What’s up guys! Hopefully you were all smart enough to fade the mess of a 3-game slate last night, as I myself only entered a $1 GPP and had Derrick Rose get ruled out at 7:33 PM. It didn’t stop there either, Dwyane Wade hurt his neck, Jimmy Butler left with an illness, and Anthony Davis and Zach LaVine also got hurt, while Carmelo Anthony got ejected. On a 3-game slate, that’s just insane.
Tonight we’re back to the normal NBA grind with a healthy 9-game slate featuring a ton of enticing matchups, so without further adieu, here are my preferred plays for today’s NBA slate.
Damian Lillard ($8,900) – @ LAL
While he isn’t the top-priced point guard today, he has as good a case as anyone to being the top scoring. Last week in his first game back from injury, Lillard played well against the Lakers, posting 21 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds over 36 minutes of action. He followed that game up with a 20 point, 9 rebound, 5 assists over 43 minutes, indicating that his injury is firmly behind him. The Lakers allow 45.4 Fanduel points per game to opposing point guards, good enough for 10th worst in the NBA while ranking in the top half of the NBA in pace (101 possessions per game). With so much value on tonight’s slate, it won’t be hard to lock in multiple studs and I strongly recommend making Lillard a top priority tonight.
Dennis Schroder ($6,900) – @ BKN
I’m giving away my point guard pairing here but there’s no other route I want to go. There are a number of point guards in the $6,500-$7,100 range that I like a lot tonight, but none more than Dennis Schroder. He’s developed an extremely reliable sense of consistency on the offensive end this season and is a regular to receive more than 30 minutes per game. In his two games since the departure of backcourt mate Kyle Korver, Schroder is averaging 21.5 points, 5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1 steal per game. The assist number might take a very small dip, but he should also find more shots coming his way. The Nets are absolutely putrid against opposing point guards, ranking dead last in the league in DvP (allowing 50.5 FDP per game) and in a game that could be closer than the spread entails, Schroder could be in for a huge day.
Other preferred point guards – Isaiah Thomas ($8,900), Reggie Jackson ($7,100), Goran Dragic ($6,900), Marcus Smart ($5,200), Michael Carter-Williams ($4,800)
James Harden ($11,700) – vs CHA
Lock Harden in and move on. This play needs little to no explanation, as he’s by far and away the top stud to roster tonight with Giannis now a game-time decision. The Hornets are without their premier perimeter defender Nic Batum for tonight, matching Harden up with Jeremy Lamb (who happens to be the best value on the slate), making his matchup a whole lot easier. Aside from a 33.4 point dud against the Magic, Harden has surpassed 50 Fanduel points in his last 6 games, with an 89.7 point performance against the Knicks. The Hornets are a rather neutral matchup, but Harden will likely make them look like the Brooklyn Nets’ defense (sorry, Nets’ fans).
Jeremy Lamb ($4,000) – @ HOU
As I stated above, Lamb checks in as the biggest value on tonight’s slate and should be a lock in both your cash and tournament lineups tonight. Lamb replaced the injured Batum in the starting lineup last game against the Spurs stout defense, playing 29 minutes while posting a 13 point, 8 rebound, 3 assist, and 1 block stat line. The Rockets’ defense is not the Spurs’ defense. The Rockets rank second last in the league when it comes to defending the shooting guard position thanks to James Harden’s lack of desire to play both sides of the ball, which could garner another nice game out of Lamb.
Other preferred shooting guards – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($5,700), Tim Hardaway Jr. ($4,500)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($4,800) – @ HOU
While you can make the case to pay up for Kawhi Leonard or Kevin Durant at shooting guard tonight, I see no need. MKG has surprisingly been consistent over his past 5-10 games, hovering around 30 minutes per contest while the Hornets continue to deal with injuries to their wing players. Over his last 10 games, MKG has averaged 10.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, and .9 steals per game over an average of 31.2 minutes per game. For $4,800, it’ll take roughly 24 Fanduel points for him to eclipse value, something that should come with relative ease for him tonight.
