Tuesday’s NBA slate features six games, and it’s kind of an odd slate. The Lakers stand out as the only team that excels on both ends of the court; they are 13-point favorites over New York. Toronto is still a good defensive team, but Phoenix checks in as the next best in offensive efficiency. Prepare for a crazy night, with a number of injuries to watch for: Karl-Anthony Towns, C.J. McCollum, Richaun Holmes, Elfrid Payton, Marvin Bagley, Bogdan Bogdanovic are all questionable to some degree while Fred VanVleet, Blake Griffin, Markieff Morris, and Kevin Porter Jr. are all ruled out. 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. DraftKings’ pricing is notably sharper than FanDuel’s tonight, so I tried to provide a couple extra options to consider where it was feasible. Tonight’s slate tips at 7:00 pm EST.
Alex Caruso, LA Lakers vs. New York ($3800 FD, $3500 DK)
Caruso is a risky play as he’s very up and down in terms of minutes played and production. If you’re up for a risk, though, he is coming off a 24-minute game against a very friendly guard matchup, as a heavy favorite. Rajon Rondo hasn’t been shooting much or well, has virtually zero ‘hustle’ stats, and seems like more and more of an afterthought on this team. Caruso’s star could be rising just a little bit and he is a decent path to another star tonight.
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit ($4700 FD, $4800 DK)
This is a game I keep coming back to for value. There are some injuries, and both teams rank in the Top 10 overall in fantasy points allowed and Bottom 10 in defensive efficiency. Garland has been playing 34-35 minutes since New Year’s Eve and though he still lacks perfect consistency, is scoring well and contributing ample assists and steals for the price.
Bruce Brown, Detroit Pistons at Cleveland ($4800 both)
Cleveland ranks as the third-best SG matchup, and Detroit is severely shorthanded again. Both Brown and Svi Mykhailiuk ($4100 FD, $4200 DK) should be fairly popular plays as higher floor bargain wings.
Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota ($4900 both)
Brooks is averaging nearly 20 real points per game over his last four and his minutes continue to rise. The Timberwolves are a top matchup for shooting guards, and in two games against them this season, Brooks is averaging 37 fantasy points.
Patrick McCaw, Toronto Raptors vs. Portland ($3700 FD, $4000 DK)
I see McCaw as a low-ownership tournament play tonight. It’s a good matchup, he’s playing enough minutes to hit that 30-fantasy point mark, but the odds of him putting a complete game together are somewhat slim based on what we’ve seen. Still, the upside is there.
Jarrett Culver, Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis ($4700 FD, $5000 DK)
Culver is a bit riskier with Andrew Wiggins back on the court, but it’s worth noting he still posted over 30 fantasy points Sunday. That effort included four steals and two blocks on top of his fourth consecutive double-digit scoring game. Culver is averaging about 30 fantasy points per game against Memphis this season.
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings at Phoenix ($4800 FD, $5900 DK)
The Kings are dreadfully short on forwards/big men, which is why Trevor Ariza ($3800 FD, $3500 DK) and Nemanja Bjelica ($4700 FD, $5300 DK) deserve mentions here as well. Barnes can play the four, and is a good rebounder when needed. He can be frustrating, but this is a game for him to shine. Phoenix offers a faster pace and several fantasy-friendly matchups.
Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit ($4400 FD, $4500 DK)
With Porter out, Osman has been getting more work, topping 30 MPG in the last two. His most recent effort vs. Minnesota was disappointing, but he should bounce back here against a depleted Pistons team that has been giving up the fifth-most fantasy points to small forwards.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Toronto Raptors vs. Portland ($4900 FD, $4800 DK)
I really like RHJ, and it seems like the Raptors do as well. In the last three games he’s played about 27 MPG, scored double-digit points in each, and not neglected his defense with a block, five steals and 17 rebounds. His brand of consistency suits the team, and makes for a nice cash game play tonight in a quality frontcourt matchup with the Trail Blazers.
Sekou Doumbouya, Detroit Pistons at Cleveland ($4600 both)
Griffin is ruled out yet again, along with Morris. Tonight’s game should be fairly high scoring and Vegas has a narrow spread, bolstering the fantasy potential for both teams. Again, Cleveland ranks as the second-best overall fantasy matchup and will be without starting center Tristan Thompson tonight. Both the hot-handed Doumbouya, who has two double-doubles in his last three games, and the more steady Christian Wood ($4700 FD, $5500 DK) should be on your radar.
Also consider: Noah Vonleh, Minnesota Timberwolves ($3000 DK) if Towns is out again
Gorgui Dieng, Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis ($6000 FD, $6800 DK)
Just pointing out the much lower FanDuel salary for those interested in fading Andre Drummond or Serge Ibaka but not totally punting the position. Dieng gets the sixth-best center matchup, is coming off a dominant performance vs. the Cavaliers, and has generally been a seamless fill-in while Towns is out.
John Henson, Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit ($3500 FD, $4400 DK)
If you’re looking for more of a thrill in the center bargain range, look no further than the veteran Henson, who will start in Thompson’s place tonight. He did well Sunday with seven points, three assists, 11 rebounds and a block in 23 minutes. Look for more of the same tonight – solid, but not a GPP-winning player.