There are a ton of big-money NBA contests out there on FanDuel tonight, and I’m here to provide you with some of my favorite tournament targets.
Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics, $7,300 – Last night, IT2 was easily the chalk play of the night at point guard across the industry, since it looked like he was in a great spot to have a huge night. Well, simply put, that didn’t happen, as he had a miserable shooting night against the size the Bucks had to throw at him. Tonight he should pick up another start with Marcus Smart expected to miss again, and he should be in line for a great bounce back performance. IT2 is averaging 21.67 real life points as well as over 5.5 assists per game and has always been good for a couple steals, so the value is definitely there across all formats. The Pacers have been one of my favorite teams to target early in the season, because they want to change the way they are playing by speeding up the pace from previous seasons. This should work great for Boston considering they are playing at one of the quickest paces in the NBA.
Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets, $5,800 – The rookie point guard has taken over as the leader of this young Denver Nuggets team, and as a Nuggets fan I couldn’t be more excited about the future we have. On draft day I was left completely stunned as he slipped to us in the draft; now it doesn’t look as crazy because this rookie class looks to be one of the best classes in the last 20 years or so with tons of incredible talent. Mudiay is averaging 30 minutes a game and has played at a super high level despite shooting a brutal 33% from the field, which was his biggest knock coming into the league. As we have seen in the past with guys like Jason Kidd, just because you can’t shoot doesn’t mean you can’t dominate games from the point guard position. He seems like the type of player that is going to stuff the stat sheet across all categories, as he is averaging a 12.7 – 5.6 – 4.3 – 1.1 line to start the season. Another big knock on him has been his turnovers, as he’s averaging 4.86 per game, but this is just something that is going to happen with a rookie leading a young team and trying to make plays, so I am not worried at all about it. Mudiay is underpriced for his role on the team and is one of the best plays on Wednesday across all formats.
Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic, $5,500 – Living in Denver, I watched Fournier throughout the early part of his career before he was traded to Orlando, and honestly I can say I never thought he would be a decent NBA player. He looked like someone that should be playing on my men’s league team, not running around with the best players in the world. Well, through the first eight games of this season, it looks like I was completely wrong about that, as Fournier has been awesome while getting extended run. He is averaging an insane 38 minutes a night and putting up 19 real life points per game on 48% shooting from the field. His price has come up across the industry, but not enough to take him off my radar. Anyone that is going to play almost 40 minutes a night and get as many good shots as he will is almost a plug and play type guy for me. Tonight he has perhaps the premier fantasy matchup in the NBA, as the Lakers come to town on the second night of a back to back. Simply put, the Lakers play zero defense and make it fun for practically anyone you want to roster against them.
Marcus Thornton, Houston Rockets, $4,500 – The Rockets started the season brutally behind a new-look offense with Ty Lawson as the starting point guard, but it didn’t take long at all for that to change. Terrence Jones went down with an injury and Coach McHale pulled off one of his smartest moves of his coaching career when he inserted Thornton into the starting rotation and decided to play a four-guard type of offense. In the new space and pace era, I think this is literally the perfect offense for a team that has James Harden and Ty Lawson, both of whom are awesome and a couple of the best in the world at getting to the hole and scoring or creating for their teammates. Thornton is a perfect fit with these guys, because he has always been a premier scorer and a terrific shooter from everywhere on the floor. He is shooting 45% from the field and a very solid 41% from the arc throughout his first five games, and he has to be loving life finally settled into a solidified role that he really never has had in his NBA career. Another knock on Thornton has always been how bad his defense is, and as anyone who watches the NBA knows, the Rockets don’t even pretend to play defense, so they could care less about Thornton’s weakness there. He has been one of the safest plays in DFS through the first few games of the year, and with his price not really moving much, feel free to lock him in across any site or format.
