Happy New Year everyone! Hopefully your DFS adventures for the year have gotten off on the right foot. Let’s try to keep it rolling with some tournament targets on this first Wednesday of 2016. It’s a pretty full slate with a healthy 11 games on the docket, so there are plenty of FanDuel targets to take a look at.
Top Play: Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets
It’s been fascinating to see the growth of Kemba Walker this season. He has become much more aggressive on the offensive end of the court now that the Hornets don’t have to bog their offense down by running things for Al Jefferson on the interior. Walker is going to see plenty of usage for the rest of the season, and the playing time will surely be there as well. He still comes at a nice discount from the other elite point guards, and he is starting to deserve merit in that consideration. This is a matchup he should thrive in against a bad Phoenix team that doesn’t play much defense. Nicolas Batum has already been ruled out for tonight, which is another boost to Walker’s rapidly increasing value.
Value Play: Ramon Sessions, Washington Wizards
This may not be the sexy pick of the day, but Sessions has been a reliable asset for the Wizards of late. With all the injuries on their squad, Sessions is being counted on to lead the second unit. He is playing a consistent 28-30 minutes per game with Bradley Beal on the shelf, and he also gets a boost with some other value leaving us. J.J. Barea loses some appeal with Deron Williams back. Jameer Nelson loses some appeal with Emmanuel Mudiay possibly back. That cuts down on the available value options. Sessions has hit at least 20 fantasy points in seven straight games, and he’s a preferred option for me over a low-ceiling play like Shane Larkin.
Top Play: DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
DeRozan has been a consistent DFS option on a nightly basis for Toronto, as his game has become very well-rounded this season. Of course, he also has the ability to drop 35 actual points on a given night. That gives him a nice blend of safety and upside, which makes him appealing for any daily fantasy format. The Raptors should get plenty of open looks against a bad Brooklyn team tonight, and guys like Shane Larkin and an aging Joe Johnson are no match for DeRozan’s skill set.
Value Play: Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
On a projected points-per-dollar basis, you could make a case for Oladipo as one of the top overall plays of the night. Scott Skiles sent a message to the enigmatic young guard by sending him to the bench for a while. Now, Oladipo is getting his chance to shine. Elfrid Payton will not play tonight, and Evan Fournier is questionable for this evening’s clash with Indiana. This could allow Oladipo to play upwards of 40 minutes, and he will also spend plenty of time at the point guard spot with Payton out. He’s a fantastic, high-upside tournament play on this Wednesday night.
Top Play: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Several of the top-end small forward options have tough matchups this evening, as Kawhi Leonard takes on a slow-paced Utah team, Gordon Hayward has to face Leonard’s Spurs, Kevin Durant is injured, and Carmelo Anthony has to face the Heat. That makes the top choice pretty easy, and this should be a good night for King James. Washington has been absolutely dreadful at defending small forwards this season, and they have nobody capable of slowing down LeBron. Assuming he comes out motivated and ready to perform tonight, expect James to have the best game out of the top tier at the position.
Value Play: Evan Turner, Boston Celtics
Turner drew the start for the injured Avery Bradley the other night, and he certainly didn’t do anything to lose the job. Bradley has already been ruled out for tonight, too. Turner logged a solid 12 point, 11 rebound, three assist game on Monday while playing an encouraging 37 minutes. He is still priced too low in DFS given this projected role, and he makes for a fine value option as the Celtics take on Detroit this evening.
Top Play: Thaddeus Young, Brooklyn Nets
Jarrett Jack will miss the rest of the season for the Nets, and clearly that offensive production is not going to filter down to Shane Larkin. Someone is going to have to take on the heavy lifting, and it looks like that guy might be Thaddeus Young. He doesn’t get a ton of publicity, but he is actually having a breakout year in Brooklyn. He poured in 23 points and added 15 rebounds against the Celtics on Monday, and he is quietly averaging 16 points and 9 rebounds per game on the year. He is still priced fairly for DFS and is a fine option until his price rises as a result of his increased offensive role.
Value Play: Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers
None of the value options at power forward are particularly high-upside options, but you do get some safety with guys like Thompson or Cody Zeller. Thompson has been playing around 30 minutes per night as the new starting center in Cleveland, and he is coming off a solid double-double in a blowout win on Monday. He will be a stable source of around 25 fantasy points on a nightly basis, and that has value even in a tournament format because his cheap price tag allows you to spend on high-upside options at other positions.
Top Play: DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers
DeAndre Jordan is thriving in the absence of Blake Griffin for the Clippers. While he doesn’t necessarily see more natural offensive usage because he can’t create any shots beyond five feet from the basket, he is deriving some solid secondary benefits. He’s playing a handful of extra minutes in close games, his rebounding rate is as high as it has been all year, and he is being more aggressive when he gets the opportunity. He has grabbed at least 13 rebounds in five straight games, and his scoring has picked up as well. In a great matchup against an undersized Portland front line, I really like Jordan’s upside tonight.
Value Play: Jeff Withey, Utah Jazz
This pick obviously hinges on the status of Derrick Favors, who has now missed seven straight games for the Jazz. Jeff Withey has been a pleasant surprise in his absence, playing around 30 minutes per night and averaging 11 points and 9 rebounds a game over the last five contests. The coaching staff has entrusted him to play clutch minutes down the stretch in games, too. Keep an eye on the news wires and fire up Withey as a solid value as long as Favors remains sidelined.