It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and the NBA apparently decided not to try to compete with the NFL, giving us a two-game slate with games starting at 1 PM EST and 2 PM EST. While Celtics/Heat and Knicks/Lakers probably would have been fun games to watch a few years ago, they’re not exactly going to feature high-quality basketball today. Many players aren’t going to bother with this slate, and I can’t say I blame them. However, I’ll certainly be playing, and I’ll give insight into the players I think are in position to produce today.
One interesting thing to note is that you can roster whomever you want tomorrow. You simply cannot build a roster on FanDuel that exceeds the salary cap, and that is likely going to result in many similar lineups. I’d avoid cash games due to the overlap, and instead throw some variations of lineups featuring players that I like into GPPs.
Langston Galloway, New York Knicks, $5,300 – Galloway had his first rough game since joining the starting lineup, as he and the rest of the Knicks just couldn’t get anything going in Indiana. A home matchup with the Lakers might be the polar opposite of a road matchup with the Pacers. The Lakers play at a fast pace and play terrible defense, while the Pacers are extremely slow, and are one of the top defensive teams in the NBA. I expect a big bounce back from Galloway here, and he should push for 30 fantasy points in what will likely be the best matchuphe’s going to see all season.
Jordan Clarkson, Los Angeles Lakers, $4,700 – I think many players will just plug in Galloway and Chalmers and move on, especially since they’re the two top-priced options, and the salary cap is irrelevant. However, I’m going to advocate a fade of Chalmers, and would instead advise you to use Clarkson. Clarkson has a much better matchup against Jose Calderon, and is in a much better situation to produce tomorrow.
Chalmers is going to see a good amount of Avery Bradley tomorrow, and there’s a reason why the Celtics, despite being a bad team that gives up a ton of points to the opposition, are ranked second-best against opposing shooting guards this season. That reason is Avery Bradley. He’s one of the top defenders in the NBA, and Chalmers simply isn’t good enough offensively to overcome that. The way to attack Boston is by going at their undersized frontcourt, and that’s what I would expect from Miami. That means a whole lot of Bosh and Whiteside, and not very much from the backcourt.
Wayne Ellington, Los Angeles Lakers, $5,200 – The latest news on Nick Young is that he did some light running, but he’s unable to cut effectively. This doesn’t sound good for his availability, and given the way Ellington has been playing, I doubt Young’s return would have much impact anyway. With two very solid performances against the Wizards and Bulls (two teams that are very tough on opposing shooting guards), Ellington now has the opportunity to keep it going against a Knicks team that is clueless on defense, and makes opposing three-point shooters feel like they’re shooting in an empty gym. Ellington’s matchup combined with the lack of solid options at shooting guard make him the easy choice for top play at his position.
Evan Turner, Boston Celtics, $5,900 – After Ellington, the only real option left is Evan Turner. Tim Hardaway Jr. isn’t a good option unless the Knicks sit some players and he finds his way into the starting lineup. Avery Bradley isn’t much of an offensive threat as he is primarily on the court for his defense. That just leaves Turner, and it’s certainly not a bad play to roster a shooting guard that sees plenty of time at point guard as well. Considering the short slate, and the fact that you can roster whomever you want today, lock Turner in, as he and Ellington are very likely to be the two top scoring shooting guards today.
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks, $9,400 – Melo will almost certainly be the top scorer of the day, and given that small forward is a mess, you have to use him. He draws a terrific matchup with the Lakers, a team that plays little to no defense, and doesn’t have anyone that can slow Anthony down. He’s going to be 100% owned in cash games today, and very close to that in GPPs as well, but fading him is just not an option.
Tayshaun Prince, Boston Celtics, $3,900 – This is where it really gets fun. You get to choose between guys like Prince, Lance Thomas, Wesley Johnson, and Jae Crowder for your second small forward spot. Luol Deng is likely going to be out again today, but if he does play, just plug him in. Prince strikes me as the best of the worst. He’s been playing between 20 and 30 minutes lately, and he’s been producing. He’s impossible to trust, but so are the other guys. For what it’s worth, Lance Thomas is a viable option as well, given the matchup with the Lakers and the fact that he’ll likely see about as many minutes as Prince does.
Additional Plays: Lance Thomas
Chris Bosh, Miami Heat, $8,100 – Bosh draws a fantastic matchup against a Celtics team that has been giving up huge games to opposing power forwards all season. With Dwyane Wade out, Bosh becomes the hands-down primary scoring option for the Heat. In a game where Miami is going to be playing way up in pace, expect Bosh to see more than his normal allotment of shots, and to produce a big stat line tonight. His rebounding numbers are never going to impress, but I think he has a great shot to 30 real points, and he’s almost a lock to be the highest scoring power forward option.
Jared Sullinger, Boston Celtics, $6,700 – I think it’s actually close between Sullinger and Jason Smith, but I’m going to give the edge to Sullinger because he likely has the higher floor, and certainly has the higher ceiling. Price isn’t a concern, and I think the smart play is to just roster the two most talented players at power forward. For me, that’s easily Bosh and Sullinger. It’s not a great matchup for the Boston forward as the Heat have been tough on opposing power forwards all season while playing at a painfully slow pace. Smith could certainly outscore Sullinger today, but I think that there’s much less than a 50% chance of that.
Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat, $6,200 – The only bad thing I can say about Whiteside is that everyone will have him. He cannot be faded in cash games, and the only reason to fade him in GPPs is because you think that Jordan Hill has a chance to outscore him. There is a small chance of that, and it’s worth throwing a couple of Hill lineups into some GPPs given Whiteside will be over 90% owned. The likely scenario is that Whiteside absolutely dominates Boston’s weak interior. Opposing big men have been putting up huge games against Boston all season, and considering Whiteside puts up huge games against absolutely everyone, it’s safe to assume another monster performance for him again tonight.
Additional Plays: Jordan Hill