There are only four games on the schedule tonight, but there should be a lot of points scored in some of those, and the DFS contests are still offering big prizes on FanDuel. Let’s look at my top options at each position.
Darren Collison, Sacramento Kings, $5,000 - Rajon Rondo has been suspended for tonight’s game, so Collison steps into an elite spot; he should see big minutes in the game with the highest total of the night (220 points) on the NBA odds board. Patrick Beverley’s defense has slipped this season and the Rockets’ team defense has been embarrassing. Collison is likely in line for a floor of 35 minutes in this one and has fared very well against the Rockets this season, as he’s averaged 20 PPG and 7.5 assists in only 26.5 MPG.
Jameer Nelson, Denver Nuggets, $4,200 - I like Isaiah Thomas as well tonight and will try to work him into some GPP lineups, but it’s hard to pass up on the value that Collison and Nelson present for cash games. Emmanuel Mudiay is expected to be out for tonight’s game, so Nelson should draw another start. He was a nightmare for most of last night’s game but played 37 minutes and was able to scratch out 22 FD points, which is the 5x value that we are looking for on FD. Given that he was able to reach value despite playing so poorly last night, I feel very good going back to the well here. He draws a quality matchup with Ricky Rubio, who is not a great defender, and he lit up this Minnesota team just a few days ago for 20 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists.
Also Consider - Isaiah Thomas
James Harden, Houston Rockets, $10,800 - One of the emerging trends this season has been to play James Harden after he has a sub-par game. Well, he’s coming off a sup-par game last night against Denver, where he admitted he wasn’t aggressive enough offensively. I would expect him to be more assertive offensively tonight, and the matchup is ripe, as the Kings are 25th in DVP against SG. He’s owned them this season, averaging 37 PPG, 4 rebounds and 11 assists against them in two meetings, and is my favorite play of the day.
O.J. Mayo, Milwaukee Bucks, $4,900 - Jerryd Bayless and Greivis Vasquez did not make the road trip to Mayo should continue to draw the start at PG. He doesn’t provide a great ceiling, but he’s been very steady since taking over the starting PG role. He’s averaging 26 FD PPG over his last six games and makes for a great cash game option against a Lakers team that is dead last in DVP against opposing PGs.
Also Consider - Giannis Antetokounmpo, Louis Williams
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, $10,400 - With some of the value out there, it’s very workable to fit in two of the three high-priced options this slate (Harden, James and Cousins). I’m giving the edge to Harden and James based on positional scarcity, and SF is particularly thin tonight. This is the first meeting between the Celtics and Cavs since last year’s playoffs, which was a very physical series. Both teams should be ready to play, and while the Celtics are a solid defensive team, they lack a wing defender to match up with LeBron. They are 23rd in DVP against SF this season and LeBron averaged 27 points, 9 rebounds and 6.5 assists in the playoffs against them last year.
Omri Casspi, Sacramento Kings, $4,700 - It’s a small slate, but there is some solid value options out there tonight as Casspi also finds himself in a nice spot. As mentioned with Collison, the Rockets defense is brutal and the Kings check in with a team total of 111 points, which is 6 points higher than their season average. The Kings have gone with their small starting lineup recently and have inserted Casspi into the starting lineup alongside Rudy Gay. He’s responded very well and has played huge minutes over his last two games (40.5 MPG). The Rockets are 28th in DVP against SF and 30th in DVP against PF, and I expect Rudy Gay to draw the tougher assignment in Trevor Ariza. Casspi has taken advantage of the elite matchup so far this year as he’s averaging 18 PPG, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 33 MPG against his former team.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers, $7,800 - As mentioned above, this game between Boston and Cleveland should be played with high intensity. Love in particular could be extra motivated; he suffered a season ending injury when he got tangled up with Kelly Olynyk last year. Some of the Cavs, including Love, were not happy with Olynyk, so Love could bring some extra juice tonight. He’s been very steady this season and the PF position is very thin, so he’s the top option to lock in. Along with the SF position, the Celtics have also struggled against PF, ranking 22nd in DVP.
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets, $6,400 - For cash games, I may drop down to Jabari Parker, but Faried provides solid GPP upside in a small slate. He was on his way to a productive night last night, but didn’t play the majority of the second half as the Nuggets elected to go small with Danilo Gallinari at the PF. His minutes are volatile as he’s played 20, 38, 36, and 22 over his past four games, but he has produced at least 26 FD points in each. Minnesota is a much bigger team than Houston, so I don’t think Denver is as likely to play small ball tonight. That’s played out in Denver’s two meetings with Minnesota, as he’s averaged 32 MPG and produced 11.5 PPG and 13.5 rebounds.
Greg Monroe, Milwaukee Bucks, $7,800 - To the surprise of some, the Bucks were the team to end the Warriors’ historic run. Greg Monroe was a big reason why, as he poured in 28 points and 11 rebounds, which is very impressive since the Warriors’ interior defense is top notch. The Lakers feature an interior defense that is far from top notch -- they are 27th in DVP against opposing centers. Monroe struggled for a few weeks, but his minutes and production are back on the upswing, and this is a great matchup for him to keep on rolling.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves, $7,100 - I prefer Monroe in cash games, since Towns is an incredibly volatile player due to unstable minutes and foul problems. Some games he will play 18 to 22 minutes, while others he can play 30-32. If tonight is one of those nights where he gets extended minutes then he brings a very high ceiling to the table. The Nuggets’ interior defense is very weak (28th in DVP against centers) and Towns has dominated them in two meetings this year, averaging 21 PPG, 11.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 3.5 blocks.