We have a split slate of games with two early and four late. FanDuel is offering contests for both, so today’s picks will feature players from all games. I’m writing this late Saturday night, so I apologize if some injury news breaks in the morning that isn’t covered here. What I will cover is how yet another injury to Anthony Davis will open up a fair amount of value. Davis has already been ruled out for today’s matchup with the Clippers, and with Norris Cole questionable, the Pelicans offer considerable value.
As always, make sure you’re up on all injury and rest-related news by checking the NBA Starting Lineups Page, and be ready to accept the fact that all of the time you’ve spent on your lineups may be completely wasted when one or two players are declared inactive less than an hour before rosters lock.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, $8900 – I’m a big fan of Kyle Lowry today, but the Raptors have been playing a lot lately and Lowry is definitely a candidate to be rested today. Lillard, on the other hand, will get no such luxury. The Trail Blazers are in the thick of postseason race in the West, and every game is extremely important. Lillard plays huge minutes, carries most of the offensive load for Portland, and draws a very favorable matchup against the Mavericks and Deron Williams. Williams has little to no chance of slowing Lillard down, and in what should be a close, high-scoring matchup between two teams that are in must-win mode, I’m expecting a huge game from Lillard.
Toney Douglas/Norris Cole, New Orleans Pelicans, $4800/$5700 – I’m listing both players here because, as of this writing, Norris Cole is listed as questionable. If he plays, he’s a great option as he should play big minutes and be tasked with heavy offensive responsibility with Anthony Davis out. If he’s out, Douglas will draw the start and should end up being one of the day’s top value plays. The Clippers have played solid defense recently, but they’re also on the tail end of a back to back after losing in Memphis to a team of mostly backups. I think this one stays close, and whichever guard draws the start next to Jrue Holiday should be in for a very productive game.
DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors, $8300 – If Kyle Lowry gets the day off, DeRozan would be the clear cut number one option at the shooting guard position. I like him regardless as he draws a favorable matchup with Orlando, but his usage and per-minute production skyrocket with Lowry off the court. This is all speculation on my part, but don’t be surprised if Lowry rests. It sounded like he was going to get one of the last two games off but ended up playing in both. Victor Oladipo is also a solid option, but he’s getting very pricey and a road matchup with Toronto doesn’t lend itself to high upside.
Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, $5000 – Shooting guard is brutal for the late slate. The two game early slate has great options, and the four game late slate has absolutely nothing. Khris Middleton is simply not usable for $7700 after disappearing for two games and facing Utah, and Rodney Hood is an extremely high dud risk with Utah’s starting five all healthy. That leaves Bradley as the top option. He should play well over 30 minutes against the woeful Sixers, and although his recent performances have left a lot to be desired, he’s almost a lock to finish in the 20 to 25 fantasy point range. If he can find his shot, he can get 30 or more. By now we all know that the Sixers play no defense and offer favorable matchups at every position, so don’t be afraid to target multiple Celtics as long they’re the players unlikely to be affected by Brad Stevens’s ever-changing rotations.
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks, $8800 – I won’t bother writing up any small forwards for the two game slate. With Chandler Parsons doubtful, I think Evan Fournier and Al-Farouq Aminu will both be nearly 100% owned simply because there are no other players you can sanely roster at the position. The late slate at least offers some options, and Melo is at the top of my list as he draws my favorite matchup in daily fantasy basketball – the Sacramento Kings. The Kings play fast and are a total abomination on defense, providing loads of fantasy upside for those who are fortunate enough to be playing against them.
While Kurt Rambis pointlessly runs Melo into the ground trying to win meaningless games in his quest to make himself look good to Phil Jackson, Anthony will continue providing high floors and ceilings that make him an attractive play in all game formats. With the standard playing-the-Kings boost that every player with a pulse gets, Melo sure feels like a lock for at least 40 fantasy points with upside above 50.
Evan Turner, Boston Celtics, $5500 – For me, this is not a day to pay up for Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s simply not worth $10,200 against Utah. Gordon Hayward is in play, but I don’t like spending $7000 on him as he is too volatile. Turner hasn’t really seen a boost with Jae Crowder out. He’s playing the same minutes he did before, and it doesn’t matter whether he starts or comes off the bench. He’s been disappointing the past couple of games, but I expect him to rebound and post a quality line against the defenseless Sixers. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 fantasy points seems fair for Turner in this matchup.
David Lee, Dallas Mavericks, $5000 – The Mavericks have been playing small a lot lately, and I would expect that to continue against Portland. Chandler Parsons is doubtful, which is going to open up extra playing time for Lee. Lee has been incredibly productive since he signed with Dallas, and I expect him to see somewhere between 25 and 30 minutes against the Blazers. Given he’s producing at well over a fantasy point per minute, he should have no trouble paying off his modest $5000 price tag. For me, he’s an easy cash game play that carries plenty of upside in tournaments.
Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Pelicans, $6100 – When Anthony Davis sits, Anderson slides into the starting lineup and becomes one of the top plays of the day. His usage and per-minute fantasy production skyrocket with Davis off the floor, making Anderson one of the top overall plays of the day. He also draws a nice matchup with a Clippers team that has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards over the past three weeks. Anderson is a must play today as he should crush value at his $6100 price tag.
DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers, $8400 – Without Anthony Davis, the Pelicans simply have no one who can hope to contain Jordan in the paint. They’ll start Omer Asik (who has been awful defensively) and bring Kendrick Perkins ( possibly the worst active player in the NBA ) off the bench to man the center position. We will also likely see Ryan Anderson at the five for stretches of the game. What all that means is that New Orleans has no one capable of getting in Jordan’s way. He should grab a ton of rebounds and pick up plenty of easy buckets on his way to a huge double-double. After adding in a few blocks, I think Jordan easily eclipses 40 fantasy points today.