With NBA season back in full swing, I’ll be bringing you the top plays on FanDuel each and every Thursday. Thursdays are typically a slow day in the NBA; we have a small three-game slate tonight with Memphis at Indiana (+2.5, 187), Atlanta at New York (+3.5, 197), and Dallas at Los Angeles Clippers (-11, 210.5).
Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks, $7,000 - I’m expecting most people to pay up for Chris Paul (who is the top option if price isn’t a factor) or to punt the position with value plays like Raymond Felton and/or Dennis Schroder, which should leave Teague fairly low owned. He really struggled in the Hawks’ opening night loss, but this is a great bounce-back spot for him. As long as he’s aggressive, he should be able to get into the paint at will against Jose Calderon, who is one of the weaker PG defenders in the NBA. Teague is a guy who has 40-point upside, so I like him as a GPP play to help differentiate your lineups on a short slate.
Raymond Felton, Dallas Mavericks, $4,000 / Dennis Schroder, Atlanta Hawks, $4,800 - There are two viable punt options at PG, so I don’t mind the idea of punting the position and spending up at SF, PF and C. With Chandler Parsons out, Felton drew the start at SG and played a team 33 minutes en route to 31 FD points. He should continue to see solid playing time in the early going, as Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews are on a minutes restriction, and this is a back-to-back situation for the Mavs. Schroder was great off the bench for the Hawks in their opener, as he put up 20 points in 25 minutes. The most encouraging sign was that he played eight or nine minutes alongside Jeff Teague, which should mean that he consistently plays minutes in the mid-20s. He’s a guy who averaged almost a fantasy point per minute last year, so if he gets 25 minutes, he should be in line to hit 5x value in a plus matchup with the Knicks’ weak backcourt.
Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks, $5,200 - Shooting guard is incredibly thin on this short slate, so it’s a position where I’d look to save and move on. Korver struggled in the opener, but this is a nice bounce-back spot for him, as the Knicks really struggled to defend the 3-point line last year. Korver is one of the game’s elite shooters, and if the Knicks continue to defend the perimeter poorly, he’ll light them up tonight. Another factor working in Korver’s favor is that Thabo Sefolosha is out, so both Korver and Kent Bazemore should pick up a few extra minutes.
Paul George, Indiana Pacers, $8,500 - George draws a very tough matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies’ defense, but given the other SF options on the slate, he’s a guy I want in my lineups. He’s starting at PF, which really gives his rebounding numbers a solid boost. Although he shot poorly from the field last night, George still filled the stat line with 17 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, which gives him both a high floor as well a high ceiling. He’ll have a tough time with Zach Randolph defensively, but George is also going to be a very tough cover on the other end, as he’s way too athletic for Randolph.
C.J. Miles, Indiana Pacers, $4,900 - Carmelo Anthony is my second-favorite SF on the slate, but he’s expensive, so if you can’t fit him into your lineups then I’d look towards Miles. Paul George moving to PF has opened up minutes for Miles at small forward; he drew the start and played 36 minutes last night. As mentioned with George, this is not a good matchup for Miles, but it’s hard to be picky on a three-game slate.
Also Consider - Carmelo Anthony
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers, $9,900 - Blake is the top option on my board regardless of position, because the Mavericks just don’t have anyone to guard him. At his age, Dirk doesn’t have a prayer of slowing him down offensively, and their big men off the bench, like Charlie Villanueva, are equally overmatched. Griffin had a big opening night and is the focal point of the Clippers offense, which is predicted to be the top scoring offense on the night.
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks, $7,700 - I’m looking to spend at PF tonight, as I really like the matchups for the high end PFs. Millsap will draw a matchup against the Knicks’ rookie, Kristaps Porzingis, and I like this matchup for him to take advantage of Porzingis’s youth. He’s a guy who can really stuff the stat sheet, and we should see a motivated Hawks team following their opening night loss.
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies, $8,400 - In years past, the Indiana interior defense has been very good, however, Roy Hibbert and David West have moved on, and the Pacers are playing small ball with Paul George at the PF spot. As a result, Jonas Valanciunas dominated the paint in the opener with 21 points and 15 rebounds, which bodes well for Gasol tonight. The Grizzlies were embarrassed in their opener last night, and I think we see a much better effort against Indiana, with Gasol leading the way.
DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers, $7,700 - The major storyline of tonight’s games will be Jordan facing off with the team that he backed out of a verbal agreement with. It’s narrative street, but that should lead to some extra motivation from Jordan, and the Mavs just don’t have the horses inside to slow down Jordan and Griffin. Jordan battled foul trouble against DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings last night, but that shouldn’t be a problem tonight. I’m expecting a big double-double here.