Paul George, Indiana Pacers, $8,900 – PG looks to be completely back from that awful injury he sustained playing for the USA a few years ago. He should be priced at the same level as guys like LeBron and KD, but he is still sitting way below them, which gives us massive upside when selecting him because of how incredible he is playing. Coming into the season, I was worried about a lack of minutes as he worked back into game form, but that simply hasn’t been the case; he is averaging 36 minutes a night. He is also averaging 23.5 real life points per game, which I think will be his floor if he continues to stay healthy, as this Pacers team really wants to pick up the pace compared to previous years of being a slow, grinding team behind guys like West and Hibbert down low. Another great thing about owning PG is he is one of the top five two-way players the league has to offer, so he stuffs that stat sheet in multiple ways, which is obviously huge for fantasy production. He is averaging 8.6 boards, 4.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game, which adds to the upside of his scoring ability. He has been incredible over his last four games with lines like 26-10, 36-12, 32-11 and 27-4. His last game vs Boston he posted a very solid line of 26-10-3-2. With Boston playing at the fastest pace in the league and the Pacers wanting to pick up the pace as well, the game flow should be perfect for PG this evening.
James Johnson, Toronto Raptors, $3,600 – JJ, or better known across the industry as “Neck Tat”, has always been the type of guy we love rostering when you know he will be in line for big minutes that night. Well, tonight DeMarre Carroll is doubtful to play with plantar fasciitis, and I personally know how painful it is. It seemingly takes forever to go away completely. Last night JJ struggled mightily through the first half, as his only stats were a turnover and a foul, but he got it going down the stretch and ended up posting a solid 7-3-3-1-3 line to more than pay off his salary across the industry. I don’t think JJ is a good basketball player at all, but if he is going to get 30 minutes a night on a good team and be priced around the minimum, he is a great play.
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Falcons, $8,300 – If you want to roster maybe the most consistent player in the NBA, Millsap is your guy. He is averaging 35 minutes a night and posting averages of 17-8-4-2-1 to be right around value on every site. He can play inside or out, which makes him a nearly impossible matchup every single night, thus making him nearly matchup proof. Tonight Anthony Davis appears to be out, which should clear the way for Millsap to destroy that horrible front line the Pelicans will throw at him. A blowout is something to be scared of, because without Davis the Pelicans don’t have much of a shot at all to keep the game close, but in a tournament format Millsap just has too much upside to ignore. He could easily hit value thresholds in three quarters of play, and if the game stays close, he could easily be the reason you take down a GPP tonight, as he will almost guaranteed to be underowned, just like he always is.
Jared Sullinger, Boston Celtics, $5,200 – One of the biggest early season surprises to me is how great Big Sully has looked lately. He has been incredible the last three games, showing massive upside for a guy that has always had big upside but never quite got things clicking completely. He is a walking double double type guy the minute he steps on the floor; that’s primarily because of his big body and rare ability to use it almost like Charles Barkley did to get position on guys that have size advantage over him. The Celtics are always scary with how they run their rotations and no one is guaranteed to play big minutes on any night, but Sully is in a great spot for success tonight. With Indiana cleaning house and getting rid of Hibbert and West, they now play guy like Jordan Hill, Ian Mahinmi and Myles Turner, none of whom are very good defenders. Some of my favorite targets in the league are bigs against Indiana, so everything seems to be in line for a monster showing tonight for Sully.
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings, $10,200 – Easily my favorite player to target in DFS over the last year has been the Boogie Monster, DeMarcus Cousins. He has missed a few games with injuries and I am sure has been hearing how great Andre Drummond is in the process, so he should be more than ready to battle tonight. Drummond has always been very foul prone, and the perfect candidate to expose this weakness is Boogie tonight. I consider Boogie to be a top 5-10 player in the NBA and easily the best true big in the league. After a tough loss to the Spurs the other night, the Kings had a players-only meeting and everything we have heard since is how motivated a leader Boogie is and how much he wants to win. With how well Detroit has been playing, I was very surprised to see Sacramento favored in the matchup tonight, which makes me even more certain that I love the Kings. Boogie is going to be a man on a mission tonight, and I put his floor at something like 20-10 type game, but I think I feel a 60+ fantasy point game coming. Everything is in line and pointing to a monster game, and I am not going to be the one missing out on it. An added bonus is Boogie is priced higher than Drummond everywhere, so with all the success Drummond has had, there is no way people aren’t going to side with him over Boogie, which helps us get a much lower ownership than we should.