look to get exposure to Towns in those lineups, as the Rubio/KAT combo has shown nice correlation recently.
As far as value goes, I’m eyeing Ivica Zubac and Alex Len. Neither is what I what I characterize as a safe play, but they’ve each shown great upside at their price recently. The minutes for Zubac have been a mystery, as he’ll play 30 one game and then not top 20 the next game. It’s frustrating, but if he avoids foul trouble tonight then he should push for 30 minutes against Minnesota’s big front line. He’s been very productive on a per minute basis and Minnesota is just 23rd in DVP against C this year, so it’s a plus matchup. As far as Len goes, Phoenix is playing with a short bench right now and seems intent on getting their young players plenty of run. Boston has been vulnerable on the interior all season long and even though this game is likely to blow out, I think we can still project Len for around 25 minutes. He’s produced 6x value in three of his last four games, so I like the potential upside in GPPs. Lastly, I’ve been rolling with the red-hot Al Horford recently and the matchup is elite on paper, but I’m really worried about a blowout here. I’ll likely pass on him tonight, but if you’re playing the blowout angle then maybe Kelly Olynyk is worth a peek in large-field GPPs, as he’ll get extra run in the fourth if a blowout does happen, and he has been playing well.