NBA Starting Five – 3/9

I was finally able to carve out some time to crank an article out and part of me is happy my trip to Europe is coming to an end soon, as I’ll be back to consistently contributing to the website starting on Monday. We’ve got a reasonable 5-game slate with Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, and Kyle Anderson already ruled out which has opened up some intriguing value. 

Here are the games on the docket tonight with their Vegas totals included:

  • 7:30 PM ET – Cavaliers (-4.5) @ Pistons – 216 O/U
  • 8:00 PM ET – Clippers (+2.5) @ Grizzlies – 207 O/U
  • 8:00 PM ET – Spurs (-2.5) @ Thunder – 208.5 O/U
  • 10:00 PM ET – 76ers (+9.5) @ Blazers – 221 O/U
  • 10:30 PM ET – Lakers (+5.5) @ Suns – 229.5 O/U

Now that you have the Vegas odds to help you build your lines, here is my NBA Starting Five for tonight’s slate:

Point Guard

D’Angelo Russell ($6,700)

Obviously the top options of Westbrook and Lillard are both elite plays, but I want to go off the beaten path and choose some less chalky options today, starting with Russell. I think Russell will definitely see some exposure in cash games, and for good reason. His price is climbing and so is his role in the offense (finally). Since the all-star break, Russell leads the Lakers with a 29% usage rating to go along with a true shooting percentage of 50.5% and a 31.9% assist rate. Those are some extremely impressive numbers. Since the break, he’s averaged 20.8 points, 5.5 assists, 3 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game in 32.8 minutes. In his last meeting with the Suns, his line was on par with those stats, as he recorded 21 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a block in 28.2 minutes. We’ll likely see an increase in minutes tonight and he’s producing like a $7,000-$7,500 point guard right now while priced at $6,700. Take advantage while you can.

Pair with: Russell Westbrook ($13,300), Eric Bledsoe ($8,900) – if active, Damian Lillard ($8,800), Tyler Ulis ($4,500), Patty Mills ($3,700)

Shooting Guard

CJ McCollum ($7,000)

McCollum has been rather erratic lately, but I still love him against the 76ers tonight for a lower-than-usual price. The shooting guard position is thin tonight, and I mean EXTREMELY thin. The value isn’t attractive whatsoever, leaving McCollum as my clear cut SG1. Since the All-Star break (post Mason Plumlee trade), McCollum has sported a 26.6% usage rate in 36.5 minutes per game. While much of his production has gone to Damian Lillard who’s been playing out of his mind, CJ is still averaging 22.3 points per game, 3.3 rebounds and 3 assists per game in that span. The 76ers have surrendered 45.6 Fanduel points per game to opposing shooting guards over their last five games (4.5 more than their season average) and McCollum should see a bump in usage whenever Lillard is off of the court. With little to no other options at the position, I have no problem playing McCollum in all formats tonight.

Pair with: Devin Booker ($6,400), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($5,100), Danny Green ($3,900)

Small Forward

Kawhi Leonard ($9,600)

Kawhi has shown us why he could arguably be the NBA MVP this season. With his clutch shot and block against the Rockets and continuous stellar play, he’s rounded into a top 5 player in the NBA. Over his last four games, Kawhi Leonard has recorded 50 Fanduel points or MORE in all four games, averaging 33.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.2 steals in 39.3 minutes per game. He also got last night off to rest and with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli resting tonight, more of the offensive play-making will fall on his shoulders. There really isn’t a lot of explanation needed as to why to roster Leonard at this point and in a game that should be competitive, he could easily top 50 FDP for a fifth straight games.

Pair with: Robert Covington ($7,000), TJ Warren ($5,900), Mo Harkless ($4,800), Brandon Ingram ($4,000)

Power Forward

Julius Randle ($6,900)

To the surprise of many, Randle is actually my favorite play on the slate tonight. Randle has topped 48 Fanduel points in two of his last four games, averaging 13.5 points, 13.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.2 steals over 32.8 minutes per game. Luke Walton is finally realizing that he needs to give his young studs ample playing time, and Randle has responded with two triple doubles in the last week. In his second triple double, the Lakers were getting blown out by Dirk and the Mavs, but Walton let Randle check back in to pad the stat sheet, a huge sign for fantasy players. The Suns are currently surrendering 46.2 Fanduel points per game to power forwards, fifth worst in the entire NBA and the over/under of this game currently sits at 229.5, so there should be a ton of potential for Randle to post yet another triple double.

Pair with: Dario Saric ($7,400), LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,000) – great value, Al-Farouq Aminu ($5,400), Enes Kanter ($5,400), Marquese Chriss ($4,400)

Center

Jusuf Nurkic ($6,500)

Nurkic has been what everyone expected him to be in Denver, but in…Portland. Since his trade to the Blazers, he’s sported a 24% usage rate in 29.1 minutes per game while posting 14.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.3 blockers per game while shooting 54.9% from the field. By now, every single DFS player in the world knows to roster a center against the 76ers, who are surrendering 52.5 FDP per game to opposing centers. Over their last five games? That number has ballooned to 59.8 Fanduel points per game. Yes, I said 59.8. Roster Nurkic and don’t look back.

Alternatives: Andre Drummond ($7,900), Alan Williams ($5,900), Tristan Thompson ($5,800), Jahlil Okafor ($5,600), Steven Adams ($5,200)

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