Yesterday’s NBA DFS picks were interrupted by injury news, as Jeff Teague wound up suiting up for the Minnesota Timberwolves. That made Tyus Jones a poor option and completely blew up my roster as constructed.
I still had some solid options for you to work with, however. Jimmy Butler refrained from facing Denver, which helped keep KAT (44) in play as a discounted stud and small forward Nemanja Bjelica (25) ended up being fine enough.
Those guys weren’t quite as good as I’d hoped, but the would-be top game of the night delivered well below expectations as a whole. The good news is he wasn’t that far off of Nikola Jokic, who was $1k more at the center position.
Elsewhere, Kevin Durant (51.5) was a fine core play and was comparable to the other elite SF options.
Shabazz Napier (57% owned) was chalk I wish I hadn’t eaten (17 fantasy points), while Jordan Clarkson (15.5) was a total bust despite Cleveland being down two key guards. Draymond Green was also a turd against the Pacers, while Kevin Love (27) didn’t put together a great line against the Wizards.
My favorite game to stack was a dud and the Wiz/Cavs and Nets/Bucks games were amazing. I missed the mark on a small slate, but get another chance to aim high in GPPs with 10 games dropping onto the schedule.
Keep in mind which teams have something to play for and also track injury news. Beyond that, join me as I try to piece together a GPP-winner for FanDuel daily fantasy basketball contests tonight:
PG: Trey Burke – New York Knicks ($6.2k)
Point guard is bad tonight. Kyle Lowry has a less than ideal matchup, John Wall is out due to rest and Lonzo Ball might be done for the year.
The only expensive PG option I like is Kemba Walker (vs. Magic), but he’s been absolutely atrocious lately and the Hornets don’t have much reason to hand their franchise player a ton of run right now. He makes for an elite GPP play due to the matchup and the fact that many could be scared of using him, but I personally would just rather test out some value at a weak position.
That leads me to Burke, who is quickly convincing New York that he (gulp) might actually be their franchise point guard. It’s tough to know if that’s a big leap or not yet, but they’ve handed him the keys to the offense and he’s responded with 30+ fantasy points in four of his last six contests.
Burke isn’t a lock to explode in a matchup against a defensive-minded Heat squad, but he’s at home, has good run and brings a solid role to the table. I don’t hate his price, while he put up a solid 28 fantasy points when he battled Miami earlier this year. I’m shooting for about 35 here.
PG: Tyler Ulis – Phoenix Suns ($5.6k)
Tomas Satoransky could be an elite tourney pivot off of Ulis, but I’m just going to eat the chalk here. Elfrid Payton, Devin Booker and T.J. Warren are all expected to sit out again on Friday and Ulis is looking at a dream matchup against a bad Pelicans defense.
This should be a fast-paced game with little defense, so Ulis and his 35-40 minute role stand to benefit. He’s really not that good of a player, but the Pels rank dead last at stopping point guards and he put up 24 fantasy points in a smaller role earlier this year.
Bovada and other basketball betting websites set this game at a 219 Total and it honestly should probably be higher. Ulis should be very busy here and considering he’s found a way to top 30+ fantasy points in five of his last seven games, he even feels pretty safe.
SG: Malik Monk – Charlotte Hornets ($3.8k)
A big reason I don’t want to take the bait with Walker is the fact that Charlotte is handing rookie guard Malik Monk run to close out the year. Monk has topped 23 minutes in each of his last three contests and at a minimum I’d expect him to get that much run again tonight.
He’s responded nicely to the extra run, scoring 16+ actual points in each of his last three games. Tonight he faces a bad Magic team, too, so you’re getting a volume scorer at a low price. There could be some interesting upside to be had here.
SG: Jrue Holiday – New Orleans Pelicans ($8.7k)
Holiday is not a good price at all, but FanDuel clearly upped the Pels given their tasty matchup against a bad Suns team. Holiday obviously is rock solid (35+ fantasy points in four straight games), while his upside is almost unfathomable in this matchup.
I’m not loving the idea of paying a premium for Victor Oladipo in Toronto, while Bradley Beal has burned me too many times to trust him in what could be a blowout win over the Hawks. I’ll just roll with Jrue, who has the talent and matchup to go crazy on Friday.
SF: LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers ($11.4k)
I can’t fade King James tonight and I have to think his ownership will be sky high. Not only has his price dropped a good amount, but he’s got an up tempo showdown in Philly with the 76ers.
This is a pretty big game for both sides, while James has fared well in this setting, averaging 62 fantasy points per game against Philadelphia on the year. I don’t really see a way around James on this slate, nor do I want to.
SF: Johnathan Motley – Dallas Mavericks ($3.7k)
This is a fairly big slate, so I’ll be curious to see who is willing to take a stab on Motley despite Dallas getting most of their bodies back. Dennis Smith Jr., Harrison Barnes and Dwight Powell are all slated to return tonight, which in theory cripples Motley’s upside.
Except I think he’s still worth a shot. The Mavs ran him out there for 41 minutes in their last game and he responded with a solid game (27 fantasy points). They aren’t guaranteeing their main guys are getting reliable run to close out the year, while Nerlens Noel (suspension) remains out.
Motley could still split time at the four and five spot when they go small, plus a possible blowout loss to the Pistons could hand him extra run, regardless.
This is a GPP team and I don’t mind taking chances, so I’ll fire up Motley Crue here in an effort to maximize my upside.
PF: Ivan Rabb – Memphis Grizzlies ($4.1k)
Memphis is insanely banged up right now, as JaMychal Green, Jarell Martin and Marc Gasol all will be out tonight. That gives them another look at rookie big man Rabb, who has actually looked solid in 23 and 26 minutes over his last two games.
Minutes and value are the two keys here, as Rabb could push for 30 minutes against a weak Sacramento team. He has a lot to prove as an actual talent, but I’ll take the savings and move along tonight.
PF: Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans ($13k)
I love the idea of The Brow at low ownership against the Suns. I’m just pulling the trigger here and hoping he’s somehow low-owned as he destroys a weak opponent. If he is, it could be a massive edge on the field in tournaments. There figures to be enough value to pull this off.
C: Deyonta Davis – Memphis Grizzlies ($3.5k)
I’m just punting with these two spare Memphis bigs and not putting much thought into it. There is a ton of run to be hand for the Grizzlies bigs on Friday, as three key big men are down and a date with the Kings obviously isn’t very scary.
Rabb feels safer, but Davis is the bare minimum at FanDuel. There is a lot to consider up top at center, but I don’t mind punting here and paying up elsewhere.
This feels like a classic stars and scrubs slate, as there is a ton of value to work with. I’m pairing King James and The Brow tonight and hoping my spares pay off for a change.
Love or hate my NBA DFS picks for Friday night? Feel free to let me know in the comments below!