Every Thursday I’ll be bringing you my top FanDuel NBA plays. We have a short three-game slate on tap tonight: Miami at Cleveland (-12, 200), Houston at Dallas (-2, 210.5), and Phoenix at Golden State (-11.5, 209.5).
Based on all the Vegas NBA betting lines, the Houston/Dallas game is the top game to target, as there is blowout potential in the other two games. There are also a lot of injuries that need to be monitored that could shake up your lineups. Draymond Green, Kevin Love, Luol Deng and Udonis Haslem are all listed as GTDs, and it looks like Brandon Knight will sit another game.
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Goran Dragic, Miami Heat, $6,400 - Dragic has really struggled recently, as he hasn’t topped 21 FD points in his last three games. However, the minutes are still there - he has played at least 35 minutes in four of his last five games and has averaged 37 MPG in his last two games. Miami is really beat up right now, so he should continue to play huge minutes. He’s averaging .80 FD points per minute on the year, so if he continues to play 35-37 minutes, then he should be right around the 30 FD points necessary to pay off this salary. The “defense” of Kyrie Irving presents a solid slump-buster, as the Cavs are dead last in DVP against PGs over the last three weeks. These two teams faced off two weeks ago and Dragic dropped 20 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists and 2 steals on the Cavs.
Rajon Rondo, Dallas Mavericks, $6,200 - Rondo has picked it up over the past two games (with 44 and 27 FD points) and is playing in the top game to target of the night. He also sees a nice matchup boost, considering the Rockets are playing without Patrick Beverley, so you can throw their DVP against PGs out the window. Since losing Beverley, they have given up a monster game to Tyreke Evans, and Ray McCallum was solid against them last night as well. I do wish Rondo’s minutes were more secure, but it’s a three-game slate, and he’s a solid target for cash games if you can’t afford Curry. Speaking of Curry, I love him as a GPP play, but the potential blowout and the fact that the Warriors have already locked up playoff seeding (which could limit him to 30 minutes) scares me. The matchup is certainly there though - the Suns are 18th in DVP against PGS on the season, and Curry has torched them this year, averaging 29.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 3.7 steals.
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, $7,500 - It seems like the entire Heat team is a GTD, and some will look for value there, but I’ll just be looking to Wade and Dragic. The Heat value plays leave a lot to be desired in terms of NBA talent, and the Cavs have defended SFs, PFs, and Cs very well recently. However, they have struggled against PGs and SGs, which just so happens to coincide with Miami’s best two players. The Cavs are 21st in DVP and 18th over the last three weeks against SGs, and Wade has taken over a huge offensive role recently. Wade has taken full advantage of Cleveland’s weak SG defense, as he has averaged 31.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals in two meetings with the Cavs.
James Harden, Houston Rockets, $10,600 - If you’re going the balanced lineup route, Monta Ellis is also a very solid option, and I expect Monta to be in the 30-35 FD point range to pay off his salary. However, Harden is the top option of the night, regardless of position, that is if you’re spending up. He’s coming off of a 68 FD point game, and now has two 60 FD point in his last six games. This game should be played at a breakneck pace and the Mavs are 28th in DVP against SGs over the last three weeks. Harden has been solid against the Mavs this year too, averaging 25.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists in three meetings.
Chandler Parsons, Dallas Mavericks, $6,500 - Parsons has really started to step up his game recently and he is playing heavy minutes. He has now played at least 33 minutes in each of his past six games, and has topped 30 FD points in four of his last five games. Like most nights, the SF position is thin, and LeBron is carrying a very large 11K tag. Parsons is a solid mid-tier option who is playing in what is projected to be both the highest scoring and closest game of the night. This is a revenge game for Parsons, especially since the split between him and the Rockets wasn’t very clean. He should be fired up, and although Trevor Ariza is a solid defender, the Rockets are 22nd in DVP against SFs on the season.
Trevor Ariza, Houston Rockets, $6,400 - LeBron is obviously in play, but 11K seems like a high tag given his recent production and the blowout potential. If I’m spending 11K on a player tonight, I’d prefer Harden, but if Kevin Love sits that does boost LeBron. Assuming Love plays, I’m taking a balanced approach at SF with Parsons and Ariza. This is a big game for both teams and it is a pretty heated rivalry. Ariza is playing big minutes (at least 38 minutes in each of his past five games) and has produced at least 25 FD points in each of those contests. He also draws a quality matchup with Chandler Parsons, who is not a good defender - the Mavs are 23rd in DVP against SFs. Harden is drawing a ton of attention from the opposition’s defense, which has opened up shots for Ariza - he is averaging 13 FGA over his last five games.
Also Consider - LeBron James
Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets, $6,400 - Jones returned from injury last night and went right back to work with 42.9 FD points in 32 minutes. His athleticism should give an aging Dirk fits on the offensive side of the ball, and the Mavs have struggled recently against PFs. They are 20th in DVP against PFs over the last three weeks, and Jones had 9 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 4 blocks in his only game against the Mavericks this year.
Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns, $7,000 - I’ve got Jones locked in as my top PF, and my second PF is in flux depending on how the injuries shake out. Dirk Nowitzki is in play as a solid cash game option since you can mark him down for 25 FD points, but his upside is extremely limited at this point in his career. Kevin Love and Draymond Green are both GTDs, which would open up Tristan Thompson and David Lee as cheap value plays. However, if Draymond Green sits, the guy I’m giving the biggest bump to is Markieff Morris, and he could go overlooked tonight. PF has already been the one weak link of this Golden State defense, as they are 18th in DVP against PFs on the season and dead last over the last three weeks. Green has sat the last two games, and his minutes have been limited in other games, which has contributed to their weak PF defense of late, as David Lee and Marreese Speights are defensive turnstiles. That was evident on Tuesday night when Blake Griffin dropped 40 points and 12 rebounds on the Warriors. Markieff can be volatile and the Suns could easily get smoked here, so he is a GPP-only play. But, if Green sits, he has tremendous upside.
Brandan Wright, Phoenix Suns, $4,600 - Alex Len will miss one week with a broken nose, so Wright will step into the starting lineup, and he is the top value option of the night. Alex Len has missed three games in the month of March, and Wright has averaged 35 minutes, 13.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1 steal and 3.6 blocks in those three games, which easily pays off his salary. Andrew Bogut is a great defender, so the matchup isn’t ideal. However, the Warriors are 19th in DVP against centers on the season, and the center position is really thin tonight.
Timofey Mozgov, Cleveland Cavaliers, $4,800 - Wright is going to be in the vast majority of my NBA lineups, but he should be highly owned. If you are running multiple lineups in GPPs, a pivot to Mozgov, who will be low owned, is a solid tournament option. His minutes are very volatile, but he does have 30 FD point upside and has at least 25 FD points in three of his last five games. The Heat are really banged up on the interior, and although Hassan Whiteside returned last game, he was limited to 23 minutes and can be foul prone. Due to all of their injuries on the interior, the Heat have slipped to 18th in DVP against centers over the last three weeks. Also, Kevin Love is a GTD, and if he sits out then Tristan Thompson would slide into the starting PF position, which helps solidify Mozgov’s minutes. The big man has averaged 26 MPG in the last three games that Love has missed.