Welcome to the NBA GPP Pivots article, where we’ll be looking to uncover some sneaky-good DFS plays away from the popular selections. These recommendations are usually risk/reward commodities meant to be used in large-field tournaments. Typically, blending these low-owned hidden gems with well-aligned staples contributes to a viable GPP strategy.
Keep in mind that the following player write-ups were constructed earlier in the day, and sometimes injury/rest situations can alter the fantasy landscape. Monitoring our NBA News & Headlines Feed throughout the day will keep you in the loop while giving you the subsequent DFS consequences of each information piece.
We will be looking at Thursday’s three-game main slate starting at 7:00 ET.
Darius Garland - Cleveland (vs. Washington)
Even though this is only a three-game slate, there’s still plenty of options at point guard. That’s why Darius Garland could be underrated despite a relaxed salary and promising matchup. Garland has seen 35+ minutes in back-to-back games, but he hasn’t been able to capitalize, scoring just 19 and 20 FP respectively. That could change against a Washington team that ranks 28th in defensive efficiency to point guards.
Jordan McRae - Washington (at Cleveland)
McRae is a true risk/reward play on tonight’s slate. The Wizards are getting healthy, which means guys like McRae have less stable minutes. On top of that, McRae was dealing with an ankle injury last week. It appears that he has fully healed from that, posting 28 FP in 34 minutes at Miami yesterday. McRae usually sees around 25 minutes, but that could move into the mid-30’s if he gets the hot hand. This is an outstanding matchup to get him going, as Cleveland ranks dead last in defensive efficiency to shooting guards.
Tim Hardaway Jr. - Dallas (at Portland)
Hardaway’s write-up is similar to McRae above. Both players are scoring-dependent fantasy commodities. However, Hardaway also finds himself in an optimistic matchup against a Portland team that ranks 20th in defensive efficiency to small forwards. Hardaway has seen 30-31 minutes in six of his last seven outings, crossing 31 fantasy points in three of those. The small forward position is somewhat dicey when it comes to value plays (Prince, Ariza, etc), and “THJR” is one of the few guys in that category who could post realistic upside. Keep him on your tournament radar.
Larry Nance Jr. - Cleveland (vs. Washington)
Nance is an excellent tournament pick who is borderline cash playable as well. The Cleveland forward has been seeing around 25 minutes in each of his past three games, translating to a respectable 27+ fantasy points in two of those. Nance has been an efficient fantasy producer throughout his career, and that should be on display against Washington - who represents one of the worst defenses in the NBA. Needless to say, Nance is a sneaky-good bargain with a clear path to fantasy upside.
Ian Mahinmi - Washington (at Cleveland)
Most people will gravitate towards Hassan Whiteside and/or Tristan Thompson at center. That’s a fine move for cash games, but don’t forget about Ian Mahinmi in tournaments. Davis Bertans and Thomas Bryant are back in Washington’s rotation, but that hasn’t deterred Mahinmi in the slightest. The Washington center has posted 37+ fantasy points in three of his last five games, and now he’s facing a Cleveland team that ranks 29th in defensive efficiency to opposing big men.