We are reaching the point of the season where teams are playing short-handed, while other teams are starting to rest players. This leads to a lot of value. Scores in DFS generally go up when there are obvious value plays; the key is to be able to decipher which plays are the best of the bunch. Today’s article will feature the top plays at each position on FanDuel, as well as a strong value play.
Russell Westbrook vs. Philadelphia 76ers
TO-Adjusted Usage -- Season: 28.4 | Last Five Games: 26.5
Min/Game -- Season: 34.6 | Last Five Games: 33.4
FP/Game -- Season: 49.2 | Last Five Games: 47.1
The Thunder are 16-point favorites on the NBA odds board tonight against the Sixers, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t target Westbrook with confidence. Even if he only plays 30 minutes, a blowout would mean that he was extremely productive while on the floor. I should also point out that Westbrook has three triple-doubles against the Sixers in their last four meetings.
Damian Lillard vs. New Orleans Pelicans
TO-Adjusted Usage -- Season: 28.0 | Last Five Games: 26.3
Min/Game -- Season: 35.8 | Last Five Games: 35.1
FP/Game -- Season: 40.3 | Last Five Games: 38.2
Lillard is considerably cheaper than both Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry tonight. While he may not have as high of a floor, we have seen him put up some monster fantasy outings this season. He draws a favorable matchup tonight against the Pelicans in what should be a close, high scoring game. On the season, New Orleans is ranked 16th against point guards.
Value Option: Tim Frazier: $3,500
James Harden vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
TO-Adjusted Usage -- Season: 27.6 | Last Five Games: 27.3
Min/Game -- Season: 37.7 | Last Five Games: 36.1
FP/Game -- Season: 46.6 | Last Five Games: 42.1
The Rockets are fighting for playoff positioning and for their playoff lives. They are tied with three teams for the six seed in the West, but only have a one game lead over the Jazz, who are in ninth place. Harden should continue to play 40+ minutes per game down the stretch of the regular season. He is arguably the top play at any position, as he squares off against the struggling Wolves tonight.
DeMar DeRozan vs. Boston Celtics
TO-Adjusted Usage -- Season: 26.1 | Last Five Games: 30.0
Min/Game -- Season: 36.2 | Last Five Games: 40.2
FP/Game -- Season: 35.5 | Last Five Games: 43.3
This pick hinges on the availability of Kyle Lowry. Before last night’s game, the Raptors said that they would likely rest Lowry in one of the next two games. He ended up playing 43 minutes last night against the Pacers. If Lowry were rested tonight, DeRozan would see a major boost. When Lowry is off of the floor, DeRozan has a usage rate of 38 this season.
Value Option: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: $5,300
Kevin Durant vs. Philadelphia 76ers
TO-Adjusted Usage -- Season: 26.0 | Last Five Games: 29.0
Min/Game -- Season: 36.0 | Last Five Games: 33.4
FP/Game -- Season: 46.1 | Last Five Games: 43.4
Durant’s production has been down a bit over his last five games, but he is averaging close to 50 fantasy points in his last ten. He is a terrific option tonight against the Sixers, who are ranked 25th against small forwards and 30th in rebounding differential. I wouldn’t use Westbrook and Durant in the same lineup, but recommend using either one or the other.
LeBron James vs. Orlando Magic
TO-Adjusted Usage -- Season: 27.4 | Last Five Games: 26.8
Min/Game -- Season: 35.8 | Last Five Games: 34.7
FP/Game -- Season: 44.3 | Last Five Games: 41.7
This pick hinges on whether or not the Cavaliers decide to rest one of their superstars. James got the night off on Wednesday and we saw big outings from both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Irving or Love could end up getting the night off. James has a usage rate of 34 without Irving on the floor and a usage rate of 31 without Love on the floor this season.
Value Option: Marcus Morris: $5,100
Anthony Davis vs. Portland Trail Blazers
TO-Adjusted Usage -- Season: 24.7 | Last Five Games: 29.1
Min/Game -- Season: 35.8 | Last Five Games: 35.9
FP/Game -- Season: 44.5 | Last Five Games: 49.9
Davis is playing his best basketball of the season. Over his last five games, he is averaging 49.9 fantasy points with a usage rate north of 30. He also has a nice track record against the Blazers, scoring at least 49 fantasy points in each of their last two meetings.
Nerlens Noel vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
TO-Adjusted Usage -- Season: 14.3 | Last Five Games: 17.5
Min/Game -- Season: 29.1 | Last Five Games: 33.4
FP/Game -- Season: 27.3 | Last Five Games: 35.5
Noel had a big game in a difficult matchup last night against the Wizards. While he draws another tough matchup tonight, he is still one of the top plays at power forward. With Jahlil Okafor and Robert Covington out, Noel has seen a boost in minutes, usage, and fantasy production. He also racks up a lot of blocks and steals, which boosts his floor and his ceiling.
Value Option: Tobias Harris: $6,000
Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Houston Rockets
TO-Adjusted Usage -- Season: 20.0 | Last Five Games: 18.4
Min/Game -- Season: 31.3 | Last Five Games: 37.5
FP/Game -- Season: 35.3 | Last Five Games: 37.3
If Jonas Valanciunas is ruled out, lock in Bismack at center for cash games and move on. However, if Valanciunas plays or if you are playing in tournaments, Towns is a great option. He has played well over his last five games, averaging 37.3 fantasy points per contest. He also had a nice outing against the Rockets earlier this season.
Value Option: Bismack Biyombo: $4,200
Note: This is not meant to be a full lineup. The picks are my favorite targets at each position.