We have a five-game slate today, and FanDuel has broken it up into early and late slates. I’ll be considering both slates with today’s picks as there is enough action to justify talking about some players from the two early games. The heavier action will be in the three game evening slate, and with Denver-Portland and Phoenix-Los Angeles on tap, we should have plenty to work with despite the small player pool. That said, let’s take a look at today’s picks.
Brandon Knight, Phoenix Suns, $6500 – Knight had a big game against the Kings yesterday after struggling in his first two games without Eric Bledsoe. We can forgive him for poor performances against both the Spurs and Thunder, and it’s encouraging to see him take advantage of a poor defensive team like Sacramento. He draws the easiest assignment a point guard could ask for tonight as the Suns take on the Lakers. Los Angeles is allowing the most points per game to opposing point guards, and they’re currently dead last in defensive efficiency. This is a prime spot to load up on Suns players that are still priced as if Eric Bledsoe is healthy.
Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks, $6400 – Kyle Lowry is too expensive for my liking, so Teague is my top point guard option for the early slate. However, if you’re playing the early slate, you’re likely going to end up with both of them anyway given FanDuel forces you to roster two point guards. Teague has struggled with consistency all season, but over his past five games he has scored no less than 26 fantasy points. He also eclipsed 40 in two of them. If you’re playing the two-game early slate, you can’t fade him. He draws a favorable matchup with the Knicks and Jose Calderon, and I think his floor is around 25 in this matchup.
Will Barton, Denver Nuggets, $7200 – I feel like every time I write for RotoWorld, Denver is playing. It makes my job a little easier because Barton is such an easy player to feature. He played phenomenally last night in an overtime loss to the Warriors. The game shouldn’t have been close, but Barton’s strong play brought Denver back, forcing overtime in the eventual loss. He logged 50 minutes, but he’s young so hopefully he’s not too tired for a prime matchup against his former team. The return of Danilo Gallinari certainly didn’t hurt Barton’s minutes or production, and we should expect to see much of the same from him going forward. At $7200, he’s still an easy play, especially on a short slate.
C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers, $8400 – McCollum is expensive, but he’s worth it tonight if Damian Lillard is forced to miss another game. The issue here is that the evening slate starts a full three hours before this game tips off, so it’s quite possible rosters will lock without definitive word on whether or not Lillard is going to play. If Lillard is confirmed out, McCollum is an elite play against a bad defensive team that has really struggled against opposing guards. If he’s a game-time decision, you can still use McCollum if you can afford him, but you can also go the value route with Devin Booker.
T.J. Warren, Phoenix Suns, $4600 – If Warren is in the starting lineup, and he should be given Jeff Hornacek probably wants to keep his job, you absolutely have to play him. As a starter, he posted scores of 52 and 28, crushing his value threshold. Facing the league’s worst defense, Warren should have no trouble paying off his bargain price tag, and given he has incredible upside, you’re better off sitting tonight’s slate out than fading him.
Otto Porter, Washington Wizards, $6000 – Porter has been terrific lately. He has a lot of value because not only can he score, but he can also contribute across all five scoring categories. Washington has been banged up for weeks now, and with Bradley Beal out, Porter has had to step up and fill some of the void on offense. Since returning from an injury, he’s posted huge fantasy point totals, and although the Heat is a team I try to avoid in daily fantasy, it’s not a luxury I have on a three game slate on a site that’s forcing me to choose two small forwards. Porter is underpriced at $6000, and he’s an absolute must tonight.
Bobby Portis, Chicago Bulls, $3900 – Portis is playing around 30 minutes off the bench with Joakim Noah out, and in that time, he’s easily paying off his $3900 price tag. On a short slate with limited options at each position, it’s important to take advantage of the easy value plays that present themselves. Portis is about as easy as it gets as he should yield around 25 fantasy points during his time on the court. If he gets matched up with either Luis Scola or Patrick Patterson, he should be in for a big day.
Chris Bosh, Miami Heat, $7500 – Bosh’s range of outcomes is rather wide. He can finish in the high 20s, or put up about 45. I do like the matchup with a Wizards team that will force the Heat to play way up in pace. For this evening’s short slate, Bosh is the clear top play at the power forward position. Nobody has the upside he possesses, and I think you simply need to roster him and hope for the best from him tonight.
Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat, $7500 – It’s a rough day at the center position. Neither slate is offering any options that I consider to be safe, so my plan is to roster the player that has the most upside. Whiteside can be frustrating because he can get into foul trouble and his minutes are inconsistent, but he has the ability crush his value threshold with his elite rebounding and shot blocking. I like targeting Miami players as they should get a boost from playing a fast-paced Wizards team. That should afford Whiteside a few extra opportunities to accrue defensive stats. Marcin Gortat has been very solid on the defensive side of the court recently, but I still like Whiteside to end the day as the top scoring center.