We have five games on tonight’s slate with Denver being only the team with anything to play for. They’re still battling Portland for the opportunity to get blown out of the playoffs by Golden State. Other teams are essentially locked into their playoff seeding or have been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. Given this, we should be able to find some solid value plays. Let’s take a look at today’s FanDuel picks.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, $13,500 – Westbrook and the Thunder have little to play for other than the possibility of Westbrook breaking Oscar Robertson’s record for most triple doubles in a single season. He has a great chance of achieving that feat tonight in a stellar matchup against Denver. The Nuggets have been torched by opposing point guards all season, and given this game has been assigned the highest total of the evening, I’m expecting a huge game from Westbrook. He’s a must in cash games for me, and you’ll want exposure in tournaments as well.
Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets, $4,300 – Murray is in line for heavy minutes tonight with Jameer Nelson out and Emmanuel Mudiay questionable. Will Barton has missed the last several games with a foot injury, so he may be out tonight as well. Murray played 38 minutes last game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he sees a similar workload tonight. He has tremendous upside relative to his price, and it’s hard to imagine a scenario where he finishes with less than 20 fantasy points. For me, he’s an easy value play on today’s short slate.
James Harden, Houston Rockets, $12,100 – The typically weak shooting guard position is, of course, thin again on today’s short slate. James Harden won’t be rested down the stretch unless he requests a game off, and given that’s unlikely, we should see Harden play a nearly full complement of minutes. Houston has nothing to play for, so the minutes may be reduced a bit, but I’d still expect him to play over 30 in a favorable matchup against a bad Kings team. With few viable cash game options at shooting guard, Harden becomes a necessity for me even if he’s a bit overpriced.
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns, $8,100 – Booker’s been on a stud, and should continue to be as the season winds down. He’s the clear focal point of Phoenix’s offense, and although the Mavericks are one of the slower-paced teams in the league, they’re also just not very good. Booker is in line for another big game. This game is one of the lower total games on the NBA odds board, but 211 certainly isn’t bad. Plus, it’s projected to be close, and given the relative weakness of the shooting guard position, I think you need to pay up for the two best players, at least in cash games.
T.J. Warren, Phoenix Suns, $6,400 – Some players seem to stay underpriced, and that’s what we have with Warren. He’s one of the easiest plays on the slate at just $6400. He’s playing big minutes as the season winds down, and he’s the secondary scoring option behind Devin Booker. His rebounding has been very good, and I think he’ll finish above 30 fantasy points tonight. Small forward, like shooting guard, is a very thin position, which makes Warren a must for me in both cash games and tournaments.
Doug McDermott, Oklahoma City Thunder, $3,500 – This play is contingent upon the status of Andre Roberson. With Roberson out, McDermott started and played 40 minutes last game. Even though McDermott is not a good per minute producer, we can’t ignore a guy seeing that much playing time for minimum salary in a game with a 229 total, especially on a day where we desperately need value. If Roberson plays, go ahead and slot him in as the value play instead. He’s just $4000 and likely to finish around 20 fantasy points, which is a terrific return at a weak position.
Additional Plays: Andrew Wiggins
Henry Ellenson, Detroit Pistons, $3,500 - Thankfully, head coach Stan Van Gundy is fed up with the poor play of both Marcus Morris and Jon Leuer, giving Ellenson the start last game. Ellenson parlayed 26 minutes of court time into 29.2 fantasy points, and despite hitting just one of eight from beyond the arc, I expect him to draw another start tonight. The Pistons are out of playoff contention, so there’s no reason for Van Gundy not to get a more extended look at Ellenson. At the bare minimum salary, Ellenson is an easy value play tonight that provides us with desperately cap relief.
Skal Labissiere, Sacramento Kings, $4,100 – Labissiere has eclipsed 30 minutes in four of his past five games, finishing above 20 fantasy points in all four. It’s reasonable to expect him to see that much time tonight in a favorable matchup against the Rockets, making him a terrific value play at an otherwise uninspiring power forward position. I suggest just locking him and his 20+ fantasy points in for cash games, making sure also to have tournament exposure to him given his upside.
Boban Marjanovic, Detroit Pistons, $3,600 – With both Henry Ellenson and Marjanovic playing well and helping the Pistons earn an impressive win over Houston, there’s no reason to think head coach Stan Van Gundy won’t give these guys another shot today. Out of the rotation for almost the entire season, Boban exploded for 44.4 fantasy points in 28 minutes of action. With the likelihood of well over 20 minutes again, he becomes a must play given his ability to rack up points and rebounds very quickly. A matchup against Memphis isn’t great, but there’s just no way I’m fading Boban at just over the minimum salary when he’s seeing over 20 minutes.