Happy Monday everyone! I was unable to get out a Starting Five article yesterday due to work, but like I said – I want to get one out as often as possible – and that hopefully means at least five days per week.
We’re back tonight with a 7-game NBA slate, some intriguing matchups, and of course my personal favorite – my Milwaukee Bucks on national TV against the defending champs!
One thing that I’m going to start adding to my articles are the matchups and their over/unders, to give you a better idea of what games that I find appropriate to target. In this list, I will include the time of the game, the matchup with the spread (- means favored by __ points, + means ___ point underdog), and the over/under. Here are tonight’s:
- 7:00 PM | Warriors (-13.5) @ 76ers – 228.5
- 7:00 PM | Raptors (-3.5) @ Knicks – 212.5
- 7:00 PM | Bucks (+7.5) @ Cavaliers – 217.5
- 7:30 PM | Hawks (+3.5) @ Celtics – 212.5
- 8:30 PM | Heat (-1) @ Mavericks – 200.5
- 9:30 PM | Pacers (+10.5) @ Rockets – 231
- 10:30 PM | Timberwolves (-4.5) @ Kings – 209.5
While I work at 6:00 PM EST tonight, I’m still going to try and get a lineup in and hopefully not be killed by late news. So without further ado, here is my starting five for tonight’s slate, the players I will be building around:
Dennis Schroder ($6,500)
There’s nothing that I love more than rostering a player who seems to have a flame lit under him for their game and tonight that’s Dennis Schroder. Schroder has recently stated that he stands by his comments that Isaiah Thomas trash talked his family in their last meeting – one in which IT hit a game winning shot and Schroder was benched for the fourth quarter. The two were often the focal points of a heated playoff series last season and both look determined ahead of tonight. Schroder’s last couple of games have been rather peculiar, as he was suspended for the first game back from the break and came off the bench last game – but was still able to post 11 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and a block in 31 minutes (30 FDP). He only shot 4-17 but that performance is sure to improve tonight against Isaiah Thomas, arguably the worst defending point guard in the NBA. The Celtics allow an average of 43.8 Fanduel points per game to opposing point guards and Schroder only needs 32.5 FDP to eclipse 5x value – something he should have no issue doing tonight, especially with his added motivation.
Pair with: Isaiah Thomas ($9,300), Kyrie Irving ($9,100), TJ McConnell ($5,800), Malcolm Brogdon ($4,800), Cory Joseph ($4,400) – If Lowry sits, Matthew Dellavedova ($3,700)
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,900)
Like I said in the introduction, Giannis and the Bucks find themselves on TNT tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the Bucks’ last game on national television (yesterday afternoon against the Suns), Giannis recorded 28 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks and a steal in 36 minutes for a total of 48.6 Fanduel points. In his two games before that, he topped 57 FDP in each of them. The Cavs also rank 14th in the NBA in pace while the Bucks sit at 20th – a nice pace-up game for the Freak. Giannis is also notorious for getting up for big games. In his three previous games against the Cavaliers this season, he’s averaged 29 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in 36.6 minutes per game. Obviously the landscape of this game hinges on the status of LeBron James (currently questionable with strep throat and missed this morning’s shootaround), but regardless, Giannis should thrive in this matchup and checks in as my top overall play on the slate.
Pair with: DeMar DeRozan ($8,500), Lou Williams ($6,300), Eric Gordon ($5,300), Monta Ellis ($4,800), Buddy Hield ($4,600)
Andre Iguodala ($4,500)
I feel like tonight’s slate has an unusually high number of narratives – the Schroder/Thomas beef, Giannis vs LeBron, and yet another – Andre Iguodala’s return to Philadelphia. Coincidentally, Iggy has also found a nice level of consistency lately as well. He’s posted at least 20 Fanduel points in his last four games and averaged 8.2 points, 4.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks in 24.1 minutes per game (only one of those games was without Kevin Durant in which he posted 5 points, 2 rebounds and 9 assists in 26 minutes). Obviously these are not jaw-dropping numbers, far from it actually, but he’s a catalyst off the bench and often finds himself on the court when the Warriors blow teams out. Tonight’s spread currently sits at 13.5 points in favor of the Warriors and without Joel Embiid, the potential for this game to get ugly early is high. Combine the blowout potential with Iggy’s return to where he started his career and made a name for himself and I see a very high chance that he receives 30 minutes tonight and contributes across the stat sheet.
Pair with: Andrew Wiggins ($8,600), Paul George ($7,800), Robert Covington ($7,100), Trevor Ariza ($5,300), PJ Tucker ($4,700) – ugh, I know I know…
Willie Cauley-Stein ($5,200)
Ugh, this play is extremely risky tonight but there’s nobody lower in the power forward position that I like as a value play. In the Kings’ first game without DeMarcus Cousins, WCS made his presence known – and I mean KNOWN – by erupting for a career-high 29 points, 10 rebounds and a block in 35 minutes. His very next game? 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 blocks in only 28 minutes. Why the inconsistency? I wish I had an answer. In the Kings’ two post-trade deadline games, Cauley-Stein has posted a 23% usage rate(fourth highest on the team), an 11% rebounding rate and a 54.7 true-shooting percentage. While it’s still frustratingly difficult to peg where his production will be tonight, the Timberwolves have allowed an average of 40.2 FDP per game to opposing power forwards and 45.4 FDP per game to opposing centers. We’ve seen Cauley-Stein’s ceiling (it may actually be even higher) and we’ve seen his floor. I expect his production tonight to lie somewhere in between where it’s been these past two games and lean on the higher side, considering the Kings are going to need all of the height they can get to counter Gorgui Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Pair with: Paul Millsap ($7,400), Dario Saric ($7,000), Dirk Nowitzki ($6,200), Gorgui Dieng ($5,900), Richuan Holmes ($4,100)
Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,600)
I want to do everything in my power to pair Giannis and KAT in my lineup tonight, even if they’re both priced above $10k. Towns showed last game what he can do to teams that lack a dominant post presence, destroying the Houston Rockets for 37 points, 22 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and a block for 67.9 Fanduel points. He’s been on an absolute tear over his last three games, compiling averages of 29 points, 19.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and a steal in 38.4 minutes per game. The man is almost AVERAGING 20 and 20. His minutes are beyond stable and he gets the post-Boogie Kings tonight. In the two games since the trade, the Kings have played the Nuggets and the Hornets. You’d think that Nikola Jokic would have dominated the Kings in that game, but he wound up only playing 26 minutes while posting 4 points and 10 rebounds. Frank Kaminsky on the other hand, dominated. He posted 23 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 38 minutes in the Hornets’ game against the Kings. Towns is averaging 17.5 points and 9.5 boards against the Kings this season (they had Boogie), but I fully expect him to keep up his torrid stretch. He’s by far and away my favorite option at center tonight.
Alternatives: Dwight Howard ($7,000), Myles Turner ($6,500), Tristan Thompson ($6,300), Willy Hernangomez ($5,900), Kyle O’Quinn ($4,500)