Welp, I was meaning to use all of my Christmas break to get back to producing articles on a regular basis but that clearly hasn’t happened due to work and general social distractions, but I’ve had the itch to get back to it, so here I am.
I usually do a “Core Four” article, giving you the four players that I am building my lineup around, but today I want to switch it up, and give you more than just four options, so I am going to do a general breakdown at every position. This will include most of the plays that I am strongly considering at each position, at various price points.
Also, while writing this, the Cavs’ spread shifted from -8 to -5.5, which leads me to believe that at least one of the big 3 players is going to be out, but we don’t know who yet, so this is a huge situation to monitor.
These plays and more can be found on our Fantasy Forecast Cheat Sheets that we send out daily to help users learn how to build winning lineups, so make sure you get in on the fun and follow us at @FanForecast on Twitter!
Here is my NBA slate breakdown for January 4th:
Russell Westbrook | Oklahoma City Thunder | ($11,800)
There really isn’t much explaining that needs to be done to justify why Russell Westbrook is by far and away the premier point guard play today. He’s averaging a triple double on the season, and at 11.8k, his price is lower than what it has been for a vast majority of the season thanks to a couple disappointing games recently. The Hornets present a rather neutral matchup, ranking 18th in DvP against opposing point guards, and with the amount of value at point guard today, I personally will be fading Russ, but I have absolutely no argument if you choose to play him.
Goran Dragic | Miami Heat | ($7,000)
I’m going to start off by saying Dragic is a lock for my lineup tonight. Not only has he been playing at an extremely high level this season, but with Hassan Whiteside, Justice Winslow, Tyler Johnson, and Dion Waiters all nursing injuries, Dragic’s usage has been through the roof. He played 38 minutes last night while posting 24 points, 9 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals and gets a matchup with the Sacramento Kings tonight, who have allowed 43.6 FDP per game to opposing point guards over their last 10 games. For $7,000, Dragic only needs 35 Fanduel points to reach 5x value, something he could do in his sleep tonight.
Malcolm Brogdon | Milwaukee Bucks | ($4,400)
Oh look, another lock. I guess I just gave away my two point guard plays tonight, but they’re just too enticing to pass up. With Delly expected to be out again tonight, Brogdon should see another start and a very safe floor of at least 30 minutes. In his last three games (all starts), he’s averaged 12.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 7 assists per game accumulating an average of 28.3 Fanduel points per game over that stretch. If you can’t tell, thats an average of 6.4x value. Over their last 5 games, the Knicks have surrendered 52 Fanduel points per game to opposing point guards. Don’t overthink this play.
Giannis Antetokounmpo | Milwaukee Bucks | ($10,500)
Giannis in the Mecca…another play that needs little to no explanation. He’s stuffed the stat sheet all season and takes on a New York Knicks’ team ranking 3rd worst in the league at defending the shooting guard position and have gotten burned by wing players all season. While Giannis will obviously switch up positions frequently throughout the game, nobody on New York can guard him. If Giannis doesn’t triple double tonight then I might as well delete the Fantasy Forecast Twitter account.
CJ McCollum | Portland Trail Blazers | ($8,000)
McCollum is a viable play with Damian Lillard doubtful, but not one that I will be using tonight. At $8,000 in a game with a spread of 15 in favor of the Warriors, it might be rather difficult for McCollum to exceed value. If you saw his stat line on New Years’ Day (43 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and a block in 39 minutes), you can see exactly what he’s capable of when he’s used as the go-to weapon on offense, rendering him a fantastic GPP option tonight.
Victor Oladipo | Oklahoma City Thunder | ($5,400)
This is just dumb to me. Yes, Oladipo’s production has taken a hit this season playing next to Russell Westbrook but he’s shown this season that he has an extremely high ceiling. In his two games back since his injury, he’s averaged 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. While ideally we’d like to see the peripheral stats rise, Oladipo is known to stuff the stat sheet, so expect them to climb as he becomes more comfortable on the court. The bottom of the SG position is a wasteland today, so $5,400 for Victor Oladipo is looking like a potential steal.
