NBA Starting Five – 3/14

Well I’m finally back state-side after a 12-hour day at various airports and I was able to play Fanduel last night – only to lose a chunk of money because I got over-confident in my lineup.

Over the last week, the Forecast team has gone through some changes as we’ve switched up the interface of the website and changed around some organizational pieces, including new article names for the “Value Vault”. Pretty slick, eh? We’re also in the process of hosting @JoshFern’s “DFS Chats” podcasts on the website: A podcast series of interviews with your everyday DFS players discussing strategy, flaws, strengths, you name it. And of course, the Lineup Logic podcast is going strong so make sure you’re up to date with our team! 

Today’s slate is a little difficult thanks to a massive snow storm sweeping through the Northeast which means that this slate could either be a 5-game, 4-game, or even a 3-game slate. I’m writing this article under the assumption that every game will play tonight. Here is my Fanduel Starting 5:

Point Guard

Russell Westbrook ($13,400)

I’m willing to roster every point guard in the world against the Brooklyn Nets and tonight we get the treat of watching MVP-candidate Russell Westbrook face the Nets. The Nets currently rank dead last in the NBA in DvP against point guards, allowing 52.3 FDP per game on the season. They also rank first in the league in pace (103.7 possessions per game) and the Thunder rank seventh. The over/under for this game currently sits at 224.5 and the Thunder are only favored by 6.5. In their last meeting, Westbrook posted a 30 point, 13 assist, 10 rebound triple-double with a steal in 34 minutes. If this game stays as close as the spread entails, there’s no way he doesn’t triple-double again, he’s a staple for lineups tonight.

Other options: Steph Curry ($10,100) – Birthday narrative, Damian Lillard ($8,800), Jeff Teague ($6,800), Jeremy Lin ($5,800), TJ McConnell ($5,400)

Shooting Guard

Jordan Crawford ($3,500)

Another prime example of Fanduel slacking with their pricing. While Crawford has only played three games so far with the Pelicans, he’s averaging 16 points, 4 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game while turning the ball over just once total. He’s leap-frogged E’Twaun Moore in the rotation and has proven to be a reliable offensive option. Based off of those stats alone, Crawford is averaging 25 Fanduel points per game. For his minimum-priced salary, he’s exceeding 7.14x value every night. There’s no reason he should still be minimum priced and with a lot of enticing studs on the slate, he’s my go-to option for salary relief tonight. Oh, and he’s a Xavier grad. #ZipEmUp

Other options: CJ McCollum ($7,300), Klay Thompson ($7,200), Victor Oladipo ($5,900) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,700), Allen Crabbe ($3,800)

Small Forward

Paul George ($8,100)

I feel like Paul George will be chalkier than a lot of people think tonight, but for good reason. He’s found his groove over his last three games, averaging 22.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.3 steals over 36.2 minutes per game. His price has risen a bit but for his production, he remains a nice value. In his last meeting with the Knicks, George posted 31 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a pair of steals in 38.6 minutes. The game tonight carries a tight 3.5-point spread in favor of the Pacers with an over/under of 209.5. Carmelo Anthony has also never been known for his defensive prowess, as the Knicks rank 9th worst in the NBA in DvP against opposing small forwards. If you’re looking to pay up at the position and still find some savings off of LeBron, PG13 is your option.

Other options: LeBron James ($11,200), Robert Covington ($7,200) – GTD, Marcus Morris ($5,900), Mo Harkless ($4,500), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($4,400)

Power Forward

Enes Kanter ($5,600)

The Nets are bad against every position defensively. I highlighted how brutal they are against point guards in the Westbrook bit, and they’re also dead last in DvP against power forwards (49.4 FDP per game). While Kanter’s minutes have been down over his last 4 games, he’s still managed to average 14.2 points and 8.2 rebounds in 19.8 minutes per game. Part of this could be the addition of Taj Gibson, but regardless, Kanter has been a point-per-minute machine. His last two games came against the Jazz and Spurs, two stingy defenses, and with the Nets on the docket tonight, expect these numbers to skyrocket.

Other options: Anthony Davis ($11,200), Dario Saric ($7,700), Kristaps Porzingis ($6,600), Tobias Harris ($6,000) – GTD, Richuan Holmes ($4,500), Taj Gibson ($4,000)

Center

DeMarcus Cousins ($9,000)

Okay I know that he got benched last game and his play hasn’t been stellar lately but c’mon Fanduel…$9,000 for DeMarcus Cousins?! Free spot! In his eight games with the Pelicans, Cousins is averaging 20.8 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 1 block per game over 33 minutes. While his scoring and assist numbers are down, that’s still an average of 41 Fanduel points per game – even with his recent benching. By no means am I saying he should still be an $11k player, but $9,000 is a little low. The Blazers have been better against big men since the all-star break, but are still surrendering an average of 47.3 Fanduel points per game to the position. If Cousins posts 47 Fanduel points, that’s over 5x value for a $9k player. He also still carries a ridiculous 32% usage rate, only 1.4% behind team-leader Anthony Davis, meaning that he’ll get more than enough looks tonight. This game carries a 214 over/under with the Pelicans favored by 4.5 points, meaning that this should shape up to be an up-tempo competitive game – one where Boogie should thrive.

Other options: Brook Lopez ($7,000), Jusuf Nurkic ($6,600), Myles Turner ($6,200), Steven Adams ($5,300), Zaza Pachulia ($4,400)

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