Happy Easter everyone! While I imagine many of you have family obligations and will be taking the day off, there is still a solid five-game late slate on FanDuel that is certainly worth playing. I know I can’t pass up the opportunity to roster players from the Ping Pong Ball Open (Knicks - Sixers). The only real injury concern is Nerlens Noel. He suffered a cut above his eye and was forced to leave last night’s game. It certainly feels like an injury that shouldn’t prevent him from playing tonight, but make sure he’s in the lineup before rostering him. Lastly, Paul George is returning tonight. I couldn’t be happier for him, and while he’s only expected to play 10-15 minutes, it’ll be great to see him back on the court.
Good luck tonight, and enjoy those Easter egg hunts with the kids (if you have them).
Ish Smith, Philadelphia 76ers, $6400 – Isaiah Canaan is going to miss tonight’s game, which will serve to solidify Smith’s 32-34 minute starting role. He draws an extremely favorable matchup against the Knicks, and he should have no trouble scoring and racking up peripherals in this matchup. He’s been extremely consistent, and with only five games, it makes a lot of sense to lock in a guy that’s not expensive and will likely net you somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 fantasy points.
George Hill, Indiana Pacers, $7500 – It was a tough call between Hill and Clarkson here, but I’m giving the edge to Hill because of the matchup. Dragic is banged up, and not a particularly good defender anyway, and this game has serious playoff implications. Miami fell apart in Detroit last night, losing a crucial game to the Pistons, and now have to travel to Indiana to play a Pacers team that is directly competing with them for the eighth spot in the East, which, if the season were to end right now, would go to Boston. As long as this game is close, and it should be, Hill should be playing major minutes in what is an absolute must-win for the Pacers. Paul George won’t be making much of an impact in his return, so expect Hill to continue to carry the offense.
Ricky Ledo, New York Knicks, $4100 – Only the Knicks are able to make guys on 10-day contracts viable daily fantasy plays. Cleanthony Early sprained his ankle last game, which led to more run for Ledo, who did not disappoint. With Early doubtful for tonight, expect Ledo to see plenty of run off the bench. He’s a high-usage player who is not afraid to take a ton of shots, and given his cheap price at a thin shooting guard position, I’ll be targeting him heavily tonight against the Sixers and their very generous wing defense.
J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers, $6400 – The blowout is certainly a concern here, but shooting guard is weak and Redick has been shooting a ton. It’s possible he gets 30 fantasy points in just three quarters of action. With Klay Thompson likely to draw Kawhi Leonard, and a banged up Dwyane Wade in a tough road matchup with the Pacers, Redick makes the most sense to me. The Lakers play terrible defense, and he should have no trouble knocking down all of the open shots he’s going to see.
Additional Plays: Jabari Brown (GPP Only)
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs, $8100 – If you look through Leonard’s game log, his only “down games” occur when he doesn’t play enough minutes to put up a huge fantasy total. The Spurs have a lot of comfortable leads, and Leonard just isn’t required to play heavy minutes each night. Tonight that won’t be the case. The matchup with the Warriors should be close and high-scoring, and given Leonard is the clear focal point of this offense, I think he’s in for a big game despite the Warriors having the top ranked defense in the NBA. The pace of this game will be fast enough to make up for the matchup. Leonard is one of my top plays of the day, and I think he needs to be a priority at a weak small forward position.
Rodney Hood, Utah Jazz, $4200 – Hood was plenty involved in the offense last game, posting a score of 28 on FanDuel to go with 17 real points. He’s cheap and draws an excellent matchup with a Kings team that will be without Rudy Gay. Small forward is lacking god options and since I’d rather invest at other positions, Hood makes sense as a solid punt with upside.
Additional Plays: Gordon Hayward
Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers, $8400 – I really think Noel is going to play tonight, and if he does, he’s an elite play against a terrible Knicks front court. Power forwards and centers have all been posting huge lines against this team, and with Noel emerging as one of the top options on offense for the Sixers, he should be in for a big night. Make sure he’s in the lineup, and given the nature of his injury, I imagine we will get definitive news on his status well before rosters lock.
David West, Indiana Pacers, $5500 – If you can afford him, I much prefer Blake Griffin, but he may be difficult to use given his $9500 price tag. West is a decent alternative. He’s not a high upside guy, and he often feels like a letdown, but at least he’s unlikely to really hurt you. On this five-game slate, the options at power forward are fairly poor. West seems to give you somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-25 fantasy points regardless of matchup, and for his price, that’s perfectly acceptable.
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings, $12300 – I didn’t think we’d see another player reach Russell Westbrook levels of fantasy production, but here we are. Cousins is posting 70 fantasy point games with ease, and while you may be tempted to fade him because of the matchup with Utah and Rudy Gobert, take a look at what Brandan Wright did last night. He figured things out and was able to put up a very nice line. Considering Cousins is light-years ahead of Wright in terms of talent and ability, and is matchup-proof, I’m just not concerned about this perceived bad matchup. He’s very expensive, but if he’s going to be giving us 70+ points on a regular basis, $12300 is a bargain.
Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors, $5200 – Another reason Cousins is such a nice option is positional scarcity. There just aren’t any other center options I’m overly confident in, and if Cousins posts another 70-point game, you’re just going to lose if you don’t have him. Bogut is a decent option if you’re playing the fade, as his matchup should get a bit easier with Tiago Splitter out of the Spurs lineup tonight. It’s hard to say what his minutes are going to look like, but he may see an uptick with this game expected to be close, though it’s important to remember that the Warriors have absolutely nothing to play for. I still recommend just trying fit Cousins in however you can, but I don’t dislike Bogut as an option.