We have just four games on tonight’s slate, but if you take a look at the Vegas lines, each is projected to be close. Obviously there’s no guarantee, but it’s always nice when blowout risk is minimal. As of now, there is no injury news to monitor, but it’s worth reminding everyone that the Bucks are still missing both Michael Carter-Williams and O.J. Mayo, meaning they have little depth. I’ll talk more about that situation later as Milwaukee is an attractive team to target today. Good luck today, and let’s get to it the FanDuel NBA plays.
Jerryd Bayless, Milwaukee Bucks, $4200 – Bayless hasn’t been the most reliable option, but he’s played 40 minutes in two straight games and should continue to log heavy minutes as Milwaukee has no depth at the point guard position. Head coach Jason Kidd wants to win games, and as long as their playoff hopes are mathematically alive, we can expect starters to log heavy minutes as there is no way they can win with their bench players seeing significant minutes. Bayless draws a terrific matchup against a Nets team that has defended the point guard position extremely poorly. Both Donald Sloan and Shane Larkin are extreme liabilities on defense, and Bayless should have no trouble paying off his cheap $4200 salary.
Shelvin Mack, Utah Jazz, $4300 – Like Bayless, Mack has been a bit volatile as Utah’s starter, but he draws a dream matchup against the Kings. This season, Sacramento has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing point guards while allowing the second-most total fantasy points per game. Plus, this will be a huge pace up game for the Jazz as Utah ranks dead last in pace while Sacramento is the fastest team in the league. All Utah players can be expected to see a boost in their numbers based simply on the fact that they’re going to play extra possessions due to Sacramento’s pace. Given how poorly the Kings defend, how poorly they defend opposing point guards, and the pace of this game, Mack makes for a terrific value play as he should be expected to easily eclipse 20 fantasy points tonight.
Additional Plays: D’Angelo Russell (also a terrific play, but I like going double value at point guard), Marcel Huertas
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks, $7900 – On a four-game slate you can expect shooting guard to be extremely thin, and that’s what we’re dealing with today. I think Middleton is a must play based on the player pool at the position. He’s having a terrific season, and like Bayless, he’s locked into about 40 minutes of court time tonight. Brooklyn doesn’t defend any position well, and I’m not worried about any of their wings slowing Middleton down. Middleton has been one of the most consistent players in in the league in terms of fantasy production, and in what should be a close, fairly high-scoring game between these two teams, I like him to finish with around 40 fantasy points once again.
Monta Ellis, Indiana Pacers, $6600 – I was starting to write up Jordan Clarkson, but I think Ellis is the safer option despite the matchup with Atlanta’s tough defense. Clarkson runs the risk of a dud well below 20 fantasy points in three of his last nine games. Ellis, on the other hand, has finished above 20 in each of his last ten while earning no less than 26 in eight of those games. He’s playing big minutes is averaging well over 30 fantasy points per game against this Hawks team over the previous three times they’ve played this season. I think Clarkson will be more popular today, but for me, Ellis the safer option of the two and the player I’m more likely to use in cash games.
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks, $8900 – One of the reasons I’m advocating going double value at point guard is be because similar value does not exist at other positions. While you can spend $4200 on Jerryd Bayless playing 40 minutes at point guard, if you spend $4300 at small forward you get maybe 25 minutes of Omri Casspi. The two aren’t even comparable. Given the lack of value at small forward, spending up Anthony makes a lot of sense. He draws a terrific matchup against the Lakers and their dreadful defense, and given the Knicks are also a bad team, this game is likely to be very competitive.
Interim head coach Kurt Rambis is trying to win as many games as he can to land himself a permanent job ( I can hear Knicks fans screaming ), and as long as games are close, he’s going to run Melo out there for 40 minutes per game. That’s terrible for Melo and the Knicks organization, but great for us as daily fantasy players. At this point in the season, minutes can be very volatile, and it’s very important to lock in players that you know are going to play big minutes.
Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz, $6900 – I’m not particularly intrigued by either Giannis Antetokounmpo or Paul George today. Giannis has become very expensive, and while he had a great stretch of games, I’m just not willing to spend nearly $10,000 on him. Paul George has to deal with the defensive duo of Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha. His numbers this season against Atlanta are fairly pedestrian, and while he certainly won’t dud, I think he’s unlikely to be worth his salary.
That leaves us with Hayward in a terrific matchup against Sacramento. Rostering Hayward can be frustrating because he often doesn’t live up to expectations, but I’m much more comfortable going the cheaper route with him than paying up for players I’m almost certain won’t be worth their price tags. The Kings have been one of the top teams to target in daily fantasy NBA, and the pace of this game will serve to benefit Utah players. I don’t typically roster Jazz, but on a short slate with a matchup against the fantasy goldmine known as the Sacramento Kings, I’ll be giving them a very close look today.
Additional Plays: Kent Bazemore
Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz, $7300 – I have no trouble rostering multiple Utah players today as the normally snail-paced Jazz are going to be playing way up in pace against the fastest team in the league. There’s really nothing better than targeting a fast-paced team that plays atrocious defense, and that’s exactly what Kings are. Sacramento has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards, and they sit just a fraction of a point behind the Rockets for top honors. In what should be a close, high-scoring (especially for a Jazz game) matchup between these two teams, Favors should have no trouble clearing the 30 fantasy point hurdle, likely finishing with somewhere around 40. He makes for a very safe cash game option, and his ability to rack up blocked shots give him high upside for tournament as well.
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks, $7800 – I’m a bit torn on what to do with the other power forward spot. I’m recommending Millsap because he has more upside than any of the other options due to his ability to contribute in all five categories. Thaddeus Young has a nice matchup against the Bucks, but he doesn’t have as much upside as Millsap. Plus, I’d rather take Millsap’s 33.9% true usage over Young’s 27.1%. Young could certainly outscore Millsap today, and If I were playing multiple lineups I’d get exposure to both. However, in general, Millsap has a higher floor/ceiling combination, and that’s the tiebreaker for me.
Robin Lopez, New York Knicks, $5900 – Brook Lopez is a fine option today but he’s very expensive. He draws a nice matchup with Milwaukee, so he should have a very nice game, but I’m looking at his brother today. Robin has finished around or well above 30 fantasy points in seven of his last ten games. The other three were complete duds, mostly a result of a loss of minutes. In the most recent case, he lost minutes as the Knicks attempted to use several different players to slow Nikola Jokic down. In another, Kyle O’Quinn stole some minutes when he was playing well off the bench. These are just isolated incidents that I’m not particularly concerned about. Kurt Rambis certainly won’t need to worry about Roy Hibbert giving Lopez any problems.
Given the upside that Lopez has demonstrated and the very low probability that he’ll see reduced minutes in this matchup, I prefer using the cheaper Lopez today so I can get the players I want at other positions. The Lakers have been dreadful against opposing centers this season, allowing the third-most fantasy points per game. This game projects to be close, so expect Lopez to play big minutes as Rambis does everything in his power to prevent the Knicks from losing to the lowly Lakers.