Jimmy Butler | Chicago Bulls | ($9,300)
This is strictly a GPP play for me because I don’t think I could stomach paying this much for him in cash games. Butler absolutely dominated in his last game, posting 52 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals while topping 80 (!!) Fanduel points. Will he be able to match that production against the Cavs tonight? Of course not. Actually, I shouldn’t be so quick to shoot that down, but it is extremely unlikely. If LeBron plays tonight, Butler could see his minutes approach 40 as the only person capable of guarding the King on the Bulls. If LeBron sits, Butler may see his minutes reduced. While Butler’s ceiling is extremely high, I’m just not sold on spending up this high on him given a couple of the cheaper options at the position.
Carmelo Anthony | New York Knicks | ($7,500)
Melo is another player that will most likely wind up in my lineup tonight, especially considering the fact that Kristaps Porzingis is more doubtful than questionable for tonight. With the unicorn off of the court, Melo’s usage rate jumps to 34% and that was evident by his 17 shot attempts last game. While he was only able to convert 6 of them and produce 19 points, the Bucks are 3rd worst in the league when it comes to defending small forwards, giving Melo a much better chance at raising that efficiency tonight. He’s more than capable of topping 50 Fanduel points on any given night, and tonight has the making of one of those nights.
Draymond Green | Golden State Warriors | ($7,900)
I do whatever it takes to get exposure to the Warriors games, regardless of how large the spread is, just because they typically carry a ridiculously high over/under. Draymond Green is both the smartest way, and also a rather affordable way to get that said exposure. He’s one of 6 players in the NBA to post multiple triple doubles this season and has become one of the most consistent fantasy performers in the league. He’s finished a game with at least 10 assists and rebounds 5 times this season and is also posting career high numbers in steals as he’s sacrificed shot attempts for Kevin Durant. The Blazers are the worst team in the league against power forwards, allowing an average of 47.8 Fanduel points per game to the position on a nightly basis. Green is one of the most versatile and crafty “big men” in the league and should have an absolute field day against the Blazers.
Zach Randolph | Memphis Grizzlies | ($5,800)
This play is contingent on whether or not JaMychael Green is able to suit up after getting clocked in the face yesterday. If he’s unable to go, Z-Bo becomes a lock for me at under 6k. Operating with the second unit this season in Memphis, he’s seen his minutes hover around the mid-20s, but hasn’t produced less than 23 Fanduel points since the middle of December. He’s produced double digit points in 10 of his last 13 contests and would virtually be a lock for 30 minutes sans JaMychael Green. The Clippers have become noticeably worse at defending power forwards with the absence of Blake Griffin, allowing 46.2 Fanduel points per game to the position over their last 10 games. If Green is unable to go tonight, I strongly recommend locking in Zach Randolph.
DeMarcus Cousins | Sacramento Kings | ($11,200)
Boogie is another player that is never a bad play in my opinion and is another player that needs zero justification, but I’m fading him tonight in favor of a cheaper center. The Miami Heat are likely going to be without Hassan Whiteside again tonight, as he has yet to be cleared to fly, so expect DeMarcus to absolutely feast on Willie Reeds and the island of misfit toys that makes up the Miami Heat front court.
Nikola Vucevic | Orlando Magic | ($7,000)
I feel like I’m alone here, but I’m all aboard the Vucevic train, and I have been way too many times this season. Playing with the second unit looks like it could be a blessing in disguise for Vucevic (aside from a dip in minutes). He’s produced 13 double-doubles in his last 18 games and is coming off of 3 straight 37+ FD point performances. I typically do not like to play bigs against the Hawks due to the post presence of Dwight Howard, but playing with the second unit, Vucevic should see less time than normal opposite of Howard. Vucevic is still a nice bet to receive 30 minutes, especially in a matchup with capable bigs like Atlanta, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vuc keep this nice hot streak rolling tonight.
Joakim Noah | New York Knicks | ($4,900)
I actually love both centers in the Bucks/Knicks game, but of the two I prefer Noah, contrary to most of the industry today. After a sluggish start to the beginning of the season, Noah seems to have found his groove as a glass-eating, defensive anchor of late. He’s posted at least 30 Fanduel points in 3 of his last 4 outings, while posting double-digit rebounds in 6 of his last 9. His minutes have been on the rise (aside from a 16 minute outlier against the Pelicans) and with Kristaps expected to sit tonight, Noah will have to continue to anchor the Knicks’ frontcourt against a Bucks team that has allowed 41.8 Fanduel points per game to opposing centers over their last 5 games.
Thank you for reading my personal breakdown of my favorite plays on tonight’s NBA slate. Tweet at us @FanForecast with any questions you may have and be sure to check out our cheat sheets!