Wednesdays are always fun for daily fantasy NBA. There’s always a huge slate of games, and now that we’re about a month into the season, there is plenty of injury news to deal with. Some injuries present amazing value plays (Casspi/Sessions), while others will lead inexperienced players into traps (Darius Miller).
Fortunately, the NBA is doing a much better job of reporting most injuries ahead of time, so we’re not experiencing as many late scrambles as past seasons. As of this writing, some players have already been ruled out, while others are still up in the air. I’ll try to cover the important scenarios, but, as always, please monitor RotoWorld and Twitter for updates regarding player statuses.
DJ Augustin, Detroit Pistons, $4,000 – Typically I wouldn’t target points guards up against Chris Paul, but considering Brandon Jennings said he was unable to shoot yesterday, I don’t have high hopes for him playing tonight either. Augustin is simply a price-dependent play. He played 37 minutes last night, and while he didn’t set the world on fire, he did put up a score of 20.9 on FanDuel in a tough matchup against Brandon Knight. I would expect similar production from him tonight, and a similar workload. As a whole, the Clippers aren’t a good defensive team, and the Pistons will be playing up in pace. He’s not a must-play value option, but he’s a very good one.
Ramon Sessions, Sacramento Kings, $3,600 – I like Sessions more than Augustin. We didn’t get an update on Darren Collison’s status until about 10 minutes before rosters locked last night. As of now, both Rudy Gay and Darren Collison are both up in the air. If Collison plays, Sessions has no value. If he sits, Sessions will draw the start and has a favorable matchup against a Houston team that has already declared Patrick Beverley inactive. We likely won’t have information until closer to tip off, so keep checking RotoWorld and Twitter for updates, and be ready to make necessary lineup adjustments to fit Sessions in if he draws the start.
Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder, $8,100 – Jackson is consistently putting up totals close to, or above, 40 FanDuel points on a nightly basis. He draws a nice matchup with Trey Burke, and should be a lock for his typical production. He’s an excellent cash game target, but also has GPP-winning upside. In the event that Collison starts and Sessions is no longer a viable value play, Jackson would be the first point guard I would look to roster.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors, $9,900 – Few were on Curry last night because he hadn’t been coming anywhere close to paying off his hefty price tag, but games like that are evidence of why having some exposure to Curry is almost a necessity. He has ridiculous upside, and draws a nice matchup with Orlando tonight. Many players will be chasing his big game, so I wouldn’t go out of my way to get a ton of exposure to him, but a total fade is probably a bad decision.
James Harden, Houston Rockets, $10,300 – I will be going out of my way to use Harden as much as possible tonight. The Bulls aren’t playing, so sadly auto play Jimmy Butler is not available to use. Patrick Beverley and Dwight Howard have already been ruled out, and the result will be a soaring usage rate for Harden. Facing a Kings team that plays fast and is on the tail end of a back to back, I expect Harden to put up a monster line. He’s one of the top plays across the board, and is likely the best stud to spend on given the relative weakness of the shooting guard position.
Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns, $7,000 – Bledsoe will benefit from what will likely be the highest-scoring game of the night. Both Denver and Phoenix are near the top of the league in terms of pace, and Denver is on the tail end of a back to back. Bledsoe contributes across the board, and while he can be inconsistent, it’s difficult to imagine him not putting up a solid stat line tonight. He’s inexpensive relative to the upside he offers. I would target him liberally tonight.
JR Smith, New York Knicks, $4,700 – Carmelo Anthony is out tonight, and someone is going to have to step it up offensively in his absence. Smith loves to shoot, and he’s had some big games in the past when Melo has been inactive. With a new coach, a new offense, and Phil Jackson in New York, it’s hard to predict exactly what the Knicks will look like without Melo on the court. Smith should draw the start, get a significant bump in minutes, and be one of the go-to guys on offense. Given his inconsistencies, it’s difficult to recommend him for cash games, but he can certainly win you a GPP tonight.
Josh Smith, Detroit Pistons, $6,900 – Smith stepped it up in the absence of Brandon Jennings, posting his best game of the season last night against the Bucks. I expect more of the same tonight. The Clippers are not a good defensive team, and they are among the league worst in terms of rebounding rate. With DJ Augustin likely being limited by Chris Paul, Smith should have the ball in his hands a lot, and will likely put up a similar line of production across multiple categories. Small forward is very weak, as usual, and he makes for a fine play at his price point.
Omri Casspi, Sacramento Kings, $3,600 – Casspi is purely dependent on the status of Rudy Gay. If Gay is active, Casspi can’t be used. If Gay is out, Casspi becomes a must play at almost minimum salary. He will start and play over 30 minutes against a Houston team that takes a severe hit defensively with both Patrick Beverley and Dwight Howard already ruled out. Don’t overthink it. Just roster him.
Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks, $5,200 - Carmelo Anthony will be out tonight, and this should give Amar'e a bump in playing time and offensive responsibilities. After Melo, Stoudemire is arguably New York's best scorer, and I expect them to rely heavily on him in tonight's matchup with Dallas. For $5,200, he's priced like a guy playing 20 minutes off the bench, but he could move into the starting role and push for 30 minutes tonight. In that scenario, he has 30-point upside and makes for an excellent play.
Kris Humphries, Washington Wizards, $4,200 - Nene Hilario will likely miss tonight’s game, and Humphries should draw the start again. He started last night, but only played 22 minutes against Atlanta. However, he’ll be able to put up a good enough score in those minutes against a Cleveland team that has been terrible against opposing power forwards. He’s not a must play due to the limited minutes, but he’s a solid value option.
Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns, $6,800 – Morris has a terrific matchup against a Denver team that is routinely abused by opposing power forwards. Morris has been a consistent, high-upside player when he’s had a favorable matchup, and I expect that trend to continue tonight. In a fast-paced, high-scoring game with Denver, Morris has considerable upside, and a high floor as well. He’s a very good play for his price.
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings, $10,200 – Cousins will be a men amongst boys tonight with Dwight Howard out for Houston. The Rockets have absolutely no one that has any hope of slowing him down, and I expect him to post a monster stat line against what will likely be a very small Rockets team tonight. He’s expensive, but his upside in this matchup is tremendous. Exposure to him tonight is an absolute must, but give some of the nice value plays at center, he’s not a must play in every lineup.
Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers, $5,200 - Varejao is simply way too cheap given his recent run of production. He got off to a very slow start this season, but he’s scored 26 or more fantasy points in 4 straight games, and given his cheap $5,200 price tag, he’s a terrific option tonight. He’s establishing a floor of at least 20 fantasy points, and offering upside of 30 or more on his good nights. He’s an excellent value play tonight.