We have five games in the NBA tonight, but despite the short slate, we have a lot to consider. The Cavs will likely be resting all of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving, which means there is a ton of value available in Cleveland. The availability of several cheap options should push a lot of people toward both James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Both are elite plays nearly every night, and tonight is no exception. Aside from the Big Three in Cleveland, other notable injuries include Joel Embiid and Aaron Gordon, and we’ll be discussing the implications of their absences as well.
Let’s get to today’s top FanDuel targets.
T.J. McConnell, Philadelphia 76ers, $5,200 – I’ll start off by saying that Russell Westbrook is an elite play against what is likely to be a game against the Cleveland bench. My goal today is to offer other options for you to consider if you choose to fade him in tournaments, or wish to find a solid option to pair with him.
Game log chasers might not be too high on McConnell. He hasn’t posted an impressive fantasy score in several games, but much of that can be attributed to matchup. He’s drawn several tough assignments lately, but tonight gets to take on a Magic team that has allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards over the past four weeks. Orlando is a poor defensive team, and in what should be a close game between these two teams (check out RotoGrinders’ NBA odds page to see the spreads for each game), I expect McConnell turn in a 25+ fantasy point performance.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, $8,500 – A Westbrook/Lillard pairing seems difficult tonight given salaries, but I encourage you to try to exposure to Lillard in tournaments at the very least. He draws a terrific matchup against a Celtics team that has been roasted by opposing point guards recently. Only Orlando is allowing more fantasy points per game to ones over the past four weeks.
We’re looking at what’s likely to be a high-scoring, competitive matchup between Boston and Portland, and this is a great spot for Lillard to have one of those huge games he’s always capable of putting together. As good as Isaiah Thomas has been on offense, he hasn’t been good on the defensive end of the floor. Lillard should be able to thrive in this matchup.
Kyle Korver, Cleveland Cavaliers, $3,700 – Korver is coming off of a terrific 29 point outing against the Pacers last night, and with Cleveland likely resting their three best players, he should be line for a drastically increased workload. Keep in mind that he’s not likely to get as many wide open three-point looks as he would with LeBron James making plays and drawing in defenders, but the increased shot attempts and touches should overcome that. He’s going to be a popular value play today at just $200 over the minimum, and I see no reason to fade him in cash games.
Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic, $5,400 – Much like Westbrook, James Harden is an elite play, but at this point in the season, I don’t think it offers much value to write him up and tell you to use him. You already know you should get exposure to him, and you don’t need me to tell you that. Kyle Korver is going to be an extremely popular value play, but don’t overlook Fournier facing a Sixers team that is a disaster defensively without Joel Embiid. Fournier logs heavy minutes every game, may pick up a couple more with Aaron Gordon out, and should thrive in this matchup. He has well over 30 fantasy point upside, and I’m comfortable recommending him in both cash games and tournaments tonight.
Jeff Green, Orlando Magic, $3,500 – If you believe in the player who just had a kid narrative, then Jeff Green is your man today. Green will be in action tonight after missing last game to attend the birth of his son, and the situation couldn’t be better. Green will likely draw the start and see around 30 minutes with Aaron Gordon out of the lineup. That’s 30 minutes for a minimum-priced player facing a Joel Embiid-less Sixers team. Sign me up for that, especially on a short slate featuring both Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
Robert Covington, Philadelphia 76ers, $5,800 – Covington is playing around 36 minutes per game lately, and he’s taken on a bigger role on offense with Joel Embiid out of the lineup. Embiid will be out again tonight, meaning we should look to Covington to have a productive evening against a poor Orlando defense. He’s certainly capable of a dud, but there’s not much to like at the small forward position. I’ll happily take his 20 point floor and 40+ point ceiling tonight.
Channing Frye, Cleveland Cavaliers, $4,300 – Frye has been very effective in limited minutes this season, and with Cleveland likely resting Kevin Love, he should be in line for a much larger role tonight. Like Korver, he likely won’t enjoy quite as many wide open three-point attempts as he would with LeBron James on the floor, but the boost in minutes and shot attempts should overcome that. He’s a fine value play at just $4300, and I would look to him in all game formats tonight.
Serge Ibaka, Orlando Magic, $6,000 – The power forward position is weak, but Ibaka draws a very favorable matchup against a Sixers team that will be without their best player, and clear best defender and rebounder. With Orlando likely looking to trade Ibaka before the deadline, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some showcasing tonight against the Sixers. Of course, we always run the risk of getting one of those patented Serge Ibaka duds when we roster him, but that seems unlikely given tonight’s situation. Plus, he’ll probably pick up some extra minutes with Aaron Gordon out.
Clint Capela, Houston Rockets, $5,200 – Capela’s minutes are on the rise, but his price has yet to come up. He would have played over 30 minutes against Orlando if the game had been close, and given he saw 32 and 31 minutes of action in Houston’s two previous games, I think it’s safe to assume that he’s a 30+ minute player now. In what should be a close, competitive game against Charlotte, expect Capela to see the same workload and finish with around 30 fantasy points. He’s typically around a point per minute producer, and while there are better matchups, his fantasy-friendly game should help him surpass the 5x threshold tonight.