What’s up everyone! Unlike last night’s monster 12-game slate, we only have 4 NBA games on tap for tonight and 3 of those four have some serious blowout potential. First and foremost, this slate is bound to get ugly. Expect the cash lines to either be ridiculously low or ridiculously high, with some extremely chalky lineups. Cash games are going to be a bit riskier tonight because if you miss the one chalk play that goes off, you won’t cash.
Because of the small slate, instead of my traditional Fanduel NBA breakdown, I’m going to switch things up moving forward. If the slate is 6 games or less, I am going to offer a “Starting 5”, in which I will offer my favorite play at each position, followed by a brief list of options to pair them with. When the slate is 7 games or more, I will continue to produce my usual Fanduel NBA breakdown, offering a pair of options at each position followed by a list of alternative players.
As I am writing this article, LaMarcus Aldridge has been ruled out, opening up more chances for David Lee, Dewayne Dedmon, and even potentially Jonathan Simmons if they try and go small.
Since today, like I said, is only a 4-game slate, I will likely be going with a more stars and scrubs lineup approach. Here is my starting 5 for tonight’s slate (yes, it’s extremely hard to fit them in one line, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be my favorite play at the position).
Steph Curry ($9,600)
While John Wall is the top-priced point guard, I believe that Steph will be the highest scoring point guard tonight. His price is catching up to his recent performances and my god has he been hot. Over his last two games, he’s averaged 41 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds and 1.5 steals…in 29.5 minutes. That is absolutely insane. When Steph gets rolling in the offense, he doesn’t cool off. Everyone will be surrendering shots to allow him to keep chucking and in a game against the Clippers tonight, I expect him to see more than 30 minutes. While he only saw 29 last week when they faced off and the spread is -9/5 in favor of the Warriors, I expect this game to remain close. Blake Griffin only saw 23 minutes in their last meeting as he worked his way back from injury and I expect him to be in the mid-30s tonight. The game is at the Staples’ Center, reducing the blowout risk, and with such a high floor (as demonstrated over his previous two games), Curry should have no problem shattering value tonight.
Pair with: Austin Rivers ($5,800), Pat Beverley ($5,200), Tony Parker ($4,500)
James Harden ($12,000)
Harden is the cream of the crop option tonight. He’s coming off of consecutive duds this week which would typically drive ownership down, but since this is a 4-game slate, I still expect him to be chalky. The Hawks, a typically stout defensive team, have actually struggled against shooting guards in their last 5 games, surrendering 44 FD points per game (7.4 above their season average of 36.6). With Thabo Sefalosha out tonight, the Hawks lose their best perimeter defender and will be tasking Tim Hardaway Jr. with the responsibility of guarding Harden. Good luck, Timmy. This game has a wider spread than I imagine it ending with, as the Hawks should be able to keep up with the Rockets enough to at least keep it close. Harden should be a shoe in for at least 50 Fanduel points tonight, especially when he slides over to the point guard, where Atlanta is the fourth worst defensive team in the NBA (45.8 FDP per game allowed).
Pair with: Tim Hardaway Jr. ($4,900), JJ Redick ($4,700), Danny Green ($3,700)
Kawhi Leonard ($10,100)
I had no intention whatsoever of playing Leonard, but then LaMarcus Aldridge got ruled out. I’m still a bit weary of paying more than $10,000 for him, but with such an easy matchup it’s becoming a difficult fade. With both LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol off of the floor, Kawhi carries a ridiculous 39.6% usage rating. That’s an 8.6% jump from his typical usage percentage. I’m going to repeat this – a 39.6% usage rating. Kawhi Leonard IS the Spurs without LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol. For $10,100 tonight against a Philly team missing their best defender (Robert Covington), Kawhi should be able to flirt with 60 Fanduel points.
Pair with: Trevor Ariza ($5,300), Andre Iguodala ($4,400), Kelly Oubre Jr. ($3,800)
David Lee ($5,400)
I’m trying so hard to put a lot of effort into this article like I always do, but the fact that I’m going to be writing up three Spurs players screams laziness. I promise you, they’re all actually in great spots tonight. Without LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol on the court, David Lee remains the last (capable) man standing in their frontcourt. His usage rate spike up 4.6% to 21.2% and he should slide back into the starting lineup tonight. The 76ers will be without Joel Embiid tonight, leaving defensively-challenged Jahlil Okafor the likely candidate to start at center. While Lee has struggled to crack 30 minutes on a consistent basis this season, his per-36 minute stats this season are extremely impressive, sitting at 14 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game (over 36 minutes, obviously). He may not hit that threshold tonight, but he should be able to flirt with 30 minutes, even in a potential blowout, making $5,400 an absolute steal for him tonight.
Pair with: Ryan Anderson ($5,900), Dario Saric ($4,400)
Dewayne Dedmon ($3,600)
This is the last Spurs’ player I’m writing about, I promise. He also happens to be the last player in this article so I guess I can’t say that. Anyways, I digress. There are a number of viable center options tonight, many of which possess favorable matchups. In order to fit in multiple studs in your lineups tonight, I highly recommend taking a look at Dedmon for near-minimum price. Even though Dedmon started two nights ago against the Thunder, he still only received 17 minutes of action. He did, however, make the most of those minutes. He scored 6 points, pulled down 8 rebounds, blocked a shot and registered 3 steals with one turnover. If you’re doing the math, carry the one and that comes out to 22.6 Fanduel points…in 17 minutes. That’s 1.33 Fanduel points per minute, putting him up there with the likes of Russell Westbrook and James Harden with a ppm rate that high. There hasn’t been an official word on who will draw the start in place of LaMarcus Aldridge tonight, but I suspect it will be Dedmon. With only three true big men active tonight, he should be in line for at least 20 minutes against a depleted 76ers’ frontcourt. Say hello to Mr. 6-7x value.
Other viable Cs: Dwight Howard ($7,100), Marcin Gortat ($6,700), Ivica Zubac ($4,700)