It’s April Fools Day today, so hopefully NBA teams aren’t going to pull any pranks on the daily fantasy community. We don’t need to see any late-breaking news with respect to injuries or the resting of starters. To quote Ron Burgundy, “stay classy San Diego,” or for us, stay classy NBA.
Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder (Salary: $12700, FPPG: 49.5, MPG: 34, Usage Rate: 37.2)
In case you haven’t heard, Westbrook is having a pretty decent season. Since the All-Star break, he has averaged nearly a triple-double, with 31 points, 9 rebounds, and 11 assists per game. He has scored at least 55 fantasy points in seven of his last 10 games. He also draws a favorable matchup against the Mavericks, who are ranked 22nd against point guards this season. Everything is lining up for a monster performance from Westbrook, and given his price point, he will likely have a low ownership percentage in tournaments.
Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves (Salary: $5700, FPPG: 15.8, MPG: 23, Usage Rate: 21.8)
Ricky Rubio is doubtful for tonight’s game against the Raptors, which means LaVine will likely push for 40+ minutes of playing time once again. He may not be the most productive player in terms of fantasy points per minute, but he doesn’t have to be when he is playing 40 minutes per night. LaVine has scored at least 28 fantasy points in four of his last seven games and he draws a favorable matchup against the Raptors, who are ranked 21st against point guards this season.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit Pistons (Salary: $5300, FPPG: 19.9, MPG: 32, Usage Rate: 19.2)
Caldwell-Pope, who I will refer to as KCP from here on, has seen his minutes trend upward over the last couple of weeks. In his last 10 games, he has averaged 27 fantasy points in 38 minutes per contest. He has a fairly high usage rate and should see minutes in the upper 30s again tonight, as the Pistons take on the Hornets. While the Hornets have defended opposing shooting guards well this season, KCP is still in play thanks to his ability to fill all areas of the stat sheet.
Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets (Salary: $5600, FPPG: 25.9, MPG: 35, Usage Rate: 21)
Johnson has been on fire over his last three games, scoring 39, 41, and 33 fantasy points. His price is still reflective of his recent slump, which allows us to buy low on the red-hot shooting guard. Johnson is very tough to stop when he is aggressive offensively, and with the Nets in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference, he has really stepped up his play. His hot streak should continue tonight against the Knicks, who are ranked 24th against shooting guards this season.
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs (Salary: $8200, FPPG: 33.1, MPG: 32, Usage Rate: 22.8)
The Spurs are playing the second of back-to-back road games and Leonard played 37 minutes last night against the Heat. The masses will be off of Leonard tonight, as it’s always hard to trust Coach Popovich in a back-to-back set. This allows us to target a very productive player on a night where his ownership will be lower than it necessarily should be. Leonard has been terrific in his last 10 games, averaging 36 fantasy points per contest. He is the premier small forward option, as the Spurs take on the Magic in Orlando.
Omri Casspi, Sacramento Kings (Salary: $3700, FPPG: 13.6, MPG: 19, Usage Rate: 17.6)
Rudy Gay has already been ruled out of tonight’s game, and from the way that George Karl is talking, DeMarcus Cousins may also sit out. Casspi is going to see an uptick in both minutes and usage rate, and he’s priced close to the bare-minimum on FanDuel. He should push for 30+ minutes tonight against the Rockets, who are ranked 22nd against small forwards this season. Casspi is a candidate to reach 6x-7x salary when talking about value expectations.
Josh Smith, Houston Rockets (Salary: $7000, FPPG: 27.4, MPG: 28, Usage Rate: 24.4)
Donatas Motiejunas has already been ruled out of tonight’s game against the Kings. Terrence Jones has been upgraded to questionable, but even if he plays, he will likely be on a minutes cap. Smith should still see somewhere close to 30 minutes of action tonight against the Kings, who have one of the worst defenses in the entire NBA. Recency bias should lower his ownership percentage after his dud against the Raptors, making him a terrific tournament play tonight.
Derrick Williams, Sacramento Kings (Salary: $3500, FPPG: 11.5, MPG: 19, Usage Rate: 18)
Derrick Williams will draw the start for the injured Rudy Gay. He would also see a sizable boost if DeMarcus Cousins is unable to suit up. Williams has been hit or miss all season, but in five starts, he has averaged 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal per game. If he replicates that stat line tonight, he would finish with 23 fantasy points, which is more than enough to reach value at his price point.
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons (Salary: $9400, FPPG: 34.5, MPG: 30, Usage Rate: 21.6)
Drummond has an elevated price tag and he is playing in the tail end of a back-to-back. His ownership level should be very low in tonight’s large slate. I’m not too concerned about the back-to-back though, as his splits in those situations are very close to his season averages. Drummond also sat out most of the fourth quarter last night, so he should have relatively fresh legs for tonight’s game against the Hornets. He has as much upside as any center in the player pool tonight and I don’t mind paying a premium for him in tournaments.