NBA Starting Five – 2/25

Last night was odd to say the least. I ended up cashing, placing anywhere from 27th-48th in my 50/50s since players were as chalky as they usually are on a 2-game slate…but it was a 10-game slate. Regardless, cash is cash and we turn our attention to an enticing 7-game main slate.

The Warriors are currently the 22-point favorite against the Nets tonight, giving you ample reason to fade the game entirely and LeBron James is currently questionable as he missed the Cavs’ morning shoot-around with an illness, so that’s the biggest news to keep an eye on. His absence would make Kyrie Irving a virtual lock in all formats.

Here is my Starting 5 for tonight’s slate:

Point Guard

Kyrie Irving ($8,900)

Whether LeBron sits or not, I think Irving is an extremely solid play tonight. With Kevin Love off of the court, Irving sees his usage percentage spike to 34%. With both Love and LeBron off of the court, his usage balloons to 47%. Yes, 47%. That’s up there with both Russell Westbrook and James Harden. The Bulls are a rather mediocre matchup for point guards, as they rank 12th worst in the league allowing an average of 45 Fanduel points per game to opposing point guards. In his first matchup against the Bulls this season, Irving logged 38 minutes en route to posting 20 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds. Irving also performs better at home than on the road, shooting 50.3% (8% higher than on the road) and averaging 6.7 assists (1.7 more than on the road) while the rest of his stats are nearly identical. For $8,900, Irving should flirt with 5x value regardless of whether or not LeBron James plays.

Pair with: Dennis Schroder ($6,500), Derrick Rose ($6,400), TJ McConnell ($6,200), Elfrid Payton ($5,400)

Shooting Guard

James Harden ($12,100)

Once again, there’s little explanation needed. Even though Harden disappointed us last night, he’s the top stud once again tonight. His price has dropped $500 and with Pat Beverley questionable, there’s a chance that we could see Harden operate as the full-time point guard once again tonight. He’s not a must tonight, but I strongly recommend rostering him.

Pair with: Evan Fournier ($5,500), Seth Curry ($5,400), Courtney Lee ($4,800), Kyle Korver ($4,500) – If LeBron sits

Small Forward

Terrence Ross ($3,700)

Ross is a lock for my cash lineups tonight. While his role on his new team was unknown, last game showed that he’ll have a significant role in the offense. He slotted in as the starting small forward and was able to chuck up 17 field goal attempts. While he was only able to convert 4 of those shots, it’s still a great sign. He logged 33 minutes, more than every starter except for Evan Fournier (tied with Vucevic at 33) and also contributed 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals. For $3,700, Ross only needs 18.5 fantasy points to eclipse value. The Hawks are a sub-par team against small forwards, allowing an average of 38.1 FDP per game, sitting at 6th worst in the entire league. He makes for an incredible value play in all formats.

Pair with: Jimmy Butler ($9,300), Robert Covington ($6,800), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($4,500), Lance Thomas ($3,600)

Power Forward

Dario Saric ($5,700)

This is getting absolutely ridiculous. Fanduel DROPPED Saric’s price $500 from last night after he’s posted at least 34 Fanduel points in his last 5 games, and has double doubled in his last three consecutive games. The Knicks are a bottom 10 team against opposing power forwards, allowing an average of 41.8 Fanduel points per game. That number will certainly get worse over their next couple of games as Kristaps Porzingis is slated to sit out with an ankle injury. With Nerlens Noel gone and Joel Embiid still sitting out, Saric should once again assume the role of offensive catalyst for the 76ers and in a game that will likely stay close for four quarters, there’s absolutely no reason to take advantage of this inexplicable pricing.

Pair with: Anthony Davis ($10,000), Draymond Green ($7,500), Channing Frye ($5,300), Aaron Gordon ($5,000), Bobby Portis ($4,200), Nikola Mirotic ($4,000)

Center

Willy Hernangomez ($5,900)

Dario Saric isn’t the only player in this game that’s going to benefit from injury. With Joakim Noah and Kristaps Porzingis ruled out tonight, Willy Hernangomez will be in line for all the minutes he can handle. He’s played an extremely impressive brand of basketball recently, averaging 10.3 points, 9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game over his last 10. With Kristaps out, he’s a shoe-in for 30+ minutes against the weakest interior defense in the NBA. His per-36 numbers on the season sit at 15.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, a number he should flirt with tonight. Since Joel Embiid has gone down, the 76ers haven’t been able to stop a single person in the paint. They’ve allowed 55.8 Fanduel points per game to opposing centers over their last 10 games and 50.9 FDP per game to centers on the season. For $5,900, Hernangomez needs to record 29.5 Fanduel points to reach 5x value – something extremely reasonable for his given situation tonight.

Alternatives: DeMarcus Cousins ($10,000), Brook Lopez ($7,700)

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