Today is Martin Luther King Day. The NBA has made it a tradition to have NBA games throughout the day, which makes it one of the more entertaining weekdays during the fantasy basketball season.
There are eight early games, as well as four late games on tap today. The picks in this article will focus on the top FanDuel plays at each position for cash games.
John Wall, Washington Wizards (Salary: $8700, FPPG: 38.9, MPG: 36, Usage Rate: 25.2)
Wall has the unique combination of a depressed price and a favorable matchup. His production has been down a bit recently, causing his price to fall below $9,000 on FanDuel. Today’s matchup against the Sixers may be just what Wall needs to break out of his slump. The Sixers have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to point guards this season. In addition to the great matchup, Wall is also playing at home, where he is averaging over 40 fantasy points per game this season.
Brian Roberts, Charlotte Hornets (Salary: $3500, FPPG: 11, MPG: 16, Usage Rate: 19.1)
Mike Conley has already been ruled out of today’s game against the Timberwolves, which means Roberts will draw another start at point guard. Roberts struggled in his start the other night, but is in a prime position to bounce back in this one. Roberts is averaging 0.74 fantasy points per minute this season and should see at least 30 minutes against the Wolves, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to point guards this season.
Tyreke Evans, New Orleans Pelicans (Salary: $7400, FPPG: 31.7, MPG: 34, Usage Rate: 26.2)
Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis are both questionable for today’s game against the Knicks. If either (or both) of these players is forced to sit, Evans would see an uptick in both minutes and usage. Evans has shown that he has 50-fantasy-point upside when he draws the start at point guard. He has a unique ability to fill up all areas of the stat sheet. Assuming he does start at point guard, he will draw a favorable matchup against Jose Calderon and the Knicks, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to the position.
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors (Salary: $7900, FPPG: 32.8, MPG: 33, Usage Rate: 26.8)
Thompson is really starting to heat up. After scoring 32 points against the Thunder, he followed it up with 27 points against the Rockets. He actually outplayed James Harden on both ends of the floor in that game. Thompson has averaged 38 fantasy points per game over his last six outings. Today he squares off against Nuggets, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to shooting guards this season.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (Salary: $10900, FPPG: 44.1, MPG: 38, Usage Rate: 31)
There is a ton of value available today, which makes it easy to fit a superstar into your lineup. It can be unnerving rostering a Cavaliers’ player, but LeBron has looked terrific since returning from injury. He has been very aggressive offensively and has scored at least 46 fantasy points in each of his last three games. With the limited options at small forward, LeBron may be the top player to spend up on.
Gerald Henderson, Charlotte Hornets (Salary: $5500, FPPG: 17.4, MPG: 26, Usage Rate: 18.9)
Henderson should continue to see a sizable fantasy boost while Kemba Walker is out, even with Al Jefferson returning to the fold. His minutes don’t see much of an uptick, but his usage rate in the offense certainly does. Henderson has quietly put together some terrific fantasy outings recently, scoring at least 31 fantasy points in four of his last six games. He is affordable and provides a high floor for a player at his price point.
Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls (Salary: $5300, FPPG: 23.6, MPG: 28, Usage Rate: 18.7)
Don’t give up on Gibson just yet; his big game is coming. He hasn’t played terribly in his last two starts, but he hasn’t lived up to expectations with his outings of 26 and 24 fantasy points. He has looked hesitant offensively, but hopefully he’ll be a little more comfortable in his third start in a row. He’s been extremely productive in the starting lineup over the last few seasons, and the Cavaliers have really struggled against power forwards.
J.J. Hickson, Denver Nuggets (Salary: $4700, FPPG: 18.3, MPG: 20, Usage Rate: 20.3)
Since the Timofey Mozgov trade, Hickson has actually seen a bigger boost in minutes and production than the starting center, Jusuf Nurkic. Over his last six games, Hickson is averaging 27 fantasy points in 28 minutes of action per game. The Nuggets draw a tough matchup against the Warriors, but Hickson should see 25+ minutes regardless of the outcome of the game. He may even see a few extra minutes in garbage time if the game gets out of hand.
Marcin Gortat, Washington Wizards (Salary: $5900, FPPG: 26.1, MPG: 30, Usage Rate: 18.9)
Gortat’s price has dropped below $6,000 on FanDuel, which puts him at the top of the list of suggested plays at center today. He doesn’t have an incredibly high ceiling, but he should provide a high floor against a Sixers team that is ranked dead last in rebounding differential this season. The Sixers are also ranked dead last in fantasy points allowed to centers. Gortat is a low-risk option for cash games today.