Fanduel NBA Breakdown – 1/5

Man oh man I hope everyone survived some ridiculously high cash lines last night. My personal lineup put up 326 and it was still a sweat thanks to a huge dud from Zach Randolph, and a ton of incredible scores between 300-320 didn’t sniff cash. That’s something you don’t see very often, but tonight has the potential to be a similar night with so many enticing matchups and some up-tempo games.

Tonight, we’ve got the third matchup of the season between Russell Westbrook and James Harden, as well as Anthony Davis, and the Nets porous on the slate, so we can expect tonight to be exciting. My current conundrum is whether or not to play Westbook and Harden, one or the other, or completely fade them, and I’m currently leaning the latter, which is terrifying, but definitely has the potential to work.

In order to further elaborate on other plays, I am going to write up a brief separate section in this article strictly debating Russell Westbrook vs James Harden, and dive into other positional plays after.

If you have further questions about tonight’s slate, hit us on Twitter at @FanForecast  and be sure to follow our new injury report page @ForecastMD to find all of your injury news in one convenient place.

The Great Debate – Russell Westbrook ($12,400) or James Harden ($12,000)

As I said earlier, you have three options, play one of these two studs, play both, or fade both. Each of them is presented with a rather difficult matchup (Russ going up against Pat Beverley and Harden going up against Oladipo/Roberson) and with their prices north of $12,000, I highly doubt many people will roster both. In his first game against the Rockets this season, Westbrook posted 30 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 2 steal on 45% shooting. In their second meeting, he posted 27 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds and 3 steals on 32% shooting. The major difference? Pat Beverley wasn’t playing in their first meeting, and his impact is evident in Westbrook’s field goal percentage.

As for Harden, in their first meeting he posted 13 points, 13 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. In their second meeting, he posted 21 points, 12 assists, 9 rebounds and a pair of steals. With Clint Capela now out indefinitely, we can expect his rebound numbers to rise like they have been, but not by much against a rather strong Thunder post presence. Oladipo also played both of those games, and didn’t seem to affect Harden’s production as much as he should have.

If you feel the need to roster one of these two studs, likely in cash games, I lean Harden due to his recent surge (he’s been surging all season but please look at his last 5 games), and the fact that his matchup comes a bit easier than Westbrook’s. This WILL change, however, if Pat Beverley is ultimately ruled out tonight, making Westbrook a mega-lock.

Point Guard

Jeff Teague ($7,800)

If you play NBA DFS then you know to target the Brooklyn Nets’ defense. Teague has been an absolute animal this season. He’s topped 40 Fanduel points in 6 of his last 10 games, topped 30 in 8 of those, and scored less than 30 in the remaining 2 (one by 0.4 points and the other due to injury). He’s surprisingly been the anchor of the Pacers’ offense (sorry, Paul George) and gets to face a Nets’ backcourt sans Jeremy Lin that rank dead last in the league in point guard DvP, allowing 50.6 FDP per game to the position. If you choose to fade Westbrook tonight, something I plan on doing if Beverley plays, lock in Teague and don’t look back.

Dennis Schroder ($6,800)

Another player that’s been extremely consistent lately is Dennis Schroder. He’s on the second leg of a back to back, but as a key contributor in the Hawks’ offense, he’s posted at least 30 Fanduel points in 7 of his last 10 games and has only seen under 30 minutes in 2 of those games. He faces a New Orleans Pelicans’ team that is almost as bad as the Nets when it comes to defending point guards, allowing 46.9 FDP to the position. For $6,800, it’s hard to find a reason NOT to play him tonight.

Shooting Guard

CJ McCollum ($8,000)

This is beginning to become a play that needs little explanation. If you fade Harden, lock in McCollum. He’s topped 50 Fanduel points in consecutive games while averaging 39 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals in that span. He gets a Lakers’ defense that ranks in the bottom third against opposing shooting guards. As the only competent offensive weapon on the Blazers, McCollum should be a super-lock if you fade Harden.

Victor Oladipo ($5,900)

Much like last night, Oladipo finds himself drastically underpriced, especially in a matchup against James Harden. He will likely flirt with 35 minutes as the Thunder will need his and Andre Roberson’s elite perimeter defense to attempt to stop Harden. On the other side of the ball, he basically doesn’t have an opponent guarding him so expect him to have quite a day offensively as well. This is a perfect game for Oladipo to absolutely stuff the stat sheet.

Small Forward

Paul George ($7,800)

Don’t be surprised if Paul George is one of the top scorers tonight. He’s been finding his groove as of late, topping 38 Fanduel points in 3 of his last 4 games while playing at least 36 minutes in 3 of those 4 as well. The Nets are also dead last in the league in defending the small forward position, and sitting at $7,800, Paul George comes as one of the premier value plays on today’s slate, and who doesn’t love rostering a player with two first names?

Harrison Barnes ($6,900)

I’m a little hesitant to use Barnes in cash at this price tag, but his matchup can’t be ignored. He gets a massive pace boost and is fresh off of consecutive 25+ point performances. His dark memories of playing on Golden State seem to be behind him this season as he’s been the go-to weapon in the Mavs’ offense, averaging 30.2 Fanduel points per game. I have no problem with you throwing Barnes in a GPP lineup, but for close to $7k in cash, I would do what I can to find the extra $900 for PG13.

Power Forward

Julius Randle ($7,100)

Randle is another player who’s price tag is getting a tad high, but his recent production has been ridiculous. He’s fresh off of his second triple double of the season and has topped 40 Fanduel points in three of his previous four games. Coach Luke Walton said after their last game that he expects more triple doubles out of Randle, implying that the offense will almost entirely be run through him. The Blazers are the worst team in the entire NBA when it comes to defending the power forward position, allowing an average of 47.9 Fanduel points per game. If you’re paying up at the position, look no further than Julius Randle.

Derrick Favors ($4,500)

This pains me to put Derrick Favors in my article because the last game I played him, he only posted 9.6 fantasy points, but he’s beyond mis-priced. His minutes have been creeping up back to his normal allotment as he saw 29 minutes last game and posted a 12 point, 7 assist, 6 rebound stat line against the Celtics. George Hill is also expected out tonight and with the Raptors’ impressive wing defense likely guarding Gordon Hayward, Favors could be in for quite a nice workload tonight against a Raptors’ defense that ranks in the bottom 10 in the league at defending the power forward position.

Center

Andre Drummond ($7,900)

Drummond has already played the Hornets twice this season. In the first matchup, he posted 13.7 fantasy points in 12 minutes of action before getting ejected. In his second matchup, he exploded for 54.5 Fanduel points in a 26 point, 20 rebound performance over 34 minutes. The Hornets, while sitting at 6th worst in DvP against centers, seem to be Drummond’s favorite opponent this season and while the ejection revenge narrative may be out of the question at this point, he should enjoy another monster performance tonight, especially with Cody Zeller still in the league’s concussion protocol.

Mason Plumlee ($6,300)

If your choosing to save a couple bucks at the center position, I’m a huge fan of Mason Plumlee tonight. One of the rare big men in the league that can contribute in every category, Plumlee has picked up a lot of Damian Lillard’s slack over the last couple games. He’s fresh off of a 16 point, 10 rebound, 4 assist and 3 steal performance against the Warriors last night and gets a cake matchup tonight against the Lakers. The Lakers have allowed 47.2 Fanduel points per game to opposing centers on the season and as long as Plumlee sees his minutes in the high-20s to low-30s, he should have absolutely no problem surpassing value tonight.

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