Every Thursday I’ll be bringing you my top FanDuelNBA plays.
If you can pull yourself away from March Madness, we have a solid four-game slate on tap for tonight: Minnesota at New York (-1, 197.5), Denver at Houston (-7.5, 215), New Orleans at Phoenix (+1.5, 200), and Utah at Los Angeles Lakers (+4.5, 181.5). Here are my favorite DFS picks.
Alexey Shved, New York Knicks, $7,000 - If you had told me I would ever recommend Alexey Shved at a 7K price tag, I would have said it would be time for me to take a break from NBA DFS. However, the PG position is uncharacteristically really weak tonight and the matchup is prime for Shved. The Knicks lack playmakers at the guard spot and Shved is currently their best option. As a result, he’s averaging almost 33 MPG, 13 FGA and 5.6 assists over his last five games. The 7K price tag is really tough to stomach, and if Patrick Beverley is out tonight, I might pivot to Ty Lawson. However, even at that price, Shved has reached value in three of his last five games, and he gets a terrific matchup against Minnesota, who is 26th in DVP against SGs and 29th against PGs. Also, for those of you who like the revenge factor - he played for Minnesota the previous two seasons.
Tyreke Evans, New Orleans Pelicans, $8,300 - This is the weakest PG slate we have had in a while, and it’s tough to feel too comfortable with any of the available PGs. The Pelicans are battling with the Thunder for the last playoff spot in the West, and as a result, Evans and Anthony Davis are playing big minutes. In his first game back from injury, Evans played 43 minutes in a double OT game against Denver, and then followed that up with 37 minutes against Milwaukee. On a thin PG slate, his minute security is very attractive for cash games. He also draws a solid matchup, as the Suns are 18th in DVP against PGs on the season and 20th over the last three weeks.
Kevin Martin, Minnesota Timberwolves, $6,100 - Like the PG position, the SG position is thin and very top heavy. Martin should be one of the highest owned players of the night due to his mid-level price and great matchup against the Knicks. Minnesota is really banged up right now, which is leaving Martin with solid minutes and shot attempts. He played 44 minutes last night and attempted a staggering 28 FGA en route to a big 47.4 FD performance. The Knicks give up the third-most made three-pointers per game and are 22nd in DVP against SGs, so this is a great spot for Martin to do what he does best: score the ball. He did just that in the first matchup between these teams, pouring in 37 points.
James Harden, Houston Rockets, $10,600 - Harden has tailed off recently, but he draws a great get well matchup with the Nuggets today. I have Anthony Davis projected for more fantasy points, but the SG position is really thin, so based on positional scarcity a great case could be made for Harden as today’s top option. This Denver/Houston game is the top game to target on the night, as it has by far the highest Vegas total of the day at 215 points. The Nuggets are 28th in DVP against SGs on the season and 23rd over the past three weeks, so this looks like a great spot for Harden to get right. He’s absolutely torched them in three matchups this year, averaging 31 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists per game.
Chase Budinger, Minnesota Timberwolves, $3,700 - This play depends on the status of the rest of the Minnesota Timberwolves, as the team is really banged up and has only had eight players available for the past two games. Budinger has taken advantage, putting up 34.1 and 27.8 FD points in those two games, which blows away value for a 3.7K price tag. He’s averaged 31 minutes in those two games and should be in line for heavy minutes again if Minnesota is short-handed once again. This matchup also suits his strengths, as the Knicks give up the third-most made three-pointers per game.
Corey Brewer, Houston Rockets, $5,400 - For cash games, I’ll probably save with Rodney Hood or spend up a little more for Trevor Ariza, but I really like Brewer as a high-upside GPP option tonight. He’s still coming off the bench, but he’s topped 30 FD points in four of his last five games, and this game should be a track meet, which fits Brewer’s style perfectly. He put up 35.7 FD points against this Denver team just 12 days ago, and the Nuggets have really struggled against SFs this year, as they are 28th in DVP. He also could log a few extra minutes in this one since Patrick Beverley and Jason Terry are banged up, so monitor that situation closer to lineups lock.
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets, $6,900 - Like most, I really like Anthony Davis today as well, and that is a route I still might go for my cash games. However, the PF position is actually very deep today. Davis is really expensive and I also like Rudy Gobert. If you plug in those two, you are only left with $5,629 per player to spend over the rest of your lineup. That means that the Davis/Gobert lineups will have lots of Randy Foye, Rodney Hood, Trey Burke, and Chase Budinger. For GPPs, we can use that info to pivot at those positions and grab some high upside players at lower ownership, and Kenneth Faried is just that type of player. He sat out last game for rest, so he should be ready to roll tonight. His minutes have stabilized since the firing of Brian Shaw, and he’s a guy who can put up 40 FD points when the minutes are there. He has at least 32 FD points in four straight contests, but did disappoint against this Rockets team in their last matchup. I’m expecting a bounce-back game against Houston, as the Rockets are really struggling to keep opposing teams off the glass with Dwight Howard out and Faried is one of the best rebounders in the game. With Jusuf Nurkic back, he’ll see some time at PF and C, and the Rockets have struggled against both recently - they are 28th in DVP against both centers and power forwards over the past three weeks.
Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz, $7,700 - If you’re fading Anthony Davis for tournaments, I really like the upside and price savings that a Favors/Faried combo gives you. He’s tailed off the past two games, which might keep some people away, but he’s otherwise seen a nice uptick in fantasy production with Enes Kanter traded. He’s playing 35+ minutes a night and draws a great matchup against the Lakers, who are 19th in DVP against PFs over the past three weeks. In two meetings with the Lakers this year, he is averaging 18 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.5 blocks.
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz, $8,200 - Gobert is the top center option of the day and it’s not really close. He has been terrific since taking over as the starting center and typically plays 35+ minutes a night now. He is in a great spot to put up another big fantasy performance, as the Lakers are 26th in DVP against opposing centers. In two matchups with the Lakers this year, he has averaged well over a fantasy point per minute, and he should dominate the glass once again tonight.
Brandan Wright, Phoenix Suns, $5,200 - Alex Len is listed as doubtful for tonight’s game, so Wright should be in line to draw another start. He’s a GPP-only option as his price has jumped, and Gobert’s matchup is too good to fade for cash games. However, his price is still at playable levels, as he has averaged around .80 fantasy points per minute this year. Wright played 37 minutes last game in his start for Len and dominated the Knicks with 34.7 FD points. He draws an okay matchup against the Pelicans, who are 19th in DVP against centers on the season. If he plays 35 minutes again, Wright should put up between 25-28 FD points, which pays off this salary.
Also Consider - Gorgui Dieng (if all the Minnesota big men are out again)