NBA Starting Five – 2/9

We always seem to go from a massive slate to a much calmer slate the next day, and today is no different. 24 hours after locking into a 12-game slate, we’ll lock into a relaxing 5-game slate tonight (can DFS actually be relaxing?). The Cavs’ big three are looking like they’ll rest tonight, making lineup construction a bit easier and most likely more chalky. Before we get into today’s starting five, here are my results from last night.

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I deviated a bit from my original article when I updated it (adding MCW, Robin Lopez, and Wilson Chandler) and ended up playing all three of them. My lineup actually played extremely well…except Michael Carter-Williams. Talk about a dream-killer. Because he forgot how to play basketball, I found myself sweating the night out, cashing in the majority of my 50/50s, but missing GPPs. The other disappointment was Kevin Love failing to even reach 4x value, but that was supplemented by getting Robin Lopez at 1% as he eclipsed 7.5x value. Talk about a sleeper!

For a value breakdown of the plays, look below:

John Wall (51.2) / Michael Carter-Williams (7.8):  4.9x 1.6x

Klay Thompson (36.7) / Tim Hardaway Jr. (27.4) 5.5x / 4.9x

Paul George (43.6) / Wilson Chandler (37.6): 5.1x / 6.3x

Kevin Love (32) / Willie Cauley-Stein (28): 3.9x / 6.1x

Robin Lopez (36): 7.5x

As a collective lineup, it reached an average of 5x value, which is typically a shoe-in for cash games. Lines were relatively higher last night, but we’ll gun for similar production tonight as we tackle a big 3-less 5-game slate.

Here is my Fanduel Starting 5 for tonight’s slate:

*I am not writing up Russell Westbrook or James Harden, because playing them does not ever need justification*

Point Guard

Damian Lillard ($8,500)

Russell Westbrook will be a chalky option tonight, but with the Favs’ big three expected to rest, I’m avoiding rostering any OKC players. My top option at point guard is Damian Lillard. The Celtics are fresh off of a surprising loss (a bad loss) to the Boogie-less Kings and will be playing on the second leg of a back-to-back tonight. Not only is Isaiah Thomas the worst statistical defending point guard in the NBA this season, Damian Lillard has also been on a tear in his recent games. Over his last two games, he’s averaged 29 points, 6 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and a block over 38 minutes per game against the Thunder and the Mavericks. In their first meeting this season, Lillard posted 28 points and 7 assists in 37 minutes against the Celtics. Given his recent production and the last matchup, it looks like we can estimate Lillard’s production tonight. Portland is a 1.5 point favorite at home with a nice 219.5 over/under, making this a VERY attractive spot for Lillard.

Shooting Guard

Kyle Korver ($3,700)

I am locking in James Harden tonight, and I plan on complimenting him with Kyle Korver. When tasked with taking on a larger offensive load for the Favs, Korver has answered the call. He’s registered double-digit points in four consecutive outings, capping that stretch off last night with a 29-point, 5-rebound performance against the Pacers in 26 minutes of action. You have to figure that with the big 3 expected to sit tonight that Korver will see at least 30 minutes of action. He shot 10-12 from the field last night (8-9 from behind the arc) and while his efficiency is likely to drop a bit, he should have absolutely no problem scoring. The Thunder love to push the pace, catering to Korver’s 3 pointers in transition. For $3,700, Korver needs to post 18.5 Fanduel points, and it’s entirely possible he surpasses 18 raw points.

Small Forward

Mo Harkless ($3,800)

Once a consistent low-end cash option this season, Harkless eventually lost his starting spot to Evan Turner, essentially diminishing his value. As a starter in 42 games this season, Harkless averaged 10.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. He had a great stretch of consistency in early January in which he topped 20 Fanduel points in 6 of 8 games prior to settling for his bench role. The Celtics have struggled against wing players with the absence of Avery Bradley and I would expect Marcus Smart or Jae Crowder to be rather preoccupied with CJ McCollum. The Celtics are a rather middle-of-the-pack matchup for small forwards, but with an over/under approaching 220 and a tight spread, Harkless should see a nice bump in minutes and production across the stat sheet tonight for almost minimum price.

Power Forward

Serge Ibaka ($6,000)

The first two players that I locked into my lineup tonight were the Magic’s big men, who have both been playing excellent basketball as of late. Ibaka has eclipsed 36 Fanduel points in 5 of his last 8 games and has seen at least 35 minutes of action in 4 of his last 5. He’s coming off of a 28 point game against the Houston Rockets in which he shot 13-20 from the field. The 20 field goals are unusually high, but Head Coach Frank Vogel seems determined to get the ball to his bigs more often. Aaron Gordon has already been ruled out for tonight, leaving a few spare minutes for Ibaka (he saw 41 minutes in the game Gordon went down) and a few more shots to go around. The 76ers are struggling against forwards over their last five games, surrendering 45.7 Fanduel points per game, and their task doesn’t get any easier tonight with Ibaka.

Center

Nikola Vucevic ($7,400)

Aside from the obvious James Harden and Russell Westbrook, Vucevic is actually my favorite overall play on the slate. He’s finally being unleashed by Frank Vogel, posting 4 double-doubles in his last 6 games, while averaging 15.5 points, 11.2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks in that span over 32 minutes per game. The minutes are the most encouraging part, as he was operating with the bench unit only a month ago. Without Joel Embiid, the 76ers front-court has been absolutely lost. Over their last five games, they’ve gotten torched by opposing centers to the tune of 66.7 Fanduel points per game. Yes, 66.7. They are officially the worst team in the entire league against centers, especially without Embiid. With such an advanced offensive skill-set, Vucevic should have an absolute field day today and I expect him to be rather chalky as well. Lock him in with confidence.

 

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