Tuesday’s NBA slate features only three games. We’re still very much figuring out rotations, as are real NBA teams, which makes the first couple weeks of the season a fantasy roller coaster. There are plenty of stars in our sights tonight, so here’s the rundown of the cheaper plays you can rely on around them. In this column, I generally set $6000 FD/$5000 DK as the bargain threshold, and I try to indicate when I think a position is particularly well-suited--or not--to using the cheap plays given the landscape of the particular slate. Tonight’s slate tips at 7:30 pm EST.
Quinn Cook, LA Lakers vs. Memphis ($4100 FD, $3200 DK)
Rajon Rondo has a strained calf and is listed as day-to-day. Assuming he doesn’t make it back tonight, Cook has a chance to build on his last game. With 12 points, eight assists and three rebounds, Cook was able to return value and then some in 24 minutes. The stars are going to dominate in LA but as long as the secondary guys like Cook stay cheap they’ll have their uses in DFS. Memphis has finally turned over the pace leaf, meaning they’re playing as the fourth-fastest team in the league right now; no longer a deterrent to opponent PGs.
Seth Curry, Dallas Mavericks at Denver ($3800 FD, $3200 DK)
Curry is going to exceed value when he takes and makes a bunch of three-pointers. His 3-point shooting is good so far (45 percent), but he can get even hotter. Denver is a tough matchup to figure out with just a few games in the books, but suffice to say I’m not avoiding them despite their slow pace and good defensive efficiency to this point. All in all, Curry is a risk/reward salary-saver with 25 fantasy point upside.
Kyle Anderson, Memphis Grizzlies at LA ($4800 FD, $3700 DK)
Anderson is questionable tonight with calf soreness, but has played at least 20 minutes in each of the Grizzlies’ three games this season, doing a little bit of everything. Thanks to strong hustle stats (three blocks and three steals), Anderson scored 27 fantasy points in each of the last two games. If he’s unable to suit up tonight, look at Dillon Brooks ($4700 FD, $4100 DK) to have even more of an opportunity to excel. Brooks played over 30 minutes in the last two games, and thanks to a 21 point performance, his salary is higher than I’d like. Brooks is still inconsistent and therefore more of a tournament target for me.
Danny Green, LA Lakers vs. Memphis ($5500 FD, $4400 DK)
Green’s price still reflects his stellar opening night performance, but he’s going to make it into this article with some regularity given the upside his smooth shooting carries. The matchup with Memphis has been favorable for guards so far, as the Grizzlies rank second in fantasy points allowed. The younger Grizzlies are playing at a faster pace, as noted above, which is doubtless contributing to the ability of opponents to put up bigger numbers against them. This is probably my favorite game to target for value.
Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets vs. Dallas ($4900 FD, $4800 DK)
Harris is just a guy, a guy for whom if the salary leftover fits, I’m happy to slot him in to lineups. He’s been steadily improving in terms of more scoring and fewer fouls and turnovers since the opener, and he plays a ton of minutes. It’s a good matchup for him with a faster team, but again, he’s not necessarily someone I’m actively trying to insert in every lineup.
Also consider: Delon Wright ($5600 FD, $5000 DK)
Jae Crowder, Memphis Grizzlies at LA ($5600 FD, $5200 DK)
When Crowder is healthy, he’s one of the most consistent fantasy wings out there. Capable of filling the stat sheet from every category, Crowder brings stability to this younger lineup for Memphis. He’s a cash game option tonight.
Deandre’ Bembry, Atlanta Hawks at Miami ($4200 FD, $3500 DK)
Evan Turner is doubtful tonight and Kevin Huerter is still on a 20 minute limit, which means that Bembry and perhaps De’Andre Hunter or Cameron Reddish could have increased value tonight. I like Bembry’s combination of minutes, production and price the best among the three, though if you can afford Hunter he probably has the most upside, and Reddish could meet value at his low salary.
Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks at Denver ($4900 FD, $3700 DK)
Kleber stands out as a consistent option in this price range. I actually think PF is a great place to spend up tonight, but if you’re looking to go another way with your lineups, Denver ranks just 26th in rebounding rate so far, and Kleber is putting forth pretty well-rounded stat lines in his last two games.
Brandon Clarke, Memphis Grizzlies at LA ($5500 FD, $5100 DK)
Last one, I promise. They’re all cheap, ok? Clarke has scored double-digit points in his last two games while averaging six rebounds per game along with a smattering of blocks, steals, and assists. The Lakers are huge favorites tonight and the matchup with LA’s stars is going to be tough, so I consider Clarke more of a tournament differentiator with a decent floor.
Bruno Fernando, Atlanta Hawks ($3600 FD, $3200 DK(C))
Alex Len just can’t lock down a starting center job. Whether it’s a minor injury or just underwhelming play, someone is always breathing down his neck. It’s currently Fernando, who has played with a lot of efficiency and helped with two assists in every game and only three total turnovers. Like Curry above, he’s a huge salary-saver, a path to getting one more mega-star in the lineup tonight. 15-25 fantasy points is what I optimistically expect.
Mason Plumlee, Denver Nuggets vs. Dallas ($3800 FD, $3400 DK)
If you’re not going with Nikola Jokic on FanDuel, you might as well punt straight down to Plumlee. The position is a mess on FanDuel, and Plumlee is coming off his best game so far of the short season. If he can replicate his 10-point, seven-rebound night at his current salary, I’d be happy.