Welcome back everyone! Actually, I should really be welcoming myself back after a brief 4-day absence. I was unable to write/play fantasy sports this weekend I was completely preoccupied with flying home to Milwaukee for a job event/interview, so fingers crossed in hopes that it went well!
As I return to my Fanduel NBA Breakdowns, we have a nice 5-game main slate on Fanduel starting at 7:30 ET, because apparently they were opposed to starting the main slate an hour earlier than normal and including the sixth NBA game of the night. I don’t really expect anything out of Fanduel at this point, given how poorly the’ve adjusted pricing and how bug-riddled their updates have been, but I digress.
I’ve listed the NBA schedule for tonight below and included the spreads and over/unders, to help your lineup construction even more and give you yet another idea as to why I like the plays I do.
- 7:30 ET – Nets @ Heat | MIA -9.5 | 218.5 o/u
- 8:00 ET – Magic @ T-Wolves | MIN -8 | 209.5 o/u
- 8:00 ET – Pistons @ Celtics | BOS -6 | 212.5 o/u
- 8:30 ET – Cavs @ Mavericks | CLE -5 | 205 o/u
- 10:30 ET – Grizzlies @ Suns | MEM -3 | 210 o/u
Now that you have the vegas odds, here are my preferred plays for tonight’s NBA slate:
Kyrie Irving ($8,600)
I fully expect Irving to be the chalkiest point guard tonight with Kevin Love already ruled out for the Cavs’ matchup with the Mavericks. The matchup is just about the last one you would want when using Irving, as Dallas allows the least amount of FPPG to PGs at 38.1 and runs at the second slowest pace in the NBA at 93.4 possessions per game. However, with Kevin Love out, nobody on the Cavaliers sees a bigger boost than Uncle Drew. With Love off the court, Irving sees his usage jump 5.3% to 34.5%, higher than LeBron’s. Irving is coming off of back to back monster performances (28.5 points, 8 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 1 block per game) and will certainly be relied upon heavily in a game in which the Cavs are only favored by 5 (hmm…). He checks in as the cream of the crop option at point guard tonight and I would strongly recommend inserting him into your cash lineup.
Mike Conley ($7,500)
I have no problem rostering Dragic over Conley, or even pairing the two if you decide to fade Irving, but I absolutely love Mike Conley tonight. He gets a massive pace-up game against the Suns, who rank third in the league in pace (101.7 possessions per game) and just outside of the bottom 10 in DvP against opposing point guards (44.5 FDP allowed per game). Conley has been extremely impressive over his last 10 games, averaging 18.8 points, 7 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game over 34.5 minutes on average. Eric Bledsoe doesn’t profile well as a defender, so I fully expect Conley to have no issue running the offense for the Grizzlies tonight, and as a 3 point favorite on the road, this game has the potential to stay close in its entirety.
Other preferred PGs: Goran Dragic ($7,800), Reggie Jackson ($6,600), TJ McConnell ($5,700), Yogi Ferrell ($3,500) – best value
Zach LaVine ($6,400)
I really hate rostering Zach LaVine, but I’m not comfortable rostering Devin Booker facing Tony Allen’s defense tonight and the rest of the options just aren’t good. After a pretty brutal stretch returning from an injury, LaVine seems to have found his shooting touch over his last two games, averaging 21.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1 block per game in 39.5 minutes. LaVine also ranks third in the entire NBA in minutes per game (37.2) giving him an ample amount opportunities to both score and also tally peripheral stats. The Magic have struggled over their last five games against shooting guards, allowing 40.9 FDP per game to the position, so expect LaVine to maintain his part in the offense and continue to find his stroke.
Seth Curry ($4,300)
This will be the chalkiest play of the day and I’m 100% confident in that. With Deron Williams and JJ Barea out for the Mavericks, Curry has slid into the starting lineup, splitting time at the one and the two. In the last three games that he’s started, Curry is averaging 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.7 steals in 35 minutes per game. The Cavs are actually a bottom third team in the league when it comes to defending the shooting guard position (36.8 FDP per game) and should Curry start at the point guard instead, the Cavs are a bottom FIVE team in the league (46.1 FDP per game). With Barea and Williams off of the court, Curry carries a 23.6% usage rate. There is also speculation that Dirk might rest tonight as well which would only open up extra opportunities for the rest of the team. The Mavs are only a 5 point underdog according to Vegas, but will need plenty of scoring to keep up with the reigning champs. I expect Seth Curry to be a huge part of that tonight.
