The big story in the NBA is that Derrick Rose will need surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, and will almost certainly miss the remainder of the season. It’s really hard to watch a guy go through injury after injury, and it’s easy to forget that the players we roster are real people. It seems somewhat heartless to offer ways of building better lineups in the event of season-ending injuries, or, in Chris Bosh’s case, a life-threatening medical complication. However, we have to adjust to what’s in front of us, and the truth of the matter is that guys like Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler stand to benefit a great deal now that Rose is unavailable.
There’s value everywhere tonight. We have players that will see expanded roles due to injuries, players that are in better situations due to a trade, and players that have recently entered the starting lineup that are still priced like backups. I’ll point you toward my favorite FanDuel plays of the day, while also advising you on where to spend.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $400,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Wednesday's NBA games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $50,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Wednesday. Here's the FanDuel link.
Goran Dragic, Miami Heat, $6,300 – Dragic was pretty bad in his debut with Miami, but that can be expected when a player is unfamiliar with both his teammates and the offense. His second start was fantastic. Granted it was against Philly, but a matchup with Orlando is pretty good too. The Magic are near the bottom of the league in fantasy points allowed to opposing point guards. Dragic is the first example of a player that is mispriced after a trade. Instead of playing off the ball most of the time in Phoenix, he’s the starting point guard for Miami. That’s a huge difference, and Dragic is going to be a terrific play until his price increased enough to reflect his new role.
Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves, $6,800 – Washington has been a tough defensive team this season, but they’ve also allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing point guards over the past three weeks, so the matchup is better than you might think. Let’s also consider the fact that Rubio is very underpriced here, and the Timberwolves are playing much better now that the team is healthy. In fact, Vegas expects this game to be very close and relatively high scoring. That’s great news for Rubio. Not only does he dish out plenty of assists, he contributes in points, steals, and rebounds as well. He’s a high floor, high ceiling play that you should be targeting liberally tonight.
Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets, $5,900 – Don’t be concerned with Jarrett Jack’s likely return to the lineup. He’s expected to play limited minutes off the bench, so I don’t expect him to cut into Williams’s minutes much, if at all. Deron is playing extremely well right now. He’s had two cupcake matchups (Lakers and Nuggets), but the Pelicans are a pretty bad defensive team as well. They’re allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards over both the past three weeks and the entire season. Given Deron has 40-point upside and is priced like he’s coming off the bench, he another terrific target at point guard tonight. The real issue is having to choose only two of the three plays listed.
James Harden, Houston Rockets, $11,100 – At this point in the season, nobody needs to be told that Harden is an elite play pretty much every night. I’m taking the time to write him up because, considering all of the value that’s available tonight, he’s the guy you need to be spending on. Shooting guard isn’t offering nearly the same value that other positions are, so, logically, it makes more sense to spend on the studs that are available. Fortunately, the shooting guard stud, Harden, is also very likely to be the top scoring player of the night. Don’t worry about his bad game against the Clippers before the All-Star break. He just had a bad game. It happens sometimes. This game should be close and high-scoring, so expect Harden to play nearly 40 minutes and post a very high score. He’s the top option of the day, and he should be in most, if not all, of your FanDuel NBA lineups tonight.
Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, $5,800 – Bradley has scored 50.6, 36.5, and 42.3 FanDuel points over this last three games. During that time, he’s shot the ball a combined 56 times. He’s the clear beneficiary of Jared Sullinger’s injury. He’s taken on the role of the primary option on offense, and given the upside he’s showing us, I don’t know how not to roster him for this price against the worst wing-defending team in the league. The Knicks allow the highest three-point field goal percentage in the NBA. Bradley is probably a lock for 25 or more fantasy points with upside for 40 or more. He may come back down to earth at some point, but betting on it to happen against the pitiful Knicks isn’t something I’m willing to do.
Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets, $4,000 – Gallinari is yet another example of a player that is too cheap to ignore. If Wilson Chandler is out again, it’s hard to imagine Gallinari not playing 30+ minutes. If Chandler is in, Gallinari is still going to start at shooting guard, and his minutes, while not quite as safe, should still be safe enough for cash game and GPP use. If he gets enough minutes, he has nearly 30 fantasy point upside. He draws a plus matchup with an up tempo Suns team. If Denver can keep this close, we should see a high-scoring game. Gallinari is very likely to pay off his very modest price tag, and the fact that he can offer you upwards of 7 points per $1000 makes him one of the top value plays of the night.
Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz, $8,100 – Small forward has a few attractive players, but none offer anywhere near the upside Hayward does. He’s been very consistent lately, and he’s going to continue to take a ton of shots with Trey Burke out of the starting lineup, and now Enes Kanter gone. He draws a terrific matchup against the woeful Lakers, and the only worry here is a blowout. However, Hayward is an $8100 player that has 50+ point upside. You should have exposure to him in GPPs, and he makes for a fine cash game play as well.
Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets, $5,600 – Jones is yet another example of a player that is underpriced now that his role has changed. He’s back in the starting lineup, and he’s going to continue to start and play 30+ minutes for the foreseeable future. He should be targeted liberally against a Clippers frontcourt that is forced to start Spencer Hawes in Blake Griffin’s spot. Jones has nearly 40 point upside at an extremely attractive price. Don’t overthink this one. Get him in your lineups.
Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls, $9,300 – Gasol is expensive, but the offense is going to run through him now that Derrick Rose is likely done for the season. You have to spend somewhere tonight, and power forward is a pretty good place to do it. Gasol does not have a difficult matchup with Charlotte, and I can see him reaching 45-50 fantasy points tonight. Most of Rose’s shots are going to go Gasol and Butler, and with Gasol consistently posting big lines with Rose in the lineup, he can only get even better for the rest of the season. He’s a very safe cash game play, and he also offers the upside you need to take down a GPP.
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz, $5,900 – Gobert is certainly not a prolific scorer, but he has elite rebounding and shot-blocking ability. Facing a Lakers team that ranks near the bottom of the league in rebounding differential, and is just all around terrible, Gobert should have no trouble paying off his very low price tag. He’s another beneficiary of the trade deadline, as he has assumed the starting center role with Enes Kanter now in Oklahoma City. He has elite upside, and most recently posted around 20 fantasy points in one quarter against the Spurs. He slowed down after that, but still ended up with 34.3 FanDuel points. I expect a better number against the Lakers, and he’s a steal at this price.
Alex Len, Phoenix Suns, $5,000 – Len is another center that is simply too cheap relative to his minutes and production. He hasn’t seen nearly enough of a price increase since assuming the starting center duties in Phoenix, and with Miles Plumlee shipped out of town, he really has no competition for minutes. Brandan Wright isn’t a threat, and as long as he’s playing 30+ minutes, he deserves your consideration every night. The matchup with Denver is very favorable, as they have struggled against opposing big men all season. Expect Len to easily pay off his price tag, while offering 6-7 points per $1000 upside.
DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers, $9,200 – While there is plenty of value at the center position, you would also be wise to consider paying up for Jordan tonight. He’ll be facing a Houston team that will be without the services of Dwight Howard, leaving them very thin, and very small in the frontcourt. He went off for 59 FanDuel points when these two teams met before the All-Star break, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he posts a monster line again. He’ll flirt with 20+ rebounds, and given many teams are employing the hack-a-DeAndre strategy late in games, he could find himself shooting a lot of free throws tonight. He won’t make many of them, but he’ll hit enough to give himself a significant fantasy boost.
Additional Plays: Hassan Whiteside, Nikola Pekovic, Marcin Gortat, Tyler Zeller