We only have four games today, and one is early, so we’re looking at a shortened version of today’s picks. I will cover the early game as FanDuel is running some all-day tournaments, and I’ll likely need the extra game to come up with enough players that are actually worth writing about. On these short slates, my focus is to get the best players in my lineups, then try to fill in with the best values I can find. Guaranteed points are few and far between, and I want exposure to as many as I can get my hands on. Let’s take a look at today’s picks on a short, and rather ugly Sunday slate.
Cory Joseph, Toronto Raptors, $4500 – You have to take what the slate gives you, and I want exposure to a guy that’s blowout-proof and will see 30 minutes of court time against the Sixers. Joseph has had a couple of poor games, but they occurred against the Spurs and the Warriors. While those teams both sport elite defenses, the Sixers are absolutely dreadful in all aspects of the game. I think he’s a lock for at least 20 fantasy points, and he can approach 30 in this particular matchup. I like him in all formats tonight as he offers a very attractive floor/ceiling combination relative to his price.
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors, $9000 - I don’t expect the Sixers to be in this game in the fourth quarter, but I also don’t love the value that’s being offered at the point guard position. I think Westbrook is a bit overpriced, and I simply don’t trust Ricky Rubio enough to use him in anything other than tournaments. I think Lowry can get you nearly 40 fantasy points even if he isn’t needed in the fourth quarter, making him, in my opinion, a better investment than some of the other options. If the Sixers do happen to keep things close in Toronto, Lowry could explode for well over 50, or even 60, fantasy points.
Kevin Martin, Minnesota Timberwolves, $4400 – I was very skeptical of Martin after he exploded out of nowhere against the Lakers. He had been so bad all season, and the fact that his big game came against the Lakers just fueled the skepticism. He backed up his performance against the Lakers by dropping 31.3 fantasy points on the Denver Nuggets. He played at least 40 minutes in both games, and if he’s getting that kind of run, he’s a lock to be in all of my lineups at his cheap price. Tonight’s matchup between the Timberwolves and Suns should be up-tempo, close, and high-scoring, which should results in plenty of chances for all players involved to accrue fantasy points.
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, $7300 – There was a time when Memphis was a team to completely avoid in daily fantasy. They were an elite defensive team that played a snail’s pace. That time is gone as Memphis is currently ranked 25th in defensive efficiency, which happens to be worse than the Sixers. Wade has been a consistent, high-floor option recently, and I think he’s a great play tonight despite the expected slow pace between these two teams. The Grizzles just don’t defend well at all, and I think Wade is in line for at least 30 fantasy points tonight.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, $10300 – Durant is quietly having a terrific season offensively, and what he’s been doing is being overshadowed by the Warriors. His shooting percentages are elite, and on tonight’s short slate of games, he’s someone I absolutely have to have in my lineups. Small forward is a tough position, and when I can’t find a value option that intrigues me, I make it a point to get exposure to a stud that has a ton of upside. I don’t love the matchup with the slow-paced Jazz, but Utah hasn’t been very good defensively, and Durant should have his way with them tonight.
Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz, $7100 – My hope is that Utah sticks with Oklahoma City long enough that Hayward doesn’t lose any minutes. Hayward’s lowest fantasy point total in his past six games is 34, and there’s not much I like better than being able to target players that are currently averaging nearly five points per $1000 spent. I’m a little concerned that the Thunder run away with this game by the start of the fourth quarter, but small forward doesn’t really have any other options I feel comfortable with today. Hayward is a serviceable contributor in more than just scoring, and given the Jazz are going to be playing way up in pace against the Thunder, Hayward should see some chances to accrue fantasy points.
Patrick Patterson, Toronto Raptors, $3700 – Take value where you can get it today. Patterson is a solid option in all game formats as he’s seeing 30 minutes of court time and easily paying off his cheap price tag. He could lose minutes to Lucas Nogeuira if he returns to action tonight, but I’m not too concerned about that. Patterson is still going to push for 30 minutes against a bad Sixers team that ranks 21st in defensive efficiency, and should be able to do enough in this game to justify his low price tag. Fire him up in all game formats tonight as a value option that allows access to the top players at other positions.
Jon Leuer, Phoenix Suns, $4600 – Leuer is another solid value play as he appears to be locked into around 28 to 30 minutes as a member of Phoenix’s starting lineup. He’s been very consistent, producing around 25 fantasy points each night. It will be interesting to see how Tyson Chandler’s return affects the minutes of Leuer and Alex Len, but my suspicion is that Leuer won’t lose many minutes, if any if Chandler does return to the lineup today. He has too much upside relative to his price to ignore, and I like him in all game formats today.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves, $7300 – Alex Len is my preferred option at center if Tyson Chandler doesn’t play, but he’s listed as probable, and will likely bump Len from the starting lineup. Be sure to check the starting lineups page for clarification. Towns has been really good lately, and while the Timberwolves have already said they’re not going to push him into heavy minutes, he’s been able to surpass 40 fantasy points twice in his past four games. He had been seeing minutes in the low to mid 20s, but he’s been playing around 30 or more recently. He’s a great option in what should be a fast-paced matchup with the Suns (ranked second in pace). He’s a fantastic tournament option, and I feel comfortable recommending him as a cash game option as well.