It’s the last day of 2014, and we have a split slate of games. I’ll be ignoring the two early games as the big GPPs on FanDuel don’t include them. Be aware, rosters will lock at 6 PM EST, so make sure you plan accordingly. The big news is that Kevin Durant is likely to return the Thunder lineup. He reportedly looked good in practice, but remember to keep checking RotoWorld throughout the day for confirmation on his status.
As of this writing, the status of both LeBron James and Kevin Love is up in the air. LeBron missed last night’s game with knee soreness, and Kevin Love was forced to leave with back spasms. The absence of either of these players will have huge fantasy implications, so, again, make sure you are checking the RotoWorld player updates page for all of the latest news.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $150,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Wednesday's late NBA games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $20,000. Starts at 6pm ET on Wednesday. Here's the FanDuel link.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers, $7,800 – With LeBron James sitting out and Kevin Love forced from the game with back spasms, Irving posted a huge game last night against Atlanta, eclipsing 50 points on FanDuel. If either player sits out, expect Irving to continue to shoulder much of the offensive load. Brandon Knight is a very good defender, but talent, volume, and opportunity will win out, and Irving should post another big line. Even if James and Love play, I still like Irving because of his attractive price tag. The point guard position isn’t offering us much in the way of strong plays, so Irving will likely find his way into most or all of my lineups.
Cory Joseph, San Antonio Spurs, $5,400 – Despite a tough matchup in Memphis, Joseph still managed to pay off his price tag with a score of 28.1 on FanDuel. It doesn’t get much tougher than playing in Memphis, and as long as Joseph is the starting point guard for the Spurs, he’s going to continue to produce. He’s been as consistent as it gets, and since his price hasn’t moved, he’ll continue to be a solid play at the point guard position. On short slates, it’s often difficult to build a roster full of plays you’re comfortable with, and locking in 25+ fantasy points for a cheap price goes a long way toward building a solid lineup.
Brandon Knight, Milwaukee Bucks, $6,700 – Honestly, I’m writing up Knight solely because he’s facing Kyrie Irving tonight. The two have always been extremely competitive with one another, and Knight has a long history of having huge games against Irving. Even when Knight was with the Pistons, struggling on an almost nightly basis and providing no consistency whatsoever, he would have big games against Cleveland. Right now, Knight is again struggling with consistency, but his price tag is depressed, and he’s in a situation where, historically, he has excelled. I can understand not wanting to use him in cash games, but I think a full fade in GPP lineups is a big mistake.
Additional Play: Chris Paul
Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns, $8,200 – Bledsoe had been struggling with consistency, but his recent game log would suggest that he’s over that for now. He’s been extremely active, contributing in every scoring category, and giving himself both a high floor and high ceiling. Shooting guard isn’t offering many attractive options, and I think the smart play is to roster Bledsoe and not think too much about it. The NBA Vegas odds show a very high over/under to tonight’s matchup between the Thunders and the Suns, and despite being 7.5-point underdogs, the Suns are still projected to score well over 100 points. Bledsoe excels in up tempo games, and that’s exactly what he’ll get tonight.
Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers, $5,500 – Crawford has been a very consistent option off the bench for the Clippers, and I prefer him to JJ Redick because he’s much better at accruing peripheral stats. Crawford has a terrific matchup with the abysmal perimeter defense of the Knicks, and he’ll get so many open looks that he’ll think he’s shooting in an empty gym. The Knicks are among the worst teams in the league at contesting perimeter shooters, and Crawford will be shooting plenty as the only consistent source of scoring off the bench.
Additional Plays: Tyreke Evans, JJ Redick
Jared Dudley, Milwaukee Bucks, $5,300 – If you’re still not a believer in Jared Dudley, it’s probably time to rethink that stance. Small forward is very weak tonight, but Dudley is one of the easiest plays on the board. He’s been on fire lately, and despite coming off the bench, he’s been one of the most productive players for the Bucks. He’ll likely be highly owned, but he’s underpriced and is offering you a high floor and high ceiling relative to his price tag. At a position that isn’t offering viable alternatives, the correct play is to roster him and try to win elsewhere.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, $10,100 – Outside of Dudley, LeBron, and Durant, small forward is full of low ceiling, low floor players that will either tank your lineup or just barely manage to pay off their price tag. It’s no fun rostering a player then watching the game, hoping and praying that they do enough stuff on the court to manage to make their FanDuel score slowly tick up to what you were hoping they’d get. Durant is likely going to play, and as long as he has no restrictions, I would roll him out in an up tempo matchup with the Suns. Even if he doesn’t have a huge performance, he’s also not going to tank your lineup like many of the other small forwards can. That’s worth paying for tonight.
Additional Plays: LeBron James, PJ Tucker
Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers, $5,600 – Thompson is locked into big minutes as the starting center for Cleveland, and if Kevin Love is forced to miss tonight’s game, Thompson might never leave the court. He doesn’t offer much outside of points and rebounds, but given how much time he spends on the court, he’s a near lock for at least 25 fantasy points, and likely will surpass 30 in a matchup against a weak Milwaukee frontcourt.
Marvin Williams, Charlotte Hornets, $4,400 – Williams hasn’t done much this season, but he’s picked up his production lately, and was especially good after Al Jefferson was forced from Charlotte’s last game. Big Al has already been ruled out, and even though Williams won’t start, he’ll see plenty of run off the bench to be a worthwhile daily fantasy play. Charlotte is going to need his scoring if they want any hope of hanging in this game with Houston. With Jefferson out, and Kemba Walker receiving the Patrick Beverley treatment, someone is going to have to step up for Charlotte. The Rockets struggle against opposing power forwards, so the setup is there for Williams to have a solid game.
John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks, $4,200 – Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova have both been ruled out, leaving the Bucks once again very thin up front. Henson has been seeing about 20 minutes off the bench lately, and even in that limited time, he’s been putting up solid fantasy totals. He was also on the court down the stretch in a close game last time out, so hopefully he’ll earn a few more minutes from Jason Kidd. Regardless, he’s a solid value play due to his point per minute or higher upside.
Cole Aldrich, New York Knicks, $5,000 – Aldrich should be locked into big minutes tonight. Amar’e Stoudemire is out, and Samuel Dalembert is questionable, leaving Aldrich in position to play heavy minutes against the Clippers. Despite a starting frontcourt of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers don’t rebound the basketball particularly well. Aldrich has been fantastic when given minutes, and with nobody available to take minutes away from him, he should be in for another solid night at a very attractive price.