We have 12 games on tonight’s slate before we get a one day break from the NBA. There are some ugly games that I won’t be looking to target, and there are some expected high-scoring games that are likely to yield some very good plays. The biggest name on the injury front is DeMarcus Cousins. His back stiffened up last game and he’s currently listed as doubtful. We’ll have to wait to see who head coach George Karl decides to start in his place for a possible value play. Other than Cousins, there is no major news yet. Let’s take a look at today’s FanDuel picks.
Rajon Rondo, Sacramento Kings, $8,400 – Rondo’s price is still not reflective of his recent production. He’s eclipsed 50 fantasy points in five of his last nine games. This is the sort of production that you absolutely have to have exposure to. The Bucks aren’t a great matchup. They play extremely slow and they’ve done well against opposing point guards this season. However, most of Rondo’s value comes from assists and rebounds, so I’m not particularly concerned about Milwaukee’s point guard defense. With Cousins out, he should take on even more offensive responsibility, and his ability to fill up multiple areas of the stat sheet establish a very high floor and ceiling. He’s an excellent play in both cash game and tournament formats tonight.
Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics, $7,600 – Thomas struggled last night, but there’s a big difference between a road matchup with the Hawks and a home matchup with the winless Sixers. A blowout is always a concern when the Sixers are on the road (and often at home), but given Thomas’s ability to put up big numbers in a short amount of time, I’m not too worried about it. He currently owns a 30.3 usage rate, and should score at will against a bad Sixers defense. He had posted over 30 fantasy points in six straight games before last night, and I think he’s a near lock to start a new streak tonight.
Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, $6,000 – I’ve been all in on Bradley the last couple of games, and I’ll be targeting him heavily tonight as well. He’ll draw another start with Marcus Smart injured, and he should be in for another productive game against a bad Sixers team. He’s taken 22 three-pointers over the past two games, and he’ll be facing a Sixers defense that has done a very poor job of defending opposing shooters (and everyone else, really). In his past two starts, he’s posted over 35 fantasy points, and I think he’ll meet or exceed that mark again tonight. He’s offers an excellent return at the shooting guard position.
Rodney Hood, Utah Jazz, $4,700 – I like Hood because he’s cheap and plays heavy minutes. Ignore Utah’s blowout loss to the Thunder last game; Hood had been playing over 35 minutes per game, and he’s likely to see that kind of run again tonight. The Clippers do a poor job of defending opposing wings, and I really like Hood given he’s likely to draw J.J. Redick on defense. Redick is an offensive-minded shooting guard that has never been a good defender. I’m not excited about the higher-priced shooting guard options today, so paying down for a solid value play like Hood makes a lot of sense to me today.
Robert Covington, Philadelphia 76ers, $5,700 – Covington is back, and I really like him tonight with Nik Stauskas being listed as doubtful. Covington has played 32 and 35 minutes the past two games, and he’s likely to a similar workload again tonight. He’s extremely versatile and should benefit from an up-tempo matchup with a Celtics team that ranked fifth in the NBA in pace. He’s scored 33 and 28 fantasy points in his past two games, and I think he provides solid value at the small forward position tonight.
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs, $8,800 – Leonard is an elite play tonight if LaMarcus Aldridge is forced to miss another game. Leonard’s usage and rebound rates both increase when Aldridge is off the court, and he should have a big game against a Dallas team that has no wing defenders that can hope to slow him down. He had a monster game against Phoenix with Aldridge out, and there’s no reason to think he can’t do the same against Dallas. If Aldridge plays, I don’t think Leonard is worth his salary, and I would look to use a player like Jeff Green or Matt Barnes if Zach Randolph is out again. Or, you could always spend up on LeBron James or Kevin Durant.
Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers, $5,700 – Thompson should be in for heavy minutes again tonight with Timofey Mozgov out with an injury. He’s not much of an option on offense, but he’s an excellent rebounder and should be in position for some easy buckets tonight. The Raptors have done a poor job of defending opposing centers this season, although I think Thompson’s matchup gets a bit tougher with Biyombo starting over Valanciunas. Regardless, he’s a very safe play at his price point as he’s unlikely to finish with under 25 fantasy points, and has upside well over 30. He’ll be high owned, and I think you go with the chalk play in cash games but look to fade him in tournaments.
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks, $8,600 – Millsap has exceeded 40 fantasy points in seven of his past ten games, and one of the three where he didn’t was a 39.9 point outing. He’s been one of the most consistent daily fantasy plays in the NBA this season, and he’s been a favorite cash game play of mine all season. He’s extremely versatile, contributing in all five categories. Tonight’s road matchup with the Timberwolves should be both close and high-scoring, and there’s no reason to expect he won’t finish with around 40 fantasy points yet again tonight. Continue locking him into your cash game lineups, and get exposure to him in tournaments as well, because he does have over 50-point upside.
Kosta Koufos, Sacramento Kings, $4,000 – Koufos has been disappointing with Cousins out before, but I like him tonight if Cousins does end up sitting out. He should start and play big minutes against a Bucks team that is ranked dead last in rebounding. In this particular matchup, I think he can exceed 20 fantasy points or more, but he’s likely not safe enough for cash game use. Use him in tournament formats only as a way to free up cap space to spend up at other positions.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves, $6,900 – Look for Towns to bounce back after his dreadful performance against the Sixers. He was mired in foul trouble all game, and was never given the opportunity to get into any sort of rhythm. Tonight, he’ll take on a Hawks team that has done a very poor job of defending opposing big men, and is ranked 27th in the league in rebounding. He’s still too cheap relative to his upside, and I’m not afraid to use him in both cash games and tournaments tonight. Tonight’s matchup should be close throughout, and Towns will be a big reason why.