I should’ve written an article yesterday and actually played a line as well, because it seemed like just about every play that I liked played extremely well. The one play that I never even considered? Rudy Gobert. My god did he go nuts or what?! He absolutely owned the Mavericks’ bigs last night to the tune of 27 points and 25 rebounds with a pair of blocked shots. If you needed any more reason to target big men against Dallas, Gobert’s performance should be the icing on the cake.
Unfortunately the Mavericks do not play tonight, so we can’t target a center against them, but there are a lot of intriguing plays tonight on a slate in which the studs all present rather unattractive matchups.
Just as a brief reminder to help you understand my preferred plays, I typically list my two favorite options at each position (this does not mean they have to be the most expensive), and list other options who I consider viable plays in both cash and tournament formats.
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Here are my preferred plays for tonight’s 9-game main slate:
Kemba Walker ($7,900)
With no point guard above $8,300 tonight, I fully expect Kemba to be the chalk. While it is Charlotte’s third game in four nights, the matchup and recent production is way too much to pass up. In his last two games, Kemba has averaged 27.5 points, 6.5 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.5 steals over an average of 30.5 minutes. The minutes have actually been dialed back a bit due to consecutive blowouts, and we could have a third in a row on the horizon tonight. The Nets somehow, in the most inexplicable, unbelievable, and ridiculous fashion, posted 143 points last night. ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY THREE POINTS FOR THE BROOKLYN NETS. God, sometimes I hate sports. But, they still rank dead last in PG DvP on the season (50.6 FDP per game) and have the highest pace in the NBA at 104.3 possessions per game. Kemba should absolutely carve the Nets’ defense up at home, and with his minutes dialed back in the last two games, there’s potential that we could see a normal allotment of playing time (34-37 minutes).
Raymond Felton ($4,600)
With all of the studs stuck in unappealing matchups, value isn’t as necessary tonight, but I will still be locking in Raymond Felton. For some reason, Fanduel has him priced $800 less than his backcourt mate Austin Rivers, when Felton easily contributes in many more categories. Felton drew the starting nod last game in the absence of Chris Paul and posted 10 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals over 34 minutes. While the point total is nothing to salivate over, Felton was able to attempt 12 shots but only managed to convert 5 of them. I expect this game to remain close for all four quarters since the Clippers are so depleted and with the Nuggets ranking second-worst behind the Nets in PG DvP (48.2 FDP per game) and fifth in the league in pace (100.9 possessions per game), this is a game in which Raymond Felton should thrive.
Other preferred point guards: Eric Bledsoe ($8,300), Mike Conley ($7,700), Austin Rivers ($5,400)
Devin Booker ($6,500)
I have absolutely zero interest in paying up for one of the two studs at SG tonight (if you do, I recommend Giannis over Harden), so I am looking squarely at Devin Booker as my SG1. Booker has been on a scoring tear lately, posting at least 21 points in seven consecutive games, and actually contributed 8 assists and 7 rebounds last game, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. The Knicks rank in the bottom five in the league in DvP against shooting guards (37.5 FDP per game) and Booker carries the highest usage rate on the Suns (28.2%). At $6,500, it will take Booker 32.5 Fanduel points to hit 5x value, something that he should have no problem doing.
Dejounte Murray ($3,700)
Murray is by far and away the riskiest play that I’m looking into tonight, but he opens up a ridiculous amount of salary relief. He got a spot start in place of Tony Parker last game and logged 34 minutes to the surprised of almost everyone. In those 34 minutes, he posted 24 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds and a steal. The Cavs defensive weakness is the point guard position, ranking fifth worst in the NBA when it comes to defending the point guard position, allowing 45.7 FDP per game. At $3,700, Murray only needs 18.5 FDP to eclipse value, which should be no problem at all if he receives ample playing time.
