After a few short Thursday slates, we check in with a solid six-game NBA slate tonight for our FanDuel contests. The NBA is crazy this time of the year, so be sure to monitor news up through lineup lock and check the NBA Starting Lineups Page, as teams are resting players on a nightly basis so new value can emerge later in the day. The Clippers have already announced they are resting Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, and J.J. Redick, while the Nets are resting Brook Lopez. Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith are sick and listed as questionable, and I’m curious as to whether the Thunder rest someone like Russell Westbrook tonight. Needless to say, there is tons of value out there tonight and I haven’t even mentioned the Pelicans, who are depleted by injuries.
Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics, $7,800 – Russell Westbrook is a great option and there’s plenty of value to fit him in, but I’ve listed some other high-end options, and I think there’s an outside shot Westbrook could rest tonight. Dropping down a price tier, Thomas is also in a great spot tonight. The Celtics still need to win games to lock up home court advantage in the first round, and Thomas gets a matchup with the defensively-challenged Damian Lillard. He’s rolling offensively right now and put up 30 real points in 30 minutes in the first meeting between these teams.
Tim Frazier, New Orleans Pelicans, $4,000 – This pick is dependent on Norris Cole remaining out of the lineup, and if Cole does suit up, then I’d pivot to Rivers or Larkin. Assuming Cole sits out again, there’s a trio of value options at PG in Frazier, Rivers and Larkin, and I think Frazier will be the lowest owned of the group, so he’s a guy I’ll target in tournaments. He’s coming off the bench, but due to the Pelicans’ injuries, his role is very secure. He’s flashed solid upside as he’s topped 25 FD points in four of his eight games with New Orleans, and draws a matchup with a Denver team that is 21st in DVP against PG.
James Harden, Houston Rockets, $10,900- Harden is one of the few players on this slate where you don’t have to worry about rest. The Rockets are locked into a battle to try to make the playoffs, so he’s playing 40 minutes on a nightly basis. Those type of minutes give him a great floor even if he plays poorly, as he was quiet most of the Cleveland game and still produced 44 FD points. With the Cavs and Thunder not playing for anything, he’s the safest superstar on the board and brings 60 FD point upside to the table.
Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers, $4,700 – I think the Harden/Crawford combo at SG will be by far the most popular pairing at SG, so maybe in a tournament you look to get exposure to a Jimmy Butler, Will Barton or Iman Shumpert (if J. R. Smith is out). However, this is the pairing I want in cash games, as well as some tournaments. With the Clippers resting everyone, Crawford is going to get all the shot attempts that he wants, and we know he doesn’t have to be told twice to shoot. I do think if the Clips get blown out that he’ll be the first one to hit the bench, but I love his usage and shot potential, even at just 28 to 30 minutes of playing time. The Thunder are 21st in DVP against SG and Crawford is averaging almost 30 FD PPG with Paul out of the lineup this season.
Jordan Hamilton, New Orleans Pelicans, $3,600 – Hamilton just recently signed with the Pelicans, but he’s already moved into the starting lineup due to all of the Pelicans’ injuries. He put up 26 FD points in 31 minutes last night against an elite San Antonio defense and has hit 5x value in each of his three games with the Pelicans. He’s a guy who will be aggressive in looking for shot, and the Pelicans need scorers. The matchup is much better than last night as he’ll be facing a Denver team that is 27th in DVP against SG.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, $10,600 – This is really Durant or LeBron James here as I’m still waiting on news on Kyrie Irving before deciding between the two, and I also think there’s a chance the Thunder could rest Russell Westbrook tonight. If both Kyrie and Westbrook are in fact out, then just plugging both Durant and LeBron into your lineups is a great option. LeBron sees a big uptick with Kyrie Irving out, and he was not happy when the Nets upset the Cavs a few games ago. As far as Durant goes, he rested last game so he should be good to go tonight. He’s averaged 28 PPPG, 10.7 RPG, and 6.3 APG against the Clippers this season. I’m a little worried about a blowout, but this is a matchup where he can go off in only three quarters of action.
Thomas Robinson, Brooklyn Nets, $4,000 – PF is really ugly tonight, but the Nets helped the position out as Brook Lopez is resting tonight. I haven’t seen any confirmation, but I would expect Thomas Robinson to draw the start and be very popular. He’s exploded in his last two starts as he put up 36 FD points on Tuesday in a start for Thad Young, and also put up 18 points and 17 rebounds in another start with Thad and Lopez resting. I’m not expecting another 18-point performance, as his offensive game is limited, but he can really rebound the ball and has shown in years past that he’s an effective fantasy performer when he gets minutes.
Ed Davis, Portland Trail Blazers, $4,600 – If Kyrie Irving is out tonight, then I’m going to just plug Kevin Love into my cash games, but I wanted to provide another pick if Kyrie does play. For the most part this is setting up as a stars-and-scrubs type of night, and Davis is another value option. He’s not starting, but with Meyers Leonard out, he’s locked into 20 to 25 minutes off the bench. He’s produced at least 5x value in each of his last seven games, and will face a Boston team that is 27th in DVP against centers.
Cole Aldrich, Los Angeles Clippers, $3,500 – I think he’ll be highly owned tonight, so a guy like Alexis Ajinca, who had 19 FGA last night makes for a great tournament pivot. However, I’ve already listed two Pelicans (they somehow have a team total of 101 points) and I can’t stomach listing a third, but I will have him in some lineups. It’s going to be tough to overlook Aldrich tonight as he’ll draw the start for DeAndre Jordan and has been an effective fantasy producer this season. He’s averaged over a fantasy point per minutes this season, and should see 30 minutes of action with Jordan resting tonight. It did come with Chris Paul in the lineup, but Aldrich has averaged 19 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, and three combined blocks and steals in his two starts for Jordan this season (37 FD PPG). If you’re spending at center, I’d look to Pau Gasol.