Though there are only four games on the schedule tonight, FanDuel is still hosting big-money contests. Let’s break down the slate by position.
J.J. Barea, Dallas Mavericks, $4,600 - This pick is contingent on Deron Williams missing the Mavericks’ game against the Kings, but I’m guessing that will be the case as Deron had missed several games and had to leave their last contest early due to a recurring issue in his hamstring. Barea has been generally quite good filling in as the starting point guard for Williams, and in a prime matchup against the run-and-gun Kings, who will be on the second half of a road back-to-back, he should have no trouble reaching value at this modest salary.
Darren Collison, Sacramento Kings, $5,400 - Collison has played big minutes and played very well for the Kings coming off the bench over the past few weeks, and despite a disappointing game last night where he was unable to do much in the way of peripheral stats, he should bounce back nicely tonight against the Mavericks. Expect Coach Karl to play his bench guys a few more minutes on the back-to-back, and the matchup for Collison sets up better than it does for Rajon Rondo who may struggle a bit against this defensive scheme. I especially like Collison in tournaments as everyone chases Rondo’s big game and avoids Collison, since he was relatively quiet last night.
Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls, $8,300 - Butler is coming off a huge game in which he broke Michael Jordan’s Bulls record for points in a half, so he’ll be very popular tonight, and for good reason. He’s among the most consistent performers in the NBA, and on a four-game slate at a thin shooting guard position, he makes for a very appealing target. Don’t expect the outburst like last game, but Butler should get his usual 35-45 fantasy points in this home matchup vs. the Bucks. That’s more than enough at this price point to justify a spot on your roster.
Marco Belinelli, Sacramento Kings, $3,800 - Belinelli becomes a great play if Omri Casspi is forced to sit out again, which seems likely given that back issues can be tricky and that he missed last night’s game in Oklahoma City. It’s hard to imagine he’ll be ready to go after having to take a flight to Dallas, but we’ll see. Belinelli is a gunner who likes to shoot from range, and the Mavericks allow a lot of 3-point attempts. He should easily reach value at this bottom-basement price tag if Casspi is out, and remains in play even if Casspi does go.
Chandler Parsons, Dallas Mavericks, $5,100 - Parsons has been pretty terrible for three straight games, but he remains in the starting lineup and continues to see 30+ minutes on most night. This is a great matchup for Parsons, who thrives in transition, and I expect him to break out of his mini-slump against the Kings, who play very little defense. Give Parsons an extra boost in your projections if point guard Deron Williams misses out, as Parsons will likely see a slight usage and minute bump.
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks, $8,600 - While we haven’t seen the huge upside from Carmelo lately, we know the 40-point outburst is always a possibility with him, and he should thrive on the interior against a small Hawks frontcourt. The Knicks and Hawks have actually squared of twice in the last seven games, and Melo has averaged over a fantasy point per minute. Look for that to rise if he gets hot from the field tonight. Small forward is a very tough position to fill on this short slate, and Melo is by far the highest upside option.
Bobby Portis, Chicago Bulls, $3,900 - If you need to save some cap space at power forward, look no further than the Bulls’ rookie, who has been performing very well lately and remains extremely affordable. Portis is an active player who has a good shot and will also crash the boards hard, and if he performs well Coach Hoiberg has proven that he’ll give Portis a lot of a run. There’s some risk here, but he should see a minimum of 15-20 minutes and could see as many as 30. For that reason, I do like him better for GPP play, but he makes for a solid cash game option as well.
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors, $9,700 - Draymond has been on an absolute tear for the Warriors, posting three straight triple doubles. He seemed to be hunting that triple double late in last night’s ball game, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he went for a fourth tonight against the Lakers. The risk here is a big Warriors blowout, but Draymond typically plays more minutes in blowouts than the other Warriors’ starters, and if this game stays close he should have another monster game. He’s also healthier than teammates Steph Curry, Harrison Barnes, and Festus Ezeli, so he should see a good amount of minutes regardless.
Zaza Pachulia, Dallas Mavericks, $6,600 - The Mavericks’ big man has been outstanding for Dallas this season, and they’ll need his outstanding individual defense against DeMarcus Cousins tonight, which should solidify his minutes. Expect him to clean up on the glass vs. a Kings team that should be tired coming off an emotional victory in Oklahoma City and will now be playing the second half of a road back-to-back. Zaza is always a sneaky play as he’s not a very big name, making him especially appealing for your tournaments tonight.