Other preferred SGs: Devin Booker ($6,800), Dion Waiters ($6,300), Wayne Ellington ($4,300) – Only if Tyler Johnson is out
LeBron James ($10,500)
There is little to no explanation needed here. LeBron is the premier play on the slate, and the fact that Kevin Love is out only makes it more obvious. Without Love on the court, LeBron carries a 31.3% usage rate. Few other players in the world are able to control a game like LeBron is, and I expect him to remain in total control for the entire game tonight.
Jae Crowder ($6,300)
This play is contigent on a few injuries, Al Horford and Avery Bradley. Over his last two games without the, Crowder has averaged 19.5 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block and 1 steal per game. With them off of the court, Crowder also carries a +9.3 on Fanduel (averaging almost 10 more FDP per game). For $6,300, Crowder is a perfect cash play should Bradley and Horford sit, but if they play, I will likely elect to spend down on a player like Aaron Gordon or Caris LeVert for a little more salary relief.
Other preferred SFs: Harrison Barnes ($6,600), Aaron Gordon ($5,200), Caris LeVert ($4,400)
Zach Randolph ($6,400)
Z-Bo has really revitalized his play over his last couple games. He’s averaging 22.5 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal over an average of 32.5 minutes and clocks in as the highest priced power forward tonight…yes, seriously. The Phoenix Suns don’t possess a menacing matchup at the power forward position, having allowed an average of 42.5 FDP per game to opposing fours this season, and 43.8 FDP per game over their last five games. As mentioned previously, this game carries an oddly tight spread of 3 and with JaMychael Green still carrying a questionable tag, Randolph could see even more opportunities on offense should he sit. Expect the strong play from the veteran forward to continue tonight for an extremely reasonable price.
Gorgui Dieng ($5,800)
Other preferred PFs: James Johnson ($6,000), Serge Ibaka ($5,700) – great value, Amir Johnson ($4,000) – If Horford sits, Channing Frye ($3,800)
Andre Drummond ($8,000)
First and foremost, I think KAT is the obvious top play at center tonight, but I will not be rostering him, hence why I am not writing him up. If I am going to pay up at center tonight, I’m likely leaning towards Andre Drummond. He can really be a pain in the ass to roster due to so much offensive inconsistency, but he’s coming off of a 17 point, 20 rebound game against Hassan Whiteside (currently on my “do not roster” list) and the Miami Heat. In 12 games this month, Drummond has double-doubled in eight of them while sitting third in the league in rebounds per game (13.6). Regardless of whether Al Horford plays tonight or not, Drummond is a strong play. If he does play, Horford has been averaging a career low in rebounds per game, and Drummond would certainly not help that cause. If Horford sits, Drummond will be up against an undersized platoon of Amir Johnson, Jonas Jerebko, and Kelly Olynyk at center. The Celtics have surrendered 50.1 FDP per game to opposing centers over their last 10 games, giving Drummond a massive opportunity to succeed tonight.
Tristan Thompson ($4,900)
If the slate were to lock right now, Tristan Thompson would be my center of choice. While his usage rate still sits at a lowly 12.9% with Love off the court, it’s the jump in rebounding that is important to look at. With Love off of the court, Thompson’s rebound rate jumps to 19.3%. The Dallas Mavericks are also one of the worst teams in the NBA in terms of rebounding, allowing an average of 15.6 boards to opposing centers alone. Thompson could also see a little extra run with Love sidelined, giving him even more time to take advantage of the favorable matchup. Priced at only $4,900, he needs to hit 24.5 FDP to eclipse 5x value, something that sound come with ease tonight.
Other preferred Cs: Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,900), Marc Gasol ($9,000), Nikola Vucevic ($6,600), Tyson Chandler ($6,100)