The Vegas odds serve as a great starting point for daily fantasy NBA research. After all, a high over/under indicates more fantasy potential, and you’d be wise to attack these games accordingly.
Even though today’s slate is comprised of several afternoon games, the highest projected scoring affairs are set for this evening. Consequently, this is where we’ll turn our attention for this column, as three West-Coast tilts check in with an over/under of 207 or greater.
Orlando @ Phoenix: Over/Under 207, Suns -10
Nikola Vucevic makes for one of the best “high-end” Centers in today’s short slate. He’s a consistent option that rarely throws up a dud, and the matchup against Phoenix (rank 29th in defensive efficiency vs Centers) couldn’t be much better. The Suns also rank 27th in rebounding rate, creating a nice opportunity for Vucevic to clean up on the glass … Make no mistake about it, Tobias Harris is the top overall SF tonight. He, and the rest of Orlando’s lineup will benefit from Phoenix’s breakneck pace (ranked 2nd in possessions/game), creating more opportunities for shot attempts, rebounds, and peripheral stats. Harris is averaging 35 fppg in his last seven, and we can consider that his baseline in this friendly matchup … After a slow start to the season, Eric Bledsoe is really starting to turn it on. Over the past two weeks, he’s averaging 1.07 FP/min, which extrapolates to 39 FP when assuming a normal, 36 minute compliment. Isaiah Thomas is dealing with an injury, which ultimately strengthens Bledsoe’s minute totals and ball-handling responsibilities. The Magic rank in the bottom ten at defending opposing backcourts as well … Markieff Morris' price has risen, but rightfully so. A blowout hurt his (and many other Suns players) last game, but we can realistically expect Morris to near his hearty 29 fppg average this evening.
The matchup looks tempting for Goran Dragic, as Orlando ranks 29th in defensive efficiency vs PG’s. However, he’s been so unreliable this season, and he hasn't benefitted from Isaiah Thomas’ absence either. I believe he’s an unnecessary risk for your lineups tonight … Evan Fournier was once an intriguing value selection at SG, but his role in the offense is starting to dwindle as Orlando gets healthy. His minute totals remain above 30, but a 10 fppg average in the last three has me looking elsewhere … Channing Frye will take on his former team tonight, but that doesn’t mean you should deploy him for DFS purposes. Kyle O’Quinn is back in the fold, eating up some minutes (and production) in Orlando’s frontcourt. Also, like I mentioned with Fournier above, Frye has a smaller offensive role as the Magic return to full-strength.
Toronto @ LA Lakers: Over/Under 212, Raptors -6
Kyle Lowry breaks through as the top PG play of the day, considering LAL ranks dead last in defensive efficiency vs opposing floor generals. The combination of matchup, reasonable salary, and overall consistency makes Lowry someone to build your lineups around tonight … Louis Williams has been terrific on a per-minute basis, and there’s a chance he could see some extended run with DeMar DeRozan on the shelf. Combine that with a draw against the Lakers 27th ranked D-eff vs SG’s, and Williams emerges as one of the top value plays of the day … Amir Johnson has been up and down this season, but his fantasy stock is currently on the rise following back-to-back quality outings. We can expect him to keep it going against the Lakers’ weak frontcourt … Kobe Bryant is always a viable option based on shot volume alone. I may be leaning towards Eric Bledsoe’s cheaper salary in cash games, but Kobe is a fantastic tournament pivot. There are seemingly enough value plays to comfortably fit him into a lineup … Jeremy Lin represents one of those value recommendations, hitting a nice 32 fppg sting of consistency over his last four. He appears more comfortable in the Lakers’ offense, and his price has yet to adjust for his most recent hotstreak.
Jordan Hill has been a solid fantasy option for most of the season, but I’m not clicking him into my lineups tonight. The matchup against Toronto (ranks 6th in D-eff vs Centers) dampens his fantasy value, and there are plenty of other viable big men on the board … Nick Young is always a fringe DFS play at SG, and I believe he can be safely ignored tonight. He doesn’t do anything in the peripheral categories, meaning you’ll need him to connect on majority of his wild, fade-away jumpers to reach fantasy value; no thanks … In the wake of DeRozan’s injury, some people may be tempted to roster Terrence Ross tonight. However, even if Ross does receive a bump in minutes, I’m not sure that will directly correlate to fantasy production, as he currently has a low .65 FP/min clip this season.
Minnesota @ Portland: Over/Under 213, Blazers -12
Mo Williams lit up the Lakers for 25 points, 11 assists (44 FP) on Friday, and his price has yet to increase. Don’t necessarily expect a repeat performance, but Williams is a fantastic mid-range option in this fast-paced draw against his former team … Wesley Matthews always represents a solid, safe cash game play. That sentiment doesn’t change against a Minnesota team that ranks 28th in defensive efficiency vs SG’s. Roster Matthews with confidence tonight … LaMarcus Aldridge has a hefty price tag, but he could easily be worth every penny against Minnesota’s porous defense. In addition, there are enough viable cheap options to work Aldridge into a lineup; if that’s the route you choose … Gorgui Dieng will draw another start in place of Nikola Pekovic tonight. Foul trouble limited his fantasy output last game, but otherwise Dieng is averaging 29 fppg as a starter. He’s a nice, cheap alternative if you can’t quite reach up for Vucevic.
Andrew Wiggins is far too inconsistent for cash games, and the return of Thad Young hurts his fantasy appeal. When hunting for value at SF, I’d much rather roll with his teammate, Corey Brewer … Thaddeus Young returned to action this week, and he hasn’t really done a whole lot since. Young has yet to carve out an established role for the Timberwolves, and I’d avoid him in DFS until that changes … Nicolas Batum has also been underwhelming since coming back, averaging just 21 fppg in the last five. That’s not nearly enough to consider him for a mid/upper-range salary.