I hope you all avoided the three game slate last night, and if you didn’t, well I hope you cashed. I personally stayed away from it and I am actually not going to be playing DFS on Mondays and Tuesdays anymore because I work at 6:00 ET. As you all know, late news is crucial, and I’ve tried my luck with making a lineup before work and just leaving it, but I get screwed by a late scratch or lineup shuffle just about every time.
Unlike last night, we have a huge 12-game NBA slate on tap for tonight, but a lot of the studs aren’t as enticing as they usually are, which will make lineup construction a lot more interesting.
Here are my preferred plays for tonight’s 12-game NBA slate.
UPDATE: Michael Carter-Williams has been named a starter in place of injured Jimmy Butler tonight, making him a better value play than Darren Collison in my preferred plays (Collison still extremely viable).
John Wall ($10,500)
Wall is more of a luxury than a necessity in my opinion tonight because of the sheer blowout risk in this game, but I will still likely have him in cash games. Of the studs above $10k tonight, he’s who I feel most comfortable rostering. Wall is coming off of five straight double-doubles, a stretch in which he’s averaged 22.4 points, 13.6 assists, 3 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. He’s attempted an average of 19.6 shots per game (a higher number than normal for Wall) and he carries a 30.5% usage rate on the season and gets to face the Brooklyn Nets tonight. While the spread is 11.5 right now, the Nets are dead last in DvP against the point guard position. With the Nets also leading the league in pace, this matchup is a fantasy goldmine for a player like John Wall. Don’t be surprised if he’s posted a double-double by halftime and tops 50 Fanduel points in the third quarter.
Darren Collison ($5,400)
The ripple effect from Boogie’s suspension will be felt throughout the DFS industry tonight, with the biggest beneficiary possibly being Darren Collison. With both Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins off of the court, Collison sees an 8.6% jump in usage, up to 28.4%. The Boston Celtics glaring hole on defense? The point guard position. Isaiah Thomas carries -3.7 DBPM (defensive box plus/minus), meaning that he is 3.7 points worse than league average in defensive points per 100 possessions that a player contributes. This is absolutely horrible. A lot of it obviously has to do with his size, as he’s a mismatch for any point guard, but attack it we shall. I highly recommend locking in Collison at 5.4k tonight and expect him to shatter value.
Other preferred PGs: Isaiah Thomas ($10,400), Mike Conley ($7,500), Dennis Schroder ($6,200), Reggie Jackson ($5,900), Michael Carter-Williams ($5,000) – If Butler is out
Bradley Beal ($7,400)
Beal’s reasoning follows the exact same path as John Wall’s. He’s much more reliant on scoring than Wall, but that should come with relative ease against the Brooklyn Nets. I expect him to be a rather chalky option tonight coming off of a 41-point outburst against the Cavs resulting in 59 FDP. Beal has topped 20 raw points in five of his last seven outings and the Nets rank second worst in the NBA when it comes to defending shooting guards from a fantasy perspective, allowing 38.7 fantasy points per game. With a blowout looming, Beal is another player who might not get a full allotment of minutes, but if this game can stay somewhat close for 3.5 quarters, Beal should have a field day.
Tim Hardaway Jr. ($5,600)
With Thabo Sefalosha already ruled out, I’m locking Hardaway into my lineups. I talked a bit about his recent success in my NBA Waiver Wire article two days ago, but THJ has dazzled as the spot starter for the Hawks. He’s scored in double figures in seven straight games while flirting with 30 minutes on a rather consistent basis. He’ll regularly chip in a handful of rebounds and assists and is always capable of exploding (he scored 23 in the fourth quarter against the Rockets on Feb. 2). The Nuggets are the worst team in the league against opposing shooting guards, surrendering an average of 40.7 Fanduel points per game, and with a rather tight 4.5 spread, Hardaway should receive ample opportunity to return value.