Other preferred shooting guards: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,100), Nic Batum ($7,400), Will Barton ($5,700)
Kawhi Leonard ($9,600)
With LeBron in my dog house, and Jimmy Butler being a tad overpriced, I’m looking at Kawhi for my SF1 spot. Last game against the Nuggets marked the first time I’ve hit on Kawhi, as he posted 51 Fanduel points and dropped at least 30 raw points for the fifth consecutive game. He’s seen 39 and 36 minutes in his last two games respectively and turns his sights to LeBron and the reigning champs tonight. Leonard is the only person on the Spurs that can give LeBron problems defensively, and the Spurs best offensive option so I expect him to log as many minutes as he can physically handle if this game stays close. $9,600 is a steep price tag, but for someone who’s as red hot as Kawhi, I’d pay over $10,000 for him.
Joe Ingles ($3,700)
Another punt! This one will likely be a bit chalkier. In the absence of Rodney Hood, Ingles has posted two straight quality outings of 23.9 and 25.6 Fanduel points. He’ll never blow you out of the water with his production, but with minute allotments of 34 and 38, there’s no reason he should be priced under 4k. The Pacers are a bottom 10 team in the NBA in terms of DvP against shooting guards and with Paul George likely shadowing Gordon Hayward today, I expect Ingles to operate with a nice level of freedom on offense.
Other preferred small forwards: LeBron James ($10,500), Carmelo Anthony ($7,900), Paul George ($7,100) – way too cheap, Robert Covington ($5,200)
Nikola Jokic ($9,900)
Here’s the situation I’m in. Either pay up for Jokic and go down to Tyson Chandler at center, or pay up for Boogie and go down to a mid-tier PF like Kevin Love. I’m leaning the latter, because I’m still a little uneasy about paying close to 10k for Jokic, but if you play him, you’ll get no arguments from me. Jokic has been playing out of his mind lately, posting over 50 Fanduel points in 3 straight games and recording a double double in 6 of his last 7 outings. He’s starting to become a play that needs little justification (never saw this coming at the beginning of the season), and as long as he maintains this level of production, he’s a steal under 10k.
Ersan Ilyasova ($5,800)
Ilyasova has been quite consistent this season, especially with Embiid off of the court. Per Fantasy Labs on/off tool, Ilyasova holds a 24.5% usage rate with Embiid off of the court. He’s also a shoe in for at least 25 minutes, with the potential for 30 on any given night. While the matchup with the Hawks is far from enticing, we’re banking on opportunity here with Ilyasova, as Embiid has one of the highest usage rates in the NBA, and that’s going to be divided up tonight.
Other preferred power forwards: Kevin Love ($7,600), LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,500), Derrick Favors ($4,700), Dario Saric ($4,200), Sam Dekker ($3,500)
DeMarcus Cousins ($10,600)
Of all of the studs tonight, Boogie is the one that I’ll be most likely to roster. Coming off of a 19 point, 11 rebound performance, Boogie will look to get back to putting up massive numbers against the Bulls tonight. With Rudy Gay and Omri Casspi off of the court, Cousins possesses an absurd 40.1% usage rate. The Bulls are a rather middle of the pack team against centers, but with Cousins operating as literally the only source of offense the Kings have, don’t be surprised if he manages to get off 20-25 shots and pull down 15 rebounds.
Tyson Chandler ($5,700)
If I don’t pay up for Boogie, Chandler is the direction I’ll be going. Chandler has now gone 6 straight games grabbing at least 15 rebounds, and don’t expect that to stop tonight against the Knicks, who allow 49.7 Fanduel points per game to opposing centers. He’s seen over 30 minutes in five of his last six games, something that did not happen earlier this season, and has virtually shoved Alex Len into the background. If Joakim Noah sits tonight, Chandler’s matchup becomes even more enticing than it already is, but even if he plays, Chanlder may be the best value play on the board tonight.
Other preferred centers: DeAndre Jordan ($9,100), Rudy Gobert ($7,800), Cody Zeller ($5,000)