Today is the last big FanDuel slate before the All Star break, and unless you’re playing tomorrow’s two-game slate, it’s your last chance to play daily fantasy basketball for about a week. The slate is almost a bit overwhelming as there are a lot of great plays to choose from, and thus many ways you can go about constructing your lineups. My advice would be to let the value dictate where you spend. Some positions are going to have great bargains, while others won’t. At the same time, every position has some great players to spend on, so your goal should be to avoid building a lineup with potential land mines.
I’ve tried to narrow down the list of players to a couple of top plays at each position. It’s worth mentioning that players who appear in the additional plays section are also strong plays as well. As always, be sure you check the NBA Starting Lineups Page before lineups lock.
Ish Smith, Philadelphia 76ers, $7000 – The daily fantasy community breathed a collective sigh of relief when news broke that George Karl’s job was safe. With him around, we can expect the Kings to continue to play at an incredibly fast pace, and despite everyone in the organization aware of the very obvious problems on defense, I don’t expect any of them to actually get fixed. Therefore, we will continue targeting the Kings with opposing players whenever given the opportunity.
Point guards facing the Kings continue to be one of, if not the best, plays in daily fantasy basketball. Ish’s high usage and assist rates combined with this terrific matchup put him in contention for top play of the night (price dependent, of course). I’ll be locking Smith into most, if not all, of my lineups tonight. After taking a look at what Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas did to this Kings team recently, you’re likely to do the same.
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls, $6900 – Rose sat out last game with general soreness, but he’s fully expected to play tonight. I doubt he has any sort of limitations, and with Jimmy Butler out, he’s a top play at the point guard position. He’s taking 20+ shots per game, and Butler’s absence has resulted in a spike in assists as well. Priced at just $6900, Rose is my second favorite option at point guard behind Ish Smith. Rose’s matchup against the Hawks is mostly neutral. I’m targeting him because his expanded role has made him a terrific bargain.
Nicolas Batum, Charlotte Hornets, $7000 – Batum should be high owned today. He’s coming off of three straight monster performances, finally looks 100% healthy, and is playing a ton of minutes. Even against Chicago in a game that was never really competitive, Batum played 44 minutes. There’s simply no reason to fade him in any matchup right now, and he’ll be one of the first players in my lineups tonight. He contributes in every category, and if we can reasonably expect 40 or more minutes from him, he’s one of the top players on the entire slate. He’s severely underpriced right now, and I’ll be rostering him every night until his price catches up.
Rodney Hood, Utah Jazz, $5800 – I’ve rostered Hood once recently, and if you take a look at his game log, I bet you can guess which game it was. I’m ready to give him another chance, however. He’s playing huge minutes with both Alec Burks and Trey Burke out, and with the exception of his dud against Denver, he’s been very consistent. He’s eclipsing 30 fantasy points on a regular basis, which makes him a bargain at just $5800. The Pelicans are a great matchup as they are dreadful defensively and struggle with defending perimeter shooters. Expect another solid game from Hood. I like him in all game formats tonight.
Kent Bazemore, Atlanta Hawks, $5400 – Bazemore has seen well over 30 minutes in each of Atlanta’s past three games, and he most recently played 41 in an overtime loss to Orlando. His minutes had been inconsistent before, but with a stable role in a balanced Atlanta offense, he provides excellent value at his $5400 price tag. The matchup against Chicago is very favorable as the Bulls simply don’t have any good wing defenders right now. Jimmy Butler is out for three to four weeks, and Bazemore will matchup with the likes of E’Twaun Moore, Doug McDermott, Mike Dunleavy, and Tony Snell. None of these concern me. Small forward is a position where I’ll be trying to limit my spending, and Bazemore is a relatively cheap source of value and upside at the position.
Stanley Johnson, Detroit Pistons, $4900 – Johnson’s price has yet to rise to a point that’s reflective of his role with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope out. Johnson is starting and playing big minutes as Stan Van Gundy tends to roll with tight rotations. Johnson is coming off of a dud against Toronto, but the Raptors are a tough defensive team despite DeMarre Carroll’s absence. Johnson is also a rookie, so these down games are going to happen. I expect him to bounce back in a much more favorable matchup against Denver. He has too much upside for me to ignore at his current price.
LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs, $7300 – Aldridge has apparently found his place in San Antonio as he’s enjoying by far his most productive stretch as a Spur. Over his past five games, his lowest FanDuel score was 36, which was a blowout win in Dallas where he played only 28 minutes. Sure, the Spurs could come into Orlando and blow the Magic out as well, but if Aldridge is going to see nearly 30 minutes anyway, I’m not too worried about it. He should still have a floor of around 30 in this matchup, and if the game does stay close, 40 is a reasonable expectation.
Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies, $6300 – With Marc Gasol out indefinitely with a broken foot, Randolph should be locked into big minutes. He’s coming off of two big games, and with guaranteed minutes in the mid to high 30s and a favorable matchup against Brooklyn, he should be close to lock for at least 30 fantasy points tonight. The Nets are ranked 28th in defensive efficiency, and are, at best, average in terms of rebounding differential. He’ll be popular today, but I see no reason to consider a fade in cash games.
Gorgui Dieng, Minnesota Timberwolves, $6300 – There are several good option at the center position, but Dieng continues to offer a very high floor/ceiling combination relative to his price. Over his past seven games, he’s eclipsed 30 five times and finished with 29 once. His only bad game came against the Clippers, and it was somewhat of a fluke as he uncharacteristically turned the ball over five times and didn’t record a single assist. I think we can reasonable expect Dieng to finish within his normal range of outcomes, which is between 30 and 45, against the Raptors. Toronto is a tough defensive team that rebounds well, but with Jonas Valanciunas likely tied up with Karl-Anthony Towns, Dieng should find success against the likes of Luis Scola and Patrick Patterson.
Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets, $7900 – If you have the salary cap room, I’d spend the extra $1600 and take Howard over Dieng. Tonight’s matchup between Portland and Houston should be close and high-scoring, and I fully expect Howard to have a big game against a soft Portland interior. He’s playing big minutes, rebounding well, and should contribute plenty of points to go along with a couple of blocked shots. In terms of upside, he has as much as any center not named DeMarcus Cousins.