Other preferred SGs: Dwyane Wade ($8,000), Klay Thompson ($6,700), Jamal Crawford ($5,000), Khris Middleton ($4,500) – GPP flier
Paul George ($8,600)
I don’t mind LeBron, but for 11.5k, I’ll take the $2,900 savings and go down to his counterpart Paul George. After looking rather lost for a portion of the season, PG13 has come on strong lately. Over his previous eight games, Paul George has accumulated averages of 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals on roughly 20 shots per game. He’s stepped up as the true offensive catalyst for the Pacers over this span, and has had success against the Cavs in the past. In their previous meeting this season, George registered 21 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, a pair of steals and a block. Over his last 5 career games against the Cavs, he’s averaged 23.2 points, 8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Since January 23rd, George has a 31.8% usage rate, a 16.3% assist rate and a 10.9% rebound rate. The offense is finally being played through the Pacers’ superstar and he’s contributing in every category. For $8,600 against LeBron James with only a 3 point spread tonight, Paul George is my favorite small forward.
UPDATE: With Danilo Gallinari ruled OUT, Wilson Chandler becomes my preferred SF2 at $6,000. If you have the salary to move up from Morris, I recommend doing so for a heightened ceiling. Morris is also still a great cash option.
Marcus Morris ($5,800)
If you’re looking for the perfect cash game play, look no further than Marcus Morris – the epitome of consistency. Over his last three games, Morris has averaged 24.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal per game. On the season, he’s also averaging 33 minutes per game on the season, rarely ever seeing below 30. The Lakers are third worst in the NBA in defending small forwards, allowing 39.2 FDP per game to the position, and this game carries a 7.5 point spread (one that I expect the Lakers to cover), expect Morris to get his usual run and continue his high level of production.
Other preferred SFs: LeBron James ($11,500),
Jimmy Butler ($9,500) – LOVE him if he’s active, Otto Porter ($6,600), Jae Crowder ($6,500), Matt Barnes ($5,200), Kelly Oubre Jr. ($3,700)
Kevin Love ($8,200)
I’m between Kevin Love and Draymond Green right now (because I’m always scared of fading the GSW game), but Love has been playing out of his mind since his return. Over his last two games, Love has averaged 31 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. Reminiscent of his Minnesota days? Definitely. He’s logged 35 and 42 minutes respectively and gets a Pacers’ team that is bottom 10 in defending the power forward (allowing 42.8 FDP per game). As I stated earlier, the spread is only 3 so Love should continue to get his run, and make the Pacers’ bigs look like babies on the glass.
Willie Cauley-Stein ($4,600)
WCS is another player that I expect to be extremely chalky because he’ll be a huge beneficiary without DeMarcus Cousins, whether he draws the start or not. In his last 5 games when receiving at least 18 minutes of playing time, Cauley-Stein he’s posted 119.4 Fanduel points in 109 minutes of action. That equates to 1.1 Fanduel points per minute. Any time you can get at least a fantasy point per minute from a player, you can pencil them in to exceed value. With all of the injuries and Boogie’s suspension, WCS should be a shoe-in for at least 20 minutes tonight, making him a great value play.
Other preferred PFs: Nikola Jokic ($9,800), Draymond Green ($7,800), Markieff Morris ($6,900), Anthony Tolliver ($4,600), JaMychal Green ($4,500)
UPDATE: Jimmy Butler has been ruled OUT, Dwyane Wade is nursing an illness and Christiano Felicio is questionable. This makes Robin Lopez a great value center against the Warriors tonight for $4,800. I prefer him over Koufos, especially if Felicio is ruled OUT.
Marcin Gortat ($6,900)
Gortat has finally been receiving consistent minutes over 30 and he’s repaid the Wizards just how they wanted him to. Over his last six games, the Polish Hammer has averaged 16 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block per game in 32.7 minutes. The Brooklyn Nets are a bottom five team in the NBA against opposing centers (surprise, surprise!) allowing an average of 48.9 Fanduel points per game. Like I said about Wall and Beal, this game does possess some blowout risk, but with Gortat’s recent effectiveness, he may not even need the whole game to eclipse value in such an enticing matchup.
Kosta Koufos ($4,900)
Another King?! Yes, they are the team with the most value tonight. I never like rostering Koufos, but might have to tonight based off of the sheer opportunity he’s presented with. With no Boogie, Koufos will be the lone center on the team, responsible for controlling the glass against the Boston Celtics. Over their last 5 games, the Celtics have been absolutely brutal against centers, allowing an average of 50.8 Fanduel points. Koufos brings nothing flashy to the table, but if he (and he should) receive at least 20 minutes of action, it’ll be hard pressed for him not to return value at such a reasonable price.
Other preferred Cs: Hassan Whiteside ($9,100), Andre Drummond ($8,300), DeAndre Jordan ($7,400)