Doug McDermott ($4,000) – @ WAS
The Bulls easily provide the best value as a team tonight with Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler out, and Rajon Rondo seemingly out of the rotation. There are a number of options you could logically throw in your lineups, but my favorite is McBuckets. A shot creator since his collegiate days at Creighton, McDermott will likely draw the start at the three tonight, opposite of the Washington wing players, who as all fantasy players know, have struggled defensively this season. While his usage without those players on the court is only 21.5%, McDermott is a player that will get his clips up regardless of how many minutes he plays. He should be locked into 30 plus minutes tonight, even in a blowout, and has the potential to score 20 real points while adding a chunk to the rebounding category as well. For $4,000, expect McDermott to shatter value tonight (only requires 20 Fanduel points).
Other preferred small forwards – Kawhi Leonard ($8,300), Otto Porter ($6,000), Kent Bazemore ($4,400), DeMarre Carroll ($3,800)
Julius Randle ($7,200) – vs POR
I expect a lot of people to be on Paul Millsap against the Nets if they elect to pay up at the position, but my top play here is Julius Randle. He’s developing into the workhorse player in the Lakers’ offense, playing at least 34 minutes in 5 of their last 6 games, while averaging 17.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.2 steals per game over that span. After his triple double against the Grizzlies a week and a half ago, coach Luke Walton reiterated the fact that he expects to see more triple doubles out of Randle, showing the confidence that he has in his ability to be a multi-category contributor. Call me crazy, but I actually think Randle is a tad underpriced at $7,200 in a matchup with the Blazers who are the worst team in the NBA when it comes to defending power forwards (allowing 47.2 FDP per game to PFs), so take advantage of the opportunity that Fanduel has given you.
Al-Farouq Aminu ($4,600) – @ LAL
On the opposite side of the matchup is Al-Farouq Aminu. While the value plays at power forward are all rather interchangeable tonight, I along with our team members at Fantasy Forecast agree that Aminu is the favorite. Over his past three games (two of which Damian Lillard has been back), he’s averaged 35 minutes, 11.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. While the Blazers clock in as the very worst team against power forwards, guess who comes in second? You guessed it, the Lakers. They allow 46.4 FDP per game to opposing power forwards and have actually been worse than the Blazer over the last 5 games at defending the position. While Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, and David Lee figure to be chalkier options, don’t pass over Aminu until you at least give him strong consideration in your lineup.
Other preferred power forwards – Paul Millsap ($8,100), Taj Gibson ($4,700), Derrick Favors ($4,500), Nikola Mirotic ($4,500), David Lee ($3,500)
Dwight Howard ($7,600) – @ BKN
Center is the position that I’m having the most trouble with tonight. It’s not that there aren’t any good plays, there’s just a lot of different directions you could go that alter your lineup construction. As of now, my favorite option is Dwight Howard. While his minutes have been rather erratic lately and his point totals aren’t what they used to be in the earlier stages of his career, he’s already posted 20 rebounds on four separate occasions this season and gets an absolute cake matchup tonight against the Nets. Brooklyn currently ranks dead last in the NBA at defending the center position (as well as a lot of other things), allowing 50.7 Fanduel points per game and 55.7 over their last 5. Howard is fresh off of a 15 point, 20 rebound performance against the Mavericks and if he gets 30+ minutes tonight (and I confidently expect him to), he could flirt with some massive numbers.
Pau Gasol ($6,400) – vs MIL
If you’re looking to go a more contrarian route at center tonight, look no further than Pau Gasol. With LaMarcus Aldridge ruled out, Gasol should see some extra run in the frontcourt against the Bucks tonight as long as the game remains relatively close. Coming from an avid Milwaukee Bucks fan, Gasol is one of my least favorite players to watch play the Bucks because he seems to torch them every single time. In his last 5 meetings with the Bucks (one this season and four with the Bulls last season), he’s averaged 15.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 3 blocks per game. The highlight of that stretch was a 12 point, 17 rebound, 13 assist triple double with 5 blocks in March of last season. His usage with LaMarcus Aldridge off of the court jumps to 25.7% and also possesses a +5 Fanduel point differential. Again, if you’re looking to go contrarian with a rather low owned center tonight, I strongly suggest locking in Pau Gasol.
Other preferred centers – Mason Plumlee ($6,700), Montrezl Harrell ($5,300)