There are only four games on tonight’s slate on FanDuel, but we have some very nice matchups to target. Other than Raptors/Kings, which I don’t have much interest in outside of DeMar DeRozan, we have some very fantasy-friendly situations to examine. As always, the first thing to consider is injuries. Al Horford is still out with a concussion, Dirk Nowitzki is out with an Achilles injury, and at the time of this writing, both Rudy Gay and Will Barton are looking rather unlikely to play. We’ll discuss the ramifications of these injury situations when we get to the picks, but be sure to monitor NBA starting lineups throughout the day. Good luck tonight in both your NBA and NFL games.
J.J. Barea, Dallas Mavericks, $5100 – Barea is an absolute lock today. He’s been very productive when the Mavericks are at full health, and with Dirk Nowitzki shut down for at least a week, he’ll likely slide into the starting lineup and get a boost in minutes. He’s the only Maverick I’m interested in, as trying to predict production from any of the other starters is nearly impossible. You can certainly use them in tournaments, but I’m completely avoiding them in cash games.
Normally a slow-paced team, the Bucks are actually middle of the pack this season. This is a good matchup for Barea, though it really doesn’t matter too much today. He’s underpriced relative to the sort of production we can expect from him, and given he’s a guy that’s always looking for his own shot, you know he’s going to put points on the board. Lock him in as a terrific value play tonight.
Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics, $8100 – There are certainly some viable GPP options at the point guard position. Players like D’Angelo Russell and Eric Bledsoe certainly have upside, but they’ve most disappointed relative to their price despite some good matchups. Thomas, however, has not been disappointing, and he should continue his strong play against a fast-paced Nuggets team that has long been weak against opposing point guards. Thomas is the number one option on the offensive end, and I think he can pick up an additional steal or two when guarding the turnover-prone Emmanuel Mudiay. There’s really no reason to look outside of Thomas and Barea in cash games.
Giannis Antetokounmp, Milwaukee Bucks, $9900 – As long as FanDuel insists upon listing Giannis as a shooting guard despite the fact that he is a point guard, I’ll continue using him every night. He’s not a shooting guard. He’s a do-everything point guard who is a nightly triple-double threat because he’s the best scorer and rebounder on his team. In fact, he would have had a triple-double last night if the pitiful Kings had managed to keep the game close. The Mavericks have no one who can slow him down, and this game should remain close enough that he’ll get his full minutes. I’m not worried about the back to back situation given he only played 25 minutes last night.
DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors, $8800 – There’s not a ton of analysis required here. The only other viable shooting guard option is Avery Bradley, and he’s certainly in play against Denver. However, I’ll take the guy who’s scoring 30+ points per game and taking 25 shots. The Raptors offense runs through, and almost always stops with, DeRozan. The Kings brought in Aron Afflalo to help their wing defense, and while he’s certainly an upgrade over Ben McLemore, I’m not at all concerned with DeRozan’s ability to put up another 30 real points in this one.
Additional Plays: Avery Bradley
T.J. Warren, Phoenix Suns, $6300 – Warren has emerged as Phoenix’s best scoring option, and he draws a favorable matchup with the Lakers. There’s really nothing to like at the small forward position, as there are no stud options to choose from. Warren projects as the top play due to his floor and upside, and I think you’re leaving a lot on the table if you try to pick two other small forwards on this slate. He’s easy to fit into your lineup, and I would not advise a fade in cash games.
Harrison Barnes, Dallas Mavericks, $5100 – Barnes isn’t exciting to roster, but he’s cheap, playing big minutes, and should take on some extra responsibility on offense with Dirk Nowitzki out. He should have little trouble paying off his cheap $5100 price tag at FanDuel tonight in what’s likely to be a close game with the Bucks. Don’t be thrown off by the low game total. Barnes’s price and the lack of other intriguing small forward options make him a cash game lock.
Additional Plays: Jaylen Brown (if he starts again)
Larry Nance Jr., Los Angeles Lakers, $4100 – Nance has seen around 30 minutes in each of the Lakers’ last three games, posting nearly 30 fantasy points in each of them. There’s no reason to think this is going to change given how productive he’s been with the second unit. Timofey Mozgov’s return to the frontcourt rotation had no effect on his playing time. He’s a cash game and tournament lock for me given he’s been crushing value recently. Oh, and a matchup with a fast-paced Suns team that gets wrecked by opposing power forwards (Terrence Jones just went off against them) is pretty nice too.
Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers, $6300 – It’s a bit annoying that Randle isn’t seeing over 30 minutes, but this matchup is too good to pass up. The Suns have been dreadful against opposing power forwards, recently giving up a huge game to Terrence Jones. Randle has done well in good matchups, and this is one of the best matchups he’ll see. The Suns play fast, and offer little resistance on the defensive end of the floor. He should be popular given he’s the top option at the position, but there will be players who don’t use him in cash games, and I’m happy to have an edge over those who decide to play the fade.
Additional Plays: Jabari Parker
Jusuf Nurkic, Denver Nuggets, $6000 – It can be scary to roster a member of the Nugget frontcourt, especially with Darrell Arthur back and giving Mike Malone another guy to use to mess up fantasy players. However, Nurkic is the most talented of the group, and he’s been the most productive as well. He draws a great starting matchup against Tyler Zeller, and he should be able to dominate that matchup. Yes, the potential for playing only 26 minutes is certainly there, but he can put up over 30 fantasy points in that amount of time, and it’s not like the other center options are very good. DeMarcus Cousins busted last night and is playing in a back-to-back in Toronto in a game where the Kings are unlikely to stay competitive, and Jonas Valanciunas draws a poor matchup against Cousins and hasn’t been any good anyway. I’ll take the upside Nurkic offers at a position that has no great options.
Additional Plays: Tyson Chandler