Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, $10,800 - With the Cavs and Thunder meeting tonight, most of the focus will be on the individual matchup between LeBron James and Kevin Durant. That may not sit too well with Westbrook, as he’s the type of player who has a constant chip on his shoulder, and it would be no surprise if it was actually Westbrook that stole the show tonight. Cleveland has been solid against PGs this season but Westbrook is matchup proof and will have a big advantage over Matthew Dellavedova and Mo Willams. He averaged 24 points, 8 rebounds and 9.5 assists against the Cavs last year and should be in for a big game again tonight.
Patrick Beverley, Houston Rockets, $4,200 - I’m normally not a big fan of using Patrick Beverley, as he doesn’t get very much usage in the Rockets offense since James Harden really plays the PG role. He’s dependent on three point shots and defensive statistics, but this is a short slate and the matchup against the Lakers is elite. The Lakers are dead last in DVP against PG and at just $4,200, all that Beverley is 20 FD points to meet value. Over his last ten games, he’s scored at least 17.5 FD points in each and has exceeded 20 FD points seven times, so he’s a solid option at his price point.
Kobe Bryant & Lou Williams, Los Angeles Lakers - The Rockets are playing some terrible basketball and have been horrific defensively, so the Lakers check in as only six-point underdogs tonight. Lou Williams has moved into the starting lineup at SG, and has hit 5x value in each of his four starts. The matchup against the non-existent defense of James Harden is elite and the Rockets are 20th in DVP against SG. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant should be well rested as the Lakers have had a few days off. He’s continuing to be ultra-aggressive offensively and lit the Rockets up for 48 FD points two games ago. He also draws an elite matchup, as the Rockets are 29th in DVP against SF.
Jeremy Lamb, Charlotte Hornets, $4,400 - James Harden is obviously an elite option, but you can at most fit three of Harden, Westbrook, Durant and LeBron. He’s a guy I’ll work into some tournament lineups, but SG actually looks like one of the deeper positions tonight, especially if Nicolas Batum sits out for Charlotte. Batum left last night’s game at halftime due to sickness, and with Al Jefferson out, there was a ton of extra usage to go around. Jeremy Lamb stepped in and produced 34 FD points, and if Batum sits tonight, he would be an elite value against Toronto, who is 21st in DVP against SG.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, $10,400 - Tonight is setting up as a stars and scrubs night, and it’s possible to fit in three of the big four (Westbrook, Harden, Durant, LeBron) into your lineups. Both the Cavs and Thunder have actually defended SF very well this season, but LeBron and Durant are both matchup proof and they should go at each other tonight. In 14 career games against Kevin Durant, LeBron has averaged 29.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.2 steals. If choosing between the two I’ll give the slight edge to LeBron as he is the top option on the Cavs, whereas Durant shares more usage with Westbrook.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, $10,300 - Speaking of Durant, he’s also fared very well against LeBron in his career, as he has averaged 29.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 14 games. With Nicolas Batum questionable for tonight’s contest and DeMarre Carroll out, the SF position is very thin, so plugging in both LeBron and Durant is a very attractive strategy.
Also Consider - Trevor Ariza
Luis Scola, Toronto Raptors, $4,500 - PF is where I’m looking to save today, as both Kevin Love and Serge Ibaka draw very tough matchups. Scola only played 18 minutes last game, which is concerning. However, digging deeper that is likely due to matchups since Indiana started Paul George at PF, and Scola obviously has no change of sticking with George. He played at least 27 minutes in each of his previous three games, and produced at least 24 FD points in each. The Hornets have really struggled against the PF position; they are 28th in DVP against PF.
Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets, $3,900 - I’ll also be monitoring Donatas Motiejunas to see if there is any change to his minutes restriction, but right now Zeller looks like a solid value on a short slate. With Al Jefferson out, he’s stepped into the starting center role and the Raptors interior defense has suffered with Jonas Valunciunas out. They are 16th in DVP against centers, and while Zeller can be volatile, he’s also flashed 30 FD point upside, which makes him an attractive GPP option.
Bismack Biyombo, Toronto Raptors, $4,000 - The weakness of the Charlotte defense has been their interior and they are now without Al Jefferson. They are 21st in DVP against centers on the season and Biyombo has stepped into the starting lineup due to the injury to Jonas Valunciunas. He gets very little offensive usage, but he does rebound very well and fits into the stars and scrubs strategy tonight. He also could have revenge on his mind, as he’ll face his former team for the first time.
Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets, $7,400 - Along with the rest of the Rockets, he’s been very bad this season and now there are trade rumors swirling. However, the center position is very thin tonight and he draws the top matchup on the board. The Lakers are 27th in DVP against centers and Howard just produced a big stat line against them recently with 18 points and 12 rebounds. There’s also the storyline of him returning to L.A. and his feud with Kobe Bryant, so he could have some extra motivation.
Also Consider - Roy Hibbert