We have 10 games today, and FanDuel has split the day up into an early four-game slate and a late six-game slate. Tournament sizes are the same for both slates, so I’m going to pick one player from each slate per position. Additional plays will, of course, include options from both slates. There are several intriguing games on today’s slate, so let’s get right into it. Given that weekends are common rest days for certain players, check the starting lineups page to confirm your players are in the lineup today prior to tipoff.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, $10,900 – Yes, the price is expensive, but these are the types of games where you want to target Westbrook, especially on a short slate. Overall, the Cavs are a good defensive team, but it’s certainly not due to Kyrie Irving’s contributions. Irving is a poor defender, and I think it’s a foregone conclusion that Westbrook will be abusing him early and often this afternoon. Kevin Durant draws a much more difficult assignment with LeBron James, and given Westbrook is already the more reliable daily fantasy option, I’m very confident saying that Westbrook is the top play of the day (independent of pricing). If you can fit him into your early lineups, you need to get him in there.
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls, $6900 – Rose might be the easiest play of the day. Priced at only $6900, he has yet to reach a level that accurately reflects his production with Jimmy Butler on the shelf. Rose is taking a ton of shots, and he’s continued to look better and better when attacking the basket. He draws the best matchup imaginable against a Lakers team that plays atrocious defense and has been giving up huge games to opposing point guards all season. Don’t overthink this one, just lock Rose into your lineups.
Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, $5600 – Early slate shooting guard is tough, and I’m not overly confident recommending anyone. Bradley is the best of the bunch, however. His recent production isn’t going to turn any heads, but he should play heavy minutes in what is likely going to be a close, fast-paced, high-scoring game between the Celtics and Nuggets. Denver is dreadful defensively, and although we prefer to target them with forwards and centers, shooting guards have had plenty of success as well. Sometimes the best we can do is to take a player that we know is going to see plenty of court time in a favorable matchup and just hope he delivers.
Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic, $5300 – Fournier continues to play heavy minutes for Orlando, and the presence of Brandon Jennings didn’t affect his minutes last game. He’s too cheap for a guy playing 35 to 40 minutes, and although he’s not a primary weapon on offense, his heavy workload should allow him to reach value today. Indiana is not a great matchup, but this game is expected to stay close, and Fournier should be able to earn you at least 25 fantasy points as long as he continues to see big minutes. He’s a solid value play in all game formats today.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, $10,100 – It’s going to be very difficult to use both Russell Westbrook and LeBron James for the early slate, but you’re going to want to use at least one of them. James is essentially a lock for 40 or more fantasy points in every matchup, and he’s been closer to 50 recently. Now, consider that today’s matchup between the Cavs and Thunder should be extremely competitive, and you have a situation where James could post a monster stat line. He legitimately 60 fantasy point upside in a game like this, and I think fading him is a big mistake, especially when you consider that small forward is a thin position for the early slate. I’m locking him into my lineups for all game formats.
Doug McDermott, Chicago Bulls, $3800 – McDermott is coming off of a 30 real-point performance against the Raptors, and the Lakers present a terrific opportunity for him to keep the momentum going. He’s still a scoring-dependent bench player, but small forward is a weak position today, so in my opinion he’s worth the risk. Not only does he present solid upside relative to his cheap price tag, but he offers significant cap savings that allows you to spend up at stronger positions. He’s a viable option in all game formats today given the matchup and positional scarcity.
Mirza Teletovic, Phoenix Suns, $4100 – Yes, the Spurs are an elite defensive team, but Teletovic is simply too cheap now that Markieff Morris is no longer in Phoenix. In his first game without Morris, Teletovic played 34 minutes and posted 34.6 fantasy points. Granted, this was against Houston’s dreadful defense, but I still expect him to post solid numbers. We know he’s going to take plenty of shots, and he should contribute enough peripheral stats to support his scoring. Don’t be scared off by the perceived bad matchup with San Antonio. If Teletovic plays over 30 minutes again, he should have no trouble reaching or exceeding 20 fantasy points. Keep in mind that Teletovic likely saw extra run due to Alex Len’s absence and Tyson Chandler’s injury, and if both players are unable to play today, he could enter the starting lineup alongside Leuer. Even if Len and Chandler play, I expect Teletovic to see at least 25 minutes, which would still make him a solid play.
Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies, $6500 – The Raptors are a terrific matchup for any opposing front court player as Luis Scola is a poor defender and Jonas Valanciunas is a very poor rim protector. With Marc Gasol out, Randolph is Memphis’s number one front court player. His usage and rebounding rates both see a significant boost with Gasol off the floor, and his price as yet to come up to a level that coincides with his new role. He should be able to bully the Raptors inside, and I expect a very solid line in both scoring and rebounding from Randolph today. He’s a solid option in all game formats.
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons, $8400 – The early slate is almost forcing you to play Drummond given there are no other reliable options at center. You could take a shot on Tim Duncan in a tournament, but in cash games, Drummond is the only dependable option. He draws a fantastic matchup against a Pelicans team that rebounds poorly and has been terrorized by opposing centers. Drummond can be frustrating to roster, but I think he’s a safe bet for at least 35 fantasy points tonight, and, as we’ve seen before, his upside is tremendous.
Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls, $8900 – Both Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol are locked into my late slate lineups today. Gasol draws a fantastic matchup against a Lakers team that plays no defense and rebounds the ball extremely poorly. With Jimmy Butler out, both Rose and Gasol are involved in nearly every possession when they’re on the court. This sets up perfectly for a huge game from Pau, and because he touches the ball so much on offense, he’s been racking up plenty of assists to supplement his scoring and rebounding. He’s easily the top play at center, and I strongly discourage fading him today.